Lucky Monkey hits the road

After honing their chops in bars around Kelowna, Lucky Monkey hit the road on their first cross-Canada tour Thursday.

The local band, regularly seen on stage at Fernando's, Doc Whilloughby's and O'Flannigan's, embarked on a 25-day trip that will see them play 15 shows, heading as far east as Ottawa.

The band, consisting of guitarist Ryan Zeleznik, drummer Josh Evans, lead singer Cass Hritzuk and bassist Dylan Losell, first formed in 2017. Since then, music has taken them on short stints around B.C., as far north as Tumbler Ridge where they won the 2018 Battle of the Bands competition at Grizfest Music Festival. But this spring's tour is their first extended trip.

“We're going to get to know each other on a whole other level,” Hritzuk said Thursday afternoon, as the band packed their trailer.

“It means everything for the band, this has been a dream of mine, and everybody else's, for forever to tour like this.”

Hritzuk says they've been setting up the tour dates over the past eight months, contacting venues and reaching out to contacts they have across the country. And while they've been hustling to make their dreams a reality, Hritzuk says it's never really felt like work.

It may feel like a little bit of work to make their gig on May 2 though, when the band will leave their show in Thunder Bay the night before and drive 16 hours to their show the next evening in Ottawa. 

The band has grown in leaps and bounds in just a short time in Kelowna, releasing their second EP, titled Nothing to Lose, last month, along with their second music video for the song of the same name. That video was filmed during a live show at Doc Whilloughby's, a stage the group has had plenty of experience playing on.

“We've been accepted beautifully and we've had so much fun playing for our home crowd,” Hritzuk said of the Kelowna music scene.

He says it'll be a little different not seeing the usual fans out at the shows on the road.

“It's always weird not having that hometown crowd, all your friends coming to your shows, but we'll have to make new friends.”

Hritzuk will see some familiar faces on May 17 though, when they play in Lloydminster, his hometown.

For the Kelowna fans who won't be able to the chase the boys east, they'll be keeping everyone up to date on their adventures on Facebook and Instagram. They also plan to record a podcast on the road, which can be found on their website.

Lucky Monkey will be back in Kelowna on May 25, opening for Danko Jones at the Konquer Ride and Rock show.

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