Before the band Good for Grapes took the stage at Surrey's Fusion Festival last month, they were a bit weary from a day of ferry travel.
"We had a show on Vancouver Island the day before," recalled Daniel McBurnie, singer and acoustic guitar player with Good for Grapes.
By that Sunday evening at Holland Park, however, that feeling of fatigue was replaced by some Fusionrelated euphoria.
"It was incredible," McBurnie said of the band's 7 p.m. set. "It was great to get back to our hometown and see all the familiar faces. It was quite a big crowd and everyone had a lot of fun."
The roots of Good For Grapes, a sextet making folk-pop sounds, are very much in Surrey; five of the six band members hail from the Fleetwood area, including McBurnie.
Of late, they've been making noise on the Vancouver music scene with high-energy live shows, including one as openers for Mother Mother at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom.
McBurnie is just a year removed from high school studies at Fleetwood Park Secondary, so playing the fabled Commodore was a dream come true for him and others in the band.
"I had been there before," he revealed. "Actually, my first concert-going experience was there at an all-ages show (to see) Switchfoot, a long time ago."
These days, the influence of bands such as Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes is more apparent in Good for Grapes' sound, played well by McBurnie alongside Graham Gomez (guitar, vocals), Sean MacKeigan (accordion), Alexa Unwin (keyboards, vocals), Blair Hansen (drums) and Robert Hardie (bass, vocals); on a recent tour of B.C. and Alberta, the band brought along Andrew Broughton to play trumpet and trombone, adding a seventh person to an already packed van/ trailer combo.
"It was a great experience, better than we could have imagined," McBurnie said of the midJune road trip. "I kind of miss being on the road actually. It was our first official (tour), other than some shows on Vancouver Island. Nothing compares to being on the road for that long, just playing music and hitting all these different cities."
In July, the band's calendar included a set at Vancouver Folk Music Festival and a "Green Couch" session for TV cameras at Jericho Beach as the sun was setting. For the rest of summer, Good for Grapes can look forward to concert dates at Harmony Arts Festival on the West Van waterfront (Saturday, Aug. 11) and Live at Squamish (Friday, Aug. 24).
Wherever they go, the band members fly the Surrey flag as much as possible, McBurnie insisted.
"When we're out and about, we sometimes tell people we're from Surrey, but they go, 'uh-,' and we have to kind of explain it.
So we just say we're from Vancouver half the time, to make it easier. But we are from Surrey and yeah, some people have some flawed notions of Surrey, obviously. We set them straight. We tell them not to worry, where we come from it's mostly gardens and elementary schools, good things."
This fall, Good for Grapes is aiming to record some new songs for the winter release of a debut LP.
In a perfect world, Good for Grapes would be a natural fit for the yearly Peak Performance Project talent contest, but age has been a factor.
"We've never been old enough to be part of that," McBurnie explained. "Last year, it wasn't possible for any of us, and this year two of our members are still too young for it. So quite honestly, I don't think we'll ever have the chance to do it, be part of that. We're big fans of it, and it'd be great, but by the time another year comes by, I think we'll already have a record out, and I don't think you can do those kinds of competitions when you already have a record deal."
The band is online at goodforgrapes.com, a portal to a Facebook page that links to the six-song EP released in 2011.
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