Saturday, May 25, 9 p.m.
The Rock Lounge at Studio 37 (1690 37 St. S.W.)
Cover charge: $5
Friday, May 31, 8 p.m.
New Black Centre (200-919 9th Ave. S.E.)
Admission: $10 – All-ages show
Jen Smith’s vision of a successful future in the music business isn’t exactly the standard definition of stardom.
“I want to be on the road eight or 10 months a year, I want to tour in a bus instead of a van, and I want a big dog,” says the Calgary singer, songwriter and keyboardist. “I’m a pretty ambitious person. I want this to be my career.”
Listening to Smith and her namesake band, Jenavive, it’s hard to imagine a world in which she won’t get all her wishes and more. The sound of the band’s latest EP release, “Spades,” has a glossy sheen, with Smith’s smooth and powerful voice floating above a subtly churning undercurrent of pulsing synths, menacing guitars and tightly wound bass and drums.
Jenavive’s live show is “a little bit heavier,” says Smith, as she and bandmates Brett Elliott (bass), Reggie Smith (guitar) and Anthony Speelman (drums) work the stage.
“Sometimes people are surprised, because they’re expecting a pop band, but we rock out pretty hard,” she says. “There’s definitely sweat.”
Jenavive’s lyrics walk the elusive line between specifically personal and broadly relatable. That’s not coldly calculated – it’s a quality that comes out naturally in Smith’s songs. “I think I write with a bit of subtext. We all have personal stories, and when you’re a sensitive person you write about how you feel.”
Smith describes Jenavive as an “indie pop” band – but steers clear of the notion that “indie” is a genre unto itself. “We’re indie because we do everything ourselves.”
Jenavive plays at Studio 37 Saturday, May 25, with Calgary electro-rock outfit Septembryo.
The following Friday, May 31, the band will be part of an all-ages show at the New Black Centre.
The band hits the road on tour right afterward, playing at Lydia’s Pub in Saskatoon the next night – and travelling in a van, not a bus. For now.