On our playlist: Saanich’s Handsome Distraction on the rise

Last February, Handsome Distraction didn’t know what kind of room they would be playing to when they walked into a gig for a bit of an older crowd in Crofton.

“There was this old lady and she had a walker and she was sitting there at her table, tapping her feet and bobbing her head and we were on stage rocking out” said frontman Devin Perfect. “Then we come back down here to play all ages shows and the kids love it.”

Embarking on a tour to meet new audiences is a risk, but one Perfect’s willing to take. And the self-described band papa doesn’t make such decisions lightly.

At 31, the eldest of the four-piece, Gorge-Tillicum-based group, juggles the responsibilities of being a husband and a father of a young baby with his drive for making music – alt grunge, rock music with melodies that soften the edges, he says.

“This band from day one has just been growing and getting bigger and it’s kinda taken a lot of us by surprise,” Perfect said.

Part of their growth came after winning a battle of the bands at the University of Victoria in March. The full Handsome Distraction story goes back much further, though, starting at a time when Perfect and original lead-guitarist Chris Regnier would get together and write acoustic songs. During a Halloween party at Perfect’s house, the two asked drummer Bryan Reiber to jam and from there the three-piece incarnation of the band grew. Recently, amidst talk of touring, Reiber decided the May 6 show in Duncan would be his last.

But the only remaining founding member of the band and his drive to perform has Perfect looking for a new drummer and to Handsome Distraction’s future. It’s a vision that includes lead guitarist Corey Francis and bassist Chris Weaver, who responded to a Craigslist ad and sparked instant “love at first sight” for the guys.

For Perfect, it was all about Weaver’s onstage charisma and style.

“It’s one thing to play to your hometown crowd, but it’s a whole different thing to play to other people who don’t know you. You have to put your best foot forward because it’s all about that first impression.”

Handsome Distraction released Middle of Somewhere, an EP recorded by Steven Klipper this January, yet their high-energy rock shows remain what the guys do best.

“If I’m not walking off stage dripping in sweat, I didn’t put my all into it.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Hear our playlist live

• Handsome Distraction’s spring/summer shows (to date): May 6 at the Duncan Garage Showroom; June 23 at Logan’s (1821 Cook St.); July 9 at Rock the Fuca, Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad St.); and August 26 at Western Speedway (2207 Millstream Rd.)

• Next on our playlist:

Versa: Check out our next playlist band, Versa, when founding member Matt Dolmage plays the Solstice Café (529 Pandora St.) May 13.

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