The Kami Inn is one of the oldest bars in Kamloops. It reminds me of the bar used as a location in the movie Barfly, which is based on the Charles Bukowski book of the same name. For a while, the Kami Inn used to host a jam on Saturday afternoons, but it is rare these days for them to have live music shows. Yet, the venerable Kami Inn hosted a couple of bands on Friday August 31. The opening act was Thunderchild from Kamloops. They are a very tight, funk group with guitar, bass and drums, and three women singing up front. If the turnout at the Kami was any indication, they have a good size following and the dance floor filled quickly with their fans and a few regulars of the inn. The vocalists are Liz Brown, Danielle Bailey, and Kirsty Sykes. Their voices suited the funk/R&B genre that the band performed.
Chai Arretti on bass, Jesse Taylor, drums, and the guitar player, Eric Shwab are a really tight unit and kept the funk happening and the dance floor crowded throughout their set. They proved to be a great opening act for the headliners, The Melawmen Collective from the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area.
After a short break to set up, The Melawmen Collective, took the stage and kept the audience transfixed with their appearance, musical ability and lyrics. While difficult to type the music of this band, generally it incorporates First Nations, hip hop, R&B and rock music. The main members of the band are Rob Hall on guitar, Meeka Noelle Morgan on vocals and percussion, Geo aka The Voice (George Ignace) and Kiva Morgan Hall with vocals and rap, and a Californian, Kirk Watson was on bass.
For this performance Eric Shwab was added on guitar. He had just played with Thunderchild and also, the very talented Darrell Sharp joined the band on drums.
I found the rapping quite interesting. Both Geo and Kiva stayed within their own personas. They did not try to sound like more famous rap musicians and I found that very refreshing. One of his mates called Geo “the growly rapper” and Kiva was more in the mid ranges. The Melawmen Collective is a group of musicians that was put together partly “ to tell our collective aboriginal stories.” The rap/vocals are very clear and I found myself singing along to the choruses. I found myself mesmerized by the lyrics “I’m going back to the valley below, where my angels come up short and my demons take control.”
Powerful stuff. The musical flow never stopped and the dancers continued. The members of The Melawmen Collective put on a great performance. The final ovation was so strong, that the management of the Kami, allowed an encore beyond the usual closing time and the Melawmen Collective did not disappoint.