David Bowie’s artistry plays on in Powell River

Syl Thompson and six-piece band present a tribute show

David Bowie’s genius continues to inspire and influence artists the world over. On April 27, Powell River residents have the chance to see and hear much of the musician’s celebrated repertoire performed by vocalist Syl Thompson and a six-piece band.

Thompson and bandmates Rob Begg on bass and guitarist John Gilliat have been performing Bowie tributes since the 1980s.

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“We started during the Serious Moonlight tour and toured throughout the United States and across Canada for a few years,” said Thompson.

After taking many years off, Thompson was encouraged to reprise the role six years ago.

“Our original bass player got in touch with me through social media and coaxed me back into doing it again,” he said. “So here I am, version 2.0.”

Thompson, Begg and Gilliat are joined by Graham Howell on saxophone, Marc and Rob Gawthrop on keyboards and Kyle Radomsky on drums.

Returning to the role meant finding a version of the artist that fit him now.

“When I went back to it I had to come up with an image that was going to be pertinent to my age. [Bowie] was about the same age as I am,” he added. “My look is the Reality Tour.”

The music the group performs, however, covers all of Bowie’s many incarnations.

“We do all the songs, from ‘Space Oddity’ right up to The Next Day; we cover a lot of ground. He has so much material it’s pretty hard to pick which songs to play,” said Thompson. “We pick the hits but there are a few songs people may not be really familiar with but they’re really cool songs to play live.”

Personally, Thompson said it was difficult for him to pick a favourite era, album or song from the artist.

“There are so many, but probably the first one that hit me when I first heard of Bowie was ‘Life on Mars’ off of the Hunky Dory album,” he added. “When I first heard it, it was like ‘wow’ it was so different from everything else that was out at that time.”

It is the band’s first visit to the Upper Sunshine Coast and the members are looking forward to performing and talking to some local Bowie fans, said Thompson.

“We’ll be doing a meet and greet after the show and hope to meet a lot of people out there,” he added. “We’re really looking forward to it.”

A Night of Bowie starts at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 27, at Max Cameron Theatre in Powell River. Doors open at 7 pm.

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