UVic concert celebrates the music of David Bowie

Vancouver Island’s Music Fest artist director organizes tribute to Bowie, playing Feb. 8 at Farquhar Auditorium

Vancouver Island Music Fest artist director Doug Cox has put together a tribute to David Bowie. Starman: Acoustic Bowie will be at the Farquhar Auditorium Feb. 8.

Vancouver Island Music Fest artist director Doug Cox has put together a tribute to David Bowie. Starman: Acoustic Bowie will be at the Farquhar Auditorium Feb. 8.

The music of one of the most influential artists in modern history will fill the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium next month.

Doug Cox, Vancouver Island’s Music Fest artist director and producer for over 22 years, has put together a tribute to David Bowie with Starman: Acoustic Bowie, set to take the Farquhar stage Feb. 8 at 8 p.m.

When Cox first conceptualized an acoustic performance of Bowie songs, the thought of it being a posthumous tribute to the influential English rock star was inconceivable. But a lot can happen in a year.

“Absolutely, it was a shock,” Cox said of Bowie’s death on Jan. 10, 2016. “But it’s not going to change much of the production, other than what we say. It’s been a shock to all of us, working on this show. We’ve all been working really hard at it and to be that far inside of somebody’s art and then hear that they passed away, it becomes pretty personal.”

Known as an intuitive musical collaborator, Cox is also a gifted guitarist, regularly teaching at music camps and running his own Malahat Mountain Music label for years. He is a catalyst among musicians and his presentation of Starman: Acoustic Bowie promises to be another fascinating collaboration focusing on one of the most influential artists in the history of modern music.

“There’s not many modern musicians who haven’t been touched by Bowie in one way or another,” said Cox. “As soon as the word got out we were doing this show, musicians started getting in touch to see if they could participate – it’s been quite amazing to see the interest.”

Starman is presented as a songwriters-in-the-round format, with lead vocals split evenly among band members. Cox has recruited a solid cast of professional musicians, including Juno award-winning singer/songwriter Helen Austin, and Steve Dawson. Other band members include Cox’s longtime collaborator Sam Hurrie, Linda McRae (Spirit of the West), percussionist Robin Layne (Locarno) and Canadian bassist extraordinaire Rick May.

“It’s like a modern variety show where each person in the group gets to take a turn stepping up front for a couple of songs and then, stepping back to be a supporting band member,” he said. “The audience loves it because they get a taste of what each person on stage does and at the same time, they get to watch the musicians enjoy each other in a show that isn’t part of their normal touring activity.”

Tickets are $35, $25 for UVic students and alumni. For ticket information, contact the University Centre Ticket Centre at 250-721-8480 or email ticket@uvic.ca.