Rock 'n' roar

Meet the students behind the band Tiger Patrol

- November 19, 2013

Taking shelter: Tiger Patrol members (from left) Brydone Charlton, Colin Charlton, Uytae Lee, George Woodhouse and Patty Blakely. (Bruce Bottomley photo)
Taking shelter: Tiger Patrol members (from left) Brydone Charlton, Colin Charlton, Uytae Lee, George Woodhouse and Patty Blakely. (Bruce Bottomley photo)

Influenced by Celtic music, jazz and everything else in between, you may have already come across Tiger Patrol — the band, not the popular ride-home service — making joyous noise on campus. If not, you can be sure you will soon enough.

Having formed only this semester, the student folk-rock outfit has already played a number of high-profile gigs around campus, including this year’s induction ceremony and the Dal Open House. It’s almost as if they’re becoming something of a Dalhousie “house band.”

“We’ve actually performed more times than we’ve practiced,” says Brydone Charlton (drums), as his bandmates all laugh in agreement.

Alongside Brydone in the band are Colin Charlton (bass), Patty Blakely (cello), and Uytae Lee (ukulele). Fronting the group is George Woodhouse (guitar and vocals), whom many might recognise as the lead singer from the "See You in September" song and video two years ago. All are currently studying at Dal, except Brydone who is studying Music at Acadia.

The spirit of collaboration

One by one over the past five years, the band members left their home provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick to eventually meet up in Nova Scotia. The idea to play together on a regular basis only took shape this September as they each made their way through the open mic nights that George hosts at the Grawood.

Their various formal and informal musical abilities make playing together even more exciting. “Some of us are classically trained, others learned to play at farm parties, but we all need each other to make the sound we’re making,” says George. “If you take the time to jam with strangers, you always risk starting a band.”

For bassist Colin, he finds real achievement in the band by working to make it sound like one voice instead of five competing ones. "The best thing is making the subtle differences that will make people love the music for reasons they don’t even know,” he says.

If you have seen them play, heard their music, or had a chance to speak with Tiger Patrol (as a group or individually), it's not hard to see that their primary motivation for playing together is the fun of it.

“It’s never stressful because everyone in the band is caring,” Patty says. “We all give and take feedback pretty well,” Uytae adds.

As for the name, it was actually suggested by an old bandmate of George’s. When asked if it causes any confusion, the band unanimously agreed that the branded Tiger Patrol vans travelling across Halifax sort of make it seem like they’re on tour every night. “We decided to stick with the name because really, it boils down to free advertising,” George jokes.

Music as community

The band is planning to start writing and recording more originals soon, as well as getting started on an EP in the new year. But its members say the band is also about bringing people together and creating a community around creativity: they believe in art as a glue for a good, healthy community. They hope more people on campus will get inspired to nurture their creative talents, whatever they may be, and then find other people who enjoy it too.

If you are struggling on campus to find an outlet for your musical creativity, a quick shortlist of events to check out: the Dal’s Got Talent showcases, Open Mic Nights at The Grawood and The Grad House, The DalJam society, The Halifax Music Co-op, and the regular events put on by Dal's Department of Music.

“Whether you’re a singer, a player or listener, the Halifax music community is legendary for its inclusiveness — you just gotta show up!” says George.

Exclusive performace: "Far Away"

When Tiger Patrol offered Dal News an exclusive performance of a brand new song, we were happy to help make it happen. Check out "Far Away," made with the assistance of Bruce Bottomley on video, Tyler Myalls on sound and a special "presidential" guest on guitar, vocals and location scouting.


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