It’s been a relatively quiet (for us anyway!) Autumn, with some fun gigs out in the Okanagan and the Woodstove Festival in Cumberland and the Metchosin Bandwagon in October.
December is packed with gigs, including two tours: one out to the Okanagan Dec. 5-8th for 4 shows in Cawston, Penticton, Kelowna and Chilliwack, and then up island to Parksville, Quadra Island and Campbell River, Dec. 13th-15th! And of course, we’ll be playing The Irish Times ever Monday and Wednesday this month with a special Christmas Eve show as tradition goes…
Come out and celebrate the holiday season with us, and if you’re lucky you might even hear us play an actual Christmas song! Check out our upcoming gigs for details and ticket info. Happy holidays!
It’s been the busiest summer for us to date with an average of 5 gigs a week (hence there not being a blog update since May!) We just wanted to check in and give a quick update as to what our summer has looked like so far and how we’re holding up, as well as give you all a very brief update of how the UK/Ireland tour went. Let’s start there!
The UK Tour:
It almost feels like the entire thing must have been a dream! It’s hard to believe that it really happened and went as smoothly and successfully as it did for us. To begin with, we need to give Andrew and Florence a huge thanks and expression of our gratitude for making the whole thing happen. They are two of the most generous and kind people and their wedding (and the week before the wedding we got to spend with them) will be something we will never forget. From organizing a van for us to renting sound gear we could use the whole time, to putting us up in the most comfortable rooms on their incredibly idyllic country farm to organizing a number of shows for us, they were absolute legends. Although we were nervous about bringing our music back to where it all began, we had great reception at all of our shows. The first big show at the Basingstoke Irish Centre was fantastic with lots of Irish folks who knew all the words to the songs singing and even dancing along! We asked before we began if it would be acceptable for us to sing our Irish rebel tunes and we were met with great enthusiasm, later learning that rebel songs hadn’t been sung there in decades, but because we were a Canadian group, it was perfectly acceptable and even appreciated by the Irish contingent.
On our first weekend there, we had a great show at the Dummer Village hall that was packed with locals, a lovely Sunday afternoon show in the sun at the Blue Ball Pub in Kintbury and a lovely little beer garden show in Winchester. We didn’t have any formal shows organized for the week so we spent the days exploring the countryside, headed to Avebury Circle for some rainy band shots and to check out the city of Bath, and then to Oxford for some fun busking sessions and later, to Portsmouth.
We then headed north to Lincolnshire to play to a 100+ audience at the South Holland Centre in Spalding, and then to play Andrew and Flo’s wedding which was certainly the highlight. The ceremony was held in a beautiful church and Bronwyn got the chance to perform Pachelbel’s Canon along with the church organ as Florence walked down the aisle, as well as meet the Duchess of York!
After the grand ceremony, the wedded couple headed out on a tractor embellished with vegetables (perhaps an English tradition we didn’t know about?) and we enjoyed cocktails and champagne in the front garden before having dinner and playing a fantastic reception show on a stage built especially for us to an audience who danced the whole time!
The Ireland Tour:
We obviously couldn’t fly out all the way to the UK and not stop over for a couple of days in Ireland. We had a couple of informal shows booked but weren’t really sure what would happen when we got there. We flew into Kerry airport and rented two vehicles to get all of our stuff and our gear to Dingle to play Dick Mack’s pub. This tiny pub that also functions as a shoe shop and hardware store was a fantastic first spot to play. We had a great little audience packed in there and we were even joined at one point by a local bodhran player!
The next day we headed to Galway and met up with our old friend from the Irish Times, Enda Gallagher who had organized a gig for us at Monroe’s Pub. The trad music capital of Ireland had plenty in store for us, including Cody’s favourite music shop of all time (see below), buskers playing folk music all over the streets and some excellent local trad groups we had the enjoyment of watching perform.
It was time to head to Dublin for the remaining two days of our trip. We saw many of the historical sights (most notable was Kilmainham Gaol where many Irish dissidents over the years had been held, including the leaders of the 1916 uprising) and played two pub shows at O’Shea’s Merchant and our final night at a pub called Napper Tandy’s (right next door to the legendary O’Donoghue’s Pub where the Dubliners and Planxty both had their start). We were very well-received although often our audiences ended up being comprised of tourists from the States and Canada! One of the shows we played even had a family from Victoria watching us, which was quite a funny experience after coming all that way!
