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GTB To Play Hippie Commune and Indie Rock Show


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From Chartattack.com ... by John Bruhm


Grand Theft Bus are one of those bands who just can't stop touring. This summer, the East Coast rockers have played back and forth across Canada, down through the United States and they have no plans of slowing down any time soon. And that's exactly the way they like it.

But all of this touring can cause problems in other aspects of being a rock band — namely, when it comes to recording. It's been almost nine months since the band started recording Flies In The No Fly with Laurence Currie (Sloan, Ghandharvas, Wintersleep), who also recorded the band's previous release, Birth Of Confusion. While their new album was originally due out earlier this summer, Grand Theft Bus couldn't help but answer the call from the road.

"We've been working on it since January," says bassist Graeme Walker, with regard to the album-in-progress. "It's gonna be a bit of a change from the last one — but not too drastic. It's much more concise and much more song-oriented. I think there's been more attention to detail as well and it's a better sounding record. We're looking to release it later this fall."

One of Grand Theft Bus' more notable shows over the next little while takes place Friday night at the fifth annual Evolve Festival. Considered by outsiders as a "hippie jam band commune," the three-day music and social awareness festival is much more than meets the eye. Taking place in rural Antigonish, Nova Scotia, the festival offers artists from a variety of musical styles on five outdoor stages, from folk to funk, hip-hop to bluegrass.

On the social awareness front, Evolve is the largest green festival in Atlantic Canada, focusing on numerous environmentally-friendly ways to run the show, from bio-diesel fuel-run generators to an on-site composting program. Show-goers are also given the opportunity to participate in educational forums to learn about their various environmentally safe options.

"Evolve is a festival about diversity — that's been the idea from day one," says Walker. "These hippiefest statements come from people who more than likely have never been there. The whole idea behind it is to bridge the gaps between live performing bands and DJs and to bring awareness to pressing issues that affect all of us. If people want to shun this idea and think that they're above the idea that the world we live in needs some drastic changes, they're wrong."

Bands joining Grand Theft Bus on the various Evolve stages include American acts Spearhead, Vorcza Trio and The Slip, Can-rockers The Rheostatics, Luther Wright & The Wrongs and The Trews and Maritime acts The Jimmy Swift Band, Slainte Mhath and Slowcoaster. On the electronica and hip-hop side, Doc Martin, Simply Jeff and Rennie Pilgrem headline, sharing stages with locals Universal Soul, Skratch Bastid and Sonny D. For the complete Evolve lineup, check out the festival's website.

Evolve isn't the only upcoming event where Grand Theft Bus will perform alongside big name acts — they've secured themselves a mid-card slot between Contrived and The Constantines during the latter's upcoming two-night stand in Halifax, on September 25 at The Marquee Club.

The decision to include Grand Theft Bus on such a bill has some Halifax music devotees wondering why the supposed "jam band" have been included on this bill. This suggestion, according to Walker, is the result of word of mouth and negative connotations towards the "jam band" genre.

"The show with The Constantines will be a blast," he says. "We're big fans. I assume that the people wondering how or why we're on the bill have never heard our band before, or definitely haven't heard the band in the last year. The 'jam band' term is pretty much irrelevant in this case. It's funny that human nature dictates that people put labels on things — it's just music — simple as that. I get the feeling that maybe people feel that we're intruding on some aspect of their lives by being involved with a show like this. There's too much negativity in the world as is for us to waste time validating these petty concerns. People turning up their noses at something before they've heard it strikes me as juvenile. Listen to it, and if you decide you don't like it, fair enough, but don't knock it until you try it. It won't change the fact that we're going to have a great time playing the show, though."

Following their stints at Evolve and with The Constantines, Grand Theft Bus still have no plans of slowing down. They still have to complete their Flies In The No Fly, and then it's time to hit the road once again.

"We've had an incredibly busy summer and this will continue into the fall in support of the new record," says Walker. "We'll probably take a month off in the winter to write some more new music and avoid travelling in the nasty weather — we had a bad year for that last year."

Upcoming Grand Theft Bus tour dates:

August 27 Antigonish, NS @ The Evolve Festival

September 2 Utica, NY @ The Electric Company

September 3 Waterford, ON @ Come Together Music Festival

September 5 Turin, NY @ MoeDown

September 10 Charlottetown, PEI @ Myron's

September 17 Fredericton, NB @ Harvest Jazz And Blues Festival

September 18 Halifax, NS @ The Planet

September 24 Moncton, NB @ The Manhatten

September 25 Halifax, NS @ The Marquee Club )

October 22 Sydney, NS @ UCCB

October 23 Halifax, NS @ The Planet

November 26 Utica NY @ The Electric Company

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