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GUEST COLUMN: Almost Floating: the band in the basement

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Adrien Potvin

When my dad told me Almost Floating would be hitting the stage for the first time since 2009 (and for the last time together), I knew it’d be special.

Adrien Potvin
Adrien Potvin

ArtWalk 2016 was the final farewell for one of Sarnia’s most unique bands, and a band close to my heart. I looked forward to it because I grew up hearing them in my basement; the band’s de facto practice space during many of my formative years.

I couldn’t wait to hear those songs again live and for the last time, bittersweet though it was.

Mark Potvin, my father, has played guitar with Jim Chevalier’s group since it formed a bit over a decade ago. Having musicians and bands come and go through the house was nothing new — growing up, my dad was always playing and recording music. Guys like Mike Stevens, Bil Eldridge, and Mark O’Reilly would always be in and out of the house, which was more often than not scattered with cables, recording equipment, instruments and all kinds of other gear.

But I was late bloomer musically, and only took serious notice of my dad’s work when Almost Floating’s music was kicking off and coming together. Having five uniquely talented musicians join forces with a sound I’d never quite heard before was exciting, especially when learning the bass guitar and the ins-and-outs of music.

The five-piece performed such a wide variety of styles it was hard to pin down one fitting descriptor. Their sound ranged from Celtic-tinged folk to a noisy, almost post-punk energy. They covered it all.

It was pure exploration, and I think in many ways it set me off into developing my own diverse tastes.

When they recorded their self-titled album I got to witness not only the band’s creative process, but also the logistics, finances, and business behind the whole thing. Seeing the band rehearse, plan gigs, and fund the album taught me about the real, hard-hitting side of playing in a working band, and it’s an experience I’m grateful for. As a learning musician, it was an important experience.

So thanks, Almost Floating, for over a decade of great music. Sarnia won’t forget it anytime soon.

Adrien Potvin is a writer and musician from Sarnia who now resides in Guelph, Ont.



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