Starting the weekend off early, three local bands are rocking the Gore Park bandstand tonight as part of the Downtown Elmira BIA’s Sidewalk Sale Days.
Grüveyard kicks off the concert at 7 p.m., followed by the Dan Howler Band at 8:15 p.m., and Excuses Excuses at 9:30 p.m.
Dan Bossenberry, who goes by Dan Howler, was born and raised in Elmira. He’s never played the bandstand with the Dan Howler Band but played it solo a few years ago for the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.
“I grew up just down the street. We’ve been doing a lot of weddings this summer on Saturdays, so we thought, ‘why not fill a Thursday,’ and it worked out,” Howler said.
He says he always thought he might end up playing the bandstand once in awhile. He used to play at Elmira’s Central Tavern.
Tonight they’ll be playing songs from their 2015 album, Mayfair Hotel, which he’s excited to showcase in his hometown.
“We just heard that they were trying to bring new music to the downtown core and to the community. I thought it would be a cool opportunity to showcase my original music,” Howler said.
Typically they have a five-piece band, but they’re going to strip it back to a three-piece band for a more low-key setting.
He expects their friends and family from Elmira and the surrounding areas to come out to check out their music. Their sound ranges from singer-songwriter to somewhere a bit heavier like The Tragically Hip, something he says should appeal to a large audience.
And if you like what you hear this Thursday you’ll be able to catch them later this year at the Boathouse in Kitchener. They’ve taken a bit of a hiatus due to some band members moving to Toronto but they’re coming back together for this show in Elmira.
Four of Grüveyard’s six members are from Elmira as well. They play at the Central Tavern a few times a year. This will be their first time performing at the bandstand.
The band consists of Howard Brown, John Rupnow, Jimmy Rupnow, Jonny Sauder, Chris McCormick and Jake Snyder.
“A few of the guys have kids. It’ll be kind of nice that they can come see us, instead of in a bar where they wouldn’t be allowed,” Brown said.
It’ll also be special for him because his father played the bandstand as a young man with the Elmira Band.
Some of the artists they cover include The Band, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Killers and The Tragically Hip.
“I think it will appeal to a wide range of people. We play classic rock from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s and we do some current stuff as well,” Brown said.
The current line-up has been together for four years, but the band has existed for 10 years. Their most recent performance was at St. Mary’s Summerfest at the end of July.
He notes it’s exciting there’s a fair bit of local talent in Elmira to make an event like this possible. He’s also hoping the audience will include some people who have never had a chance to see them perform.
“I’d like to think they’d be impressed. We’re a pretty good band and I think we do a good job. We have a lot of fun, that’s the main thing. That’s why we do it. We do it for the love of the music,” Brown said.
You’ll likely recognize the third act of the night, Excuses Excuses. It was formed by two members of the former Elmira-based band, Stained Glass Army. Kyle Wilton and Trevor Bowman started the band and have added a new drummer since leaving Elmira to attend Queen’s University. Wilton says the sound is similar to their previous band, but improved. He also will be helping set up the equipment for the concert and running sound.
“It’s kind of our last big gig in Elmira. I’m not sure how often we’re going to get back here in the future. It’s just a nice opportunity to end it up before we move,” Wilton said.
He hopes people will recognize they’re two of the former members of Stained Glass Army and are excited to come out and see them.
“There’s a lot of really good local talent this year, even compared to the last few years. You’re going to get a lot of different genres even through the three bands that are playing,” Wilton said.
They’ve been playing around Toronto and Waterloo this summer. They’ll be playing in Oshawa on Aug. 13 and also Maxwell’s Music House in Waterloo on Aug. 20.
This fall they’ll also be releasing an EP.
The free concert gets started tonight (Aug. 4) in Gore Park with Grüveyard from 7-8 p.m. The Dan Howler Band takes over from 8:15-9:15 p.m. and Excuses Excuses closes out the show from 9:30-10:30 p.m.