By Arts Editor Cheryl Folland
Nanaimo’s music scene is alive and well. On any given night, there is at least one live show happening in the downtown core.
Moments after arriving at The Vault Cafe, at 8:20 pm for the 9 pm show, a sign marking sold out was taped to the door. A small crowd began to gather outside in the -1°C evening in hopes to snag a seat. One member mentioned, “We’re happy to stand on the street and listen to them.”
Stel, the opening band from Victoria, BC, made sure to appreciate those left in the cold. The band (comprised of brother and sister Adam and Sophia Stel, Brianna Herms, and Zach Smith) made their way outdoors. They played a stripped down remixed acoustic version of Will Smith’s Prince of Bel Air and handed out some CDs before taking the stage.
Once on stage, Stel played original songs with a few remixed covers thrown in. Their style is best characterized by rock meets folk, sporting a creative mix of electric and classical instruments. They did an excellent job of energizing the crowd and setting the stage for the headliners.
Maverick Cinema, described by fan Jeremy Strom as, “Fantastic, their sound really matches where they’re from. Very West Coast-esque.” Matthew Boudot compared their sound to Coldplay, saying the performance was both “energizing” and “alive.”
After the show, I had the opportunity to sit down with the members of Maverick Cinema and get to know them a bit. Peter Bird (drums), Marshall Dillabough (lead vocals, guitar), Spencer Hiemstra (synth, guitar, brass), and Seth Recalma (bass guitarist) had a lot to share.
This is your third show in your local tour, how has tonight’s show differed from the previous two?
Marshall: Hometown shows are always more energized. We have a larger following in Nanaimo than we expected. There’s been a lot of growth and new faces.
Peter: Aside from a few friends, most of tonight’s audience came because they heard about us, not because they know us. That’s pretty cool.
Seth: Nanaimo is the most rowdy crowd. It feels more exciting to play to your people.
What influenced your decision to join the music industry? Musicians? Experiences?
Marshall: I was out shopping with a friend one day, to get them a new keyboard, and randomly picked up a guitar in the shop. I’ve been playing ever since. I had played piano before, but this was different.
Seth: Nirvana and Skrillex
Spencer: Seth, she thinks you’re serious, she’s writing that down.
Seth: Seriously though, Two Door Cinema Club and Arctic Monkeys, stuff like that.
What are your day jobs when you’re not touring?
Marshall: I work in the dairy department at Country Grocer.
Peter: I’m the youth and young adult director at The Meeting Place Church in Nanaimo.
Seth: I’m currently in the BBA program at VIU and I work at Footlocker.
Spencer: Web design.
One last question, what’s next for Maverick Cinema?
Marshall: First, we have five more tour dates, which can be found on our Facebook page or website. After the tour, we plan to take some time to write and hopefully record more before the summer. We’ve got two songs recorded so far and are working for a six song EP.
Peter: We are in the process of booking a national tour, going as far as Québec, for this summer.
Keeping the energy up, the crowd dancing and finishing the show with a much demanded encore of three songs—they clearly are in love with what they do and the fans agree.
For more information on Maverick Cinema head to maverickcinema.com, where you’ll find a list of all upcoming tour dates, music and announcements.