Psychedelic vibes

By Heather Abrey, 

Kitchener Post staff

A different kind of sound will be hitting Kitchener at Fat Cat’s on Hazeglen Drive Saturday night.

The Chameleon Project self-describes as a psychedelic-dance band, but their style incorporates a variety of different musical genres.

“It’s really a fusion of everything myself and the other band members have studied and listen to. We all come from a jazz background. Many of us are professionally trained jazz musicians,” said Josh Laing, the sole remaining founding member.

“At our core we’re a dance band that improvises, I’d say.”

Their music often appeals to jazz lovers, according to Laing, but also attracts those who enjoy electronic, funk, disco and progressive rock.

Residents can be forvigen for a lack of familiarity with the style, as The Chameleon Project has found most of their success performing in the United States and is confirmed to play at the Camp Bisco music festival in New York later this summer, which draws 15,000 to 20,000 people.

“The scene for this kind of music in Canada is very small, and in Toronto even smaller,” said Laing.

Toronto has a considerable appetite for large, commercial acts as well as a thriving indie rock scene, and “those two things kind of eat everything in their path,” he said.

“As soon as you get further out of Toronto in places like Kitchener, Guelph and Hamilton, there’s a little more of this jam band community that’s kind of there. It’s interesting, we’ve had some more success in those places, which is good. Which is why we’re excited to come back there.”

The band is hoping to grow the awareness of their genre in Canada, but face the challenge of many Canadian musicians — lack of support.

Many Canadian acts have to head to the U.S. to blaze a path and gain notoriety before they can successfully perform in their own country, said Laing.

“Everybody except basically Gordon Lightfoot had to leave this country,” he said.

“I think there’s a lot of great music here and I don’t think we should necessarily have to look to other countries to give us validation, so they can turn around and sell our culture back to us.”

The Chameleon Project will be playing Saturday night at Fat Cat’s, also known as Hack’s Bar and Grill, at 101 Hazeglen Dr. Tickets are available at the door and are a “recession affordable $5,” said Laing, who encourages residents to take a chance on Canadian bands.

Music starts at 10 p.m., and The Chameleon Project hopes to keep patrons dancing well into the night, along with the band MustStashHat.

“I believe that we’re really at our creative and performance peak in terms of technical ability, and our writing style has matured,” said Laing.

“I think the chemistry we have now, it’s almost like you have all the right parts of the stew and it’s just about to boil.”

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