A&E » Music

Racketeers take over Merlin's

5 O'Clock Mutiny night starts residency in the Upper Village on Sundays



When do realtors become Racketeers?

Why at night, of course.

The Racketeers is a Whistler band made of David Lewis (drums) and Peter Lawler (guitar). And, yes, by day the pair sells property — for competing realtors — but they are friends and music makers the rest of the time.

Please note, "Burning Down the House" is not on the band's playlist.

"We met in 2013, and we ended up jamming a bit and playing acoustic. We thought it was fun and ended up playing our first gig at The Brickworks," Lewis recalls.

"They needed some live music and we said we'd be happy to play."

The band plays cover tunes, but they try to make the music their own.

"We take a unique approach to contemporary and classic songs. Our instrumentation creates a neat vibe with a full drum kit and acoustic guitar, with technology and electronics designed to fill out the sound," Lewis says.

"That is the genesis of us. It's the old Whistler story — every band has a story about how and why they came together. Ours isn't particularly exciting, but it's definitely turned out well because we've been at it for over three years now, and we're having a blast."

Lewis says they play songs by The Killers and Maroon 5, where the originals are known for big studio sounds. They have also been known to invite audience members on stage if they can play music, too.

"We create an acoustic version that I think is unique in Whistler. We're similar to The Hairfarmers in that we're a drum and guitar, but we work towards creating a bigger, more awesome sound than you'd expect from two guys," Lewis says.

The Racketeers have just started a residency at Merlin's in the Upper Village, where they will be holding court every Sunday for the rest of the winter season at Captain Morgan's 5 O'Clock Mutiny.

Entrepreneurial types, they approached the venue's owners Whistler Blackcomb with the idea.

"It's a kind of pirate-themed après, après party. We play three sets and it being a residency is something we always wanted," Lewis says.

"We got it all cranked together with Whistler Blackcomb and it has been a lot of fun. This is the end of week two."

They have played gigs from Vancouver to Revelstoke, but Merlin's is their focus for the time being.

"We decided not to book shows anywhere else until after it finishes at the end of April," Lewis says.

Traditional bands may push to establish careers in the music industry, but Lewis and Lawler are in it for the fun.

"That informs our situation. We're not in it to get rich," Lewis says.

"We're working professionals in Whistler and we enjoy playing in here, so we built this band. We're making music for a ski town party bar, certainly not background music. We like to think we play with the crowd and not to them."