Biography

 

Ask Adrian what kind of music The Adrian West Band  plays and he'll say "Yes." Or if he's feeling cocky, he'll say "Good."

The longer answer: they're a four-piece acoustic rock ensemble that plays uplifting original songs, catchy instrumentals and the odd cover. Some say they sound like Paul Simon meets Dave Matthews Band. Vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, electric violin, alto sax, upright bass, drums and live "looping”.  Duo and trio formats are also a thing.


Photo by Matt Cascardi

Adrian's approach to songwriting starts with the music. To be engaging, a song must stand on its own musically, independent of the lyrics. He often composes the instrumental layers of a song from start to finish, including the arrangement and the melody that will be sung, before writing a single lyric. It's only when he has something with solid musical "legs" that he starts toying with lyrics that reflect both the mood of the music and his own musings, passions and concerns of the day.

Ever the realist, Adrian's lyrics strike a delicate balance between life's ups and downs, hope and despair, poetry and social justice themes. He takes peculiar delight in setting serious topics to uplifting music.

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Adrian is an exciting performer to watch. A gifted vocalist, he moves effortlessly between guitar & violin, sometimes using live looping to add layers of sound and intrigue to his songs. With a knack for language that's simple yet poetic, he's not afraid to tackle difficult subjects in his songwriting; Safe Streets tells an allegory about police violence, Close Your Eyes laments the beauty bias that pervades in the mass media, while Senses entreats you to appreciate your senses while you can. But Adrian doesn't take any of this stuff too seriously; his lyrics belie a sense of hope and a touch of whimsy.  

Adrian started playing violin at the age of four and in his teens studied classical violin at the McGill Conservatory of Music in Montreal. He later learned to play drums, guitar and worked on his singing and songwriting.

He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995 where as a sideman violinist he began supporting local Bay Area bands, playing some of the area's better known venues including the Fillmore, Yoshi's SF (main stage), Slim’s, The Independent and The Sweetwater.

In 2005 he formed the Adrian West Band which has performed steadily at venues and festivals all over the Bay Area.

In 2011 he released his first full-length CD Chameleons and Butterflies.

 

Chameleons & Butterflies

In 2019 he released his second full-length CD The Human Touch.

 

 

In 2017-2018 Adrian combined his love of music with his love of science in a multimedia show called An Evening of Music & Science which wove his music with synchronized videos and presentations on the subject of how life began on Earth. The show was put on twice in Berkeley and three times in SF at the Shelton Theater.

The Adrian West Band plays mostly their own originals but their repertoire sometimes includes covers by the likes of Paul Simon, The Pretenders, Thelonious Monk, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Dave Brubeck, Supertramp, Dolly Parton, Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Adele, Billy Joel, Joe Jackson, Elliott Smith, Coldplay, Tom Waits, The Beatles, Noe Venable, Abba, Kenny Garrett & Maurice Ravel (Bolero)

 


Photo by Heather Keevican