Two years and three albums after first meeting Redgy Blackout, musicians Scott Perrie and Jeremy Breaks know only that he’s a man with a capital “M.”
“He’s trying to figure this world out. He’s trying to get by and fall in love and put it all together,” said Perrie, who fully admits he is also his main muse, though he really got his start as a marketing prop.
The musicians themselves met at a jam session in Vancouver, formed a band and realized they needed a name they could hang the act on that would truly set them apart.
So with a background in theatre, Perrie, who will be in La Cage Aux Folles at the Vancouver Playhouse this fall, suggested creating a character.
And so began Redgy Blackout, a cartoon ghosty with a tophat and cane whose putting-on-the-Ritz style is young, dark and playful in the way really good musicians ought to be, though rarely achieve.
Under Blackout’s facade, Breaks and Perrie create a sound best described as energetic roots/rock, which seems an apt label for the band’s approach to music as well.
With a banjo, electric and acoustic guitar, drums, bass and a good understanding of musical diversity (Breaks’s father owned a music store), the pair have energy to spare.
They also have a pretty grassroots approach to building their name, heading to the Kootenays Friday to open the jam session for the Kaslo Jazz Festival, and adding Lethbridge, Calgary, Revelstoke and Kelowna to the mini tour in under a week.
It’s the kind of work ethic and commitment to earning face-time in front of audiences they’re hoping will put them at the top of the list when they take part in this year’s Peak Performance Project.
The rigorous battle of the bands-style competition, hosted by radio station The Peak 100.5 in Vancouver, put Kelowna’s We Are the City on the map when they won the inaugural contest in 2009 and took home $100,000 to put toward building their career.
“It’s absolutely huge,” said Perrie, as he described how overwhelmed he was by the orientation earlier this month, which saw We Are the City back to speak with the 20 finalists, along with Habitat’s Quinn Best.
The Peak Performance Project is a week-long intensive training camp at the end of August and by the end of the competition last year, several musicians had earned themselves a Juno Award.
Redgy Blackout has already played Kelowna on a couple of occasions, but those who want to get a sneak peak of one of the bands to beat come this year’s Peak Performance showdown can head to the Minstrel Café on Monday, Aug. 1 from 8-9:30 p.m. There will be a $5 cover charge at the door.