Buckman Coe at the Byng

BUCKMAN COE at the Byng Roadhouse, Thursday February 14, 2013, 8pm. Opening with an environmental video and Heather Gemmell and the Peaks.

Well, Thursday night was a night of surprises. First of all, live music on a Thursday night in Cranbrook is enough to make one sit up and notice that the local music scene is in a state of transition. That the Byng Roadhouse would host a environmental awareness / surf movie in conjunction with live music is also little different. Heather Gemmell’s  new edition of her Band ‘The Peaks” marks further growth in Heather’s musical development and the return of a well known guitar to the local fold certainly caught the original owner by surprise. Last but not least, the grove based ukelele of Buckman Coe demonstrated the pop/rock potential of an instrument usually associated with Hawaii and hula dancers. Whew! what a night.

There was time, not long past, that Santa Cruz and the San Francisco area were considered the northern outposts of the California surf scene. Not anymore. Given enough neoprene, determination and a willingness to only expose one’s eye lashes to the cold then anything is possible. If waves break on even the most cold and inhospitable shore there will be some hardy souls braving icebergs, bad tempered seals, sharks and killer wales while looking for the elusive perfect wave. Add the land risk of becoming lunch for a hungry grizzly bear then Northern BC surfing could be a hazardous past time. The video, Groundswell ( by international surfer Chris Malloy and Raincoast Conservation) was about surfing the northern coast of BC and made the additional point that this area is threatened by the proposed Enbridge pipeline.

This was the first time out of the gate for Heather’s new version of her band THE PEAKS. The new line up included Brian Noer on bass and Podier Atto on electronic drum kit. I like the electronic kit because it had that one essential ingredient missing from most rock Heather Gemmell and the Peaksdrummers arsenal – the ability to turn down the volume. Hard rockers like the “in your face” volume and attitude of the traditional acoustic drum kit and tend to forget that the drummer is supposed to be driving the band from underneath rather than riding over the top. Heather was playing a slim bodied Ibanez electric guitar that has some local history. Dave Prinn was astonished to see a guitar that he had sold on consignment to a player in Calgary return to Cranbrook in the hands of a fellow musician. It turns out the Calgary musician ended up  Podier Attoselling it on eBay where it was picked up by Brian Noer who in turn handed it over to Heather to put it through its paces. So the guitar has done the rounds only to end up back in its old home town where it belongs. Heather and the band stepped through original material that included Bluesville and The Heat  and added some variety with the Eagles Hotel California and the Beatles Come Together. The meaning of the lyrics in Come Together completely eludes me but all is forgiven when Brian Noer launches into the classic bass line of the song. Who cares what the song is about when that singing bass line carries the whole tune.

Ukeleles and Dreadlocks? It’s either a conspiracy or a trend. For the second time in a week Ty Westboth have been a significant presence on the local musical scene. Last Sunday at the Stemwinder in Kimberley Shane Philip prominently  Heidifeatured a Ukelele in his one man band ensemble and supporting him in an off-the-cuff musical jam was the Dreadlocked Ty West. In the dance audience “Heidi” sported a massive amount of hair in dreadlocks. Now here on Thursday in the Byng we have more Ukeleles in the hands of the dreadlocked Buckman Coe and, not to be left out, Heather’s new drummer Podier Atto was also sporting a variation on the dreadlock theme. So, is it a trend or a conspiracy? Buckman has  Buckman Coethe same manager as Bocephus King,  who also recently played at the Byng, so it is no surprise that they share some musical similarities. Both musicians give more than a nod to Bob Marley and it is amazing to see how audiences react to that reggae beat. Within seconds the dance floor is crowded with patrons. Because of the Ukelele thing Buckman’s music has some other world beat and Polynesian characteristics. This was most evident in the tune Malama Ka Ana.  With a name like that could it be anything other than Polynesian? Also in the set list of mostly originals were Apocalypse, Stubborn Man, Devils’ in You, Rest, Paranoia and Love is Eternal, and as a matter of course, a Bob Marley inspired original Rise Up Jah People. Buckman was supported by fellow band mates Tim Parent on a massive five string electric bass and Adam Parent on drums. Adam was struggling with a ‘flu’ bug and had to take to his bed before the evening was over. Tim gave up his bass and stepped onto the drummer’s throne to keep the groove going.  Here are some images from a great evening of original entertainment (click on the images to get a larger view).

Heather Gemmell        Buckman Coe        Heather Gemmell Buckman Coe        Podier Atto       Tim Parent  Heather Gemmell        Brian Noer       Heather Gemmell Buckman Coe        Adam Parent        Buckman Coe   Podier Atto        Tim Parent        Adam Parent   Heather Gemmell         Buckman Coe        Heather Gemmell   Podier Atto         Tim Parent        Brian Noer   Buckman Coe        Heather Gemmell        Buckman Coe  Heather Gemmell        Girls night out - Laurie        Podier Atto Buckman Coe        Girls night out - Marcel and friend       Buckman Coe   Tim Parent         Heather Gemmell       Buckman Coe Girls night out -  Lorraine and friend friend                  Janice "snapped" with Ferdy

I would like to thank Ferdy and Margie for the greatly improved stage back drop and lighting. The quality of the above images would not have been possible without their help.

February 21, 2013. This just in – an article by Buckman in the Huffington Post. Click on the link  Huffington Post Article