Swerve's 'home away from home' in Tillsonburg

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London-based band Swerve will be ‘rockin the house’ Friday night at My Bar and Grill in Tillsonburg.

"Our style of music is basically Rock Alternative," said Swerve drummer Merwan Hassan.

"Our passion is our original music. Our focus is getting our original music out there, but when we play a show like the one at My Bar, we’ll be doing a fairly good mix of originals and covers. We’ll probably do about 35-40 per cent cover, mix it up throughout the set. We find it just helps to keep people engaged. It gives them something to grab on to… and hopefully it gives them a better feeling for some of the original music."

Fans can connect with Swerve at www.swerverocks.com, which links to four portals – Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp and YouTube, where you can hear or download original Swerve songs like Don’t Tell Me and Immaculate Girl.

"People can listen or download music. We’ve done some live stuff, and we’ve uploaded some lyrics videos."

Doors open at 9 p.m. for Friday’s show at My Bar and Grill on Lisgar Avenue.

"Everything will probably get started around 9:30-10. Cuda Highway will start the night off, then we’ll probably play until 12:30-1 in the morning, depending on how late Geordie lets us go.

"If it’s a good crowd, we just keep going till they tell us to get off the stage," he laughed.

Friday’s show will be Swerve’s fourth in Tillsonburg in the past year or so, most recently last December at My Bar and Grill.

"We had a great show there. I think it was early December, just before the holidays," said Hassan. "And we had a fun show there last Canada Day – that was a great day, but it was an early show because of the fireworks and everything that was going on.

"Geordie at My Bar has just treated us like kings. Every time we come there, he takes great care of us. We never have to worry about anything really."


"My Bar has sort of been our home away from home since we started playing as a band and one of the reasons is that Keith Enright, a guitar player/singer in our band, works at Otter Valley Foods in Tillsonburg. So he’s there, he’s in the community on a regular basis. He’s the one who originally had gone to My Bar and asked about doing some shows with them."

Swerve made some strides developing a fan base over the past year-and-a-half. It’s a process that will continue through 2014.

"I think we’re still ‘getting there’. We do a lot of work promoting ourselves," said Hassan, noting one of their summer venues will be Delaware Speedway. "We try to think a little bit outside the box as far as where to play and where to find our fans. I had heard in the news that Delaware was changing some of how they do things, and sometimes it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and putting your name out there.

"We do charity shows as well. Last year we played a charity event for homelessness. It was a big garage sale and a bunch of different bands played. All the funds went to different charities involved with helping people get off the streets."

They also played at Rock the Road in London last summer with funds going to Bethany’s Hope.

"I think this year we’re going to get more noticed, because last year was really a year where we finally got all the pieces together. We started getting more shows. And we went into the studio and recorded a three-song EP. This year we’ll release that music.

"We never really had something for people to sink their teeth into until now, and we feel with the recordings we’ve got, with the lives shows we’re going to do, and all the setup we want to do through the summer, this is going to be a good year for us to be noticed.

"It started off great with the (March 29) show in Toronto – we couldn’t really ask for a much better start for the year."

On Friday, April 11, however, it’s all about Swerve playing at My Bar and Grill, with Cuda Highway, and a great show.

"We’re looking to sort of establish ourselves as a ‘name,’" Hassan summed up. "We want people to know that when you bring Swerve to play an event – an outdoor festival, a party, a bar… wherever it may be – that you’re going to have a really, really good time watching us play. We have a really energetic fun type of performance where we try to engage the fans.

"We want to promote ourselves as a touring act, a great band to come out and see and have a good time watching. But we also want to promote My Bar, and promote Tillsonburg as a place for touring bands. If they happen to be coming through southwestern Ontario, why not stop in Tillsonburg?"