Evan Kruschke got a Squier Telecaster for Christmas when he was about 10.
The guitar not only brightened his holiday — it changed his life.
“I’d always wanted a guitar. I grew up on my dad playing Bruce Springsteen and those guys around the house,” Kruschke said.
He taught himself to play, and never looked back.
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Kruschke now is the lead guitarist and singer in the indie/alternative band Boat Race Weekend, which takes the stage Jan. 2 at the Emerald of Siam, 1314 Jadwin Ave., Richland.
The trio is based in Spokane, but Kruschke and the two other members — Jay Orth and Collin Price — grew up in the Tri-Cities.
Kruschke and Orth graduated from Tri-Cities Prep in 2010 and Price followed a year later. They all attended Gonzaga University in Spokane. That’s where they played their first show.
Kruschke was invited to perform at a coffee house in 2013, and he recruited his two friends.
“We just kind of kept going. It was never really a conscious decision. We just started playing house parties, ended up writing our own music, playing our own stuff,” Kruschke said. “It developed from there.”
Boat Race Weekend now has played throughout the Northwest, earning praise for its lively and evocative music, which bears influences of groups from Blink-182 to The Wonder Years.
The Inlander in Spokane said the guys “seamlessly blend the charmingly silly attitude of ’90s pop-punk with the more earnest and emotive intentions of its modern counterpart.”
No Cover Seattle wrote that they “gracefully (place) themselves in the scene with anthems that acknowledge the hurt while never forgetting the hope that comes along with it.”
The band’s album, The Talisman, which was released in March 2015, includes standout tracks like A Day at a Time and the soaring Beautiful Days.
On the latter, Kruschke sings, “Step out the front door, let’s have an adventure. Let’s wear out the soles of our shoes together.”
Later, he warns that, “You’ll fall, as you’ve fallen before. But you can’t let that fear keep you at your front door.”
Kruschke handles songwriting for the band. Orth plays drums and Price is on bass.
The band’s name is a nod to the hydroplane races that take over the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities each July. It also hints at the connection that helps make the band special.
“It’s awesome being able to do what we love and what we’ve dreamed of together. I think it translates on stage,” Kruschke said. “You hear about good bands that have (drama among members). That’s what happens when you stick random people together. But Jay, Collin and I already have that connection. We’re so tight, we almost know what the others are thinking.”
Kruschke promises a good time at the hometown show.
Traveler of Home and Badland Nomad also are set to play. Music starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $5.
“We’re really excited about the lineup and to see our family and friends,” Kruschke said. “It will be a fun night.”
IF YOU GO
What: Show by the indie/alternative band Boat Race Weekend, with Badland Nomad and Traveler of Home.
When: 9 p.m. Jan. 2.
Where: The Emerald of Siam, 1314 Jadwin Ave., Richland.