Juno-winning Haligonian rocker Matt Mays is performing in Nanaimo for the first time in 10 years when he kicks off his cross-Canada Howl at the Night Tour at the Port Theatre on Oct. 21.
“[There’s] something exciting about getting to do this whole show for the first time together with the lights and everything and you can’t replace that. It only happens once,” Mays said. “So it’s a good kind of nervousness but at the same time we’re really pretty confident and just looking forward to playing these songs for the first time as an eight-piece.”
The tour is named after a song from Mays’s recent albums, Once Upon a Hell of a Time… and Twice Upon a Hell of a Time…, which feature the exact same songs but arranged electrically and acoustically, respectively. He said the idea to record an acoustic version came to him after listening to some stripped-down demos.
“They were completely different and they conveyed a completely different feeling and so I just thought, ‘Why not? … Who makes the rules? Why does it have to be one version and one version only?’” Mays said.
Mays joked that the albums are for Saturday night and Sunday morning and he’ll be showcasing both his plugged and unplugged sides of his repertoire during the show.
“I’m just going to start solo and then add a member every song so about half-way through the show it’ll be all eight of us and that’s when we’ll start cranking up the amps and it’ll be a ‘go out with a bang’ sort of thing,” he said. “The last third of the show is going to be pretty loud and fun and awesome and the earlier part will be a little more introspective and mellow.”
Mays said he’s been working on material for a new album and he’ll be releasing a new single, Let There Be Love, shortly before heading off on tour. He said he was motivated to write the song as a response to witnessing the struggles of people he cares about.
“I had this song that I really like and that means a lot to me and felt like it’s sort of relevant in this day and age and it’s just why I wanted to get it out because it’s just a song about love omnipresently and especially self-love…” Mays said. “I have two versions of it, obviously.”
WHAT’S ON … Matt Mays performs at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $41.50 for Rows A to J, all other seats $34.