Stellar Haze performs this Friday in Hope Memorial Park, as part of the Concerts in the Park series. (Submitted photo)

Stellar Haze offers up ‘organic rock’ at Memorial Park

Trio hitting the stage for their first live performance this Friday

It’s hard to box Stellar Haze into one clearly defined musical category.

They’ve stitched together their own sound with a bit of funk, a bit of folk, and some very raw, acoustic sounds. But when pressed on a genre, singer and guitarist Justin Brown offers up the term “organic rock.”

The Hope-based trio will be on stage on Friday, Aug. 23 as the second half of a double header at Concerts in the Park. They are eager to show a local audience what they’ve been working on over the past months. The new band has gelled together, they say, with each member bringing their own talents and enthusiam to the table.

For Brown, its his many years as a songwriter, past experience with other bands, and a life surrounded by musical influences.

Ivy Elizondo, the band’s percussionist, brings the passion of a new musician. She has been playing the drums for three years now, picking up the sticks where her children laid them down after they abandoned the family’s drum set. But playing drums is something Elizondo has always wanted to tackle, and she’s fully thrown herself into the craft.

Ferd Alcos is their newest member, bringing in the bass and that funk element that is intergral to the band’s sound.

“He gets excited,” Brown says. “He adds a bit of the punk feeling, which we love.”

“And this is very homegrown music,” he adds. “That’s the folky part.”

The Concerts in the Park is their first gig as a new band, although all of them have performed at some level in the past. They’ve been practicing Friday’s set for months, and while some of the songs are newer, others are reworked versions of Brown’s past solo work. He brings Elizondo the lyrics and melody, and she helps from there.

“I try to do something with my drums,” she says. “I try to find a main beat, or add some fills.”

Then Alcos adds the final touches with the bass line, which includes punk-style fingering on the strings.

“We are like little kids,” Elizondo says of their practice time. “There is lots of joking and laughing. We communicate, and we don’t take things from each other as criticism.”

They are thrilled that Concerts in the Park organizer Dani Vachon has included them in the summertime mix at Hope Memorial Park. Rusty Tones will open the double header night, starting at 6:30 p.m., while Stellar Haze gets on stage at 7:15 p.m. The music goes until 8:15 p.m. and as always the shows are free.

Rusty Tones hail from the bleeding heart of East Vancouver. The female-fronted group is most often heard as a screeching garage rock group, but will be performing a more melodic, blues inspired set for Hope.

The summer series will wrap up on Aug. 31 with Colleen Rennison and Friends.

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