Movin’ on up


Michael Bernard Fitzgerald moves from small town shows to big city tours

Jonathan Petrychyn
A&C Editor

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
The Exchange
March 2
8 p.m.
$15 advance; $20 door

Calgary’s Michael Bernard Fitzgerald once did a show with over 120 people on stage. This year, he’ll be doing a show with over 250 people on stage in Calgary.

How many people does Regina get? Six.

But that doesn’t mean the show won’t be as inspired, or as fun, as the Calgary show.

“The band is two full drum kits, and a bass player, and a key player, and then there’s myself and another singer. It’s a good size set up,” Fitzgerald said. “The two drum [kits] make it fun, and gives it lots of energy and makes it danceable. And the show’s got some kind quiet, more acousticy moments, and some big, more fun moments.”

Sure, it’s not the 250 people Calgary will be getting, but it’s still a sign that Fitzgerald is growing up and moving well beyond those early days when he’d play a show in his guitarist’s hometown of less than 1,000 people, with an audience scarcely over two dozen.

Fitzgerald will be stopping in Regina on his tour to play songs from his new EP Yes: Side B, which, as you may have guessed, is leading up to the Apr. 24 release of his new full-length Yes: Side A.

Fitzgerald played the Exchange last February with Carl and the College Kids and then followed that up with a performance at the Regina Folk Festival this summer. Fitzgerald said he always enjoys playing Regina, but this time looks forward to the new fans he may have picked up from the Folk Fest.

“We really enjoy playing in Regina, and the last time we played at the Exchange it wasn’t super busy, but [with the] people that were there, we actually made really great relationships,” Fitzgerald said. “So I’m looking forward to coming back to Regina and following up the Folk Festival, which was such an amazing opportunity this summer, so to come back and hopefully play to some of the same people is a treat.”

Yes: Side A is Fitzgerald’s first full-length since 2009’s Love LP. And, though he said that the album is “significantly different” than his first album, it’s still an upbeat Michael Bernard Fitzgerald album.

“I’ve mostly grown up a bit since the Love LP came out,” Fitzgerald said. “That came out in the summer of 2009; I probably started writing songs for that in the summer of 2007. So much time has passed. So just even from that standpoint, it’s the same person singing. I still play acoustic guitar, there’s still warmth in it. It’s not like it’s too far off the beaten path, [but] the songwriting is significantly different.”

Yes: Side A was produced by The Philosopher Kings’ Jon Levine and Brian West, who have produced albums for Canadian songstress-turned-“Maneater” Nelly Furtado. Between Love and Yes, Levine would send Fitzgerald “required listening” that was supposed to “inspire” him and his new album.

But even with new influences, Fitzgerald said the music is still all his.

“It’s still the same kind of concept and idea behind it,” Fitzgerald said. “But at the same time, I’ve been playing so many shows over the last few years and writing so many songs, you just can’t help but to evolve a bit … You just can’t help but continue to grow as player if you play so many times.”

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