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Take the Redeye to Whistler

Guitarist Mike Redmond returns to Whistler fronting new Vancouver band

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By Nicole Fitzgerald

Who: Redeye

When: Friday, May 11, 9 p.m.

Where: Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC)

The thing that drove him down to Vancouver is now bringing former Whistlerite Mike Redmond back — at least for a while — with the guitarist for Redeye driving up Highway 99 for a show Friday, May 11 at the Garibaldi Lift Company.

“The band was one of the things that prompted me to go looking down in Vancouver,” said Redmond, who now works for a land development company and in his spare time devotes his energies to his music.

Music is taking more and more of his time as the band gains popularity. Redeye recently toured with G Love and Special Sauce, shuffling the Vancouver band around to 18 shows in 21 days throughout the U.S.

“We are huge fans of G Love,” Redmond said. “There is definitely some G Love in (our music). We’ve got that bluesy folksy thing going on.”

Redeye’s newest self-titled album was what spurred the touring partnership, bringing the Canadians’ music — a West Coast romp through reggae, ska and pop — over the border for the first time.

Most shows averaged the size of Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom, which was a change from the hundred-something crowds at the band’s more usual club sets. Venues packed in as many as 2,500 listeners, leading to increased traffic on the band’s website at myspace.com/redeye29records, where music samples can be checked out.

“It’s funny watching our My Space page as the hits go up,” Redmond said. “We are up to 12,000 hits. Before we left we had 800. It’s pretty wild. We thought the shows were received really well. We got the crowds going every show.”

The indie music has been likened to something between Jack Johnson and Sublime. The easy laid-back vibe is perfect for dancing or chilling out. The sound is getting bigger with guitarist Andre Arsenault joining the original fivesome of Redmond, Gabe Davis, Ali Siadat, Eric Stephenson and Ben Brown. The band is in the recording studios once again with a new album expected later this summer.

“It’s been such a cool hobby for so long, I am just looking forward to playing more,” Redmond said. “We put our hearts and souls into this one. It is much bigger than the last. Ideally we’ll get some radio playable songs out of this one and plan a west coast tour at some point in time.”

Until then, Redmond looks forward to returning to his old stomping ground where he shared the stage with the Livingroom band crew.

“The Whistler show is really exciting for us,” he said. “It will be great to be back.”

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