Rifflandia regular Big Little Lions slides into an Oak Bay venue Friday night.

Rifflandia regular Big Little Lions slides into an Oak Bay venue Friday night.

Big Little Lions ‘play it by ear’ at Upstairs

Rifflandia regular Big Little Lions slides into an Oak Bay venue Friday night at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre



Rifflandia regular Big Little Lions slides into an Oak Bay venue Friday night.

“I kind of like any venue because every gig is so different,” said Helen Austin.

The duo is known for infectious folk pop songs, packed with emotion in tight harmonies that sound like the product of two people working closely and side-by-side instead of living in different countries.

Helen Austin and Paul Otten met while both on a conference songwriting member success panel and then a couple of years later started the band, with Austin based on Vancouver Island and Paul in Cincinnati, OH.

The distance doesn’t dampen the music, the pair won Ensemble of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for their 2015 debut album they released their sophomore album, Just Keep Moving, which has garnered attention from many CBC and College radio stations as well as blogs and magazines. The album was nominated for two 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards – Contemporary Album and Vocal Group of the Year.

The distance does mean a couple of rehearsals this week before the Oak Bay show and a small run of BC and Alberta appearances.

“Tomorrow to do mad rehearsal,” she said Monday, just prior to heading for the airport to pick up Otten. “We’re not one of those gigging bands who’s rehearsing all the time.”

She’d love to see no snow for the down Island drive but other than that has little expectation for the March 3 performance.

“I tend to play things by ear,” she said. “They’re all so different you just don’t know. It all really depends on the audience.”

The audience just has to come with an “open mind” and while it won’t be too chatty, there will be some conversation mingled with the music.

“Sometimes we have a set list and sometimes we just gauge the audience. You’re not looking for massive amounts of feedback, but just an open mind and just be nice,” she says with a laugh. “I like interaction as well because of my years in comedy. It makes it more of an individual show. It’s nice to have that individual experience every time.”

 

Visit biglittlelions.com for a taste of the music. Tickets are $20 available at Ivy’s Book Shop, Oak Bay Recreation Centre or online at beaconridgeproductions.com.

The music of Big Little Lions has been featured on TV including MTV’s Catfish, ABC’s The Vineyard, NBC’s The Night Shift, CBS’s Elementary, movie trailers, Microsoft, Ikea and McDonald’s commercials.