Bring back that old Harpo’s magic

Grapes of Wrath concert to benefit Autism society at former Harpo's Cabaret Sun., April 15.

Eight-year-old Nathaniel Pollard at Rifflandia 4.

Eight-year-old Nathaniel Pollard at Rifflandia 4.

 

Eight-year-old Nathaniel Pollard is the strong silent type. He was diagnosed with autism on his second birthday and although he hasn’t developed the ability to speak, it’s more than evident that he has an awareness of the people around him and what they are saying.

You can see it in his captivating blue eyes as he communicates with his father, concert promoter Marcus Pollard, mostly through body language and simple hand gestures over sweet potato chips and a beverage at a local Starbucks on their way home from school.

Nathaniel is a Grade 3 student at Frank Hobbs Elementary. He loves music, especially live, which proves the old adage the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

His father Marcus booked some of the top musical acts of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s at some of Victoria’s top venues; Sarah McLachlan, Pearl Jam, John Lee Hooker, Green Day, The Neville Brothers, No Doubt, Alice in Chains, Crash Test Dummies, Buddy Guy and the Grapes of Wrath are among the bands who graced the stage at Harpo’s (now Upstairs Cabaret) and other bars he worked at around town.

“I was pretty relentless asking people to play,” says Pollard. “My phone bills were huge because that was before the days of email and Internet. The special thing about Harpo’s was that you could see a bar band one day and a top-ranked punk rock or top-ranked blues musician, or multi-instrumentalist. It went from noise hardcore to folk and everywhere in between.”

Now Pollard is bringing back some of that old magic with a concert series featuring bands from that era on the old Harpo’s stage, with proceeds going to non-profits around town.

First up is The Grapes of Wrath benefit concert, Sun., April 15 for the Victoria Society for Children with Autism, a cause close to Pollard’s heart.

“The VSCA supplies info and respite funds for people with autistic children and that’s really important because it can be pretty intense. It’s 24-hours-a-day, so if we get the chance to go out and see a movie it’s pretty big,” says Pollard.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this and I thought it would be a great way to keep the Harpo’s heritage important, get some of that old crowd together and put some money in the hands of good people.”

The morning of the concert, Vancouver Island’s largest annual community autism event — the Autism Walk — takes place at UVic. For more information and to pledge funds, please go to victoriaautismwalk.com.

The Grapes of Wrath were recently signed by Aporia Records and this will be the last show before they head into the studio to record their first album in 20 years.

“Weekly people talk to me about Harpo’s and I haven’t worked there since ’95,” says Pollard. “They say they wish it was back, but what they really mean is they wish they could be young again.”

In that vein, doors are at 8 p.m..  It’s an early show. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Most Read