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Rockers making nocturnal noises in the industry



Who: Grace Nocturnal

Where: Garfinkel’s

When: Sunday, May 25

I sometimes wonder if the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix or even The Who ever thought about how much their music would influence the future generations of rock ’n’ roll. Do you think they ever thought that 10, 20, even 30 years later, the new wave of rock bands in the next millennium would be playing their style of music?

Probably not, but two bands from Victoria can’t get enough of the psychedelic sounds from the late ’60s, early ’70s and even parts of the ’80s.

Grace Nocturnal not only sound one part Beatles and one part Who, with a bit of Tom Petty and Neil Young thrown in for good measure, but they also admit to it. Singer and keyboardist, Marty Zylstra said John, Paul, George and Ringo’s albums are practically the only ones he listens to.

"I’m an intensely huge Beatles fan. To watch a band go from small town boys to unimaginable success is incredible but I think the biggest thing is their music transcends time. They were just so creative and are really influential on me and my contributions to the band," he said.

Drummer Luke Renshaw is "heavy into Keith Moon," rhythm guitarist Rolla Olak is influenced by the Beatles too, plus Young, Petty, Orbison and AC/DC. Bass player Leigh Grisewood has Paul McCartney-esque tones and perhaps a bit of John Entwhistle too. And Travis Smyth, their lead guitarist, is "big into Jimi Hendrix," sporting a tattoo of the legend on his left arm.

This mutual appreciation for the early days and the legends of rock ’n’ roll is initially what brought the one-year-old band together.

"We all met through mutual friends who knew we had similar styles, interests and influences. Once we formed the band though we all became close friends really quickly," said Zylstra.

The unifying force has brought them a multitude of songs and some serious buzz in the music biz.

"We all write and we all play and we’ve all pretty much been in bands before so we know what we want now. Having five songwriters and experienced musicians has seen us get a lot done in a relatively short amount of time," said Zylstra.

And the hard work is certainly paying off. Grace Nocturnal’s focus and drive landed them an opening slot at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival this year. They opened for Swedish rock legends The Soundtrack Of Our Lives and now this week, Grace are performing a sell-out show with Sam Roberts at Vancouver’s famous Commodore Ballroom in one of the premier headline gigs for the influential New Music West conference no less.

But as we speak, the retro-new wave, leather jacket-clad rockers remain independent and unsigned, yet extremely positive.

"We’re really excited about playing NMW and Whistler this weekend because there’s some big labels and contacts in the region for the conference," said Zylstra. "Our dream is to be able to turn this into a full time job for all of us, so fingers crossed."

In the mean time, the lads are happy to put in the hard yards, heading across the province performing for the curious, the convinced and indeed the corporate types, steadily developing a following and perhaps a record deal any day now.

Tickets to see Grace Nocturnal perform with fellow Victorians, Jets Overhead (formerly the Special Guests) are just $5. Doors open at 9 p.m.

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