Somewhere between the bar rock of Buckcherry and the dance grooves of the Backstreet Boys there is the Calgary-based pop/rock band Seventh Rain.
But the four men who make up Seventh Rain — Ryan Williams on vocals, Rich MacFarlane on guitars, Luke Sheppard on bass and John Byskal on drums — do more than make fun music people can dance to; they also carry a powerful anti-bullying message.
“It is possibly the coolest thing about the band,” Byskal told The Daily News during a phone interview from Calgary.
Granted, Thursday night’s performance at The Grind on Victoria Street isn’t a part of Seventh Rain’s Show of Hearts Tour, which they’ve brought to more than 100 high schools across North America.
That show is specifically designed for high school students, with band members sharing personal stories about their experiences with bullying between songs.
But the music the crowd hears Thursday night will be the same that Seventh Rain plays for the high school crowd, which Byskal says is the band’s target demographic.
Between fast-paced tunes like Get Your Hands Up, which is all about getting the audience jumping to the beat, there are slower songs that touch on more serious, youth-related topics.
For example, Seventh Rain will sing about Chelsea King, the San Diego teenager who was murdered in 2010. Byskal said the band met King during a show in San Diego and she hung out with them afterward. Two days later her body was found.
“The last time anyone saw her was at the Seventh Rain concert,” he said.
The band was so moved by the experience that they wrote the song Turned Around. Every time they perform it, Seventh Rain tells King’s story as a tribute to her, said Byskal.
True to the band’s style, Turned Around is more about youthful spirit than the depressing circumstances that surround her death, he said.
“It’s still catchy. It still has big hook. The last thing she did was come to one of our shows. We felt the least we could do for her is write her a song,” Byskal said.
Turned Around is included on Seventh Rain’s new album, Room For A Rumour, which will be released June 19.
Seventh Rain takes the stage at The Grind at 8 p.m.