After a whirlwind non-stop four days, the trip was sadly over! At least for everyone except Bronwyn who had travelled over on her Irish passport and then was denied entry into Canada because she didn’t have her Canadian passport with her! So she spent an extra week there, went back to the West coast, joined in on some great trad sessions and saw some spectacular countryside to make the best of it! There are certainly worse places in the world to be stuck…
Since June and our return, we’ve been playing a variety of shows all over the place, which have included quite a number of private events (from weddings to housewarming parties to 50th anniversary parties!), as well as a mini Gulf island tour on Quadra, Cortes, Sointula and in Port MacNeil, and a very brief weekend jaunt (two shows and 2000 kilometres) out to Kelowna and Kimberley this past weekend!
Looking ahead to August, we’ll be playing more weddings, the Parksville Beach Festival, a show up in the Blind Channel on Thurlow Island, and Quadrapalooza at the end of the month, as well as our regular shows at the Irish Times on Mondays and Wednesdays! Be sure to check out our upcoming shows for more info and hopefully we’ll see you out in the audience basking in the summer sun for at least one of them before the summer is through! As always, thanks for reading!
We are still finalizing a couple of shows for the tour but here is where you can find us if you happen to be over the ocean far away or have friends/family who are! See our upcoming shows page for more details.
United Kingdom Dates:
June 7 – Basingstoke Irish Society
June 8 – Dummer Village Hall, Basingstoke
June 9 – Blue Ball Pub, Kintbury
June 13 – Hyde Tavern, Winchester
June 14 – South Holland Centre, Spalding
June 15 – Dingle – Dick Mack’s TBC
June 16 – Galway – McGettigan’s TBC
June 17 – Dublin – O’Shea’s Merchant Pub
June 18 – Dublin TBC
It’s hard to believe that we are leaving for our UK/Ireland tour two weeks today! May has been another busy month for us with a ton of private gigs alongside our usual Irish Times shows. We had our first wedding gig of the summer at Merridale Cidery, a private show at the beautiful Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, a belated “CD Release” show at the Corner Lounge in Nanaimo and a private engagement party out in Metchosin. The weather was mostly glorious for all of the shows and we are getting excited to play more outdoor gigs as the summer season approaches.
This past Victoria long weekend we closed out the Victoria Highland Games with a two set performance on Monday afternoon. Unfortunately the authentically Scottish weather and copious amounts of rain meant the crowds had thinned a bit but we still had a good turnout and a very enjoyable performance indeed!
Preparations for our UK/Ireland tour have also been in full swing and getting “paid performer” visas for the UK has proved to be an obscenely painstaking and painful process. The paperwork process alone combined with a trip into Vancouver to get biometrics done (they aren’t messing around!) was lengthy and the source of ample migraines. Not to mention how much the band fund has taken a hit – it’s insane how expensive the whole process has been! But undoubtedly it’s going to be worth it.
Andrew and Florence (our hosts in the UK and the reason we are able to make this tour happen at all!) have been incredible about helping us out with a rental van, sound gear, accommodation for when we are there and with organizing a number of gigs that will be part of the tour. They met us over a year ago when we were playing a gig on Saltspring and asked us last summer how we would feel about coming over to play their wedding. Of course we said yes and are so excited to see them again and be part of their special day!
We have a number of exciting shows lined up for the UK. Our first show will be at the Basingstoke Irish Centre the day after we arrive. Some of the gigs we are playing include a village hall ceilidh, a beer festival, the Hyde Tavern in Winchester, and the South Holland Centre in Spalding. Along with these gigs, we will be doing some busking as well in Winchester, Salisbury, Cambridge and any other nearby towns we feel like checking out! As for Ireland, we have one gig organized in Dublin at Ned O’Sheas Merchant Pub and one pending in Dingle at Dick Mack’s pub, otherwise we will be busking on the streets and playing for beer in the local pubs – and just see what happens! We’re very interested to see how our music goes down across the pond, in England too but especially in Ireland!
There are just a couple more things to organize before we leave (i.e. figuring out how to pack as light as possible and how to make sure our instruments don’t get damaged along the way, being interviewed next week about our tour by BBC Radio Lincolnshire on their afternoon show (!!!) and trying to finalize a couple more gigs), however the hard work has already been done and we are forever in debt to Andrew and Flo for making this happen for us! Three of the five band members have never left the continent before, so it is going to be a huge adventure for all of us. We will be taking lots of videos and photos to share with everyone back at home so be sure to keep posted on our Facebook and Instagram pages while we are away!
