Orcasound had the opportunity to meet with some members of the band backstage prior to the show. Trumpet player Mike Murray told me that guitarist Chris Velan was the heart and soul of the group, writing and doing all of the arrangements for all of the songs. Essentially this is his band and Chris who graduated Law School is headed to BC to start work as an Environmental Lawyer this Spring. All of the other musicians hope to pursue their musical careers, preferably continuing with the Reggae style of music. The band was first formed here in Montreal 3 years ago and played their first gig at Le Petit Campus and at Q-Stix Pool Bar on St-Laurent, where they became the de facto house band, such was their immediate acceptance and popularity. Another of their favourite venues over the years was Le Swimming on St-Laurent where the boys really grooved on the crowd. Equalizer takes their inspirations from the great harmonizers of the the Reggae genre, mentioning Abassinians and the Mighty Diamonds, classic 3 piece bands, along with of course Peter Tosh and Bob Marley himself.The group is a family affair, with brothers Mike Velan, the lead singer and Nick playing bass. Mike Murray's brother Raymond plays the saxophone, and the band has adopted drummer Jonathan Shykofsky and Christian Denis onkeyboards. The Murray brothers are originally from Burlington, ontario andare half Jamaican, and were both weaned on Reggae. Recently, the band wasin discussions with Universal Canada about a recording contract, but that possibility was pre-empted by Chris' untimely departure, since Equalizer seems to just be hitting it's stride.
Equalizer performed their hearts out for their Final Show at the Spectrum and the audience truly showed their appreciation. The band has a devoted local following, based on the number of people who came out to dance the night away. From the opening number, a medley of four songs that mixed into Babylon the band and the crowd were in sync. These guys are tight and have really captured that unique reggae vibe. Other tunes that stood out were Time World come, Whirly Bird and Diamonds. Mike Velan's lead vocals rocked and special mention must be made of the Murray brothers brass, especially Ray's riffing sax. The man can wail. Let's not forget Jon's drummin>
p; one can't say enough about the sheer talent of Chris Velan's songwriting and guitar playing. To summarize, a good time was had by all and the local reggae scene will be that much poorer with the loss of this band.