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Arts in Review

Concert Review: Mainland Ho! tour at TractorGrease

The Mainland Ho! tour came to the Fraser Valley last week and I was fortunate enough to be able to catch a show as the two groups, Brett Wildeman and West My Friend, took the stage to showcase their respective talents.

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By Jasper Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: March 20, 2013

The Mainland Ho! tour came to the Fraser Valley last week and I was fortunate enough to be able to catch a show as the two groups, Brett Wildeman and West My Friend, took the stage to showcase their respective talents.

My night began winding through the rainy roads of Chilliwack trying to find TractorGrease Studio, a small multimedia studio run by local music enthusiasts. After a nervous few minutes peering down alleyways through the dark rainy night, the warm glow of the studio caught my eye and I shuffled inside, unsure of what to expect of a place with such a creative name.

The inside of the building was another world completely. A full recording studio and stage was set up. I immediately felt at home as I found a well-worn couch to settle into.

The studio began to fill up as Brett Wildeman opened his set. As he stood up on the stage alone, barefooted and unshaven, you could feel Wildeman’s calming presence radiating across the room through his raw and soothing vocals. The man gave off the sort of vibe you might imagine from someone from the sunshine coast, in touch with the world around him and at peace in the moment. Wildeman treated the audience to a full set of his songs, ranging from sombre love songs to descriptive tales of life events. To close his evening up Wildeman played a song off his upcoming album mother | earth, entitled “Foreign Affairs” that addresses the issues surrounding the oil pipeline and the faults of the Harper government.

As Brett Wildeman closed up, West My Friend took to the stage and began to set up. I must admit that at first I was sceptical. This group on the stage was not your ordinary group, there was an abundance of suspenders, bushy beards and plaid shifts. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this group of seemingly mismatched individuals.

As the group began I soon realized why I had been taught to never judge a book by its cover. The band’s lead singer, Eden Oliver, had a voice that was naturally entrancing and when complemented with the bands various musical talents the sound was a pleasant surprise. The band was on stage for over an hour while the audience soaked up every melodic moment of it. The group brought a unique indie folk sound that is really refreshing in today’s local music scene.

Jeff Poynter, West My Friend’s accordion and vocalist, commented on the tour, praising the variety of locations the band got to perform at, as well as the amount of inspiring people the band has come into contact with. When asked when the band will release their sophomore album, Poytner joked, “another album is definitely coming in the next couple years – perhaps next winter we’ll hole ourselves up in a cabin and emerge with an album in hand.” In any case, look out for West My Friend in the coming years as this talented group continues to make a name for themselves.

As For Brett Wildeman and his musical future? The young artist is set to release mother | earth this August. There will also be a few tours in the near future – a Vancouver Island bike tour, as well as a BC and Alberta tour.

In the end, the honest and down-to-earth sounds of both groups restored my faith in the musical world today. In a world where honest and clever lyrics are drowned out by catchy pop tunes and obnoxious one-liners, both West My Friend and Brett Wildeman are an oasis of natural talent in a desert of over-produced, under-talented pop artists.

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