By Jason Portras
Axis Mundi’s Harvest Festival celebration of music and culture kicked off Friday night at 6 pm in Grizzly Plaza.
Despite off-and-on rainy weather, the Grizzly Plaza performances were very well attended. The show started with bluesman Sherman ‘Tank’ Doucette and his band, who played a rocking collection of songs from such legends as BB King and Howlin’ Wolf. He blew the crowd into a dancing frenzy at times with his collection of mouth harps and a band that could really pound. Although the crowd was sparse at first, once the music began wafting down the city streets, pulling up the pavement, it drew in a large crowd. ’Tank’ made his way into the audience a few times to get up close and personal, like many a bluesman likes to do.
Next to be introduced to the stage by EZ Rock radio host Shaun Aquiline were the Nyundo School Road Show, a collection of young kids, many only 17, who had just arrived from Rwanda the night before. At one point one of the young men came to the mic and announced he would perform a song he’d written. It was an amazing song, one that literally stilled the night at times, bringing a mystic air to the plaza. From the heart, from the soul, he sang it like a pro and mesmerized his audience. Most of the other songs they played weren’t as heavy, but light and shaking to the delight of a dance-thirsty crowd. For the last song, the young man leading it requested that everyone get off their feet and join his dance of joy. Most of the crowd was eager to dance and sway with them.
The final performance, for the plaza, was Buckman Coe and his band from Vancouver, who played a collection of reggae-inspired powerful soul music, some with a psychedelic-rock twinge, the kind that beats a person’s heart and drives their legs to dance. Some slow songs were played as well off their new album with great reception from the crowd, a slight drizzle from the skies adding to the relaxed atmosphere. The comparisons to such musical talents as Jeff Buckley, Bob Marley, and John Lennon were certainly not hard to miss.
The festivities continued well into the evening at various venues about town.
We hope you enjoy these photos from Friday night’s performances:
By Jason Portras