A Grape and a Pike walked into The Point... 

It's no joke, Kevin Kane and Bryan Potvin are bringing their musical collaboration to Whistler

click to enlarge Grapes of Pikes
  • Grapes of Pikes

Kevin Kane and Bryan Potvin are freaking people out a little.

Kane, guitarist and vocalist with The Grapes of Wrath, and Potvin, guitarist and vocalist with The Northern Pikes, come with similar Canadiana rock backgrounds, established in the mid-80s and into the 90s.

And now they have formed a musical duo.

"It's a neat thing. People are always taken aback when they see these guys they remember from MuchMusic, but from different bands playing — him playing Grape songs and me playing Pike songs with him," Kane says from his home in Toronto.

They perform at The Point on Alta Lake on Sunday, Dec. 28.

The Whistler gig came about on the other side of the country, in Lunenberg, N.S., where Potvin now lives.

"We were playing a show at the hotel next door to Bryan's house. He booked out the ballroom in this old heritage hotel and the show was sold out, it was great," Kane recalls.

"It was right before Halloween, so there was a pirate and a dog sitting off to one side. It turned out the dog lived in Whistler and he said, 'this would be great up in Whistler. Would you come up there?' Within two days, he had hooked me up with Stephen (Vogler, of The Point)."

It helps that the Grapes and the Pikes are currently touring together; the two bands will play New Year's Eve together in Vancouver.

"It's what brings Bryan and I together out to the west and we thought why not do a few shows together?" Kane says.

In keeping with the heritage house theme, it interests Kane that The Point is one of the oldest buildings at the resort.

"And we were told that this is where the locals go, it would be a show for locals. And for us that is also exciting," Kane says.

"I think there is also a certain cosmopolitan quality about Whistler. There is so much traffic between the big city and the small town that is Whistler, that it's not like your normal small town."

This collaboration came about after Kane moved to Toronto four years ago, when he worked at a guitar store, building guitars, and Bryan came in one day.

"We said, 'Oh hey! Hi! You live here, huh? I think I did a repair on one of his guitars and then he bought a guitar that I'd built and we realized we lived blocks away from each other and we started hanging out and it went from there. A couple of neighbours hanging out and playing together and starting to do shows."

Musically, they do a mix of their bands' music and solo material.

"In terms of Grape songs, we are doing a couple that the Grapes just don't play. One, 'Waiting to Fly', I don't think Grapes will ever play live because I don't think we could replicate what is on the record. Bryan and I do a different take on it," Potvin says.

"It's off the Grapes' most recent album and we change the key up. If you heard the Grapes version it's moody and my vocals are just a whisper and it's hard to pull off live.

"Bryan and I do a different version. Some of the songs we do, we change the keys and the arrangements. I didn't realize that I was adding things in that aren't actually on the record. And Bryan is doing the same to my songs.

"I like what he's doing and he likes what I'm doing with each other's songs. I guess they've evolved into different renditions to what people might be familiar with but at the same time it all happened naturally."

It's a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, he adds. The more shows they do the better they become.

"It has been a really fun development for us and people get excited about it," Kane says.

"Audiences seem to really enjoy and we enjoy it to, so now we are planning to record together."

That's sweet.

"Yeah, lets make it a thing in the new year," Kane says.

"We're looking at incorporating some stuff that we do together. Our own songs. We did a bit of jamming on a couple of off days and came up with some ideas. We haven't honed anything yet but we want to at least do something that we can play live as the two of us.

"Every time we play a show we get people asking us if there is a CD with the two of us on it. We have to tell them there isn't one yet. That's what we are working on."

Kane and Potvin will be backed up by Wild Iris, featuring Suzanne Wilson and Katherine Fawcett.

Show-only tickets are $20 (children under 12 are $15), show plus dinner are $32 (children under 12 are $24). They can be purchased online at thepointartists.com or at Armchair Book in the village.



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