Streaming Cafe

Thursday, June 30, 2011

From down under...THE LITTLE STEVIES!

by Malcolm Petch
We’re used to having bands from within BC or Canada as the show-pieces at our venue. Every once in a while we get a treat from outside our borders, and the July 23 appearance of Australia-based The Little Stevies looks like it’s going to be a wonderful performance.

No strangers to international touring, The Little Stevies came to North America twice in 2010. In February the band traveled to Memphis for an industry showcase in front of North Amercian festival organizers, promotors, and booking agents – reportedly stealing the spotlight and receiving overwhelming audience response and support. They carried with them to Tennessee their first full-length album, “Love Your Band”.

Fueled by the positive energy of their premiere North American experience, The Little Stevies started work on their second album as soon as they had returned to Australia. Stepping out of their initial two recording’s DIY roots, TLS sifted through various producers and ended up hiring LA’s Ethan Allan to work with them on their third project. This required flying to the USA a second time for their recording sessions, so late in the summer of 2010 the band headed back to Los Angeles. After four weeks of recording “Attention Shoppers”, the band hit the road again, covering both coasts of the United States and making excursions into Canada – including an appearance at Ottawa’s Ontario Council of Folk Festivals music conference.

Their performance at Streaming Café will be part of The Little Stevies’ third trip to our continent. This time around The Little Stevies are here – exclusively in Canada this time – for a total of seven weeks, playing about 35 times at four festivals and 25 other locations, and putting in at least 3,000 km of on-the-ground driving distance.

It’s not easy to simply categorize The Little Stevies as a ‘folk’ act, despite their three-part harmonies and their association with the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals. Michael, our talent-booking guy, has classed them as Alternative, Folk, Indie, Pop, and that seems to be a good summary. The tracks from their new release (“Attention Shoppers”) definitely have a poppier sound than earlier work, with tight harmonies and more ‘produced’ arrangements. Their first albums (2007’s “Grow Up” EP, and 2009’s “Love Your Band”), on the other hand, have more of an acoustic/alternative flare that drifts into new folk on occasion.

The Little Stevies have a great music player on their site that allows visitors to listen to some of their newest recordings. It’s a great way to get familiar with the music of this out-of-the-country band before coming to hear them in the café.

The Little Stevies are a big deal in their homeland. For example, in March last year they were the supporting act for Grammy Award-winning country legend Nanci Griffith when she played Melbourne and Sydney, and Griffith even called the three Stevies back on stage at the end of her show to join her in singing the classic “Hammer Song” (you know the one: ‘If I had a hammer…’).

It is a real privilege to have The Little Stevies join us at Streaming Café. Check out their music (http://thelittlestevies.com/) and see what kind of a treat you’ll be in for – and then come out to catch them in person on July 23 at 7:00 p.m. If you can’t be here – like if you’re following the band back home in OZ – then be sure to catch them online at www.streamingcafe.net; you’ll be glad you did!

Ari Neufeld`s Live Album Release Show

by Malcolm Petch
At long last, Ari Neufeld has recorded a live album, and he’ll be releasing it during a showcase performance at the Streaming Café on July 16.

At long last? Yes, at long last. Anyone who has followed the music and musings of the immensely talented Ari will know that his live performances are stunning, both in their energy level and in their depth of impact. Ari has done a good deal of recording before now, and the recordings are worthy archives of the songs – but his music absolutely comes to life in the live environment, where his guitar playing and vocals and ability to perform percussion with his feet and legs all come together in an amazingly energetic and mesmerizing mix. Ari calls it Full Contact Folk.

And his songwriting is superb. There is a range to Ari’s songwriting that goes well outside the bounds of the ordinary. These aren’t pop songs with quirky hooks that listeners remember for a week and which are then discarded on the ash-heap of mediocrity and past popularity (wow – I like that line; I’m gonna have to write it down). No, these are superbly crafted life packages, with beautiful, memorable melodies and distinctive and original rhythms. And the lyrics are remarkable and full-bodied; they reveal a depth of soul and character which a man as young as Ari is not supposed to possess.

Okay, I realize the previous two paragraphs may sound pompous and presumptuous. And, personally, I usually dislike that type of embellished and embroidered fluff. But I have been a fan of Ari’s since he was in his teens, and those previous paragraphs are actually not exaggeration. I mean, check out this lyric: “You arch your back against the mast of this steeple – I’m picking glances off you like burrs from a thistle; the people all whistle at you…”. Have you ever seen writing like that? Kind of Cockburnesque, but it’s still in its own league. That’s the kind of lyric writing I aspire to. Maybe when I grow up…

"One of the most artistically developed artists I've ever met. I was riveted for two and a half hours as Ari played," says Jim Cressman, President of Cressman-Sakomoto Agency, who handles artists such as Terri Clarke, Charlie Major, Emerson Drive, and Johnny Reid.

That’s why it’s “at long last” that Ari has recorded a live album. This man was built to perform live, and his fans will be glad to hear there is finally a live version of his music capture for posterity.

