Georgia Straits rings in school year with QPOP! presentation

Union Gallery

Campus band reflects on their formative gigs

Georgia Straits at The Underground.
Georgia Straits at The Underground.

Bright lights and a rocking crowd – that’s what you’ll find at any Georgia Straits show.

The Queen’s band Georgia Straits, formed in 2016, revolves around lead guitarists Dan Gillis and Ian Winkler, though recently they’ve added Logan Barr on keyboard, Alex Amey on bass guitar and Josh Rodley on drums. Last Thursday, the five band members played at the Underground, opening for Kingston favourites Kasador in a show presented by QPOP!.

Describing themselves as an “energetic (borderline aggressive) indie rock [band]”, Georgia Straits couldn’t be more accurate; on Thursday night, they brought the house down. It’s definitely indie rock music, but with a huge emphasis on the heavier, fist-pumping essence of the rock genre.

Imagine some of the best old-school rockers playing in 2017, wearing dad shirts and had a care free love for the stage, and that describes Georgia Straits.

The band has been making waves in Kingston; they won Battle of the Bands in 2016, became Clark Hall’s regular house band and released their first single this summer, also called ‘Georgia Straits’. The single has an easy, summery vibe, perfect for hanging out on our non-existent pier. If their eventual EP follows this approach, we’ll be looking at the perfect summer album.  

The single also led to the name of the band, paying tribute to an arm of the Pacific Ocean linking Vancouver Island to the mainland coast of BC, Canada and Washington. “I’m from Vancouver Island, so I took that ferry between the island and the mainland a lot, so here we are,” lead guitarist Winkler said. It’s a way for him to bring home back to his school city, though Kingston has definitely welcomed the band with open arms.

With a committed group of fans having supporting the group since day one, Kingston has done well for the band. The fan base almost becomes the second-half of the performance as they sing along to their friends’ music. The past year has seen this circle grow, becoming more and more popular since their formation.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Winkler said. “We thought we’d be playing one or two charity shows here and there but we’ve played like 20 shows in the past year.” 

Their performances gained them enough popularity to land one of the biggest performances Queen’s has to offer — the mystery frosh concert for the Class of 2021. “We were so honoured to have that spot, you know?” Winkler said. “Especially because we were playing at such a great time, between the two main bands.”

“We got in touch with Kevin Huang, who was the frosh concert coordinator, and when he gave us the spot, we were like ‘okay, yeah, for sure, we’re just going to play for a couple of thousand frosh, no big deal’,” he laughed.

Moving forward, the band has a simple plan: keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing, but bigger and better. “We’re hoping to get some more recording time, build the band, that sort of thing,” Winkler said. “And we’re going to keep playing at The Toucan, all our usual spots.”

It’s only up from here for Georgia Straits; as they grow their music and their fanbase, it’s nothing but rock and roll ahead. 

Follow Georgia Straits on Instagram @georgiastraits and stream their music on SoundCloud. 

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