This past weekend saw the annual Khatsahlano Festival along West 4th Ave in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood. The entire street, a wide avenue, was closed as merchants and others set up booths displaying their services and wares.
That's all very nice, especially when they give away free stuff, but I was there for the music! Checking line-up postings that seemed to appear all at once suddenly on Friday (no more early announcements for outdoor fun events after the Stanley Cup fiasco downtown a couple of months ago?) I noticed several bands worth seeing would be playing later in the day.
I planned my arrival early enough so I could cruise down the entire strip, which ran from Macdonald to Burrard streets, and check out each of the five stages' lineups. By mid-afternoon I decided to see Aidan Knight on the Peak.fm stage at 4:00 and Yukon Blonde on the CITY TV stage at 5:00. If not for Yukon Blonde I would have stayed at the Peak stage for Jon & Roy, but alas do not have the ability to occupy two places at once. Such is the way with festivals, difficult decisions must be made!
Walking back up 4th to the Peak stage, which was outside the Safeway, I saw Narduwar, resident Vancouver weirdo and former CITR DJ -- now MuchMusic personality, if he's still doing that I'm not sure -- anyway he sings for the long-lived Evaporators and was mugging for a rather nice camera with some dude in sunglasses. I imitated them from behind the photographer's back which prompted a group of kids standing around snacking to pronounce Narduwar's trademark, "Do do da do do, DO DO". Laughs all around.
The front of the Peak stage was taken by kids sitting. A bit surreal when you think about it, basking in the sun on the hot pavement in the middle of what is usually a very busy intersection. I picked a spot just behind the sitters, in front of centre stage. More crowds quickly formed behind me.
SETTING UP FOR THE BAND
Aidan Knight was awesome and the sound was great. There were some changes, at first his band, I think he said they were called the Furious Friends, played with him then he did a couple of songs solo. After that the band came back on stage with a big surprise, the members of Said the Whale!
*the crowd goes wild*
"AIDAN KNIGHT AND THE FURIOUS FRIENDS" WITH "SAID THE WHALE"
At this point there are so many people on stage its hard to keep track. Knight's . .. bass player? second guitar player?? I forget, but he's tall they call him the CN Tower, he came back from sitting in for someone else, plus another girl joined the festivities to play percussion.
HOW MANY PEOPLE FIT ON ONE LITTLE STAGE, ANYWAY??
ROCKIN' GOOD TIMES
The band finished right on time for which I was thankful because I had about 10 minutes to swim through the crowd way back down 4th to the CITY TV stage for Yukon Blonde. I didn't take any pictures of that just because I already felt pretty geek-a-fied and because the crowd was more active so photo opportunities were difficult. Tall heads looming in front of me and all that.
Yukon Blonde was great and actually also had a couple of extra people join them on stage for a song or two. Sorry I missed the names but the added joyousness of the new participants sure was fun to watch.
What a great day, its wonderful to see a musical community growing again in this town. Back in my day (yes I am old) there were several venues where we could see two or three up-and-coming bands for $5. With those venues gone, ticket prices skyrocketing, and the unfortunate popularity of 'house' music (I don't care what you call it, its disco by another name, sorry) there has been a glut of good, fun live music in Vancouver for far too long.
I saw on Twitter someone said David Bowie was standing on the balcony of the Indian Oven taking in the sights, I'd love to know if that's really true. Anyone who knows for sure, leave a comment!