Switch’s next show is going to feel a lot different from the last.
In April, the Cowichan Valley hip hop artist performed a show for about 600 or 700 viewers, all of whom were watching him via a livestream on Facebook. This time, he will have a handful of audience members in front of him, as well as a virtual crowd that he hopes compares to the last one.
“It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to,” Switch said. “It’s a very intrinsic part of who I am to perform.”
The 20 in-person tickets for the Sept. 18 performance by Switch and four special guests at the Duncan Showroom sold out fast. Last time, not only could he not see the audience as he performed in his studio, but he couldn’t even see the constant stream of positive feedback on his Facebook page. Even a handful of live fans will make a difference.
“It will be good to see the crowd and actually feed off the energy,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of the audience will be excited because there hasn’t been a lot of live music for a while.”
Viewers of the livestream — both on Facebook and on the Showroom’s YouTube page — will be encouraged to donate to support the performers. In addition to Switch, they include CButts, Swivel, Elev8ed and Abyss.
CButts is a young rapper from Port Alberni. Swivel, who hails from Nanaimo, may already be known to Island hip hop fans from his previous identity, Don Quietus.
“I’ve done shows with him before,” Switch noted. “He’s a talented guy, for sure.”
Elev8ed, also from Nanaimo, was supposed to join Switch this spring for a tour of Alberta that had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
“He’s pretty active,” Switch said. “He’s done a lot of shows.”
Abyss, another Duncan rapper, has performed at the Showroom in the past.
“He’s a good dude,” Switch commented. “He also came with me on my B.C. tour.”
For his part, Switch will tailor the show to the Showroom.
“I’m gonna do more down-tempo stuff,” he said. “When I perform at coffee houses or venues like that, I want to do songs I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else. It’s a lot more personal, so I like to do more emotional songs.”
The Showroom, Switch is quick to point out, will be a much better venue than the room where he filmed his last show, both in terms of sound quality and because it has multiple cameras to shoot from. It will also be mixed live as it streams.
“I’d say it’s the best-sounding venue on the Island,” he said. “It’s got really good acoustics. I’m much more excited to stream this one. The last one was just in a room, but this is an actual venue.”
For anyone who watches, donating to support the show and the performers is vital.
“Obviously COVID has hit people pretty hard, and there’s no EI or CERB if you’re a musician,” Switch noted. “People think why donate, because either way you can watch it. But drop in $10 or $15 as if you were actually buying a ticket.”