If you’ve hung out at our flagship Granville Street cafe on a Thursday or Friday night anytime over the last several years, you’ve likely been treated to some amazing live entertainment. Thursday evenings are Open Mic nights, featuring anything from coffeehouse tunes to improv and maybe even a standup routine. Friday nights, we get some of Vancouver’s top musicians to play here before you have to pay top dollar to see them in concert just a few years from now (Carly Rae Jepsen used to play here — and we felt back then that her amazing talent was destined for greatness).
At the end of the week, the earnest and incredible John Pippus hosts the musical guests. Our host Thursday nights is the talented Marq DeSouza, an accomplished musician and entertainer in his own right. We took a few minutes to chat with Marq about where he’s coming from — and what he enjoys most about the shows.
TO. Where did you get your start on the Vancouver music scene and how has your music evolved?
Marq. I’ve been kicking around forever as a solo singer, songwriter, rock bandleader, drummer, multi-instrumentalist session and gig player for hire. This latest permutation as an open mic host came completely out of the blue for me and I must say it’s been more fun that I ever could have imagined.
TO. What’s exciting for you about the open mic nights and live music nights at Trees Organic?
Marq. The enthusiasm of the talent that shows up is really what makes it for me. There’s something unfiltered that comes across in performers that are, perhaps, getting up there for the first or second time in their lives. It’s really a magical thing for the performer and that carries across into the audience. Sometimes someone very shy shows up, and you sort of wonder if they’ll be able to get up there. Then they do, and you’re blown away by the power of their performance.
TO. Who are some of your favourite bands you’ve seen perform here?
Marq. Both the open mic and the Friday music nights have seen probably hundreds of great acts come through. They’re mostly local, but also international touring acts. John Pippus has made it into what I would call the pre-eminent acoustic venue in the city. I’m really into the bluesier acts that John books; being a blues man himself, he gets some incredible ones. It’s also a great room for more established ‘band’ writers to come in and play stripped-down sets. That’s where you get to really see who can deliver the goods. Look at the calendar of upcoming music nights and you can sample anyone coming up. All recommended.
TO. What kinds of performers would you love to see perform at Trees (that haven’t)?
Marq. I would love to have more spoken word artists. I know it can be intimidating to get up there with no instrument, but we’ve had some speakers who have really brought the room to a standstill, crowd on the edge of their seats, where you can hear a pin drop. That’s the power of any performance that connects. I love having the spoken word acts also to break up the musical acts. Variety is nice. Comedians, poetry, anything.
TO. What’s coming up for the music nights over the next little while?
Marq. John Pippus continues to book the popular Friday night series. It’s always quality, from 8-10pm, usually in three acts. I sometimes fill in for him to host those nights when he has other gigs. Come on out on Thursdays for open mic, Fridays for Music Nights. Don’t be shy!
Have you been to our Open Mic or Live Music nights? Tweet to us about your favourite experience!