Sad Passings, New
Venues, Supportive Labels and: Craig Jacks & The
A lot has happened since our last meeting here. Ray Condo, a true
champion of Roots music, passed away. He will forever be missed. The
Cobalt, home of many in the Punk and Metal community and beyond, closed
its doors, and most independent music is still without the proper
widespread airplay it deserves.
But not all is lost. Indiepool and Canadian Satellite Radio, along with
Socan, the Caras and other supportive folk, have been negotiating with
the CRTC (our governing board that controls the airwaves) to open
satellite radio to more independent talent. At time of this writing,
there is a petition you can sign to throw your support behind it.
more info and click on the link to sign it.) There are two more venues
offering live music a place to be heard: The Buthchershop Gallery (East
26th Avenue, just off Main Street) and The Showroom (in the old Expo
site in The Plaza Of Nations), while the old reliables (Railway, Media,
Marine, Pic, Backstage Lounge, Main, Montemontre, Cottage and Bistro
amongst others) press on in their support of live music.
There's also been more noise made from energetic and enterprising indie
labels and studios such as: Boompa, Cazart, Northern Electric,
Copperspine and The Hive to scratch the surface. Maple Music, a more
national label, is throwing its support behind some of Vancouver's
brightest lights including: Bocephus King, Bob Kemmis, and The Blue
Alarm and Winston).
All the more community-oriented music festivals have plowed on as usual
(Crab Park, Point Roberts) and will return next year, and the former
Ranchfest (now called Rattleshake), originally put-together by
Alt-Country songstress Shelley Campbell (now with Nettwerk Records with
her "Blue Ridge Revile" CD), is back in October. Even Craig Jacks has a
Most every Thursday night (9 pm-Midnight) at Darby's (2001 MacDonald at
West 4th Avenue), he and his band of Jackalopes bring you a most joyous
marriage of originals (which are now available on his long-awaited
disc: "Waiting for My Angel"-available at his shows) and crowd
favourite covers by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Neil Young and Steve
You can definitely hear their influence on Craig's writing. From the
driving wheel feel of "Make Up Your Mind" (you can just see the smile
on Craig's face as he lets out a scream late in the song), to the
haunting strains of the title track and "Old Mountain Town', to the
more whacky and playful tunes: "Burnin' Tires" and "Hot Set In The Old
Town.” His CD is a pretty true representation of what he's like live.
Won’t be privy to his facial expressions, and his spirited direction of
his band through hand signals, head bopping and meandering all over the
stage. You will be privy to his distinctive growl and the contributions
of some of the best singers and players in this or any city. Zubot
& Dawson, Bottleneck's Robyn Carrigan, Crash's Mike Kenney, Terry
Jacks, and Shelley Campbell, make appearances on Craig's album, as well
as his own Jackalopes. This isn't strictly cry-in your-beer ballads.
Jacks knows his audience and adds
considerably more variation with his CD and his live show.
Contagious energy, smart pacing, and fearless playing, make him one of
the best performers on the local front, and you don't even pay a cover
to get in! Consisting of as many as 5 people, Craig's band give
his songs the kind of sharp, and undivided attention they deserve. Doug
Loshinsky adds his crafty fills and steady backbone. Jon Bews
(Radiogram) adds the subtle groove to anchor the band, and as there can
be as many as 3 guitar players on stage, Craig Jacks, along with John
Shepp and sometimes Craig McCaul, can create either the most sublime
mix of atmospheric fretwork or the most insane "freak out" known to
humankind, complete with Mr. Jacks laughing in silent hysterics!
Craig has also been known to change a word or two midway through a
song, and utter something totally bizarre, just to see if you're paying
It's all in the delivery. At the end of one set he declared with mock
seriousness: "We'll be back in...three hours! After all of us
drop some more acid,” as he looks at me and laughs. This is one
singer/songwriter/musician who's anything but boring. He knows how to
get up there and entertain, as well as perform. As he's pointed out
many times: "If you're not up there, ready to perform the best you can,
regardless of the situation or what day you've had, then you're not in
it for the right reasons." This might sound trivial, but there's
nothing worse then an artist you've been constantly raving about, being
a disappointment as a live act. Craig Jacks and his Jackalopes have yet
to be that.
Craig Jacks & The Mighty Jackalopes perform every Thursday night, 9
pm-Midnight, till the end of October at Darby's (in Kits, on the corner
of MacDonald and West 4th Avenue).
Mark Bignell is a
tireless advocate of local independent music. His weekly Radio
Bandcouver program can be heard Fridays, 10 pm-Midnight at 102.7 FM CFRO
Bandcouver on-line at: www.bandcouver.com
or e-mail Radio Bandcouver at: email@example.com