TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Blair Atkinson sings centre stage while Sebastian Owl performs at The Double Decker Tavern on Friday evening. The band will be joining two other groups while they play at The Decker tonight for a New Year’s Eve party.
A recently signed Brandon band is playing New Year’s Eve at a place where everybody know’s their name.
"You literally feel like Norm from ‘Cheers’ when you go there," said Blair Atkinson, who plays the mandolin, piano and sings for Sebastian Owl. "The Double Decker is that rare place that bands always find themselves happy and hungry to come back to."
The band was signed in November by I’m Trying Records, an independent record label based in Winnipeg.
Since making the move, Atkinson said they’ve been gaining the kind of exposure they need to grow as a band.
"In Brandon there’s really only The Double Decker and The 40 to play at and it’s the same people coming to see you, which is great —in Winnipeg we have some friends in bands helping us get their fans to come see us. We’ve sold a bunch of CDs and we see people that we’ve never seen or met that are singing along to our songs, it’s cool," he said.
His dad, Brandon Police Chief Keith Atkinson, said he wasn’t sure what to expect the first time he went to a Winnipeg show.
"The place was full. It’s not a huge place, but still, there were all these people there to see them," he said about the band’s show at The Folk Exchange.
Chief Atkinson said Blair has been writing and playing his own music since he was a kid, and grew as a musician when they moved in Brandon from Saskatoon in 2007.
"He learned a lot in Brandon, and there was a lot of support — I think we all realized that he needed more exposure and Winnipeg is a great place to do that," Chief Atkinson said.
Blair’s dad tries to attend most of the shows, but Blair doesn’t mind if his parents aren’t there.
"It depends on the show. Some shows are geared more to the drunk crowd, so having him there can be a little awkward," Atkinson said.
Aside from playing the shows, Atkinson said he’s comfortable being at home for the holidays.
"(In Winnipeg) we’re still jobless, not from a lack of trying," he said. "The biggest thing is not being able to eat our mom’s food on a regular basis."
Sebastian Owl also includes Ian Russel who plays the bass and sings, David Comrie who plays guitar and sings, Trevor Crooke who plays the drums and sings, and finally Ian Clements who also drums.
Tonight’s show is one of two the band lined-up while home from Winnipeg for the holidays — they also played a CD release party at The Decker on Friday for their latest album "The Needle is Broken, the Compass Spins."
The New Years Eve show starts at 8 p.m. with acts Bearded Brothers and Bakunin’s Broom joining. Tickets are $15 and include a late lunch.
To check out Sebastian Owl’s music, visit reverbnation.com/sebastianowl.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 31, 2012