The Best Local Band You’ve Never Heard Of
Story by Stephanie Skavinski, Photos by Kay Lee

Have you seen Carver? They’re the best local band that you’ve never heard of—yet. With only two shows under their belt, Carver is new to the music scene in this particular configuration, but the individual members have been hitting Thunder Bay stages for a long time.

Going into their March 8 show at Black Pirates Pub, I knew that the guys had a mixed musical background that included folk, pop-punk and rock—and Nick Sherman, Jimmy Breslin, Derek Shaffer, and Chad Kirvan all bring their own signature sound to the ensemble. Sherman has had a solo presence for more than a couple of years now and the other members come from a mix of bands including Greenbank, Boy Castle, and Cobra vs Mongoose. Just as a good chef will tell you, if you start with high-quality ingredients you’re likely to end up with something delicious at the end—and if your ingredients are a local talent lineup like this, it’s hard to go wrong.

Opening acts AJ Esquega, and Engine House did a great job warming up the crowd, beginning with a solo guitar singer/songwriter set, and slowly adding more instruments and truly opening up the sound throughout the night, leading into what would be a good old-fashioned, energy-intense rock show from Carver.

Breslin’s rocking guitar riffs, Shaffer’s heavy-hitting percussion, Kirvan’s interesting bass lines, and Sherman’s thoughtful lyrics and smoky vocals all came together to produce a heavier sound than I anticipated, but definitely appreciated. You would never know it was only their second show together—the set was so tight that you would think they’ve all been playing together for years already. The energy and stage banter between band members and the audience can make or break a show, and Carver is totally polished here too. Casual and cool, but at the same time genuine and engaging with the audience—a good show is a balance of so many different elements, and these guys have it all. Keep an eye out for upcoming shows because you won’t want to miss them.