Friday, July 26, 2013

Vancouver Folk Music Festival Day Two @ Jericho Beach Park -- 07/20/13

The second day of the 26th Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival was packed, so let's just get right to it.
(See day one here)

It was a day of seeing workshops, and started off with one called Songwriters' CafĂ© featuring a score of Canadian talent. Led by Justin Rutledge, who was joined by Miranda Mulholland on the violin, it also included Hannah Georgas, joined by her guitar player Rob Tornroos; Kathleen Edwards, joined by Jim Bryson; and Del Barber, joined by... no one.
The best thing about the workshops is the collaboration that can happen, and there was a touch of that here; Kathleen and Jim joined in on Hannah's song "Robotic", helping on vocals. There were also a couple of cover songs, Hannah covering "Bye Bye Love", and oft-covered song made famous by The Everly Brothers, and Edwards with a sultry version of Nirvana's "All Apologies". I was also very impressed by Del Barber, who I had only heard a little of before the weekend. His good storytelling convinced me to check out his full set later in the afternoon.

I caught a bit of Reid Jamieson and his folky singer/songwriter fare, and later on in the day there was the Going Bi-Coastal workshop, with Charlottetown, PEI's Tim Chaisson and Mo Kenney from Waverley, Nova Scotia representing the east, and Vancouver's Hannah Georgas, and Victoria's Aidan Knight taking care of the west.
There was some nice collaborating in this workshop, Aidan and Hannah being familiar with each other at the folk fest, and Chaisson joined in a Mo Kenney song on his fiddle. Hannah also covered Sarah Harmer's "Coffee Stain" and as the workshop drew to an end, Aidan got everyone -- on stage and in the audience -- to join in to "Jasper", which was one of the highlights of the weekend, and Tim wrapped it up by pulling out his fiddle and evoking a good old fashioned east coast kitchen party.

From there it was off to Del Barber for his own set. Musically, he is a pretty good folk singer/songwriter with a bit of a country edge, but it's his charm and storytelling that put him above others. Introducing most songs with a story, and chatting with the crowd between -- and sometimes during -- songs. Even when he screwed up (something he would attribute to bad karma the next day) he covered effortlessly.
There was also a great song that was about Archie marrying Veronica (an even that happened in Archie comics a few years ago) which was my favourite of the set, and he ended with a cover of "Harvest Moon"
Del was one of my favourite "discoveries" of the festival, and I will have to make sure to catch him next time he is through Vancouver.

As the sun arced over Jericho Beach Park, I caught the first couple songs from The Wooden Sky, but they were having technical issues to start and the heat was starting to bear down, so it was off to the beer garden and catch Maria In The Shower in the background. I had heard a lot about the East Van band, but never seen them live. They put on a pretty fun set, and I'll have to catch them next time they put on a show.

Not long after that, the main stage started for the night, with Danny Michel and The Garifuna Collective. Danny recently went to Belize to record and be inspired, and he came back to Canada to do the festival circuit with them as his backing band. They traded off songs, with highlights being "Survivors Guilt" and the catchy "What Colour Are You?", and put on a very energetic and fun set.

And then, ending my day was Whitehorse. One of my most unexpectedly favourite shows of the year so far was when I saw them at the Commodore, so they were one of my most anticipated of the weekend.
Married couple Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are excellent musicians separately, but when put together, something magic happens. With only the two of them on stage, they have an array of instruments and looping pedals at their command, crafting each song from scratch, building them up one by one. Starting with "Killing Time Is Murder", the duo wowed the crowd, especially with Melissa's voice and Luke's guitar skills.
Aside from their own songs, they did a couple covers; a little bit of George Thorogood's "Who Do You Love" slipped in to "Radiator Blues" and a JJ Cale's "Crazy Mama" in the middle of the set. They also played each other's songs as well, including Luke's deliciously bitter "Broken" and Melissa's "Passenger 49", starting soft and then exploding part way through.
After what seemed like not nearly enough time, they wrapped up with the intense "Jane". They definitely didn't disappoint.

That was all for day two (there were other performers after Whitehorse, but I had to leave early). Day three would feature a couple more workshops and solo shows, and another one of my favourite festival discoveries.

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