It can be a long, hard road from rock-and-roll obscurity to fame and fortune, but Vancouver-based indie band Versus the Nothing wouldn’t have it any other way.
In fact, the five-member group enjoys their time on that road, noses to the grindstone and drawing musical inspiration from the experience.
“We’ve been hitting North America pretty hard,” Chris Shaw, the band’s back-up vocalist and guitarist, said during a phone interview from St. Catherine’s, Ont.
“I think we’ve hit 23 out of 50 (United) States total.”
The group is about two weeks away from wrapping up their aptly titled Grindstone Tour. But, before they get back to Vancouver, Versus the Nothing makes a pit stop at the Dirty Jersey here in Kamloops on April 14.
The band has existed in one for or another since 2001, but the current incarnation came together in 2005 and includes Shaw, Jason Scannell on bass, drummer Jacob Wyman, guitarist Ande Otte and singer Ross Archibald.
Mixing heavy guitar and melodic vocals, Versus competed in Vancouver radio station CFOX’s Seeds contest in 2008 — a challenge that launched the careers of megacts Nickelback and Default.
The band was a top-three finalist, and took advantage of the exposure by touring North America extensively in an effort to make a name for itself.
Mission accomplished! Versus the Nothing has achieved song placement with Mazda, a Tom Green feature film and the official 2010 Olympic Xbox and PS3 video game.
Their much-anticipated EP, Black Gloves, was released last summer with a sophomore album expected by the end of the year, said Shaw.
Unlike some hard rock bands, Versus the Nothing tries to keep their music positive. Shaw said the underlying themes are about fighting adversity and living on the other side of fear.
These themes aren’t touched on directly. Instead, the songs are written in lyrical metaphor, he said.
“Overall, as far as the sound of the music, the music is very aggressive. It matches our live performance. Our live performance is every aggressive and in your face,” said Shaw.
That aggressive, in-your-face sound has stormed a host of venues from Whiskey a Go Go in Hollywood to City Lights in St. Catherines. The group has previously played at Pogue Mahone Irish Ale Alehouse in Kamloops.
In addition to the Dirty Jersey, the Grindstone Tour has seen the band make countless stops from Oregon to New Mexico playing gigs in Chicago and Fargo.
Canadian stops include London, Edmonton and Calgary.
The crowd at the Dirty Jersey will hear songs about the ups and downs of touring, the friends made and the long miles logged. And Shaw promises a high-energy show.
“We’re not going to be one of those bands that’s standing there waving at people,” he said. “Our singer is crazy. We’ve got a really good stage set up and we’ve got him running all over the place with a wireless mic.”
The 19-plus show begins at 9 p.m. on April 14 at the Jersey, 1200 Eighth Street. For more information phone 250-376-3786.