San Diego quintet is back in Steamboat this weekend
If You Go...
What: Browthers Gow
When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24
Where: Old Town Pub, 600 Lincoln Ave
Steamboat Springs — The rock-funk-reggae-jam band, Brothers Gow will take the Old Town Pub stage this weekend equipped with a new set and their notoriously mesmerizing light show.
On their Gowlloween tour this month, the San Diego quintet is traveling the U.S. bringing their dynamic sound layered with vocal harmonies and complex arrangements for a memorable concert experience.
The group, comprised of members Alex Gow Bastine, on keyboard and vocals; Kyle Merrill, on guitar; Ethan Wade, on guitar, trumpet and vocals; Nathan Walsh-Haines, on drums and vocals; and Carson Church, on bass, will present their soulful, visual blend of electro-rock, funk, reggae and jazz at 10 p.m. Saturday for a free show at the Old Town Pub.
Getting their start in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2007, the group of close friends has developed into a well-seasoned band, performing more than 500 shows on a number of tours, as well as four albums ranging from arena rock to up-tempo dance grooves.
Recently added to their list of accomplishments, the group, known in Ocean Beach (San Diego) as music philanthropists, came up with the idea last year to begin holding benefit shows with the proceeds going to local elementary and middle schools in Ocean Beach.
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The idea grew into The Brothers Gow Foundation for Music Education and has since helped fund music education programs and given students various instruments to learn how to play. They also donated instruments and music lessons to the San Diego Autism Society, as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Earlier this week, the Brothers Gow members received a community service award for their efforts.
Guitarist Kyle Merrill took a moment from a busy tour schedule earlier this week to chat with Explore Steamboat about Brothers Gow inspirations and aspirations over the years.
Explore Steamboat: How did the Brothers Gow come to fruition?
Kyle Merill: Alex and me became friends in the first grade and have been friends ever since then. We had always played music together growing up, and it was something that we both really wanted to do. The band started from a collection of a bunch of friends growing up together and wanting to pursue music. Flagstaff is really where the band started when we were all in college and just doing it for fun at first. But then we really started to enjoy it and took it seriously. We realized it was what we wanted to do with our lives.
ES: Was this musical blend of funk, jazz, reggae and jam what you intended as your signature sound?
KM: We try not to pigeonhole ourselves into any genre. But I think our sound revolves around funky rock sets where we can always go into any kind of genre, because we don’t like to limit ourselves. We all grew up liking different types of music. We are a very democratic band, I guess you could say. Each of us has a say in what we can play, and everyone likes different things. So we like to match up the music with each of our own unique styles and influences. We’ve always been inspired by live music and are not afraid to improvise. I hate to keep pigeonholing us into the jam band genre, but live music with an improv element is just so much fun to see. We always knew we wanted to do music like this that brings a new energy to a show and songs that we can put our own take on.
ES: What makes Brothers Gow unique?
KM:The fact that we have so many different sounds and a bunch of different singers. We like to play a lot of different songs, as well, with our own twist on it. We like to pick our spots to jam but are not so set in a formula of it … We like to pick our moments where we jam. I think also our light show adds a whole new element to the live show. Matt has been with us since college when we started and makes every show unique. He does programming on his computer and is able to brainstorm ideas for a light show according to different songs with various colors and moods. Blue could be for a slower, more relaxed song, but red could be for a more hard rock song. But it’s not just the colors; it’s the way he is improvising himself the way we are. We see him from the stage and can tell when he is amping up and building up a song. There is this unspoken communication between all of us. … It’s like, I know where Nate will go with the drums sometimes, and he will know almost exactly where I’m going to take a song with the guitar.
ES: What was the inspiration for starting the Brothers Gow Foundation for Music Education last year?
KM: When we were growing up, there was music in school that got all of us into it at a young age. It was really inspiring, and I think it’s so good for kids to play instruments. It helps out in their lives outside of the music. We started hearing about music programs getting cut in the local schools in San Diego. We wanted to help put instruments back in the classroom and were kind of facilitators helping to bring those to the students. We would play a few benefit shows with proceeds going towards those instruments. The elementary and middle school we have been working with received ukuleles and classical guitars. At the middle school, one of the teachers in charge of their after school program teaches guitar, but there was a shortage of guitars for the students to learn how to play. We were able to finally give them 10 really nice guitars. The plan is to continue to build this program and eventually move it out of San Diego.
ES: How has the group evolved since it started in 2007?
KM: At first, we were all just doing this for fun. I had always wanted to be in a band; it was always my dream, really. But I don’t think we took it that seriously at first. Then, the more that we put into the band, the more it started to evolve. Being on road trips and touring constantly, that allows you to get closer to the people you are playing music with, and inevitably, that makes the sets tighter, allowing the music to evolve. We will always be evolving, because each of us has different types of styles or influences from the music we listen to that we can bring into the band.
ES: What do you guys have in mind for Saturday’s show?
KM: We are always going to be bringing our lights set and a good time. We are working on a few new covers and mashups for Halloween. We will have a bit of a sneak preview of our upcoming “Gowlloween” performance. With a theme of “Rip-offs,” we will play songs that were “ripped off” from another (think “Ice, Ice Baby” and “Under Pressure,” all in one) and put our own twist on it. We’ve been mixing a lot of songs like that together, so it will definitely be a good time.
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Prost! The popular OktoberWest festival will return to Steamboat Springs on Saturday for its 12th year, this time in a new location at Wildhorse Marketplace.