When Vancouver band Good For Grapes takes the stage at Lucky Bar this Friday, it will be the first show they play with freshly pressed records in hand after two years of constant growth. It was an upward journey born on a ferry to Victoria and one which will set sail for the Island once more this Friday.
When the group – Daniel McBurnie, Graham Gomez, Alexa Unwin, Robert Hardie, Blair Hansen and Sean MacKeigan – started jamming on the on the ferry in September, 2010, an off-hand offer for grapes and some better-than-expected chemistry led to a fourth-place in the Peak Performance Project.
On the way to the ferry Unwin had asked Gomez if he wanted some of her grapes. He replied, “I’m good for grapes, thanks,” sparking the suggestion of a fictitious band name.
The group of drama and music students had just finished their high school production of a A Very Potter Musical and in an effort to land a weekend away from their parents, and were headed to the capital city to do some busking. While their busking proved less than fruitful, the trip itself was formative. The ferry jam-sesh soon earned them a circle of onlookers and by the end of the jam session they were asked what their band name was. Gomez’ reply was simple: “Good For Grapes.”
“People started gathering around and before we knew it there was a big crowd of people just watching us because they had heard that there was a live band. We pulled out every cover we could think of,” McBurnie said. “When people asked what our band name was, we said Good For Grapes because it was the current joke.”
Despite the months of music business bootcamp he went through as finalist in the Peak Performance Project, McBurnie holds no regrets over the title given on a whim.
“To have something with the background of humour and friendship and what have you – that’s the best name.”
The band of 20 to 23 year olds – who attribute their carefree and upbeat performances to their early performance experience – has seen a string of successes, including signing to Pheromone Recordings, while they were passing through Toronto on their first Canada-wide tour earlier this year. After the current run of shows with Northcote, the band will return to the Island for a number of dates in February. This spring, they’ll also head to Texas for South by Southwest, before embarking on a national tour next summer.
“It doesn’t seem like that long ago when we were all working on the musical. It seems kind of crazy because at that time I wouldn’t have imagined trying to make music a career, but as soon as I got a taste of it and how rewarding it can be, I thought obviously, I have to do this and everyone else agreed.”
Their show on Dec. 13 features Northcote and starts at 8pm at Lucky Bar (517 Yates). Tickets, $15 at Lyles, Ditch and ticketweb.