Trinity Bay boys opening for Trooper
Members of Fairgale hail from Hant’s Harbour, Winterton
A video of members of the Newfoundland band Fairgale heading into the St. John’s International Airport to play a piano rendition of Trooper’s “We’re Here for a Good Time” has received attention far and wide.
That video, which featured three of the band members singing beautiful harmonies, helped skyrocket them into the opening act slot for Trooper at the upcoming George Street Festival later this week.
What may not be as well known is three of the band’s members are from Trinity Bay.
Andrew Rodgers, 25, and Brad Tuck, 26 of Hant’s Harbour and Gary Powers, 27, of Winterton join Head of Bay d’Espoir native Stephen Green to play events and bar gigs across the province. They started performing together in December 2014.
The Trinity Bay guys have been playing music together for years and have known each other since they were kids, even jamming in bands together.
What was unique about these guys though was they always wrote and played their own music. Sure, they’ve performed some cover tunes, but primarily it was original work.
That hasn’t changed. The group is currently recording their debut album with the help of producer Robert Kelly, who has played with Newfoundland groups The Irish Descendants and Middle Tickle. Their album is also being sound engineered by another Newfoundlander, Richard Bradley. Both are no strangers to working with local musicians.
“Richard and Robert must be some of the best people to work with,” Gary said of the experience so far working on the album.
The group, who has a pop-alternative rock influenced sound, is excited about the album, but there are other priorities in play first, like the Trooper show.
Rock the block
Fairgale was nominated by the owner of Rob Roy, a bar on George Street in St. John’s, for the opportunity to open for Trooper at the 31st annual George Street Festival. Each bar could nominate an act.
Those that were nominated faced off in an online vote. The top five among those groups played George Street on Canada Day.
Other finalists included the Carolann Fowler Band ( featuring a South River native in Fowler), Stixx & Stones, Waterfront Fire and Everglow, all established groups in the city.
After the Canada Day show a new round of voting began, with the winner ultimately opening for Trooper. After 54,000 total votes were counted, Fairgale earned the top spot. It wasn’t really something they were normally inclined to participate in.
“We were never a big fan of these voting competitions, but we figured it would be a good opportunity to try one and see how it was,” explained Brad. “And the response we received was unbelievable.”
Trooper reaches out
What started out as a drive to get votes took a different turn when the group decided to go outside the box to motivate potential supporters.
“We were just thinking of ways to diversify ourselves from others in the competition,” Brad said. “Stephen actually did a video a few months ago of him doing a tune on the piano that’s up at the airport… (We) thought it would be a cool idea to take a Trooper tune and do a different interpretation of it.”
That worked. Not only did the video get shared all over Facebook, but Trooper reached out to the group themselves.
“They invited us, whether or not we won, to share the stage with them by opening their set with our unplugged version of ‘We’re here for a good time,’” Brad explained. It wasn’t an easy feat. “The piano was pretty out of tune — we almost didn’t do it,” Andrew said.
But they were happy they did. The video attracted lots of positive comments from all over, with some even saying it was their favourite version of the song.
When they made the video they hoped it might sway a few votes.
“We made a joke beforehand that hopefully it takes off,” Gary said.
They never expected the response it received.
Even after winning this contest and becoming Trooper’s opening act, the band is still true to their roots. In fact, locals are their biggest supporters.
“We are blown away with that aspect of it as well,” Brad explained. “When we started the band, you kind of hope you’re going to get a push from (back home). It’s kind of where every band’s starting point is. But right from the start, everybody from out home has been behind us and jumping all over any videos we post.”
People from all over Trinity Bay were sharing the band’s video and the link to the voting page leading up to the announcement.
Everyone in the contest knew each other, so it was friendly competition amongst them, but also supportive.
Waterfront Fire members gave a shout out to Fairgale on their Facebook page after the announcement was made. As the second place winners, Waterfront Fire will open for Timber and Blue Rodeo on Aug. 5.
Fairgale will play at the Masonic Lodge in Twillingate on Aug. 8 along with Port of Call.
You can see the video of “We’re Here for a Good Time” as well as other videos of their performances on their YouTube channel Fairgale or through Facebook.
Three Trinity Bay men are part of the band Fairgale, which will open for Trooper at George Street Festival later this week. They are, from left, Andrew Rodgers, Brad Tuck and Gary Powers. Missing from photo is singer Stephen Green from Head of Bay d’Espoir.