Candle affair

Current Swell returns to Kingston, with fond memories of their last show

Last time they were in Kingston, Current Swell played “one of the most memorable shows of their lives.”

“All the power on the whole block went out,” Scott Stanton, lead singer of the Victoria-based band, said of the 2010 show at the Mansion. “We were like ‘Oh crap, what the hell are we going to do now?’”

Instead of calling it quits, the boys of Current Swell rallied every candle in the building and switched to an acoustic set.

“It was so magical though that I don’t think it can ever really be recreated,” Stanton said, adding that the band joked afterwards about cutting the power at all their shows. “Everybody didn’t say one word for the whole show and we just sat there.”

With the release of their fourth record in 2011, Long Time Ago, Current Swell will bring a new vibe to their upcoming Kingston show. Stanton said a recent death of a loved one has matured their surf-rock style of writing that used to revolve around sport and travel.

“We’ve had some friends that have passed away, one really good friend of ours [inspired] ‘Brad’s Song,’” he said. “This album is more about people that we know and stories of people, instead of stories of places we want to go.”

The album has been well-received among the band’s strong following in B.C., but this year’s national tour will test the band’s popularity outside of their home province.

“Because we are from out West, we just have a really, really strong fan base here,” Stanton said from his Victoria home. “It’s always been these slow steps to get the fan base that we have out West, out East.”

Current Swell emerged in the early 2000s as part of the West Coast’s new-roots movement of independent musicians. After releasing four albums, the band marked a milestone in November, winning the top prize at Vancouver’s Peak Performance Project.

The professional development program awards $100,500 to its winner. Current Swell beat out 20 other B.C. artists to win the prize money, which is funding their touring. The contest involved a series of showcases in front of a panel of judges, and was finalized with a public vote on the groups’ overall live performance.

“I’ve been telling people that [the prize money] has been making me poorer because we’re using the money so much for touring and tour purposes and stuff like that,” Stanton said. “Winning last year was such a feat, I didn’t even know how big of a deal it is until it happened.”

Starting off on what seems to be a strong foot, the new year is looking busy for Current Swell. Though they hope to travel to Brazil — where they have a surprisingly avid fan base — and release another album, they’re resolved to stay focused on the basics.

“We’re not that kind of band that will just blow-up overnight and we know that, but we work hard and we want to just play in front of as many people as we can,” he said. “Any opportunity we can get we can get and it’s just step by step.”

Current Swell plays the Mansion on Jan. 18 at 9 p.m.

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