Edmonton music scene brightened by Lusitania Lights

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By Joslyn Hildebrand

Our city has always had a vibrant arts and culture scene. In the past few years, the contribution of local artists has sparked the music scene in Edmonton. With the development of more small venues, there is ample opportunity for budding bands to share their talent and flair.

One such band is Lusitania Lights, which emerged onto the Edmonton music stage four years and four friendships ago.

Lusitania Lights is an alternative rock band that has its roots firmly in Edmonton. Although most of its shows and fan base are local to YEG, the group has toured Canada’s west coast playing small towns, as well as larger hubs such as Vancouver and Victoria.

The band’s namesake is the RMS Lusitaniaa British ocean liner that was sunk off the coast of New York in 1915. The ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, killing more than 1,100 people. Although the United States did not officially engage in the war until two years after the sinking of the Lusitania, it played a large part in shifting public opinion and uniting the country in support of its allies across the Atlantic.

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Connor Shaw is the lead singer of the band. Shaw’s music career, so to speak, started when he was just two years old with his first piano lesson, and he says it hasn’t stopped since then. If you listen to the band’s music, you’ll now hear Shaw shredding it on guitar instead of piano.

Originally when the group set out to collaborate, Shaw played guitar when performing shows. Recently, however, he has stepped down from that role to focus his energy on vocals and give space to showcase the “unreal guitar playing” of lead guitarist Brennan Murray.

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Band members from left to right: Brennan Murray, Connor Shaw, Miguel Soco, and Andrew McNicoll.

Murray also began playing music at a young age, but was more interested in sports as a teenager. He has since embraced his artistic side, and has been one of the founding supports of Lusitania Lights from day one.

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On the drums is Miguel Soco.

Soco is the latest addition to Lusitania Lights. Before the release of its first single, “Calypso,” the band had a different drummer. But since 2016, Soco has been bangin’ along with the band and is an integral part of the success it has experienced.

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Andrew McNicoll, the base player of Lusitania Lights, transitioned to base after playing mostly acoustic guitar his whole life. For McNicoll, music has transitioned seamlessly from a hobby to a habit. As the youngest member, he is a perfect fit for the style and spirit of the band.

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Five years ago, Shaw also began working on solo projects.

In April of this year, he released his first music as a solo artist, under the name CS Kid. His debut song, “Can’t Wake Up Next To You,” was recently featured on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist.

Although every member of Lusitania Lights contributes to developing the music they create, most of the song writing is done by Shaw and Murray.

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Music has always been a passion for everyone in the band. Whether that mean listening to tunes or making beats themselves, it is safe to say that songs and lyrics are a huge part of the lives of the members of Lusitania Lights on and off stage.

Their latest song, “Try,” came out in August. It was the first release that was not accompanied by a big release show or flashy promos.

“This song was a deeply emotional one to write, and it’s one I’m really excited to share,” Shaw said when announcing the release. “It’s gonna be big. It’s gonna be epic. And it’s gonna get you in your feelings.”

The band recommends turning it up as loud as you can.

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This past weekend, Lusitania Lights played a show at the Rec Room to feature its new music, including “Try,” along with some songs that have yet to be officially released.

More live shows are on the horizon for the band as Edmonton moves into the summer of festivals and fun that makes the city come alive!

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