Astral Swans will perform two October shows in the GFA.
A comfy bed, a home-cooked meal and an attentive audience are things not commonly associated with a cross Canada tour, but Calgary musician Matthew Swann (Astral Swans) has found a way to bring the comforts of home with him on the road. The method is really quite simple – he’ll stay at your house, and play a show while he’s at it.
The idea of performing house concerts isn’t new by any means. What makes this tour unique however, is that the idea is part of Madic Records’ master plan to help its artists foster meaningful relations with a community. As the label explains, “We’re not stuck on the traditional ideas of how bands can have a career. We want to create meaningful interactions between people and art.”
As part of his current tour, Astral Swans will play dates stretching from British Columbia to Nova Scotia without stepping into one noisy bar along the way. As part of this cross-country experiment, stops are planned for both Fredericton and Rusagonis – yes, Rusagonis.
News of the tour inspired local musician Matt Baxter to reach out and offer up his Rusagonis home as a one of many venues.
“A house concert is an intimate type of show experience,” said Baxter, “and a great way for people who are not familiar with an artist to get acquainted.”
While Baxter has never hosted a house concert of his own, his experience as a musician should help streamline the process.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done a show like this but I’ve been receiving lots of support so I think it will go well,” he said. “We have five acres and a huge lawn. If the weather’s nice I think we’re going to try for an outdoor show. It should make for a nice fall venue.”
Coaxing audiences to new venues is never an easy task, but Baxter believes the uniqueness of experiencing a house concert in the ‘Rornish may help to draw more than a few close friends.
“I’m on the Wilsey Road,” he said, “right across the county line. Basically, I’m five minutes from UNB. Everyone thinks Rusagonis is way the hell out in nowhere but it’s surprisingly close.”
The inner-city show will happen a few days later at 302 Charlotte Street.
CBC Music describes Swann as, “the sound of time spent next to the radiator in a cold apartment. Swann’s observations are stark and personal, bringing to mind images of the American underground’s various eras. Equally inspired by 60′s folk, no wave, and 90′s sludge, Astral Swans is at once: haunting, sincere, psychedelic, and strange – picture Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan, Syd Barrett, and Sibyelle Baier, interpreted via Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Eric’s Trip, and Chad Vangaalen. He lacks the usual pretense of the ‘singer/songwriter’ and one gets the feeling that his cleverness is almost accidental; it’s just what happened.”