Last weekend I had the chance to hang out with some friends, and check out The Zone's Band of Month Showcase at Upstairs Cabret. This was the second of the two showcases, and like the first one earlier in the month it was completely sold out. They had to turn away guest list spots at the door.
The Grass Tracks kicked off the night at the Band of The Month Showcase. It was a bittersweet evening for them. An exciting sold out show, the release of their new album, but unfortunately possibly their last show. The next morning their lead singer, Ki McKechnie was bound indefinitely for Calgary the next morning. With that in mind they put on one hell of a "going away" show for Victoria night. Despite the departure of Ki I think there is a solid future for the the rest of the band as each member is talented in their own right. The future of The Grass Tracks may be uncertain, but there is certainly a future.
I've seen Carmanah three times now, and this is where they finally shined. The intimacy of the bar seemed to benefit the band, drawing the crowd closer to the stage with every song. Fiddle, djembe, flute, and finger snaps peppered their set with the eclectic sounds that are distinctly West Coast. Sounds that make you think of campfires on the beach. It was nice to finally see Carmanah hit their stride at Upstairs Cabaret.
What is there to say about Towers & Trees that hasn't already been said? They are enthusiastic, hard working, and positive musicians. That's already been said, but needs to be stated again. After a stint with the Peak Performance Project the band returned to Victoria tighter, energized, and excited to make new music. Their shows have gotten more elaborate and exciting. Often featuring balloons, guests, and topless raptors. Every band member wears a smile even when in the most intricate parts of their songs.
It's hard to not fall in love with Towers & Tree's infectious poppy songs. They are the type of band I've been hoping would make an appearance in this town for a very long time. Outgoing, happy, excited by the prospect of playing their own music for their fans. It seems like we've been stuck with mopey bands for while in Victoria. Bands who think the only way to justify themselves as artists is to bad mouth other bands and act like it is a crime against humanity when they aren't chosen to participate in The Zone's Band of The Month.
Not every band of the month artist has been my favourite, but I have picky taste. The Zone does a good job a curating, cultivating, and establishing relationships with local musicians looking to make their mark.
Having something like Band of The Month in Victoria is essential to the music scene and I hope it never goes away.