Allstage Crawl: Hurtin’ Merv
Olive R Twists
This past Friday, December 14th, 2018; Barb and I dropped by one of our favorite downtown live music venues – Olive R Twists.
Chris Dore (co-owner), Amanda Harper-Reeds (Manager) and the entire staff there are exceptional. The cooking staff I can confess to are extraordinary as the food there is to die for.
Chris this year decided to make Olive R Twists more of a year-round live music venue for artists and bands. The bands play in the big room (capacity approx. 120) on the floor by the wall of windows at the west end of the building. There is a small PA there suitable for acoustic acts, but bands would need their own gear.
After events at the Bud Gardens the bar fills up on both sides to add to what ever crowd is already there, and the best part is the shows run 9-12am or 9-1am.
It’s the perfect intimate venue for musicians to play and Chris is a die-hard fan of live music and very easy to work with as is the rest of his staff.
Merv Leyte and the boys of Hurtin’ Merv have been around for approx. 9 years playing London and area venues. The band has a set list that spreads across 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and is geared to get you up dancing all night long.
Hurtin Merv consists of Merv Leyte – lead vocals, Terry Baisley – guitar, vocals, Pete Hubbell – keys/vocals, Cam Hubbell – bass/vocals and Chris McCreanor on drums.
Merv is a great front man for any band. He is well spoken, engages the audience on every level and just has that demeanor that immediately bonds with his audience. I’ve known the man for many years and he is a brother in every sense of the word and my life has been enriched for knowing him.
Terry Baisley has long been the back bone along with Merv in this band. Not one to lay down complex solo’s or run about – Terry plays to the song and in doing so becomes the rocksolid foundation for the band to play behind. In a subtle way onstage, he is the musical director of the band as he leads the entire band through the passages of each song. The best part of Terry is that aside from his musical talent, he is shy and very humble about his skill on a guitar, but at the same time as a fan he will treat you like a long-time friend.
Terry and I have had a long-time tradition when we come across one another – one of us buys the other a shot of rye. It doesn’t matter who buys, it doesn’t matter if we are on break or onstage – it’s a tradition that is just something special between two old friends that has taken place for a decade and will continue to do so for as many years as we have left.
Pete Hubbell on keys has joined the band a couple of years ago and gives the band another layer of music and far more options for material. Pete’s singing is a major asset to the band yet his ability on keys certainly has made the band better without a doubt due to his skill on the ivories.
Cam Hubbell, Pete’s son, plays bass in the band. Cam is a drummer’s bassist if ever there was one. I love Cam’s playing – its rock solid, perfect to match a drummers kick drum and he just lays down a wall of sound for the band to add their layers on top of it. The sound he gets from his rig is fat and full – perfect for a rock band.
Chris McCreanor fills out the band on drums. Chris has played with numerous London bands and has been around for quite awhile. His playing style is great, he doesn’t run into many songs that he can’t replicate the original drummers’ style and yet he still makes each song his own. He’s got great hands and comes with up some cool hand patterns that catch your attention – add to that that he is just a super nice guy and you have the perfect guy at the helm of Hurtin Merv to drive the band.
All in all Hurtin’ Merv is a great band to have at a venue or hire for a backyard party, BBW or any other social event. They have great songs and just are a “feel good” kind of band.
Go check them out at their next gig.
Jim McCormick – Allstage