I was honoured last weekend to be invited by my good friend Ryan Lidstone to head up to Kelowna for two nights of improvised music alongside him and another friend of ours, bassist Jazz Palley.
We played two nights up there, both were incredibly fun and very well received (who knew Kelowna had a taste for improvised free jazz?) Now I get to tell people I’ve played out of town gigs as a featured guest solo artist. Legitimacy points for me!
Upon returning to Vancouver I had a flurry of gigs back to back that week.
Wednesday saw the debut of Erik Engholm’s 7 piece brainchild Black Oil Vaccine playing all original compositions of Erik’s (and an arrangement or two) that are filled with intertwining horn lines, crazy harmonic forms, and intense melodic content. I’d love to see that band play on a better night (no offence, middle of the week) so that more people can experience the controlled chaos of that band.
Thursday night had the return of my electronic/rock/jazz trio Edarem, except now the trio is a quartet with the addition of Curt Henderson on guitar. The addition of Curt has propelled that group through the roof in my opinion. I realized, in terms of my own compositions and arrangements for the group, that we were almost trying to compensate for a lack of chordal player in all our music. Having someone there to actually play the chords (what a concept!) is incredible. Not to mention the fact that Curt is one of the most musical guitar players I know. He seamlessly fit into the group after only one rehearsal with us. We’re planning on doing more with this re-energized version of Edarem.
Friday was Key To Abyss opening for one of the most high energy live acts I’ve seen in recent history. Yonatan Gat completely blew the roof off of the Biltmore. That band brings so much ferocity and raw energy to their playing that on more than one occasion the entire drum set was strewn across the floor. Did I mention they weren’t even on the stage? They set up in a corner of the venue with nothing but three coloured lights to illuminate each of the three players. Absolutely incredible band playing incredible music. Key To Abyss was awestruck and we may or may not try to rip off a number of incredible ideas we got from watching those guys.
I was lucky enough to get video and audio recordings from most of the gigs I played over the week, so with any luck that stuff should start trickling out soon.
In less ‘Great News’ topics (this is the 'Other News’ part)
After about 2 or 3 years with them I have parted ways with the circus/rock/electro group VaudeVille Vagabonds. Without getting into the messy details too deeply, the band was run in a way that was not to the benefit of everyone involved and many of the persisting problems apparently could not be fixed after plenty of effort that was spent to try to fix them.
At the end of this past summer myself along with the rest of the talented and hard working instrumental section of the band (Katheryn Peterson, Nikko Whitworth, and Eliot Doyle) mutually agreed it was time to leave the group.
Apparently the group (or at least, what’s left of it) has decided to continue on and it wasn’t until I made a public Facebook post about it that our departure was even announced. Just the cherry on top of the whole thing.
It all goes to show that the only thing that matters in keeping a band together is complete openness, a willingness to adapt and change, and an ability to keep the relationship healthy between all band members. In fact, it’s often been said that being in a band is like being in a relationship but with 4 or 5 other people. It’s tough but when it works, it works.
We’ll see where the VaudeVille Vagabonds go from here.
As it stands though, it’s not like I’m hurting for musical output at all, haha.
Speaking of output, there’s another couple exciting things coming down the pipeline, but it’s all very secretive so I won’t say anything here, wouldn’t want the 2 or 3 people (hi mom) that read this to leak my future plans out to the public.
Thus ends the latest update on my musical musings.