Bite of the Underground is a cabaret style variety show that features music, stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, poetry, theatre and more. It brings together artists and audiences who share Neworld’s commitment to social justice, diversity, and – most importantly – responsible fun. BOTU provides a common ground for artists and audiences to cross pollinate, discover new voices, and have a good time. The event originated in 2006, took a little rest after 2010 and then came back to life again in 2014.

Restaurants along Commercial Drive hosted the first three (sold out) shows.

BOTU 1 featured Geoff Berner, CR Avery, John Murphy, The Minimalist Jug Band, Kliph Nesteroff, Morgan Brayton, and Blackout Broadcast and took place at Cafe Deux Soleils. It was a great success and, among other things, introduced the Minimalist Jug Band to many of the uninitiated.

BOTU 2 switched settings to RIME. Performers included Charlie Demers (as the host), Jess Hill, Chelsea Johnson, The Crawford Twins, Dawn Wendy McLeod, The Minimalist Jug Band, and Graham Clark. The evening was closed with great set by The Beige. It was great to see Jess Hill sell all of her cds and go home to pick up more to satisfy her new fans.

BOTU 3 performers included Charlie Demers once again as host, Patrick Swan, Jason Bryden, Jess Hill, Adrienne Wong, John Murphy, and a closing set by Circus in Flames. Every act seemed like a highlight, but perhaps the most lasting image of the night is that of John Murphy, in nothing but a diaper, playing the blues in the voice of a baby.

Since the resurrection of BOTU in 2014 all events have taken place at PL1422 and performers have included The Progressive Polygamists, Marcus Youssef, Geoff Berner, The Ro$$i Gang, Charlie Demers, Graham Clark, Orkestar Slivovica, ITSAZOO Productions and Savage Society, Ruby & Smith, Katie-Ellen Humphries and Los Dorados.

Photos by Matt Reznek and Graphic by Kate Hood