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Monday, 18 August 2014

This Summer So Far and Seeing Chilliwack Again

This Summer So Far

It has been another great summer here on Vancouver Island. We’ve been spending a lot of time outside and have been kayaking about 10 times. I even got in a game of golf the other day with my son Dean. About a month ago we spent a week in Alberta in Jasper and Edmonton. I met my daughter Leah’s boyfriend for the first time and he gets a thumbs up. He has a cool business in Edmonton with about 100 computer stations where gamers can go to spend hours in the dark doing what they do. Tim’s place is called Overclocked Gaming and Computers. Leah has been a dancer for what seems forever and is currently producing and dancing in a thing called Letters and Words at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Here is the review that they got from The Edmonton Journal……

Letters and Words

4 stars out of 5

Stage 5, King Edward School

Modern dance isn’t usually the most explicit way to convey a concept, so the members of Edmonton’s Synaethesis Dance Theatre are taking a giant leap of faith — and fearlessness — with this 45-minute production about … communication.

For the most part, it works. The choreography, a mix of flowing extensions and pirouettes with angular knees and flexed feet, is playful, if not somewhat repetitive. All six dancers, led by Leah Paterson, are captivating as a variety of characters — from old-school Hollywood sirens to pouty brats who want to kill each other to siblings waiting for their brothers to return from the war.

Yet the real star of the show is the phenomenal soundtrack — a cutting-edge collage of violins, banjos, computer effects, conversations, and vintage radio-show recordings that help to illuminate the vignettes. (Alas, there’s no mention of the composer/s or even who selected the music in the master Fringe program or playbill.)

Without these sonic cues, the ensemble’s intentions would be lost in translation — their production could be about Valentine’s Day and Battling Seizure Robots, not necessarily Letters and Words. But maybe that’s the point.

Sandra Sperounes

Leah is on the far left.

Dean with Bob Marley tee shirt I gave him years ago.
Bill Henderson and Chilliwack
The other day I said to Linda “I need to listen to some live music”. She agreed. My first thought was to go to a local pub and listen to a CCR kind of band. We knew that The Vancouver Island Exhibition, a country fair kind of deal, was happening this past weekend in Nanaimo. We looked it up on the net and found that rock groups Prism and Chilliwack would be performing on Saturday night. The last time we saw Chilliwack was about 6 years ago at a blues club in Vancouver called the Yale. The other guy on the bill that night was the great Jim Byrnes. Sadly The Yale is no longer around. We decided to definitely see Chilliwack on Saturday night.
We went to the fairgrounds at Beban Park (soft e in Beban) at around 7 p.m. I got in for 7 bucks because I’m a freakin’ senior. It cost Linda 11 bucks. We hadn’t eaten yet purposefully. I told Linda that whatever I was going to eat it was going to have some greasy onions on it. I chose an Italian sausage hot dog. Linda had a donair.
We wandered around the fairgrounds a bit. You could smell someone smoking pot here and there including near the kiddie rides. I like the smell of pot. We wandered over to the horse area. What magnificent beasts they are. (No I wasn’t stoned!) We watched a lone quarter horse in a large pen by himself for a while. A gal told us that the horse had been in a bad mood for over a day. Every several minutes the horse would start racing around the pen. It was like he just had to use his muscles. I don’t know much about horses other than that I’ve ridden a few. As the owner of a golden retriever I do know what it is like when an animal needs to run.
Over at the band shell Prism was doing their thing. We made our way over to the band shell. We kind of stood off to the side of the stage. All of seats were occupied. The singer for Prism kind of looked a bit like Ronnie Wood from The Stones. He was pretty good. I decided to go and have a smoke. Yeah I still do that. To my surprise, when I got back, I discovered that Linda had scored two front row seats. What a gal! Well they were pretty close to front row seats. A row of VIP seats were on the other side of the fence.

