I think as a musician, if you want to be a part of a local scene, you have to support a local scene. This is imperative for a scene to survive.
Seeing as my personal life has made gigging challenging (right now, I travel a lot and don’t know when I’ll be in town with enough notice to book a show…), I’ve been spending more time getting out and watching my friends play.
Here are some highlights (and my random thoughts on them)…
Tom’s a favourite here in Victoria. He has played quite a bit at the Bard & Banker and Irish Times, sometimes with Matt Johnson (of 54-40) and a few times with Tal Bachman, though lately he’s been playing mostly solo acoustic shows.
The first time I saw Tom play was in 1997, at the Memorial Arena, when his band Ginger opened for Moist. I knew that some of the members of Ginger were also in the Grapes of Wrath who were big in Canada at the time (and have since been inducted in the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame). Apparently, Ginger only played a handful of shows and I was lucky enough to have caught one of them. I had no idea then that the guy I looked up to on that stage as a teenager would (some 20 years later) be playing in my local pub and having a beer with me while chatting about life and music (very cool).
I met Jessica at a weekly open mic at the V-Lounge, sometime in 2010. I remember her taking the stage and blowing everyone away with her talent, presence and humility… not to mention her cute foot stomp/dance while she played (if you’ve seen her play, you know what I’m talking about!). Not only is she gifted at music, she’s also super positive, supportive and encouraging of other musicians. She has a great choice of covers and strong original songs. She plays and teaches music full time, so it’s nice to support someone who is doing what they love for a living. It’s always a pleasure watching Jessica play.
What can I say? Dave is the reason I travel so much (oh, the joys of a long-distance relationship). Dave is a Tacoma based singer-songwriter and plays a lot around the Tacoma area. His shows are the ones I see and enjoy the most. I love that I can go for a weekend visit, have a great meal or glass of wine (depending on the venue) and be serenaded (who wouldn’t love that!?). Dave’s covers range from 60s Beatles to 90s alternative… to pop covers of today (or covers of covers – “cover squared” as he puts it). His originals are catchy, yet poignant, and relatable, speaking the truths of walking through life. We joke “there’s a Dave Hannon song for every occasion”. Of course I would say go check him out… but I might be a little biased 😉
In the past 3+ years of knowing Angie, I have really seen her grow into her own as a singer-songwriter. When I first met her, she was singing backups for Dave and a few others around town, and was predominantly (from my point of view) a back-up singer. She was just starting to break out on her own, play gigs and write her own material. Dave and I caught Angie recently at Alegre Bakery in Tacoma and I really enjoyed her set. She’s passionate and poetic… and holy wow that voice of hers! Love it!
You can’t mention the Tacoma music scene without making mention of husband and wife duo Champagne Sunday. Jared and Jessi are living the life I’ve always dreamed of: playing music with my spouse (and sometimes we get a guest appearance by their cute kiddo in his special superhero costumes!). I love that they broadcast their shows on Facebook Live, so I can watch their shows no matter which country I’m in.
Brotherz Black are back! Zappnin Black was one of the bands I used to play shows with back in the early 2000s at Steamers Pub (RIP) and definitely one of my favourites to go see. They played a reunion show at the V-Lounge last month. It was so awesome to see these boys back together on stage again as if no time had passed. Zappnin shows are always a good time of loud classic rock (we are talking a wall of guitar cabs – so bring ear plugs), guitar solos, costumes and, of course, free stuff for the crowd…
Jeff Campbell (Static and Surrender):
Though I haven’t seen him play lately, I do have to give a shout out to my friend Jeff Campbell. In April 2017, Dave and I travelled to San Francisco to catch Jeff’s new band Static and Surrender play their first show at Hotel Utah. Jeff’s solo career is solid, having several albums under his belt and having won Guitar Center’s Singer-Songwriter 2 competition. His band Static and Surrender are releasing their debut self-titled album on Funzalo Records in July. Definitely keep an eye out for it!
Speaking of friends who play music, my friend, Mel Gantly, and I have played a bunch of shows together, and we sometimes cover this song, “You and Your Bright Ideas” by our mutual friend, Megan Slankard. Megan’s an incredibly talented Bay Area musician and is turning heads all over North America. We have WAY too much fun covering this song. Check it out: