Six years ago was the first time I ran sound for the ArtsWells festival.
I felt very much like a young gun at the festival, and on the first evening, this band of folks that looked even younger than I started loading in their gear.
I had met the drummer back in Vancouver, but had never heard of the project so I was curious to see what they were all about. It was a good sign that all the veteran songwriters of the festival started filing in as they set up.
In that kind of festival setting, there isn’t any time for sound checks — we just set up and hope the first sound that flies out of the PA isn’t too obnoxious.
The band counted in and launched into their first song, and I was floored.
Jasper Sloan Yip’s songs are insanely orchestrated, like four-minute indie-pop rock operas.
There are huge smashing heavy sections, soft, pretty violin sections, spacey, polyrythmic crescendo sections — it goes all over the map. But every iota of every song is carefully crafted to pull on your heart strings as much as possible.
Although it takes a mini orchestra to pull it off (there are usually six or seven of them on stage) JSY’s live performance sounds basically indistinguishable from their studio recordings.
The band has landed on CBC’s top-10 for national airplay at least twice.
After trying to get them up for the first two seasons, I can’t wait to have Jasper Sloan Yip play as part of the 2017 Safety Meeting concert series on March 17.
Joining the band is Prince George’s Frontal Lobotomy.
Frontal Lobotomy is a three-piece unit, comprised of singer-songwriters Samantha Scott and Raghu Lokanathan, and drummer Danny Bell (of Black Spruce Bog).
Raghu Lokanathan is frequently described as something like a “hidden jewel,” or “unsung hero” of Canadian songwriters.
I recently read somebody call him Canada’s version of Rodriguez, which was a new twist on the interpretation.
This comparison can definitely be extrapolated to include the project Frontal Lobotomy; three fantastic musicians, and I literally could not find a single video of their band to post on the Safety Meeting Facebook group.
Folks who have caught one of Raghu’s associated acts like the Chimney Swallows, or Danny’s other main project Black Spruce Bog, or the songwriting prowess of Samantha Scott, will not want to miss this one.
The second-to-last Safety Meeting of the 2017 season is March 17, at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre. Advance tickets are suggested $20, and available at Red Shreds now.
As usual, the bar is run by, and proceeds go to the Cariboo Festival Society, helping with their fantastic programming in the community.