Local Music on Canada Day in Vancouver

Congratulations Vancouver, you put on a great Canada Day celebration complete with music, great food, a parade and fireworks.  And no riots – well done.  I heard a lot of funny comments all day about the ability (or lack thereof) of Vancouverites to get together to celebrate peacefully in our public spaces, but we managed to do that yesterday and I’m betting the mayor’s office is breathing a big sigh of relief.  The only anomaly I noticed was that the “Chill Lounges”  – Vancouver being too uber – cool to have regular beer gardens – advertised on the website and handouts were non-existent.  Did the city pull the plug on serving any cold bevvies to their unruly citizens?  I’d say it was a distinct possibility.

Lack of those venerable Canadian brews Molson or Labatt notwithstanding, it was a great Canada Day at Canada Place.  Is there a more gorgeous venue to put on a community celebration? 

I don’t think so, and so did thousands of others who came out to celebrate.  And they were not all local – we talked to a couple of young guys who had come in from Red Deer, Alberta, just for Canada Day in Vancouver.  Loved their home town, but wanted a bigger party so they headed for the Coast. 

There was a lot of great music on 6 different stages, so we started our day at the CFox “stage” to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.    The wingchick’s son is one of the founding members of GPB and I have been her wingman as she has gone out to support all their local shows since the very beginning.   There was even a period of time when we were driving their gear around in our cars – thank goodness they have a tour van now!  But we got to see some interesting places . . .the Rickshaw Theatre at Main and Hastings is interesting enough, but the back alley where gear is loaded in . . .that’s another whole level of interesting.   And as they have gone on to greater success, winning the Nike Airwalk Alternative Press “Unsigned Hero” contest and joining the tour last year and now making Fox Seeds Top 20 this year, we still go to see all their shows.  It’s been fascinating to watch the band grow, go through line-up changes and start to hit their stride. 

The CFox “stage” was a bit of a misnomer – the guys had a space about 10×2 taped off on the sidewalk to set up and do an acoustic set.   Challenging to say the least.   It was, however, surprisingly good and a great showcase for these talented musicians – stripped down like that we got to really hear the great vocals and guitar work.   Loved the show and here’s hoping for a finalist spot in Seeds for them.

Working it acoustic style
Vancouver started an experiment last year with street food vendors – mobile carts serving up fantastic street food.  It’s been a roaring success and the carts were out in force at Canada Place.  Take your pick, from great coffees and snacks to restaurant quality seafood, tacos, dim sum . . it was all represented.  I counted more than 20 carts.   

Roaming Dragon
We feasted at Feastro The Rolling Bistro – they were sold out of the chick pea floured fresh Halibut Tacos (gee, I wonder why!!) but we loved the chicken and vegetarian options, the prawn bisque and Canada Day Salad – watermelon and feta.   Washed down with freshly blended strawberry, melon, ginger and mint lemonade – awesome lunch.   Their regular location is 2 blocks from my office right by the spectacular Jack Poole Plaza and the Olympic Torch, hard to beat that for a summertime lunch.  
 We wandered down to the main stage in Jack Poole Plaza, set up between the Olympic torches and the harbour, with the North Shore mountains as a backdrop.   
Main Stage at Canada Place
Lots more great music there including Chic Gamine and  Grapes of Wrath.   And what a fantastic spot to sit and watch. 
 We had other plans though, so it was off to the North Point Stage at the very end of Canada Place, waaaay out past the sails, to see Rich Hope and the Evil Doers and Kuba Oms and the Velvet Revolution.   We have seen both Rich and Kuba before, at Squamish Live, and it was a total treat to see them again. 
Rich plays slick, energetic, rocking rockabilly blues and is totally entertaining.  He had a very young fan dancing through the entire set, and with a bit of encouragement from Rich he sang along too.
Rich Hope, a great guitar pic and an enthusiastic young music fan
Our last, but certainly not least musical treat for Canada Day was Kuba Oms.   I just love his smooth, sexy vocals and infectious, oh-so-danceable music.   And he has an impressively talented band working with him.  After the Canada Place gig they were off to the Westcoast Music Sessions at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.   If you want to hear great Canadian music, check out this FREE show every Friday might.  We have seen some great acts there including the Bare Naked Ladies and Wide Mouth Mason.   Here is Kuba’s new single , Electrolove, which is officially my 2011 “Song of the Summer”.   I dare you to not dance when you’re listening to it, it makes me smile every time and I”m dancing round the room  in my jammies right now.   Love those sounds of summer.
So that was my Canada Day, it was another Awesome Day and I hope yours  was as great whatever you were doing to enjoy our fabulous country.  Now it’s back to deck building . . . .

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