Vancouver's Crystal Kelly promises to keep their shirts on for Whistler debut—maybe 

Garage rockers set to play The Crystal Lounge on March 23

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Vancouver garage rockers Crystal Kelly play The Crystal Lounge on Saturday, March 23.
  • Photo submitted
  • Vancouver garage rockers Crystal Kelly play The Crystal Lounge on Saturday, March 23.

Crystal Kelly just might be the only band in Vancouver that's not complaining about high rental costs.

"Overall, it's not that expensive," says Dan Pearson, guitarist of the garage-rock group. "People exaggerate that it's hard to get by here for musicians. We're living pretty well."

Before you get too riled up, take the statement with a grain of salt. During a recent interview with Pique, Pearson replied to every question with a deadpan response that was probably sarcasm, but possibly sincere.

The group originally started in Regina in 2014, but made the move to the West Coast two years ago. "As glamorous of a city as it sounds, there's not a lot going on there," says Matt Baumgartner of their home city. "Vancouver is a big step up for things to do."

Still, navigating the new music scene has been a challenge, Pearson adds. "It was highly disappointing when we first got here," he says. "Now that we're starting to find a couple cool bands, it's not as shitty as we thought. We're trying to find shows around here—and dodge between shitty promoters trying to take money from us every step of the way and finding gigs that will pay us more than $20 a night."

Those promoters might have been a bummer, but Vancouver's Craigslist turned out to be a good resource. After the departure of their bass player Floyd Pepper—who Pearson thinks might have been kicked out of the country back to his native New Zealand, but, again grain of salt—the band set out to find a replacement, posting to the online marketplace.

"We put out a random ad and two awesome ladies reached out to us and now things are rolling and working out," Baumgartner said.

Those ladies are Stephanie Rozbacher who plays keyboard and Gina Lafit on bass (that's in addition to Chad Neald, who you'll find behind the drum kit). They also seem to have had a mellowing effect on the boys—who, at the audience's request, have been known to strip off their clothes on stage. (That fact we can verify with photos.)

"We were a lot more out of control before," Pearson says. "We were trying to be heavier than we were. They came in there and said, 'Can you guys chill out a little bit?' They reined us in on the nudity on stage. We've gotten positive feedback on that as well. They told us to relax a little bit up there."

The band is set to release a new EP with a party in Vancouver—and another set for Whistler at The Crystal Lounge on Saturday, March 23. The songs were written and recorded over a year ago now, but it has taken time to get the record together.

"A lot of those songs are not even true to what we sound like today," Baumgartner said.

Instead, they've moved in a new direction mixing their individual tastes—from Korn to Justin Bieber—into a new eclectic sound. "We're into punk, alt-rock, indie, mixed with metal, but definitely softer stuff. Also we can get into the grunge thing—pop too, soul ... We're trying to mix it as much into a melting pot as possible, so there's something for everybody," Pearson says.

As for what local crowds can expect? "It's just going to be good times," he adds. "An emotional roller coaster—happy times, sad times, you'll be crying at times, puking. A couple nips may peek out from shirts."

While it's the first time they're playing in Whistler, it's not their first trip to the resort. "A couple of us have been to Whistler, but we got really drunk and made fools of ourselves in the village," Pearson says. "We'll probably do that again, but this time we'll get paid a little bit."

Catch Crystal Kelly at The Crystal Lounge on Saturday, March 23 alongside Noodle Boys and Jerry Double Dee (a.k.a. Pique's own Braden Dupuis). Doors are at 8 p.m. and there's no cover.

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