Singing It Forward: Dear Rouge, K-OS, Five Alarm Funk and more at the Vogue
I call myself a music enthusiast, but I am beyond embarrassed that this was my first year attending the 5-year-running benefit festival Sing It Forward, hosted by the Vogue Theatre this week. The event was the collaboration of two creative locals, (husband and wife team) David (Hey Ocean!) and Ambrosia (Hootsuite) Vertesii, who partnered up with Kathryn Walker and children musicians of the Saint James Music Academy (SJMA), backed by various Canadian talent. SJMA is downtown Vancouver's solution to the more recent budget cuts imposed on the public school system that resulted in little or no more formal music education for children; something Kathryn could just not stand for, and we support her.
The show ran for two nights with differing lineups on Thursday and Friday. I had the privilege of attending the finale-finale, being Friday night, of the final year of this super-fun and proactive community event. Attendees ranged from age 4 to 70+ while they danced wildly to both their favourite bands and best friends alike. You see, the young musicians of SJMA made their (not so) debut performances both with, and in front of, their idols. They even had the chance to train with them before the show. Talk about an experience for a child.
Night one performers included Dear Rouge, K-OS, Frazey Ford, Five Alarm Funk, The Zolas, MBF, Gay Nineties and Twin Bandit while the finale included Mother, Mother, Hey Ocean!, Said The Whale, Humans, Topless Gay Love Tekno Party, The Pack A.D., Chin Injeti and Jocelyn Alice.
The SJMA opened the show with a live performance of classical strings before The Pack A.D. gracefully entered the stage with no introduction and startled us with a garage-rock/Joan Jett/Garbage sound that was dramatically mismatched to their stature. Just a two-gal combo, had you closed your eyes you would never have know it was only them on stage.
Chin Injeti (formerly of Bass is Base) again unannounced, arrived to deliver notes that got us dancing and threw in a splash of reggae for good measure, while Topless Gay Love Tekno Party provided the same fun they always do, minus the confetti sparkles that plagued my apartment for months after attending their last show in Vancouver. Everyone in that band is always having a really good time and you can't help but want to participate.
Interludes included short clips of the children training with past and present acts along with live performances by these kids themselves.
As I knew someone was going to touch on the pain I feel from this week's loss, electro-duo Humans paid their respect in covering David Bowie's Modern Love, accompanied by the kids of the SJMA, stating that the decision to do so was last minute and the children had about 10 minutes to learn the song. I can only assume it was not just me brought to tears by the touching tribute to our fallen leader. Be still my broken heart.
During intermission I was invited backstage to check out the happenings. There was a cute and smiley blonde that I'll admit I didn't recognize but I tell you, I will never make that mistake again. By far the biggest crowd shock of the evening was Jocelyn Alice who completely wowed both children and adults alike with her Pink!-meets-Adele power vocals.