This review is the second installment of the And it Rocks look at the March 1st 2014 concert with support for Music Heals, a charitable foundation whose direction is to provide music therapy for those in need. Music therapy has been shown to benefit people with Autism, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Stroke, and those living with a wide spectrum of Mental Health issues.

The evening’s second performance came courtesy of Good for Grapes, a local band based in the lower mainland (Surrey) and signed to Pheromone Records. The group formed in 2010 and their sound can be best described as Folk Rock with an emphasis on the story-telling nature of Folk but with far superior music than your typical folk group. What the group have produced isn’t your parent’s (or grandparent’s) brand of folk music. No, Good For Grapes perform their music with what could be aptly defined as “controlled youthful abandon”.

Good for Grapes are: Daniel McBurnie on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Graham Gomez on Electric Guitar and backing vocals, Alexa Unwin on piano and backing Vocals, Robert Hardie on bass guitar and vocals, and with newcomers Alex Hauka on cello and Will Watson on Percussion. Alex and Will are both new to the group while accordion player Sean MacKeigan and drummer Blair Hansen have both moved into other projects.

Good for Grapes – Alexa Funwin singing at the keys

Our first encounter with Good For Grapes came back in February 2012 when they opened for local Roots and Rollers, The Matinee. Later in the same year, Graham Gomez and Alexa Funwin both attended the 2012 Vancouver Japan Day protest where Graham performed with local singer/songwriter Carol Cox in front of the Japan Consulate. In the subsequent months, Good for Grapes entered into the 2013 Peak Performance Project and were later announced (June 12th 2013) to the Top 20 finalists for the annual contest.

We caught up with Good for Grapes again the following month at the Khatsahlano Festival where they put on one of the highlight shows of the festival on one of the 102.7 Peak FM stages. The band later participated in the Concerts in the Square series (August 17th) at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. For those of you who might be interested, we covered the Good for Grapes benefit show for Covenant House where the band raised over $8000!!

Later in the year, the band placed fourth in the Peak Performance Project. They most recently performed at SXSW only weeks after this show. To say that Good for Grapes is on a tear is a HUGE understatement.

Good for Grapes – Graham Gomez strums with bassist Robert Hardie in the background.

With a stage filled with beautiful lighting and a large cheering crowd, Good for Grapes put on another of their textbook stand out performances where each artist at times appearing to lose themselves in the pleasure of their craft, moving to their own contributions but united in the output. For those who are interested, here is the set list for the show:

London Fog **
Renminbi Tips *
Era’s End *
Among The Trees *
A Sequel *
Eskimos *
Man On The Page *
Hallelujah Ghost *
Skipping Stone *
A Worthier Man **
Penance *

* All songs are available on the newest long player Man on the Page.
** Original versions of these songs are available on the Good For Grapes EP.

It seems that with each passing show, Good for Grapes gain a little more confidence, a little more momentum. As an avid music reviewer, it is a blessing to see a group seize the opportunities afforded to them.

If you’re interested in catching Good for Grapes in concert for yourself, here is a short list of announced shows at the time of publication:

April 4th at the Hard Rock Casino – Coquitlam, British Columbia.
April 9th at Regenerate 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia.
May 19th at Sgt Peppers Pub – Thetford Mines, Quebec.
And, on stage Sunday at the 2014 Squamish Festival.

For more details on upcoming shows Good for Grapes are very active on social media with regular status updates on Facebook and Twitter tweets a-plenty. For those who prefer to learn more about the band, you will want to bookmark their Official Website.

Photographs and words © Gerry Toews / All Rights Reserved


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