Australian blues-rock musician Ash Grunwald is returning to Victoria as part of a 12-stop tour through B.C.
The surfer usually swings through during the winter for heli-snowboarding sessions in the interior but has opted for a warmer view of the province this time around.
Grunwald is playing the Cambie (856 Esquimalt Rd.) in Esquimalt on Wednesday, Aug. 28, the ninth of 12 shows.
The Cambie is a smaller venue than those he typically plays in his native Australia, where his music has had brushes with fame. The original version of his song Breakout was included in a movie trailer for Moneyball, which has been viewed nearly four million times on YouTube. He also collaborated with members of Aussie punk band The Living End for a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, which was an unexpected hit in Australia.
Down under, Grunwald is a known environmentalist. But here, his priority is to connect with fans as a musician, which is tough for an indie rocker who lives on the other side of the world. And if he can connect with his message about the environment too, all the better, especially the need to stop the wasteful mining of coal, gas and other fossil fuels.
“It’s not even controversial anymore,” Grunwald said. “Global warming is an accepted fact and no one is debating that the use of fossil fuels is the cause.”
Grunwald is currently pushing his single, The Last Stand, a statement against mining in central Australia, which Canadians should be able to relate to, he said.
“We call it the Gaslands in central Australia: a heavy housing commune residence that’s getting poisoned by a multi-national company which is selling the gas to China. It provides very little jobs for Australia and the ramifications will last for thousands of years. In terms of pollution, it’s not unlike the fracking that goes on here (in Canada).”
During this year’s performances in Australia and England, Grunwald has been taking a few minutes to energize the crowd about environmental responsibility when he sings The Last Stand.
The soulful, award-winning rocker has toured B.C. before and is making his return, this time with his family, toddler and infant in tow.
“We’re trying to treat the non-gig parts as holiday time,” Gunwold said. “But it’ll still be a whirlwind, just not the whirlwind it is when I’m by myself.”
Tickets are available at the Cambie.