The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer

Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival features national and international musicians

NANAIMO - The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer perform during the Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival, which runs Aug. 26-28.

Placing a band in a specific genre limits people’s experience of the music, says Shawn Hall, a member of the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer.

“We do honest, emotional music that speaks from pain, from longing, the need and desire for a love,” said Hall. “I think good music is good music.”

The band performs at the Summertime Blues Festival on Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. The festival, presented by the Nanaimo Blues Society, runs Aug. 26-28.

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer consists of Hall and Matthew Rogers. They will be joined onstage by Andrina Turenne.

“She’s just incredible,” said Hall, adding she has an amazing voice that isn’t quite country but more “rural soul.”

While there are elements of the blues in the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer’s work, there are also elements of country, roots and others.

Hall said he tries to pull out of traditional blues and tell a little more of a story, but there is a “smaller economy” of words to work with in the poetry and lyrics of songs to create something new.

“It’s not an easy genre and form. It’s very hard to sing that in your very unique way without being an archivist to bring it forward with your own story,” said Hall.

Hall said blues music and soul music are good vessels. It allows people to create sensual music.

Both Hall and Rogers are melody-driven when it comes to creating songs. Hall said it usually starts with an idea for a chorus.

“That is the thing that usually lands in you if you are in a place quiet enough for long enough,” he said.

For more information about the band, please go to www.harpoonistaxemurderer.com.

On Aug. 25 the blues society is hosting the Queens Shuffle, an evening of entertainment showcasing Vancouver Island talent. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation of a non-perishable food item or a cash donation to the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank.

“It’s to allow people to experience the blues music at no cost, primarily it’s to give the people who don’t have the money to come and see something and it supports the food bank,” said Gerold Haukenfrers, president of the society.

Tickets for the Nanaimo Blues Festival are $135 for a three-day pass or $52.50 for a single-day ticket available in advance by calling 250-754-8550 or visiting www.porttheatre.com, or $146 for a three-day pass at the gate. For a list of performers, dates and times, please go to www.nanaimobluesfestival.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com