Sasquatch Prom Date will have fun at Frostbite

The bearded man shrugged on his Carhartt jacket and then levelled a gaze at Genesee Keevil.

She was sitting by the window, wearing a cover-your-eyes bright-pink wig, and her slightly too-loud voice only added to the spectacle.

“Where are you playing?” came the unexpected question.

“Frostbite, next weekend,” was the cheery answer from Keevil.

“I’m glad there is something different here in Whitehorse to enjoy,” he said as he left with a warm smile and a wave.

He has no idea.

This band is, indeed, different.

On the Yukon College stage, Keevil’s wig will be joined by a frilly prom dress as she leans into her stand-up bass and is surrounded by her bandmates.

Together, they are Sasquatch Prom Date, and they like to be different but, even more than that, they like to have fun on stage.

She is joined by Ian Stewart, her colleague from the Yukon News, and Ryan McNally. Patrick Singh rounds out the foursome on drums.

“There is a fair amount of interaction with the audience,” says Keevil. “If I start dancing, they start dancing.

“We hump amps around before the show, but when we get on stage, we forget the work and we just have fun.”

“People let their guard down,” says McNally. “I see people who would never dance, out on the dance floor.

“They forget their inhibitions.”

That’s how McNally measures success.

Both credit the rockabilly music that casts the spell on the audience.

“I play stand-up bass,” says Keevil. “So it has to be rockabilly.

“I like to dance, so I should play music that makes everyone else dance.

“Bass players get picked up by a lot of other bands, so you play their songs. This, however, is my dream band.”

That music is 50s style, borrowing from Elvis, Chuck Berry and The Cramps.

One song is Hillbilly Highway, a song McNally wrote for his band in Montréal, The Pandemics.

Then there is I Shot Your Dog, which, as you would expect, is a sad, slow song.

“But we bop it up,” says McNally.

The result is music that makes it near impossible to sit still.

Indeed, at a gig at the Gold Rush Inn, the band members looked out the window and saw a row of people with their faces pressed against the window. Behind them, there were people dancing.

People had been waiting an hour and a half to get in while the hallway outside the room was as crowded as the dance floor.

“The atmosphere was bursting out onto the street,” says McNally.

Keevil says the music has universal appeal and she has even been stopped on the street by people in their 60s who enjoy their music.

Looking forward to their set at Frostbite this weekend, McNally says the Yukon College gym is a large enough venue to give them more room to move.

Keevil says she hasn’t decided which prom dress to wear, as she is still looking for others. They are surprisingly elusive. The first one was found in Juneau, Alaska, at a “little hole-in-the-wall Sally Ann”.

“There it was, in the back of the room, a little stained, but it fit perfectly.

“And Ian found a suit about three or four sizes too small.”

“It works,” says McNally.

“It’s a super-shiny 1950s look,” adds Keevil.

Whether or not Keevil wears a wrist corsage is “up to the boys”.

“I’m still waiting,” she says.

The performance will be Friday night (rather, 12:45 on Saturday morning ) and ends at 2 a.m.

Keevil says she must then get some sleep and be ready to hit the Yukon Quest trail later Saturday morning to cover it for the Yukon News.

She is used to such transitions: “I run dogs,” she says. “I like coming in and taking off the toque and putting on the wig.” McNally starts laughing at this, so Keevil eggs him on further.

“Off with the Carhartts and on with the prom dress,” she says, complete with exaggerated motions.

And now McNally is laughing even harder.

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