NewMusicWest helps clubs reach audience

   Then there is the act that does get on a strong bill at a popular club only to discover that it is competing with one of the weekend's buzz bands that is appearing at another club a few blocks away. With most of the industry hovering over the band at the other club, there goes the act's fairy tale story of discovery and overnight success.

   That's the way it goes. I'm also sure that Buck Ormsby, the former leader of Tacoma's legendary rock band The Wailers (the first group to cover Richard Berry's Louie Louie) and currently the manager of Omar Torrez, paused a moment to ask what he was doing at NewMusicWest.

   Torrez is a brilliant musician based in Seattle who is set to become a major star. The advance word on him suggested he was another Ottmar Liebert playing ersatz flamenco and his band was another Gipsy Kings, but when he strapped on a Fender Strat and his rhythm section laid down the funk of the first number at the Media Club, the description had to be amended to Jimi Hendrix playing flamenco with his Band of Gypsies.

   His set was diverse and exciting and, at the end of it, he sold a whopping 30 copies of his CD even though the early evening crowd was small.

   Apart from me, there were no media'or music business types to catch his show, partly because Torrez is a complete unknown in Canada, partly because he falls outside the sometimes blinkered vision of the industry and possibly because the Media Club was an experiment and he seemed the kind of lab rat that could be sacrificed there.

   Those who did check him out can brag about it later. As for the Media Club, it was a discovery in itself as it has been renovated to create a more spacious floor plan. With no fixed live music policy as yet, the re-launched venue on Cambie, open since mid-April, is situated inside the QET and Playhouse complex, close by thr Marine Club and Railway and could appeal to the same clientele. If word-of-mouth about Omar Torrez spreads, then opening its doors to NewMusicWest will have been worth it.