Meet Adam Bowen, musical chameleon

Multi-instrumentalist, beat-boxer, seasoned performer to play at Black's Pub July 17 and 24

Adam Bowen describes himself as a musical chameleon. He plays several instruments, and in the last few months alone has done solo shows, hosted open mic nights and performed in a Pearl Jam tribute band, an original ska/funk/rock/jam band and others.

He also recently joined Yeah Whatever, a Vancouver-based vampire/goth/metal band.

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At age 28 his musical resume is extensive and includes almost every kind of music you can imagine - and ones such as ukulele-driven rock and strange, undulating middle eastern rhythms you might not have dreamed of.

I love all kinds of music, Bowen said.

And so when he takes the stage at Black's Pub on Friday (July 17) and again on July 24 it's anyone's guess what might come out. Even Bowen himself doesn't know what the solo shows might include.

You never know how it's going to unfold, he said. I'm a real stream-of-consciousness player.

Guitar, bass, percussion, saxophone and voice - including beat-boxing - will be part of the mix, and Bowen records and loops sounds and instrument lines to create a sonic landscape. He said a song might start with a guitar line, layered with a beat box sample, then a bass line, a different guitar sound and then some singing.

Songs are created on the fly and, depending on how he's feeling and the vibe from the crowd, they might include some poignant lyrics about the state of the world or a killer 10-minute guitar solo. Oh and he knows hundreds of sing-along favourites and is happy to take requests.

It's just real free flow, Bowen said. No two shows are really the same.

Coming from a long line of musicians on both sides of his family, it's not surprising that Bowen has always known he'd be a musician. His great grandparents were classically trained opera singers and his mother is Patricia Watson, an international recording artist, piano bar performer and composer of rock musicals.

Born in Ontario, by age 8 Bowen had toured Europe with his mother more than a dozen times. When he was 10 they moved to Maui, and Bowen got into musical theatre and started playing in bands in high school. His music career unfolded naturally, and he's been a full-time musician since he was 18.

Almost a decade later and still based in Maui, last summer Bowen hit a snag at the U.S. border after a trip back to Canada to visit family. He was not allowed back into the U.S.

After an unexpected relocation to Lion's Bay, Bowen said he's spent the better part of the last year trying to get established in the local and regional music scene. Now playing in four bands, racking up solo gigs and hosting a weekly open mic night in Burnaby, it seems things are starting to come together.

Discover the multiple musical personalities of Adam Bowen during the next two Frequency Fridays at Black's Pub, July 17 and 24 starting at 9 p.m.

Frequency Fridays is a new weekly night out with friends who appreciate quality entertainment, according to organizers. Each week features a DJ or live performer, and entry is free.

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