Local boys set to light up Big B

Abby-Mission band Tarl is playing at the Big B in Mission on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Abbotsford’s Jeffrey Ellis and Tarl Feser and Mission’s Spencer Turpin and Pete Schmitt form two equal parts of the five-man Abby-Mission band Tarl. They play this Saturday

The popular Abbotsford-Mission band Tarl is scheduled to light up the Big B Saloon this Saturday night, and if you haven’t heard them play live before you’re missing out.

Lead singer of the self-titled band, Tarl Feser, says they play Rock n’ Roll music. No gimmicks.

“You can understand the lyrics, you can understand the melody, you want to sing along. It’s not brain surgery.”

That straight-up rock n’ roll style has proven very popular among Abby-Mission fans, who have caught on to the local talent over the past three years.

They released their first album in 2008, also of the same name. But Feser says the times are changing and bands can’t get away with just playing the same songs over and over for three years until they make up new songs.

That’s why Tarl is keeping things fresh. The band just released an EP on iTunes, and their single Fall has gone to radio.

“As the world is changing and albums have gone the way of the dodo bird, we’re going to release a single each month,” he says, keeping fickle fans satisfied.

Tarl consists of Jeffrey “Free” Ellis, from Abbotsford; Hoto Parker, a recent addition from Vancouver; Mission boys Spencer Turpin and Pete Schmitt; and of course Abbotsford’s own Feser.

As the band comes into its own, it owes much of its success to Feser’s extensive experiences since he began performing 13 years ago. The ups and downs, trials and tribulations of his music career hasn’t been just a happy joyride.

When he started playing music more than a decade ago, he just went from song to song, gig to gig, never really thinking about the future. But eventually he realized the music had become as much a part of him as his personality.

“At some point, I realized I don’t just want to do this. I have to do this.”

It started with a small band in the late ‘90s that used to play in just one venue in Abby. Then he moved on to a band called Sam that toured all over Canada. The experience was invaluable but the band went belly up.

Feser wrote a book based on those early forays in the music industry in the hopes of helping new musicians avoid the same pitfalls. That wisdom has transformed into maturity on both the music and the business side, which means the money and fame have slowly followed.

Tarl has developed a strong and faithful local following from fans in Mission and Abbotsford, but Feser has so far resisted the urge to change his music or his appearance to become more popular. It’s not so much that he refuses to “sell out”, as an unwillingness to become something he isn’t.

“If you start thinking, ‘I gotta do this or I gotta do that’, it just becomes too stressful.”

Whenever Feser has had doubts about his career, he just tries to keep it simple and that keeps it fun.

And he’s definitely looking forward to playing in Mission again.

“It’s going to be an awesome show, it’s going to be a long show because we’ve got a lot of friends coming out.”

Tarl will start with an acoustic set and get some of the slower songs out first.

“And then just after 10 we’re going to light it up and try and destroy the room,” he says casually.

Tarl plays at the Big B Saloon on Saturday, Oct. 22. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the doors, which open at 9 p.m.

Visit tarlmusic.com for more information.

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