Canadian rockers 54.40 go acoustic
Thursday, Feb 01, 2018 06:00 am
When members of the iconic Canadian alternative rock band 54.40 hit the stage at Bert Church LIVE Theatre Feb. 14, they’ll be embracing their acoustic side and bringing their normally exuberant stage show down a notch.
“We have this whole different alter-ego version of ourselves, we’ll call it, which kind of presents ourselves in a more interactive kind of way,” said bassist Brad Merritt. “We bring it all across Canada and we enjoy it tremendously. It’s much more of a kind of intimate experience.”
Merritt is one of the original members of the band, which got its start in Vancouver in 1981. Thirty-seven years later, the band is still touring and still making records – its 14th studio album, Keep on Walking, was released Jan. 26.
“We will be featuring songs from our new record, done acoustically. The actual kind of tour supporting the record, we plan on going across Canada in the fall,” he said.
Merritt said he’s seen a lot of changes in the music industry over the years, including how new records are released.
“In this new sort of music economy, people realize that marketing just isn’t something you sort of push down and impose on people; it’s something that kind of percolates – and so, in order to get that going and keep it going, we stir the pot a little bit and allow people to discover you on their own terms,” he said.
“It’s a process now. We’ve just embraced that and we just enjoy every day and every opportunity to do what we do, the way we do it, when we do it. That’s kind of our policy now.”
Three singles have already been released from the new album, starting with The Waiting, released almost a year ago.
Merritt said he really enjoys playing smaller venues like the Bert Church Theatre, though at the beginning it was a scary undertaking.
“There was a fear factor when we first started doing this, because we hadn’t really done this before. There was resistance from within the band because it’s unknown,” he said.
“You can hide behind electric guitars and be really brash – that’s great. I grew up listening to that, I was a part of that in the post-punk era in Vancouver, toured up and down the west coast as part of that. That’s kind of what we do.
“This is a chance for us to rediscover what it is about our songs that is good, that makes them valid, important, relevant and allows us to reinterpret them.”
Merritt said the audience can expect to have a great time at a 54.40 acoustic concert, with a blend of old favourites and new releases.
“They’re going to hear stories from (lead singer) Neil (Osborne), sort of a side of Neil’s personality that you wouldn’t get from a rock show,” he said.
“It will be a more intimate experience and I think it will allow them to reflect on themselves in a different way as well.”
54.40 Unplugged is at the Bert Church Theatre, Feb. 14, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are – very appropriately – $54.40 and available online through the theatre’s website on airdrie.ca or in person.