Canada’s pop punk outfit the White Wires is no stranger to unconventional performances. “We do a lot of weird shows,” the band’s singer, Ian Manhire, said during an interview Monday, three days away from kicking off a West Coast tour that will land the trio in L.A. on Friday night and Fullerton’s Burger Records on Sunday. “We played in a U-Haul last summer. Just pulled up on [Victoria] island at 2 a.m. and told a bunch of people and they rode their bikes out to see us. We play a lot of house parties, we play in people’s kitchens.”
But the most daunting place the rough and ready act has played was a frigid Ontario beach in February, shortly after the release of its sophomore platter, "White Wires II," from Dirtnap Records. "The beach season doesn’t last very long here,” Manhire said. “But we were always joking about doing a beach video in the winter, something totally stupid.” When the time came to shoot a video for the band’s summertime anthem, “Let’s Go to the Beach,” the group's members knew they had to put words into action. With a posse of 20 daring friends as extras, they lugged their gear to the snowy shores of a frozen lake.
“It was like minus 20 degrees Celsius,” said Manhire. “It was a really cold Canadian night, and then it was windy on top of that. Girls were in full-on bathing suits, guys were in shorts. I was playing my guitar on the first take and my fingers actually went numb, so I played with construction gloves after that. But Allie was a total trooper. She was in a bikini playing drums and she was freezing. I was trying to sing along with the words but my face was so numb that it actually doesn’t sync up very well.”
The White Wires formed in 2007. With Manhire’s high school friend and former Million Dollar Marxists singer Luke Martin plucking bass and drummer Allie Hanlon, who has her own solo career as the divinely sweet Peach Kelli Pop, the trio quickly made its mark on the band-friendly city of Ottawa. “Ottawa’s the second biggest city [in Ontario],” said Manhire, who formed the short-lived label Going GaGa to release music by local artists, including his band’s debut. “There’s a really strong DIY music scene here. There’s a lot of bands and people help each other out.”