The Morrison Project

Langley gig a chance to sing at home

A Van Morrison tribute show rocks Newlands this weekend.

by Michaela Garstin/Special to the Langley Advance

It’s not every day that “Van the Man” performs Brown Eyed Girl, Domino and Gloria at a pub in Langley.

But these rock and roll hits will be heard late into the night when The Morrison Project, a Van Morrison tribute band, makes its debut performance this Friday and Saturday at Newlands Bar & Grill.

“Our shows are always spontaneous. We might do an extended solo; we see how the audience is feeling and go with that,” said Langley drummer Brad Dirks, who is excited to perform in his hometown. “No two shows are ever the same. There’s always something new to see.”

Since forming late last year, The Morrison Project has played sets for drop-ins and half hour gigs but this is their first time performing the entire night.

“Our lead singer is a great Van Morrison impersonator. He looks and sounds just like him,” says Dirks proudly.

“We looked at which other artists have tribute bands and couldn’t find many for Van Morrison, especially not locally.”

Morrison, whose quintessential growl is a mix of folk, blues, soul, jazz, gospel and celtic influences, is well deserving of a tribute band, says Dirks. The Grammy award-winning rock-and-roll icon has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was knighted for his achievements earlier this year.

“We wanted to take it one step further than a cover band. We wanted to really get into it, so we decided to do a tribute band.”

The band’s “captivating” and “feel-good” shows this week are sure to live up to Van Morrison’s epic performances, he adds.

“We’ve really perfected our show. It’s been tested it in front of a smaller audience and now we’re ready to go.”

Before Morrison was on their minds, the original trio – Trevor Saunders on guitar, lead singer James Minchau and Dirks – formed a band 15 years ago and wrote their own songs, with a loyal following in Langley quickly forming. But busy lives led the friends to turn their separate ways until last year when they got together again after more than a decade apart.

With the addition of Randy Morrison on horns and father-son team Dave Cole, on keyboard, and base player Mark Cole, The Morrison Project was born.

“It’s our passion,” says Dirks, who works as a web designer. Other members of the band also have day jobs: Minchau is in sales, Saunders owns an inflatable boat repair shop, Morrison is a music teacher and the younger Cole is a safety officer, while his dad is a professional musician.

Soon after forming, they put a call out for possible names for the band. Fans got to vote on monikers such as Van the Band, Cypress Avenue, Wild Night and The Van Band but, in the end, The Morrison Band won with 35 per cent of the votes.

With a casino tour in the near future, the group is appreciative of the devoted local audience that launched their band.

“This will be our first all-night show. We’re ready to show everyone what we are about,” says Dirks, excited to finally perform his favourite Morrison songs in front of a large audience.

The Morrison Project is performing at Newlands Bar and Grill this Friday and Saturday. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the show lasts until 1 a.m.

Just Posted

Half million dollars change Langley couple’s life

Richard and Frances Laidlaw contemplate travel and moving

Liberal hopeful aims to claim candidate spot in Langley-Aldergrove

Leon Jensen was the 2015 candidate in Langley-Aldergrove.

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

South Langley community group wants to talk innovative housing

Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association invites people to a meeting about the future of housing.

GREEN BEAT: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

HUB Langley pushed to ‘UnGap the Map’ and create more bike infrastructure throughout the community.

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

SNC-Lavalin backtracks on CEO’s comments surrounding potential job losses

Top boss had said protecting 9,000 jobs should grant leniency

Pedestrian killed, two injured in three-vehicle crash in Coquitlam

Road closures in effect following collision

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

Most Read