Musicians navigate transition from live to virtual, and back

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Music West Spotlight
Festival Seekers is highlighting the best new music to come out of Alberta and British Columbia. This month features artists who are nominees at the Western Canadian Music Awards and who have also been releasing new music and providing creative opportunities for their fans and communities to connect over the past year.

Not playing a traditional show for almost a year and a half has been a crazy experience for musicians, especially those of us that are constantly on the road. On average over the last 10 years, I play between 80 -150 shows per year with my band Shred Kelly. It was a real shock to not be constantly meeting new people and seeing familiar faces on tour. Hitting the road for half the year (or more), is something that our band and many others routinely do year after year. So although I welcomed a temporary pause from road life, our band still craved that connection.

I’m sure that many other musicians felt the same way, and that is the focus of our June Spotlight. Meisha and the Spanks, Jill Barber, and Snotty Nose Rez Kids are three of the many inspirational Western Canadian artists who took their art online and continued to provide an escape, a connection, hope, and community. 

Luckily a return to normalcy is on the horizon. I’ve spent the better half of the past month with our team organizing concerts throughout BC & Alberta in July. Grab tour dates and more details here. Part of the tour will be sponsored by FestivalSeekers who will be giving away six concert tickets to each of the nine shows based in the Columbia Basin to those locals who are showing off why they #BuyBasin. 

Our June Spotlight Artists have some shows popping up as well, and we are counting down the days until we can see them all live again!
 

Check Out Our June Spotlight Artists
 

Meisha and The Spanks. "Singles" Album cover
Meisha and The Spanks, "Singles" album cover
Meisha and the Spanks - Calgary, AB

It’s time to start getting amped for a return to the sweaty dance floor you’ll soon be tearing up at a Meisha & The Spanks show when live music returns. 

The garage rock/punk duo has stayed ultra busy over the past year releasing banger after banger from their new EP, ‘Singles’, which has garnered them a Western Canadian Music Award Nomination in the Rock Category. They also did a YouTube series in lead up to the EP Release called Spanks World which gave a thorough backstory of what led to the creation of the new music. 

“Releasing a record without a tour schedule or live performances was so wild for us because we live on the road for months when we have new music. It’s the most authentic way to connect with our audience and we just love it so much. This time we had none of that,” explains Meisha Louie.

To fill the void we created a web series called Spanks World! We made it so we could share the ins and outs of every song, and what it was like making the record, because we knew this year we wouldn’t be able to chat at the merch table about it.”

Feature track: "I Want Fire"

Where to see them next:
Future Echoes Festival in Sweden - September 2021
(Although we are hopeful there will be some show announcements for some local dates before then. Stay tuned on their
webpage.)
Stream ‘I Want Fire’ on your favourite streaming platform (Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Youtube, etc.) here: https://orcd.co/iwantfirerelease

Jill Barber / photo by Grant Harder
Jill Barber - Vancouver, BC

Folk-pop fans and dance music fans please check out both the original and remix versions of ‘Entre Nous’ from Jill Barber’s 2020 francophone release ‘Entre Nous’. Recently, four of the songs from her 2020 release have been remixed and I love them all.

Since early 2020, Jill has been one of the biggest online innovators in Canadian music. She created an online community that helped many of us from across the country stay hopeful in the darkest days, making the best of an unprecedented situation with an intimate Mother’s Day show, a live virtual reality show with a phantom band at the Palomar Supper Club (a venue that was demolished in 1955), and a Valentine's Day date night experience. 

“A team of digital artists re-created a long-demolished jazz club from Vancouver's heyday, and I performed in front of a green screen, but it appeared to viewers as if I was actually on stage. My band all wore motion-capture suits and appeared as phantom-like figures backing me up. It was a really cool mix of Hollywood blockbuster-style computer imaging and independent music, and the result was a very unique online concert experience,” Barber recalls of The Palomar Supper Club performance. “It was a huge learning experience for me, and I never could have imagined pursuing it if not for the circumstances we were all in as musicians in a pandemic.” 

She is currently nominated for Francophone Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. 

Feature track: Entre Nous (TWIGG remix) / Entre Nous (original)

Where to see her next: 
Thursday June 24th - 5pm MST - Virtual Livestream in support of Amref Health Africa in Canada 
Stream Entre Nous Remixes on your favourite streaming platform (Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Youtube Music, Deezer, Amazon Music, Tidal, etc.) here: https://ffm.to/jillbarberentrenous

Snotty Nose Rez Kids are on fire.
Snotty Nose Rez Kids - Kitimat, BC

Snotty Nose Rez kids have been releasing new music all pandemic long, and all of it has been incredibly powerful, thought-provoking and community-building. I am so excited to see them perform live, and was ecstatic to see that they have a Drive-In Concert on their calendar. Live gigs are happening again!

They are currently nominated for Rap & Hip Hop Artist of the Year, and Indigenous Artist of the Year. Alfonso Chin who directed the video for ‘Screaming Indian’ is nominated for Video Director of the Year. The video for ‘Screaming Indian’ is an incredible piece of art in both the music and video production.

According to Snotty Nose Rez Kids: “This is an Indian (India) & “Indian” (Turtle Island) mashup with Skinny Local. We’re building bridges between our communities through music. This collab began almost two years ago & we’re finally getting this one out into the world. The video represents a true celebration of both our cultures.” 

Feature Track: Screaming Indian (w/ Skinny Local)

Where to see them next: 
Sunday June 20th - Grey Eagle Drive-In - Calgary AB - Tickets Here
Sunday June 25th - Vancouver International Jazz Festival - Online - Tickets Here
Stream One Headlight on your favourite streaming platform here (Apple Music, Spotify, Among Music, Itunes) here: https://sxl.fm/screaming

Are you a BC or Alberta based musician releasing new music and doing cool things? We’d love to hear from you! Send us a message on FestivalSeekers

Sage McBride is the singer/keyboardist of Fernie BC based band Shred Kelly. Find out more on their Tiny Concerts Tour, and more, at www.shredkelly.com.

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