Rock band Pressure Sensitive has become popular with local venues, booking shows early and often in recent years.
As the band begins its 2012 schedule at the Fountain Bowl on Saturday night, it will play five decades of rock without founding bassist Tim Welch, who lost his life in a November car accident.
With four years and thousands of hours put into Pressure Sensitive, singer Dave Ahlquist, drummer Gary Welch and guitarist Michael Key decided to keep the band together.
Area rockers Pressure Sensitive ended 2011 with a couple of dates across the Pennsylvania line, but the band will play several shows in the Jamestown area in 2012, including a benefit gig for former bassist Tim Welch, who lost his life in November.
"The biggest thing is, the last thing Tim would ever want us to do is to quit," said Key, who also helps out on vocals. "We're all human; everyone has their own way of dealing with things, but our way of dealing with things is of course playing music. It's good for your heart whenever you're down and out and whenever you're having the time of your life; it's kind of a two-way street."
Area natives Key, Ahlquist and Gary Welch, Tim's brother, practiced three nights per week, four hours per night with Tim Welch in preparation for their Saturday-night shows. They've kept the time-consuming practice schedule going with new bassist Luke Farnham of Mayville.
According to Key, the band's dedication brought Pressure Sensitive from the garage to the stage.
"We dump everything we've got into it. It kind of consumes you and becomes your life after a while." he said. "Tim was a major part of that. He was, in a sense, the driving force to the band. We all loved him like a brother."
With the new lineup, the band will honor its founding bassist at The Road-House Bar & Grill during a busy last weekend in January. Pressure Sensitive's Saturday, Jan. 28, show will be held at the bar, and the following day, the band will play a benefit show for the Welch family at the same venue.
Pressure Sensitive will move forward with Farnham, who joined the band in a temporary capacity earlier in the fall, when Tim Welch suffered a work-related injury.
"Tim was basically on injured reserve, healing. As booked up as we are, we had to find somebody to step in or otherwise, we would've had to cancel three or four months' worth of shows," Key said. "With Tim's permission and everything else, we ended up finding a temporary bass player: someone to fill in for a little while."
Tim Welch attended some of the band's practices while injured, helping get Farnham up to speed on the band's cover songs from the 1960s to today. Following the car accident, Farnham offered to join the band permanently, allowing Pressure Sensitive to continue on.
"He became one of the brothers so to speak or just a good friend," Key said.
With the support of Pressure Sensitive's fanbase and local venue owners, the band has booked shows for the majority of 2012 weekends, including dates in December. Key believes the band's ability to play a wide range of classic rock songs has made Pressure Sensitive a popular area rock act.
"We always try to keep the audience guessing. We could be playing music from the (1980s) and turn right around and play something from the (1960s). We're like a rock time machine," Key said. "We deliver. There's not many bands around here that put as much time and effort into a performance as we do."
Pressure Sensitive played shows on the last weekend of 2011 in Pennsylvania, but will rock Western New York bars and venues in the near future.
This month, the band will be in action locally several times, including Saturday night's 9-1 show at the Fountain Bowl. The band is slated to play The Q on Friday, Jan. 20, beginning at 9 p.m. and the aforementioned shows at The Road-House. The Jan. 28 show will begin at 10 p.m. and the Welch benefit will take place from noon until 9 p.m. on Jan. 29. The benefit, which will raise money for Tim Welch's wife and three children, will feature performances by Pressure Sensitive, Morning Wood, Total Chaos, Smokin 45 and Synergy. Also at the benefit, there will be a spaghetti dinner, a Chinese auction and 50/50 raffles. All of Pressure Sensitive's upcoming gigs can be found on their Facebook page.
Those who attend the band's shows will hear rock classics from the last half-century and maybe a couple of original tunes. Pressure Sensitive independently released one album, called "Every Day," and plans to release a second in the near future.
When and wherever the band takes the stage, it aims to please.
"We want to appeal to a wide variety of people, so therefore, we have to play a wide variety of music," Key said. "We like to keep you dancing. Everybody is usually having a great time. It becomes contagious amongst bar owners and different venues who are booking us and kind of has a snowball effect."