Hailing from Golden, B.C., the garage psychedelic rock band Stellar Radio Choir will make the first stop of its upcoming nation-wide tour in Canmore.
The band will play the Glue Factory (Whyte Horse Café) on Saturday, June 11 and will be accompanied by Mobina Galore, a two-piece rock band from Fernie.
Bass player Todd Menzies spoke on behalf of the band.
“We play a lot in Alberta and B.C. – it’s kinda our staple, especially ski towns,” he said. “We’re all ski bums at heart and we go back to Fernie, Revelstoke, Invermere and Banff and we have a good following in all those towns.
“We’ve made it out to the coast, but nothing past Alberta. Everything eastward will be new to us and we’re looking to broaden our horizons and spread our fan base.”
The band will first play 13 shows in 16 days throughout B.C. and Alberta, return to Golden for Canada Day, and then head east for a month of touring across the country.
“We’re going to focus about two and a half weeks on southern Ontario, trying to spread our name there and break into that market as well,” said Menzies.
The band formed about 18 months ago, when Menzies, Ben Caldwell (drums) and Eric Larocque (guitar) came together to try some thing new
“I’ve been performing solo as a folk singer-songwriter for about five years, and they were both together in a folk band called Broken Down Suitcase,” said Menzies. “Living in the same town, we’ve done shows together, and we’ve toured on the folk side of things, and we just started this band just to spice things up and do something else.
“It started out as a side project, and spiralled and got picked up by a booking agent and a record label which has helped us along the way record our EP and get lots of college radio play and the bookings started rolling in. We both still do out own solo things, but for the next two months, it’ll be full on Stellar Radio Choir.”
Menzies described their music as being a mix of garage rock and blues.
“We revived the late 1960s/early ‘70s garage rock that was going on then, with a lot of distortion using pedals and effects, and at the same time standard blues songs were spiced up to the new sound,” he said. “We pulled from a few genres. We never used to label ourselves psychedelic so much, but it is on the edge of it, so we are more than just a rock band for sure.”
Both Caldwell and Larocque take turns with lead vocals, said Menzies.
“We have two lead singers in a sense, swapping for songs that are specific to them,” he said. “We’re just a three-piece, so it’s pretty barebones and nothing fancy.
“We’re quite a lyrical band. We’re more focused on the music side of thing. We like to get people moving and on the dance floor, with real catchy, hooky baselines and stuff like that, and getting people grooving. Surf music is a real influence to us as well.
“A lot of our songs come from personal experiences. We’re all three songwriters who have come together, we write a lot individually, but we write a lot as a band as well.”
The opening act is a two-piece female pop punk band, said Menzies.
“It’s just guitars and drums and they both sing,” he said. “It’s a really dirty, grungy sound with the guitar, but really poppy, catchy songs, like a post-punk era of music. They’ve got a great stage presence.
“It’s really hard to fill out that sound, but the first time I heard them I was really blown away as far as the sound they were coming up with.”
The two acts meshed well together, he said.
“We decided to take them on tour with us because our genres mesh quite well, even though they’re a little more punky and us being more straight up rock,” said Menzies. “This will be their first tour as well, they’ve only been together for about six months.”
As the Glue Factory is ordinarily more known for playing folk and acoustic music, this rock and punk show will definitely bring a different flavour to the venue.