Myrtle Beach indie rock outfit Bamboo Forest plays its swan song

For Weekly SurgeSeptember 16, 2013 

Bamboo Forest. Courtesy photo.

“We’d like to end on a good note,” reads a Facebook post complete with accidental pun from local original indie-rock band Bamboo Forest. The four-piece act will soon call it quits after a three-and-a-half year run. After four tours of the East Coast, which took the band from Florida to Boston, and out into the wilds of West Virginia and Ohio, the band will perform its last show on Saturday, as a part of a five-band lineup at the Fresh Brewed Coffee House in Myrtle Beach.

“It’s really too bad,” said one the band’s two guitarists, 22-year-old Zach Thomas. “But bands breaking up won’t stop me [or the other guys] from involvement in music. I’ve been playing since I was nine.”

Bamboo Forest formed in 2010 when singer/guitarist Jackson May and bassist Will Copeland wrote songs together moving from informal bands and jams throughout their high school years, eventually evolving into the band that would raise a few eyebrows as Myrtle Beach’s next hopeful, fresh-faced young rockers with real potential. Critical praise from the “Free Times” in Columbia and local fan support at the Sound Hole, The Island Bar, and a few other area venues, gave the band reason to take a shot at the big leagues.

Local promoter Paul McKinney took interest in the band, then a three-piece with drummer Jeff Whitener, and then later Zach Elvington. The band recorded “Indecisive” on McKinney’s indie label, Say I Won’t Records; the project is its only full-length release. “We unfortunately never got to record a few additional tunes we wrote after I joined the band,” said Thomas, who became the fourth and final member in the lineup roughly two years ago. With the new, fuller sound, and plenty of well-deserved confidence, Bamboo Forest hit the road.

“We mostly played in bars, but played a few music venues too,” said Thomas, “and even more rare, art spaces, which are a better environment for us – no alcohol, no indoor smoking. People are there just to listen to the bands.”

So why does any band break up?

“A few the guys are looking at potential career opportunities,” said Thomas. “Jackson is headed out of state. People need full time jobs - I can’t knock that. And between work and school, we just haven’t had the opportunity to write too much or record. I’m enrolled at [Horry-Georgetown] Tech, and I think a couple of the other guys are looking to go back, as well.”

Saturday’s Fresh Brewed Coffee House gig will also feature the Georgia-based pop-punk band VEARA, along with On My Honor, Panic Manor, and Hawaiian Shirt Day. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m. $6 advance tickets are available at the venue (933 Broadway St., Myrtle Beach) or $8 day of show.

While no firm plans to jump right back into the fray exist at the moment, the “future is wide open,” according to Thomas, for the remaining local members, in part or whole, to form some new band, but Thomas clearly has a soft spot in his heart for Bamboo Forest. “It was the first real band I ever played in,” he said. “[The band] provided my first touring experience. We went to places I had never seen. I really enjoyed it very much.”

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