Amity Beach: Small Town Paradise Emily Fister If you live in rural Huron County, Ontario, you want to be from the bodacious beaches of Grand Bend. For the five young members of indie pop-rock outfit Amity Beach, this cozy tourist town has both inspired their sound and their outlook. “I think the geography of [Huron County] has encouraged us to get together and play music because there isn’t necessarily a whole lot to do around here,” explains Geoff Baillie, lead singer and guitarist. While some kids go “muddin’” (Huron County slang for tearin’ up the fields with your pick-up truck), the Amity boys spend their time as part of a creative collective. With Eternal Bummer Records, spearheaded by local music mogul Ivan Raczycki, a new breed of bands has come out to play. The tight-knit community features some of the county’s up-and-coming musicians, such as Stuck Out Here and Grant McMillan, and offers a new avenue for small town support. “A couple of us in the band have been doing a bit of collaborative work with some friends of ours who wrote a play,” Baillie says. “We’ve been working out some tunes to be used to score the play, which we’re really excited about.” Amity’s score-worthy sound is confident and distinct. One part Toyko Police Club in training, another part Beach Boys-esque sun and sand, the group showcases diversity on their self-titled debut EP. “Jake’s Version of Paradise” has quickly become a crowd-pleaser, with its staccato keys and upbeat bridge filled to the brim with brass. “I was interested in the idea of each person having their own version of paradise, like a vision of a place where they can be happy,” Baillie explains, citing a budding small town romance as this little slice of sonic paradise. Even though they’re still on the quest for more widespread success, the London music scene has already embraced the promising group. With press coverage from The Western Gazette and The London Free Press (LFP), this band is more than just an extracurricular. Their next goal: CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi chilling on the Amity Beach.“The campaign to get ourselves on Q came from an article James Reaney wrote in the LFP a little while ago,” says Baillie. “There’s a line in our song ‘Barter and Fireworks’ that mentions Ghomeshi, and James picked up on that and suggested that we should be on [the] show when it comes to London in March.” Although the slot’s been filled by Great Lake Swimmers, Amity Beach has garnered enough attention to turn some independent music heads. At CHRW’s Battle of the Bands competition at The Spoke on February 3rd, Amity Beach held their own. Despite being the freshest face, the crowd couldn’t resist the frantic dance-inducing track “A Little Tension.” With a sound as refreshing as ice cream from The Strip (Grand Bend’s vendor-filled stretch leading to the beach), there’s more to be heard beyond the beach. In “Jake’s Version,” Baillie proclaims: “I want to stay living in a dream world/ I got no time to waste on ordinary people.” As a Huron County local, I can proudly say: “Git ‘er dun, boys.” And they will.
issue no.3 / march 2012
Featuring Magnum Photos photographer Larry Towell, local comic book artist Jesse Jacobs, as well as the SOPA debate.