Two music shows in bars, separated by a small parking lot made for an easy commute on January 23rd. First, Vancouver’s Tiny Islands brought their multiple horns and rhythm section to the Red Collar Brewing tap room for an early show.
Tim Sars is the leader of Tiny Islands. The band plays gigs in BC and Alberta and are sometimes hired by the music departments of the provincial education systems in those provinces. They played two fun, lively sets of jazz and klezmer infused music. Their educational roots were revealed when they got an adult audience to sing along and raise their fists in the air in unison, to songs like, “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.” Both Sars and Barrett are extremely talented, multi-instrumentalists and vocalists. Sars played both alto and baritone saxophone, along with a few turns on the house piano and Barrett played the Sousaphone and trumpet.
They both sang and interacted with the audience. Bass player Wynston Minckler and Nick James on drums, did an excellent job, and were afforded many solos. Some of the jazzy highlights were John Coltrane’s Afro Blue, Fats Waller’s Honeysuckle Rose and an interesting take on Duke Ellington’s Caravan. Red Collar’s tap room was packed and most stayed until the performance ended
Then, it was easy to cross the parking lot, go around the corner and enter the Central Station Pub, where the Midtown Jam, was in full swing. This evening the hosts and house band, Richard Graham, Kris Ruston, Alex Ward and Scott Skulmoski had finished their set when I arrived. But, they stuck around to facilitate the other musicians and play as needed. There were a variety of drummers, percussionists, vocalists and guitar players
still waiting to play. Two members of the talented, Blaine Alexandre Project, Blaine on vocals and David Watkins on drums, were joined by Kris Ruston on guitar and Scott Skumoski on bass. Among the songs they performed were covers of “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Tragically Hip’s “New Orleans is Sinking.” The Central faithful showed them their love.
Later, a nice moment happened, when Richard Graham on drums and vocals was joined by his father on harmonica.
Fittingly, they made some beautiful rock infused, bluesy notes to end a fun evening of music on the corner of 4th and Lansdowne in downtown Kamloops.