An awesome new series debuted at The Station Coffee House & Gallery on Saturday, March 7th.
The first “Intervals a Songwriters’ Showcase” featured local acoustic singer songwriters performing (primarily) original material in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by fans and fellow artists. Organized by local music aficionado and performer Chris Strei, Intervals is a wonderful monthly series that encapsulates the thriving creative spirit of Brantford.
Down at the train station might not be one of the first places you think of when you want to check out some great live music, but it should be. Since 2008, The Station (it’s the building on the far left, not the main train station building) has been allowing travelers and locals a place to enjoy various cultural arts. Beautiful art adorns every wall inside, most of which is available for purchase. Monthly updates bring a fresh collection of photographs, paintings and various other art forms to dazzle the eyes. March brought us the wonderful madness of Dean F. Ellis and his eccentric paintings, pen and ink, photos and sculptures.
The space is not vast, but there is a plethora of seating available. The building allows an unique sonic connection to each artist, as the entire space fills with lucious sound, allowing you to experience subtle nuances of the music you may have missed at a larger venue. The occasional passing train really adds to the mood, as though we were riding in the back of a boxcar with a menagerie of songwriters free to openly express their craft. Fortunately this train ride had a well stocked bar area, with libations and coffee served up by the friendly co-founder / bartender Jeff Sauble.
The first performer of the night was Andrew Bradbury. Andrew has a strong vocal presence and great skill on the guitar. He played along with a backing track which may not have been necessary, as his songwriting talent shone acoustically. His original songs spoke from a place of passion, and his love of music was displayed quite proficiently. We were able to make a recording of Bradbury performing his original song No Regrets (the video is embedded at the bottom of this post), which sounded even better live. Andrew is an artist to keep an eye on, and we can’t wait to see how his talent continues to evolve.
Intervals was set to feature hour long sets by each artist. Due to a last minute change in performers, there was also a ‘free jam’ which allowed everyone a chance to perform a few additional songs.
The ‘free jam’ brought us some great songs performed by Chris Strei, a solo performance by Jason Inberg, and an extra Innersha performance. Trevor Cobb performed a fun little freestyle acoustic performance before being joined by Mick Montgomery and jumping into a great Mctease performance.
Mctease had not expected to perform tonight, but it was a happy little accident that allowed BrantfordBands to witness their unique and thoroughly entertaining set. Trevor Cobb is a welcoming and charismatic guy and this comes through brilliantly in his music. His husky voice, energetic strumming and humourous nature make him seem like the long lost third member of Tenacious D. That same vibrant energy and love of music are apparent when Mick Montgomery starts walloping his conga drum. During softer moments Mick played the tambourine in a building credsendo which would inevitably lead back into the massive conga rhythms. Mctease played a blend of rock, country and generally upbeat tunes. Whatever genre they flowed through, Mick and Trevor made each song seem completely theirs, even when they jammed a few covers. Their original songs are wonderfully frivolous, with lyrics that cause bursts of joyous laughter and a rousing cadence that makes it impossible not to stomp along to the beat. While we can’t share too much of the lyrical content from songs like ‘Pig’ and ‘Pu**y’, it’s safe to say that McTease pushed the all-ages content to the limit (and beyond).
Check out No Cash (Trevor’s now-defunct country band) on soundcloud for a taste of the unique flavour inherent in Trevor and Mick’s music. Viewer discretion is advised.
Sporting a slightly disheveled dedicated artist look, Chris Strei‘s smooth and vibrantly melodic voice lends itself beautifully to his pop-tinged folk rock originals. Chris eats, sleeps and breathes music and it certainly shows. His commitment to the craft comes through in each composition, musical expressions of the vast tapestry of emotion and life experiences. His driving song ‘QEW’ cruises down the highway of life on a bright sunny day, with breezy traffic full of happy commuters waving and smiling as you pass them by. Each song has a similar spirit, of triumphantly overcoming adversity, staying positive even in the bleakest moments.
For a brief look into the artistry of Chris Strei check out his profile on ReverbNation.
The final set, Innersha‘s acoustic set, was the cherry on a guilt-free sundae. Huge sultry vocals and soaring guitar lift the listener to new heights. Jason Inberg and Kristen Bezemer are both passionate singer/songwriters. After hearing Kristen’s soft speaking voice it’s a shock when she starts singing. She has a true country diva sound, filled with authentic emotion and charm. Her voice embraces like a warm hug on a cold day, with a range that lends itself to any genre but really shines on boot-stomping country tunes. Jason is no slouch himself, as not only does he play a mean guitar but also has a wonderful voice. Deep, rough and contradictorily gentle, bringing to mind a soulful Matthew Good.
Innersha‘s original songs are buoyant and uplifting, and catchy in a way that has you singing along the first time you hear them. It’s impossible not to clap and stomp along to the infectious rhythms. Their newest release, ‘Know Where Your Heart Is’ makes the crowd eager to answer, “Our heart is in your hands!”. ‘Chills run down your spine‘ indeed, as this is a song that calls you out to the dance floor to embrace your sweetie, thanking the heavens for the chance to experience life connected with another person. Any cover songs they perform are transformed, creating brand new Innersha songs. When Jason and K-Bez join together for duets there’s a definitive unity and shared passion for music that carries the songs to new levels of greatness.
For a preview of the driving tempo and stimulating nature of Innersha head over to their youtube channel.
from Chris Strei:
I want to thank everyone who came out for #Intervals last night. Trevor Cobb & Mick Montgomery of Mctease, Andrew Bradbury, and Jason Inberg & Kristen Bezemer of Innersha did a great job on stage. Jeff Sauble at the bar always makes the night complete. Our audience made all our efforts worth the time we put into our music. Last night also gave me some good ideas for next month’s instalment of the #intervalsSeries.
We can’t wait to see what next month’s Intervals brings to the Station, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted when more details are released!
We’ve created a gallery of photos from the event on 500px.
Please note that the original red lighting has somewhat distorted all of the images. We attempted to colour-correct the photos, but as a result everybody looks like they had sever sunburns in early March.
We sincerely hope that we’ve not offended any performers by posting these photos,
contact us and we will remove any unwelcome photos immediately.
As promised, here’s the video we recorded of Andrew Bradbury performing
his original song No Regrets: