Wow! What a fantastic evening to be introduced to The Imperial nightclub. The venue was packed as folks came in droves to see The Matinee, Good for Grapes and the Gastown Royals perform this past March 1st. The show, sponsored in part by our friends at 102.7 The Peak FM, Steam Whistle Beer, and Wet Ape Productions had the added bonus of donating a dollar from every ticket to a charity called Music Heals a Charitable Foundation “formed to help raise awareness of the healing powers of Music and to help fundraise for Music Therapy and related services across Canada”.
For those who aren’t in the know, Gastown Royals are a five member large country-western folk band. Here are the members of the band:
Rocco DeVille handles vocals, harmonica and rhythm guitar.
The Bear Jew Avi Smith offers backing vocals, and bass guitar.
Matt “Majik” Majid providing backing vocals and lead guitar.
Nate “The Stomp” Campbell keeps time on the drums
Jack ” The Bandit ” Mercer adds guitar, Flat top guitar and Banjo to the mix
As fortune would have it, I had a chance for a brief chat with lead guitarist Matt Majid, and from him I learned that their band re-formed a few years ago with encouragement from their friend and drummer Geoff Petrie of a then newly forming band called The Matinee. For music fans, the reformation has been a definite win-win-win: The Matinee have a great touring partner, Gastown Royals have a great showcase for their talents, AND local live show aficionados have another fine band to follow.
Part of the Gastown Royals’ charm is their honest approach to the music- blending banjo, lap, electric, and acoustic guitars with a healthy dose of harmonica and soulful vocals into a musical weave with a decidedly traditional Americana feel. Another part the bands charm lies in their live performance, the sincerity with which each performer contributes to the collective sound.
Song titles such as Counting Bricks and The Outlaw and the Bandit foreshadow what the listener should expect from the band. The lyrics for Simple Man’s Life probably spells out who the Gastown Royals are as well as any song coould: good friends, cold beer, sunshine, less drama, more appreciation and so on. Here is the Gastown Royals set list for their show at the Imperial:
The Dustbowl King
Simple Man’s Life
Shine a Light.
The Outlaw & The bandit.
Old Time Religion
For closer inspection, you can both hear and buy their digital EP, Back to the Sadde here: Gastown Royals on Band Camp. Simply name your price and the music can be yours.
For more information about the Gastown Royals, you may wish to visit their Facebook page: Gastown Royals Facebook
Photographs and words © Gerry Toews / anditrocks.com All Rights Reserved