A guy behind us told us to move our seats up as close to the fence as possible. That way nobody could come in and stand in front of us. His advice brought back a memory of seeing the great instrumental rock band The Ventures at a place called Richards on Richards in Vancouver years ago. We thought we had great seats at a table near the stage and then a swarm of people rushed in and blocked our view. Bummer!

Bill Henderson and the rest of Chilliwack came out onto the stage and started tuning up. “Check, check, check, check.” There was a funny moment when Bill forgot that one of his guitars wasn’t plugged in. The stage lights came on and Bill did his hellos to Nanaimo. Some guy yelled “Sing Free Bird!” Wrong group bud! A gal in front of us in the VIP area (Thrifty Grocery Store Employees?) said something derisive and tacky to her boyfriend about the Free Bird guy.
Security was really tight. It looked like it was being managed by a hefty middle aged woman. One of the security guys had ear plugs in his ears. At the beginning of the show several people were thrown out for being drunk and unruly. I saw the middle aged woman point out a few of the culprits to the cops. She seemed to have a smile on her face. To the cop’s’ credit they would only have one cop escort the pain in the asses out instead of a bunch of them coming down on someone which could lead to mayhem.
If you don’t know much about Chilliwack let me fill you in. The band is named after the city of Chilliwack which is the first big town you see when coming out of The Rockies in BC on your way to Vancouver. Back in the 60s there were a number of hippie communes near Chilliwack.

Chiiliwack is one of the greatest rock bands that Canada has ever produced. Other than The Guess Who I can’t think of another Canadian band with more solid hits including The Arms Of Mary, Whatcha Going To Do, I Believe, Baby Blue, Fly At Night, Lonesome Mary, Crazy Talk, California Girl and My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone).
Bill Henderson, the lead singer and lead guitarist, has been playing music since 1966. He started out with a group called The Collectors in Vancouver. He is the only original member of Chilliwack still performing with the group. Chilliwack’s peak years were from about 1969 into the 80s.
It may be 2014 but Chilliwack today isn’t a bunch of has beens delivering a sloppy show and trying to suck a few bucks out of nostalgic former hippies. They are tight and professional and the current group has been together for something like 16 years. Henderson jokingly refers to this year’s tour as the 4th anniversary of their 40th year anniversary.
Bill Henderson is now 69 years old and is rocking it better than ever. His energy and enthusiasm are off of the charts. Accompanying him on stage was his brother Ed who is a very skilled guitarist in his own right. The base player, Ab Bryant, is almost expressionless while picking away on his guitar. Jerry Adolphe is as good a drummer as you’ll ever see.
As the night went on the band played all of their classics but also some stuff that was a little less familiar. At one point Bill Henderson did a number that incorporated First Nations kind of chanting.
There is no doubt that Bill is an engaging kind of guy and very likable. Throughout the evening he offered a bit of pitter patter to the audience. He talked about what it was like trying to make it in the US back in the day. He pointed out that his dad, who is 95, was out in the crowd somewhere. He told us about going to school and living near Yellow Point just south of Nanaimo for a few years when he was a kid. It turns out that all of the band has lived on Vancouver Island at one time. The drummer’s dad was drummer in the Canadian Navy in Esquimalt near Victoria.
Another interesting thing that Bill talked about was a song that he had written about a farmer who stood up to Monsanto in Saskatchewan. Monsanto wanted to sue the farmer because some of their conola seeds had blown onto his property and cross pollinated. When Bill sung his song about the farmer a lot of us were thinking the same thing…..FUCK YOU MONSANTO!
After their last song Bill thanked the audience and said something about what a wonderful place the Nanaimo area is for people to live. The crowd stood up and yelled for an encore and the band came back on stage for one more tune. They were classy from beginning to end.
What a great night! Nanaimo rocks!!!

Linda's pics....




My pics.....


Early Chilliwack ...My Girl
Fly At Night...PNE...2009
I Believe...PNE...2009
Baby Blue...1976

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