I don’t know if I’ve ever officially wrote it down on a bucket list or anything, but one thing I’ve always dreamed of doing is following a rock band on tour. In order to do something like that, it would normally take a substantial amount of time and money. It’s probably why I had put aside this particular dream for when I win the lottery…or marry rich. Oh fuck off. You never know. It could happen.
Well, July 4, 2015 can be marked as a day that one of my music dreams came true. Who woulda thunk that you could follow a tour (a total of six shows) in one day and within reasonable driving distance? Let me tell ya…it can be fucking done…and done fucking well – especially with a talent such as Jesse Roper taking center stage.
Tour de Shores is the brilliant joint marketing promotion between my favorite summer rock festival, Rock the Shores, and their sponsoring radio stations. Taking a portable stage and a piece of the festival (Jesse Roper is just one of the incredible acts lined up for Rock the Shores 2015) to the streets…er, perhaps to the parking lots would be more accurate… to promote the festival, sell tickets sans service charges and even give away weekend passes to lucky draw winners!
Jesse Roper is a local musician here on Vancouver Island and his music is more than amazing. He’s got an old-time vibe that he injects into a fresh sound. I don’t just hear his music, I feel it! I can’t help but do some serious ass-shaking when I listen to Jesse perform.
I’m not alone in my admiration for Jesse, either. He gets huge support from the radio stations here on the island and is played quite often. The music itself is based in blues with elements of country, rock and a bit of folk. His lyrics are true to his heart and tell the stories of his life. Though some speak of heartache – even rock stars aren’t immune – his positivity and sense of humor come through stronger than any negativity making even his saddest songs …uh, happy? That doesn’t mean he can’t be serious. Shiny Round Nickel, a blues song about being down and out, is an excellent example of how deep the layers of Jesse Roper go. I urge you to please take some time and have a listen. This one from a few years ago is always a fan favorite and in no way shows Jesse’s serious side.
I was aware of the tour and had marked my calendar for 2:30 pm, July 4th when it would be hitting my town, Duncan! It was only the day before the 4th, on Friday, that I realized this was the only thing on my calendar for the day other than laundry and housework. I decided to ditch the laundry and the housework and set my alarm to get an early start to make the 2 hour drive to arrive at stop one of the tour, Campbell River at 9:00 am. One might ask, “who the fuck goes to a rock show at 9 fucking o’clock on a Saturday morning?” The obvious answer….me.
Despite the early hour and the thin crowd, Jesse Roper didn’t seem to mind in the least. He turned the show into an intimate setting immediately, telling jokes and stories and performing with his guitar and box drum. We could’ve been in a living room at a party, it was that comfortable. Well, except for the lack of weed and booze …and poor Jesse was stuck up on stage facing the sun full on. At a certain point he had to remove his sunglasses because they were filling up with sweat.
The tour continued to Courtenay, Nanaimo, Duncan (Jesse performed on the CUPE stage as part of Duncan’s 39 Days of July that features live music in the park every day in the summer), Sooke and wrapped up in Colwood with a bit of an extended set, the crowds growing for each subsequent show. I was at every one. No two sets were the same though I did hear a number of songs a number of times. I didn’t mind one little bit. One of the songs that was repeated a number of times throughout the day was the first single off his latest album, Red Bird. Take a listen and you’ll understand why I loved hearing this song over and over again.
THE HURRICANE’S EYE
One of the many highlights of the day was hearing new songs Jesse has been working on. Here on the island the threat of a major earthquake and possible following tsunami is an ongoing concern. Jesse and a couple of his friends have put together a plan of survival and Jesse has written a song outlining the basic plan. It involves a boat somewhat along the lines of an ark, though not nearly as big. Instead of stocking it with two of every animal, they plan to stock it with whiskey, shepherds pie and women (to keep up the morale).
I had a blast stalking…er, following Jesse Roper on his mini tour and all it cost me was a tank of gas and a wicked sunburn! Well worth both! I do have to wonder what it is that the promoters of Rock the Shores have on Jesse to convince him to do six shows in one day…not to mention starting them off at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning. Maybe its just that he doesn’t know how to say no…hmm, that’s a theory that might require further investigation. And who knows? Maybe I might be able to secure myself a spot on that boat when the tsunami hits………. ; )