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Respected Insights


Bypass Off: Hamilton’s Progressive Rock Tribute Act

November 1, 2019

Hamiton’s Bypass Off is bringing the style, sound, and spirit of prog rock to life.

The band is totally killing it. It is no small accomplishment for this newly formed Hamilton band that has taken on the task of authentically covering the art-rock/prog-rock classics.

I recently saw the band perform two shows, first at the historic Corktown on Young Street, and second at Stonewall’s on York Boulevard.

Music lovers looking for the ultimate progressive rock experience need look no further

Musicians looking to geek out on the most difficult and interesting music in rock history will finally get satisfaction.

Bypass Off is comprised of five of the region’s top players who have the chops to deliver the required content: Three veterans Dave O’Neill, Bob Shields, Dave Thierry, and two younger generation members Sim Bonsal and Olivia Brown.

Keyboardist Dave Thierry is proud of the band’s accomplishment at achieving authenticity of sound. He explains how he has worked hard to emulate the keyboard settings of each band. For example, you have to have the precise sound for the synth solo on Genesis’ “Follow You Follow Me” or “Oh Lucky Man” – nothing less will do.

Bassist Olivia Brown has absorbed the music entirely. She has mastered the unique bass lines, which in this genre often define the groove and form of the songs, and to top things off Olivia doubles capably with her flexible and expressive vocals on several tunes.

Guitarist Bob Shields has mastered his ambient effects, solo riffs and textures completely. At the Stonewalls show, for example, I was blown away by the force and conviction of his playing on Pink Floyd’s “Money” – the intensity of David Gilmour’s iconic guitar solo was recreated with perfection by Shields!

The band delivered the Rush classic “YYZ” while barely breaking a sweat (drummer O’Neill excepted). I heard many other songs by Genesis, King Crimson, Yes, and Frank Zappa which were less familiar. However, my accompanying friend was amazed that Bypass Off was performing these little-known songs which are true works of art. For too long and for whatever reason, this type of music has  been unjustly overlooked by cover bands. The likely explanation is that the music is “too hard” and the arrangements and textures are “too complex to tackle”. To give one example, the creative output of Genesis alone is astounding, (15 studio albums, six live albums, and a variety of box sets) and the diversity of what they composed and recorded is huge, but many people have no idea.

Bypass Off will be doing the world a service by bringing the classic prog rock bands into the light once again, and introducing the music to a new audience.

At both venues, the band’s acoustic performance was complete and exciting. Sound quality and balance were very good. The instrumental performance was flawless. Vocals were strong, on key, and confident. Solos were exciting and the sonic pallet was complete. No complaints here. Four and a half stars out of five.

Vocalists Sim Bansal and Olivia Brown are key parts in the band’s visual show. Both singer’s vocals are exceptionally strong; Olivia is a natural performer who is inspiring and fun to watch. Sim and Olivia could work out a more definite plan for who is fronting each tune and possibly using the front-centre part of stage interchangeably.

These are just rehearsal tweaks, but are not throwaway details. They are the icing on the cake which when added will make this the sweetest ever show...

Reviews & Testimonials: Reviews


Reviews & Testimonials: Reviews

"I went out for a night of music expecting to hear a typical bar band, but I was shocked! It felt like a real show - the kind of thing you'd see in a theater. My favorites were the king crimson songs as I am a big fan. It took me back to my childhood. They put some real effort into this!"


"Bypass Off pays tribute to the grand era of prog rock, and they do it with attention to detail!"


"To be able to take a nostalgic journey back in time to experience once again the foundation of my love for music, with engaging and emotion-evoking cover performances of some of yesteryear’s super-bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Rush and Peter Gabriel, to name a few - all the while bringing their very own unique style and sound to the stage! If you are looking for a great progressive rock experience, be sure to catch Bypass Off at one of their upcoming shows. You’ll be glad you did."

Y. Collesso 

"Great show by Bypass Off on Friday night. There just aren't a lot of bands out there capable of covering the kind of music they played. My favourite part was the Yes song "Roundabout." Great track and very challenging, too. The performance was faithful to the original songs but also had its own personal touch, especially with the female vocals. Would definitely see again."


"Awesome band! Felt like I was listening to the original recordings!"


"Bypass Off brings a unique edge to the musical world by reigniting songs of the best progressive rock bands. Their musicianship is exceptional and the band members create an experience that audiences can really become immersed in. As a huge Rush fan, it is awesome to finally find musicians who can nail their material. The guitarist’s hands move at the speed of light and the vocalist sounds like a mix between Sting and Adrian Belew of King Crimson which really suits the genre. I’ve seen them a few times and met the band members—a really friendly and dedicated crew! Can’t wait to see where they play next!"


"I had the pleasure to go see Bypass Off last month and they sure did not disappoint! If you are a fan of the prog-rock genre then this band is a must to check out! The real deal indeed!!"

Steve. J.

"Bypass Off is a great band!!! I saw them at Corktown and as a fan of rock music, I was so happy to hear a band cover these songs, and do it well!! All amazing musicians! Really enjoyed the whole prog experience!!!"


"Bypass Off brought my favourite prog rock hits back to life!"

Mike Bozic

"Bypass Off 's set one was one fire. Can’t wait for set 2. The sound here at 'This Ain’t Hollywood' is perfect...Wow! Blown away. Thanks for the Great Encore!!! Yeah, that was me making all that noise. Thank you for such a great concert. Knocked it out of the park... We will be monitoring your website for future events. Thanks for a great night."


"Great show last night and love the floss!" 

The kind of shameless display of virtuosity I witnessed at the Bypass Off show should honestly be made illegal. As a musician myself, I felt personally attacked by the band's level of instrumental prowess; I had to spend the entire following day practicing the guitar"


"Wow, you guys are killin it. Love Yes. I have their whole cd collection. Keep rockin it. MORE PROG!!"


"Sounds great guys!

Rick B.

Johnny I.

"Excellent, very well done!"


"Great band all! The sound of my(our) childhood!!👏👏👍👍"
Mark D.


"Woooow! I love Genesis since I was a kid. Now I'm 51, and Genesis' music makes me feel a kid again. Great job, you guys!"

Julian V.

Awesomeness! ❤️
Jay. B

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