So long as guys in The Party on High Street are dancing along with the audience, they’re doing what they set out to do: start the party.
And with a rock musical, a B.C. tour, and a new weekly spot at the University of Victoria’s campus pub in the works, they’re starting a lot of parties.
“It’s a goal — regardless if it’s one person or several at a time — to get them dancing and having a good time,” said Nick Houghton, drummer for the chameleonic band. “It’s not, ‘Hey, look at us.’ It’s ‘Hey, we’re starting a party and we want you to join us.’”
Houghton – along with long-time friend and fellow St. Michaels University School grad Brin Porter on bass and Travis Charuk on guitar – blends elements of rock, funk, soul and hip-hop, for an overall difficult-to-categorize, upbeat, funky sound.
“Most of the people I ask don’t really know how to genre-ize us,” Houghton said. “We kind of pride ourselves on being hard to describe.”
Theatre Inconnu’s Clayton Jevne touches on a common theme labelling their shows.
“They’re certainly a lot of fun, for one thing,” said Jevne, who directed a local production of the rock opera Love Kills, featuring live music from the guys.
Theatre Inconnu first presented the so-called “hipster musical” based on the true story behind the film Natural Born Killers last fall. The work will be remounted with the original cast, and The Party on High Street, during the 2011-12 season at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre.
“A lot of people wanted to know who this band was,” Jevne said. “They were really excited about them. They really loved their energy.”
Jevne attributes their ability to take direction quickly and adjust their sound to The Party’s tight technical skills.
“It’s much more palatable than a lot of musicals are,” he added. “The music that they play does challenge the audience.”
Guitarist Charuk is excited about revisiting the band’s original interpretations on Love Kills and pushing it further for a bigger and better show this year, he said.
When it comes to another gig on campus – jamerokee at Felicitas, the UVic campus pub – Charuk is only slightly less open-minded.
“We’ve got a no Nickelback policy,” Charuk said with a laugh.
The guys will deliver live band karaoke every Monday night at the pub, starting Sept.12. Wannabe rock stars can sign up for any song (aside from the aforementioned Canadian power rockers), and the Party on High Street will play the music – from James Brown to James Blunt.
This summer they’ve loaded up their Astro van, a.k.a. their “bad-Ass-tro,” to tour the province. They started in Vancouver on Aug. 13. The party returns to Victoria Aug. 20 at the Fort Café before they take over Lucky Bar for a back-to-school party Sept. 9.
“I’ve had people tell me on three separate occasions that they almost cried because our music is so good,” Houghton said. “I don’t like saying that because it sounds like I’m making it up, but it’s the God’s honest truth. They enjoyed it so much, it brought them to tears.”
“Whether there’s two people or 200 (in the audience), we feel pretty blessed,” Charuk added.