He is the namesake of an American brigadier general and an English footballer, but local musician and visual artist Steve Basham represents neither war nor the sport of worldwide hooliganism.
Formally playing in the bands the Fo!ps and J.R. Hill & the Oktars, and more recently in the Unbelievable Bargains, Basham received his BFA honours from the University of Manitoba in 2009. He is also the frontman for the Girth, a Winnipeg-based quintet whose flame burned brightly and briefly.
After a half-year hiatus, the band—Basham on lead vocals and guitar, Toby Gillies on drums, Ivar Palmason on lead guitar, Arthur Antony on bass, and Evan Bowness on keys—returns to the stage together for what may very well be the last time. Basham says it felt good to get the band back together. “The first practice after a half-year off was making sure we still knew the songs. By the second practice it actually sounded like the Girth again.”
“It was fun; after almost six months or more [of] not playing together to go through the songs and [see] how quickly it felt natural and how quickly it came back. Like riding a short, wide bicycle,” Basham tells the Manitoban.
The band released a self-titled, full-length album in fall 2012, and this potential farewell show provides the opportunity to hear and purchase unreleased material: an EP recorded last summer.
“The EP was pretty much everything that hadn’t been on our first album,” says Basham. He says the five songs are split between two older tunes from his solo career that band members enjoyed playing but didn’t make the cut for the full-length, and three newer ones. “They are like the bookends of our career.”
“It was something we really wanted to do regardless of whether we kept going with the band in any capacity,” he says. “It’s sort of strange wondering how to talk about it because it’s a release for a project that’s kind of ending.”
Rather than put out a physical CD, which Basham acknowledges is rapidly becoming material superfluous to the recording and production process, the band is releasing a digital download accompanied by a fabulous commemorative art print.
Make it to the Windsor Hotel on Feb. 8 to catch the Girth close out a bill with the Catamounts and Blisters. Show starts at 10 p.m. Cover is $8 or $10 with a purchase of the album which includes album artwork.