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Bombargo: From Humble Beginnings to the Goodtime Guarantee

Updated: May 18, 2023

by Andrew Liles

Bombargo brothers, Anthony Thoen (guitar) and Nathan Thoen (lead vocals), took time out of their hectic schedule to chat with me about their musical beginnings as well as their latest endeavors to deliver their newest record. Even their Mom, local Prince Albert artist, Christina Thoen, weighed in with fond memories of her boys. “As kids, they were always creating… and making videos” and she continued with a giggle, “...they’d use turkey basters as microphones”. She beamed as she reminisced about how she would put all three boys in the bay window of the living room (including youngest brother, Quinten Thoen) as a stage to perform. Seems Anthony and Nathan were destined to under the big lights!

When asked if a band was something the brothers had worked on when they were younger, Anthony shared, “We had never actually played in a band together per se. We sang together in some talent shows as kids and… were involved in a few different musical productions… but never had a band”.

The band truly started in 2015 when Nathan and guitarist Spencer Chilliak randomly met out of the blue and decided to head off to the Sasquatch Music Festival together for a 16 hour trek. Their shared passion and love of music was obvious to them and launched an instant friendship which sparked the genesis of the group. It was in 2017, on Anthony’s birthday while in Bali, Indonesia, that Nathan finally convinced Anthony to join after his own band Black Vienna, had ended. Anthony then quit his job in San Francisco and moved back to Saskatoon to be part of the already exciting and successful enterprise. The remainder of the 7-piece group is skillfully manned with additional brothers Matt Folkerson (keys) and Sammy Folkersen (bass), Connor Newton (saxophone), and Niall Cubbon (drums). As a whole, these guys deliver a live experience that will keep you moving until their very last chord draped with a soulful sound over their self proclaimed ‘vintage-pop’ sound.

Bombargo has amassed an amazing fan base who help propel them to earn over 3.5 million streams on Spotify, 715,000+ views on YouTube, and nominations for the Saskatchewan Music Awards “Pop/Rock Artists of the Year '' in both 2018 and 2019. Beyond that, their recent Okeechobee festival main stage performance in Florida was attended by over 40,000 people. There is no doubt that Bombargo is on the rise with fans this supportive.

In January of 2020, Bombargo set out to record their new album. With how 2020 went, after the album was complete, only one show was able to be performed. Being ever resilient, a new plan was hatched. Fast forward to December 2020 and things begin heating up in Saskatoon within the Bombargo camp. Their ambitious Kickstarter campaign for pre-buying their album debuted since live show merch sales were not possible. Within the first 7 hours of the Kickstarter launch, the dedicated fans contributed over $12,000 and ultimately raised a grand total of $22,931. No one knows what the future holds for us. What is clear is that Bombargo will be ready to dazzle and entertain their audiences once live music blesses us all again.

*Top photo by Scott Roos

*All other pics by Deanna Roos of Contingent Colours photography courtesy of Chester Fest's Joel Rohs

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