The last few months for Knacker’s Yard have been busy ones full of change and lots of gigs, both near and far. Here’s an update to let you know what we’ve been up to so far in 2019!
Our Winter season this year was the busiest one we’ve had yet! From playing the Whistler Dubh Linn Gate at least once a month, a great north Island tour up to Port MacNeill and Sointula, gigs in Vancouver and our first on Bowen Island, we didn’t have one free weekend from November until the end of February!
It was great to keep so busy over the Winter months and played many festive holiday and solstice celebrations, both locally at the Irish Times (most notably our packed Christmas Eve show), as well as in Metchosin, Vancouver, Bowen Island, Port Alberni, Protection Island and Ucluelet.
In February, lead vocalist and banjo player Wolf Edwards was asked to leave the band due to reports of inappropriate behaviour and misconduct. After some lengthy and arduous emergency meetings and rehearsals, the band reemerged with four new lead vocalists in Bronwyn, Jon, Cody and Steve. It was only after a couple of very stressful and instrumental-heavy first gigs at The Irish Times that we finally started to find our feet.
Along with performing gigs throughout February, we had to prepare for our BC/Alberta tour by refinishing our new bus. Thanks for the generous donations we received through our Go Fund Me campaign, we managed to raise just over $3000! On the two weekends we had free and with our friend Mark Leigh at the helm, we managed to transform the bus into a safe and comfortable living space for tour that was completed just in time.
As if we weren’t busy enough already, on February 28th at Circle A Studios (owned and run by our own in-band sound engineer, Cody Baresich, who mixed and mastered the whole thing), we recorded our first album of instrumentals, “Jigs and Reels” which was released a month later on March 27th, 2019. This is our sixth album and is now available for streaming online and well as for purchase at any of our gigs!
March was our craziest month yet this year with 25 gigs in 20 days! Before leaving for tour, we had a number of interesting (mostly St. Patrick’s related) gigs both on and off the island, some of the notable ones being our final series of shows in Whistler for the season, an office party in Vancouver, a show at the Comox air force base, and a great St. Patrick’s eve show at the Metchosin Hall as a benefit for Scouts Canada.
And then it was time for tour! We left early on Sunday March 17th on the 7:00AM ferry and drove all the way to Kamloops where we played a festive and fun St. Patrick’s show at The Blue Grotto. We were on the road for the next 9 days playing the “Seven Drunken Nights” tour (even though there were 9 nights, we were certainly delirious enough by the end of it) with shows in Kelowna, Banff, Canmore, Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton. All in all, it was a very successful tour: we saw lots of beautiful mountains, had some very comfortable sleeps in our new bus, played for new fans (and old ones) and even had a couple of sold out shows!
April will be a bit of a quieter month for us as we learn more songs and play mostly at The Irish Times, as well as Tartan Days in Centennial Square this coming Saturday afternoon (April 6th).
As always, thanks for reading and supporting us and we hope to see you out at a gig sometime soon!
We are excited to announce the sixth release from Knacker’s Yard, a full-length album of instrumental Irish and Scottish jigs, reels, slides, and hornpipes, as requested by fans!
The album will be released for sale on March 27th and if you live in Victoria, please come out to our release party at The Irish Times Pub, 9-12 to celebrate and purchase a copy!
If you do not live in Victoria but would like the album sent to you, please fill out this online pre-order form and we can send you the album in the mail for $15 including shipping and handling fees (e-transfer or pay pal payments only).
And if you just can’t wait until the 27th, check out our bandcamp page for a free download of one of the tracks: “Kid on the Mountain.”
In honour of St. Patrick’s Day and to celebrate Celtic culture and tradition beyond March 17th, we are excited to announce our “Seven Drunken Nights” tour coming up March 17-26th through BC and Alberta!
Here are the shows we’ll be playing! Check out our “Upcoming Shows” page for more details.
March 17th – The Blue Grotto, Kamloops
March 18th- Kelowna Yacht Club
March 19th – Banff Legion
March 20th – Canmore Legion
March 21st – Ironwood, Calgary
March 22nd- The Vat, Red Deer
March 23rd – Blackbird Cafe, Edmonton
March 24th – Edmonton Legion
March 25th – Milkcrate Records, Kelowna