Trin­ity Bay boys open­ing for Trooper

Mem­bers of Fair­gale hail from Hant’s Har­bour, Win­ter­ton

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

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.

Orig­i­nal work

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.

Show­ing sup­port

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO BY SEAN JESSOME

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.

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