Everyone but the sun was out to party at David Lam Park on Sunday night as the 25th Annual Vancouver Jazz Festival came to a close under the overcast sky. Scents of hot dogs and popcorn mixed with the clamor of chatter and laughter creating that feeling of the quiet before the storm. The dry soft grass begged to be laid upon. Many people accepted the grass’s offer and were laid all across it facing the stage dripping with excitement. The final evening of the festival was to be capped off by performances from two of Vancouver’s most unique original bands, Hey Ocean! and Five Alarm Funk.
Hey Ocean was first to hit the stage. The charming Ashleigh Ball lit up the dark sky with her adorable smile while the two Daves (David Beckingham, Dave Vertesi) serenaded the seated crowd to their feet. To the delight of the crowd Hey Ocean!’s old drummer Daniel Klenner was also in attendance completing their original cast.
They started out with fan favourite “Too Soon” and not too soon after warmed the crowd to a dancing frenzy. The band then played several unreleased songs off their new album, introducing the fans to what will likely become their new favourite song.
An upbeat “California” brought the crowd to the pique but was unfortunately the band’s last song. Ashleigh and the boys returned for an encore and bid the fans farewell with a bye bye ballad and left just as the storming applause had reached torrential.
Hey Ocean! rocked the festival proving they are still one of Vancouver’s beloved bands. “We are in the studio working on our new album,” said lead singer Ashleigh Ball. No doubt their fans are ready for it after the reception the band received on Sunday night.
Last up was Five Alarm Funk. These guys are a must see! The threat of the clouds was overshadowed when this musical posse stormed the stage. Five Alarm Funk is a high-energy 11-piece band that combines original funk/afro-beat grooves and good old-fashioned funk for a collectively unique sound and experience. Instruments include; drums, percussion, congas, timbales, two guitars, bass guitar, trombone, trumpet, saxophone, tenor/alto sax and a lot of choreographed dance moves. The army of musicians blew the stage up with energy and funk until the cows came home. The cows didn’t ever come home but a mascot gorilla and a shark hopped on the stage to enjoy the funky sounds.
To the delight of their fans Five Alarm Funk performed material from their new album “Anything is Possible” and have made many exciting changes to their regular set.
This was evident as the fans forced the band to return for two encores. Unfortunately the guys didn’t have time for a third. Directly after the show they jumped on their bus and headed off to begin their Canadian tour where they will hit over 20 cities.
Both bands provided thunderous performances that would have competed with the best storm the Vancouver sky could have offered. Luckily fans were rained on with rhythms and not with raindrops on Sunday night. Sundays performances capped off what many are saying was the best Vancouver Jazz Festival to date and after 25 years that really means something.