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March Hare more than meets the eye

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March Hare more than meets the eye

Who: March Hare

Where: Pemberton Hotel

When: Dec. 27 & 28

Whenever I think of corporate cover bands I think of those awful office parties I would get stuck at as a city girl. The gold lame’ suited band would be in the corner of the chain motel ballroom, in prime position right next to the buffet, and a bunch of drunk colleagues would kick up their heels, link arms and sing along to an Eagles tribute. Before the band could launch into set two I’d be singing my own chorus: "Taxi!" But then you see March Hare.

A three-piece band that sounds like a five piecer. They’ve got two albums under their belt, getting airplay at home and abroad, especially in Australia and Germany. They are booked solid almost every weekend of the year and are flown as far as Florida to whip up some whoopee for the crowds. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Dan Hare calls March Hare the new breed of corporate bands.

"I can’t stand those old-style schmaltzy corporate cover outfits either," said Hare. "We’ve never been like that, and I guess that’s why we’re so in demand. We play all the newer stuff as well as the classics, but first and foremost we’re a real rock and roll band."

Hare said the corporate route became the road of choice for them for monetary and travel reasons.

"Other bands could never afford to go where we go, like the States and the Bahamas. We have companies paying for us to go and we love it. We really love what we do. We’ve done so well in that market because we’re not what people expect and it’s obvious we enjoy it."

The Vancouver-based outfit of Hare, keyboardist Andy Smyth and percussionist, Dave Gustafson, have been together almost five years, but all of them have backgrounds in other bands. When they came together, they decided covers were the best way to stay full-time musicians, but their integrity could not be overlooked.

"We agreed if we were going to be a cover band, then we were going to do the original songs justice," said Hare. "It’s imperative to me I sing the songs the way they were meant to be sung. I studied the original artists and learned how to pronounce the words they do, their inflections, everything. We want our performance to sound like you really are listening to Bob Segar, Supertramp, Elton John or John Fogerty."

March Hare seem to be a case of the musical mantra "You name it, we play it." With Hare’s remarkably versatile vocals and Smyth’s cache of keyboard sounds recreating flutes, horns, violins and banjos, these guys can do almost anything.

"We never have a set list," said Hare. "Because we play so much, we’re a tight unit and so really great at switching on the fly. We’ll suss out the crowd and go in any direction they want us to."

The Pemberton Hotel was lucky to score this band on the run. The last weekend of the year was one of their only days off. But Hare changed his mind.

"We love playing the Pem Ho. The people there are great to us."

But what about having a break?

"To be honest, on our days off we’d just be jamming at home anyway so we might as well get paid for it!"

Catch March Hare Friday or Saturday night as part of the Pem Ho’s free winter weekend entertainment lineup. Heck, with no cover, why not stay the night? Rooms are still available, ranging from $49.95 to $89.95. Ph: 604-894-6313 for reservations. Music starts at 10 p.m.

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