My Favourite Local Band : Future History
Image Courtesy of Open ‘Til Midnight
I try to hear as much local live music as I can but there is one Markham based band/group of artists that stand out for me. I first came across the core of this band while strolling out to find live music in my home town of Stouffville. The Earl of Whitchurch is just down the street from where I live and has a long history of hosting good quality live music. On this particular occasion, I encountered a duet – Kevin Ker (guitar and voice) and Justin Dillon (cajon) . What was exciting for me was that they were improvising !
I have always been a fan of intuitive/free music. The improvisations of Jimi Hendrix and the intuitive/collaborative approach to composition used by bands like Yes and Pink Floyd have always appealed to me. So, to hear musicians with the courage and artistry to improvise in a setting that usually hosts cover bands was a real treat.
While the core members of Future History are Kevin Kerr (rhythm guitar, vocals, songwriting, studio wizardry) and Justin Dillon (drums/percussion), helping on their latest CD (Lungs) and with live performances are Brett Harris (bass), Chris Dawe (keys/vocals/guitar) and Mike Baggley (lead and ambient guitar). Their music has been described as “haunting and poetic, experimental alt-rock. Deeply metaphorical lyrics are simultaneously accessible yet beyond immediate comprehension.”(Future History Website).
I purchased their first CD Future History and it became the soundtrack of my life for over a year. It was a period of both losing and gaining significant relationships and the songs became a background for the experiences and emotions I was dealing with. Lyrics from songs like Broken seemed to have been written to coincide with what I was experiencing. My soon to be wife also embraced this music just as we were starting to embrace each other.
Their second CD Loss:/self was quite different in terms of its overall production values. Kevin had, by this time, become quite expert at taking full advantage of what can be done in a modern recording studio. This CD was created using over 50 instruments, devices and household objects, combined with a 35-person vocal, stomp and drum circle and the heartrending cry of a lonely whale. Being quite a bit more dense and detailed compared with their first offering, it took me some time and repeated listenings before I could embrace it as brother to the friend I had become so familiar with. I began to appreciate the recurring image of a robot and how it represented (for me) alienation in modern society.
Their latest CD Lungs still waits unopened close to my stereo system. My wife and I are waiting for a ‘perfect moment’to crack it open and give it the full attention it will deserve. Perhaps a star lit night or a full moon will draw us once again into the arms of this wonderful Markham based band.