The Columbia Journal P.O. Box 2633 MPO, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6B 3W8 Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342 Web: www.columbiajournal.ca
Volume Eight, Number Five: July 2003
August 2 & 3, Point Roberts Music
& Arts Festival. A Testimony.
Just catching the sun sinking into the
ocean at the end of each sun-drenched day was enough in taking the trek
down to Point Roberts, Washington. It's not a sight you're
bound to see in most parts of Vancouver (buildings tend to block the
But, the stellar musical line-up somehow
made you feel you hadn't left home. Vancouver has some of the most prolific
and dynamic music on the planet. This was made even more apparent with
the generous amounts of sun, and the gorgeous view of the surrounding
mountains and water on the huge boardwalk, providing a most sublime
marriage of sight and sound imaginable.
Sunday is the big day at the fest, with
Saturday being a fitting warm up. Simone Pope played some soothing
music on her cello. Rob Brower offered the kids a memorable day on the
stage, encouraging musical interaction. Poncho and Sal offered up some
pleasant flamenco sounds and if you like dancers, Saturday was the day
with the ERIE Celtic dancers and the ever popular Rama belly dancers
offering it up in unrivalled quantities...
If you came for the music, Sunday was
jam-packed. The funky-grooves of The Mary Ancheta Band opened this
grand afternoon. You may know her as a pitch-hitting keyboardist for
Bocephus King, among others. Mary has quite the alluring stage presence
as she slinks to the stage like a cat, lets her nimble fingers fly
across her keys and sings in a most sultry manner. Her cover of
Me'shell's "Boyfriend" was killer. Look for an album this fall.
Mary's four-piece ensemble included Darren
Parris, who would prove to be MVP of the day, on bass. He would grace
the stage twice more. Craig Jacks, main organizer of this wonderful
annual festival, (made possible with grants from The Arts Foundation
and other charitable organizations and small businesses), would later
state: "If you get sick of seeing Darren on stage, we could always have
him wear a mask!" Annie Rapid was on next with her spare acoustic solo
set that's best described as early Joni meets Joan Baez.
Then Linda McRae bounded to the stage and
gave a proud performance, all decked out in her party dress and
matching cowgirl boots and hat. Linda's Cheerful Lonesome band
included, yes, Darren Parris on bass, Bocephus King alumnus Paul Rigby
on mandolin and lap steel, the ever reliable Scott McLeod on guitar and
war-horse John Card (once a D.O.A. member) keeping things hopping on
the skins. From the mid-tempo "Put The Hurtin' Back In The Bottle" to
the gospel rave up "Hoot and Holler", Linda set the mood for the rest
of the evening.
Craig Jacks and his Jackalopes with: you
know who on bass, boisterously ambled on the stage, declared Darren
"band slut" status, and was firing on all cylinders, with newest member
Phil Hartman adding some tasty fills on organ, Guitarist Craig McCaul
adding some sublime, atmospheric swells and cries, John Shepp adding
some choppy licks of his own, and Doug Leshinsky laying down a steady
beat. Craig himself added his own licks and some trippy effects, turning
some songs into psychedelic rock opuses on his acoustic, his mandolin
and harmonica. From his gorgeous ode to his daughter "Marisa" to the
jaunty "Burnin' Tires", Jacks and his troops put on a show that was the
benchmark of the festival. It also doesn't hurt that they play every
Wednesday night at Darby's (West 4th at MacDonald, ) honing their chops!
Jon Wood, one of the most in demand and
important people in the local Roots music scene (Coal, Auburn, Flophouse Jr. Belinda
Bruce, etc) brought on his latest outfit Little Wonder. His newest
recruits provided a little more rockin' approach to Jon's former
incarnation Flophouse Jr.'s tunes, plus a few new ones of their own,
which had a very 1960's Pop approach, sometimes vaguely Lovin'
spoonful-ish at times. I hear it in the riffs. I hope we get to hear
"Giant Steps" and the moving "Fallin'" on disc sometime soon. Paul
Rigby would sit in again, complemented by Radiogram's Jon Bews, John
Cody whacking them drums and Sygirl's Jane Gowan adding some trumpet
and keyboards to the mix.
Bocephus King was the closing act, adding
his usual off-kilter demeanour to the festivities by throwing together
a completely different batch of players. His brother, Mike on bass,
Dave Stanaforth (whose written the odd tune for Bocephus) on keys, Dan
Myers on guitar, Rob Joseph on drums, and a throw you for a loop
addition of Be Good Tanya’s bass player, Andrew Burden, blowing some
wacky and insightful riffs on trombone!
He kept to his older material, as his
newer material (slated for release late September or early October) is
quite elaborate. The band wasn't as fiery as his other bands, but, they
did do a good turn on such bluesy excursions as "Think About You",
"Please Answer The Phone Please" and even invited a young guest onto the
stage, singing the rather adult lyrics of such tunes as "Josephina" and
" My Blue Soul", which even made Bocephus himself do a double take. The
comedy on stage made up for whatever lacked in fire.
But it's hard to complain when surrounded
by such breathtaking scenery. As with last year, leaving such a magical
and serene place seemed almost cruel. But...there's always next year.
Mark Bignell is a broadcaster and advocate
of local/independent music. He can be heard live Friday nights from
10pm-midnight on Radio Bandcouver at 102.7 FM, CFRO (Co-op radio). You
can also visit him on-line at: www.bandcouver.com!