Entitled “Ari Neufeld Live at the Dream Café”, the album will be released in July, and Ari will be at our Café (the Streaming Café, not the Dream Café) to celebrate on July 16 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at Streaming Café for this performance and album release; $20 gets you admittance and a copy of the CD.

If you’ve heard Ari before, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, there are videos of some of his previous performances on YouTube or his own website (http://arineufeld.com/media.cfm), including this one of “Heart Like a Jar Full of Fireflies”, the song I quoted from earlier.

Come check out Ari on July 16. If you know his music, you’ll be glad to know he’s returning to SC. If you’ve never heard Ari before now, then you’re in for a true pleasure. In-person at 7:00 p.m., and live online at www.streamingcafe.net

Video Overview of July Shows

by Michael Donley
It`s going to be a really cool month of independent music at the cafe. Here`s a rundown of July`s performers.
Come down to the cafe in Kelowna or watch live online  http://streamingcafe.net

Jasper Sloan Yip -  Vancouver singer/songwriter who`s honest and imaginative songs see play on CBC3.

Behind Sapphire -  Creative Vancouver band who placed in the Top 20 for Peak Performance Project 2010 and 2011.

Fish & Bird - 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards Nominees for Roots Duo/Group of the Year. This is going to be a great show!

Ari Neufeld - The talented Ari Neufeld is releasing his new live album "Ari Neufeld Live at the Dream Cafe". 

The Little Stevies - We're very fortunate to have this up and coming Australian Band. Don`t miss out on this show!

41st & Home - Top 20 for both 2010 and 2011 Peak Performance this up and coming Vancouver creative sound make it a show not to miss. 

Climbing THE PEAK!

by Malcolm Petch
Conspiracy theorists would love it. Is there a connection between an artist playing the Streaming Café and their then meteoric rise to the public eye through hitting the top 20 of the Peak Performance Project? Or is it just coincidence?

Treelines, Hilary Grist, Fields of Green, Redgy Blackout,… the list goes on with four more performers who either have played or will play at Streaming Café and who are among the top 20 finalists in this year’s Peak Performance Project.

Behind Sapphire, Maurice,… Some would say it’s merely coincidence, of course, and that this accidental concurrence simply demonstrates Streaming Café’s penchant for booking top-notch talent. Others would say “Hogwash!” to the thought of this being purely serendipity, and would instead declare that behind the scenes there must be something more sinister at work: perhaps the PPP judges are stealthily combing through Streaming Café archives for evidence of the best and most brilliant young performers, or perhaps there are clandestine meetings between the SC talent-buying agent and those in the upper echelons of the PPP, secretly plotting out career moves and advancements for these gifted artists.

Does looking at previous top-20 lists for Peak help things become clearer? Adaline, Ben Sigston, Christina Maria, Chris Arruda, Greg Sczebel, Jess Hill, Steph Macpherson… again the inventory of top-20 artists in Peak includes many who’ve also played at Streaming Café.

Coincidence or conspiracy? Whichever it is, there is no denying that in July alone there are three of the Peak Performance’s Top 20 finalists playing at SC: Jasper Sloan Yip and Behind Sapphire on July 2, and 41st And Home on July 30.

Behind Sapphire have a 2010 album release under their belt and a three month cross-country tour in their pocket, which they called “Oh My, What A Fine Tour” in a nod to their single “Oh My, What A Fine Day” that featured an appearance by Twilight actress Jodelle Ferland in the video. Rumours that Jodelle will be with Behind Sapphire at SC on July 2 are simply that: rumours only, with no basis in truth.

Jasper Sloan Yip has been through a remarkable year, even on top of his Top-20 placement in Peak, with two live performances on CBC Radio One plus a live-recording session of seven songs for CBC Radio 3. His second album, Every Day and All At Once, was released in March 2010, and singles “Kiddo” and “Slowly” received nation-wide radio play. “Today”, another song from the 2010 album, was featured on an episode of ABC’s Brothers and Sisters. Pretty good for a guy whose first album, White Elephant, was recorded at home with a single (and reportedly broken) microphone back in 2007. Yip is currently working on a new release with his band.

July’s schedule will be wrapped up with a performance by Vancouver’s 41st and Home on the 30th. This is a truly individualistic group, formed originally by two science students (Garth Covernton and Thom Kolb, who stumbled across a cello in Garth’s garage), and then brought further to life by the addition of a violinist, a pianist, and a bassist. Their debut album was entitled “Left in Places”, and in July 2011 they plan to release a follow-up EP called “Raised By Wolves”. The July 30th appearance of 41st and Home will be fresh off their Canada Day Peak Performance debut performance in Surrey.

Conspiracy? You’d get a denial on that no matter who you talked to. There were absolutely no behind-the-scenes collusions, say top officials. And we know that top officials are always to be believed, no questions asked. Yet the facts remain: eight of this year’s Peak Performance Project Top 20 finalists (and seven of last year’s finalists) have Streaming Café in their portfolio of venues-played-at. No matter what the top officials may say, it’s still very clear that the country’s highest quality live music is available each and every Saturday night at Streaming Café – and you can enjoy it live in-house or online… see you on Saturday!