Jesse Roper has the itch.
Coming off a June performance at Port Renfrew’s Tall Tree music festival The Roper Show front man considers one of his best sets yet, he is anxious to hit the stage again.
And the stakes have never been higher to repeat that performance. At his upcoming show July 12 at Rock the Shores, the Metchosinite will share the billing with some of the biggest names of his career and play in front of thousands of people.
“I hope it is the best show that I have ever played. I want to go up there and destroy it,” he says of his band’s appearance on the stage in Colwood. “Over the next few days I will play non-stop (to be at) my very best.”
A musician since age six, Roper, 32, says he was once too shy to play in front of others. Now he gets much of his life’s enjoyment out of playing for people and even gets irritable when he doesn’t have shows lined up.
“I can’t imagine going back to (my previous) life. I painted for eight years and wasn’t sure where I was going to go. My life wasn’t giving me much; I was busy, but wasn’t happy.
“I’ve never been happier in the last five years, putting the pedal to the medal (musically),” he said. “I know to keep this happiness up I need to keep doing what I am doing. I just need to get better.”
Roper describes his music as “blues-rooted, everything under the sun.” He was over the moon at the news he would be one of the local acts on the card for Rock the Shores, Vancouver Island’s biggest music festival of the year.
“I was stoked when I got the email. Who is going to say no to this?” he asked.
Sharing the bill with such veteran performers as Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Billy Talent, The Cult and Our Lady Peace – a lineup Roper calls “awesome” – makes this “definitely the big show for my career.”
Radio host Dylan Willows of 91.3 The Zone remembers vividly seeing Roper perform for the first time. Willows was hosting a launch party for the Tall Tree Festival and had heard rumblings of “an epic guitar player from Metchosin,” for months.
“I go to a lot of shows and I am usually the guy in the back, but I found myself right smack dab in front of him,” Willows says. “I was mesmerized by his energy. It was raw and it just draws you in.”
Rock the Shores, which takes over the lower fields at West Shore Parks and Recreation July 11 to 13, offers artists like Roper a great chance to get their music out there.
“It is important to have an opportunity for local bands to have that benchmark to reach in their hometown,Willows says.
“They also need to be ready for it. This is no joke, this is 12,000 people out there and a major production … (Roper) is the real deal, without question.”
Roper, whose new album, Red Bird, hits the street Aug. 23, sounds ready.
“I want to play the biggest stages in the biggest festival and play backyard campfires, because I get as much out of that,” he said. “(I want to) just play as much as I can before I die.”
Keep on rockin’ on the West Shore
The third annual Rock the Shores music festival goes July 11 to 13 at West Shore Parks and Recreation, with nightly headliners Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Billy Talent and Our Lady Peace.
There’s various ticket packages available:
• General admission for one day is $59.50 plus service charge, or $109.50 for a VIP ticket, which includes priority entrance, access to a raised viewing deck, VIP food and beverage area and private washroom facilities.
• Three-day tickets are $129.50 and $279.50. Tickets are available at rocktheshores.com along with further information.