Published Aug 06, 2015
This weekend, we're sending our Jazz, Experimental and Improv Editor, Alan Ranta, into beautiful Squamish, BC to attend his first Squamish Valley Music Fest. The festival launched in 2010, attracting around 13,500 attendees. Since then, it's grown to become the largest music festival in the Pacific Northwest, and is expected to draw over 125,000 music fans in 2015.
In anticipation of the festival, we've asked Alan to round up the ten artists he's most excited to see this weekend. During the fest, on top of the usual reviews to be posted in our reviews section, he'll also be using the new Samsung Galaxy 6 to post and take photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of these sets and more, using his new phone to capture the best moments, even in low light.
Read Alan's Top 10 Artists to See at Squamish Valley Music Festival below, and head to Samsung.ca to upgrade and update your phone using their Smart Switch program.
Alan's Top 10 Artists to See at Squamish Valley Music Festival:
Friday, August 7:
6:00 p.m., Garibaldi Stage
Argentina-born, Vancouver-raised, Brooklyn-based noiR&B chanteuse Tei Shi may not have an extensive catalogue to draw on, but her lilting, airy vocals and sparse electronic instrumentals hit a sweet spot between Evy Jane and Jesse Lanza.
9:05 p.m., Garibaldi Stage
American neo-soul singer Solana Rowe, famously known as SZA, has noted admiration for the ability of Billie Holiday and Björk to "paint scenes" musically, and her music just does that. Awash in effects on her Afro-futuristic recordings, Rowe's voice and dazzling personality come to the fore in a live setting.
9:45 p.m., Tantalus Stage
A multi-platinum singer from England, Sam Smith crushed it at Rogers Arena in Vancouver in February of 2015, as my review attests, but he was forced to undergo vocal cord surgery in May, so fingers crossed that he'll be as good as then. Gotta watch and see.
Saturday, August 8:
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
4:05 p.m., Tantalus Stage
Sharon Jones is one of the most dynamic characters in music today. This soul (and cancer) survivor and former corrections officer is an absolute firecracker live, as Ryan McNutt attested to after seeing her at the Halifax Jazz Fest last month. Jones may be on in the afternoon, but her crackling funk energy will emanate throughout the night, as it has worldwide since the late '90s.
4:45 p.m., Stawamus Stage
The rise of this Toronto indie band has been meteoric since their dreamy self-titled album appeared on Polyvinyl in the summer of 2014, capped off by a placement on the 2015 Polaris Prize shortlist. Going by Max Mohenu's take on their recent set at Osheaga, they've got the chops to back it up.
6:00 p.m., Garibaldi Stage
This 19-year-old Brampton native may only have one official song out, but it's an epic song that has racked up almost 3.5 million views on YouTube, and earned her an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. "Here" recomposes the string line from "Ike's Rap II" by Isaac Hayes, made famous in "Glory Box" by Portishead, but Cara's vocal presence is arguably even more commanding than Beth Gibbons'. It leaves you wanting more.
7:00 p.m., Blueprint Arena
Not everything has to be a soul-searching plunge to the depths of the human psyche. Sometimes you just want to leave it all on the dance floor, and Hannah Wants is all about wants, not needs. This BBC Radio 1 resident is going to deliver all the booty-shaking bass you can handle, mixed with the work ethic of a proper old-school DJ.
Sunday, August 9:
First Aid Kit
5:30 p.m., Stawamus Stage
Swedish sister act First Aid Kit have harmonies for days, the kind of resonance that tickles the soul in a live setting. Influenced by the likes of Gram Parsons, the Louvin Brothers and Bright Eyes, their folk Americana catalogue now boasts three full-lengths, the last being 2014's Stay Gold, so they have a sizable catalogue from which to draw.
8:00 p.m., Tantalus Stage
Southern rock band Alabama Shakes are something special on record. Released in 2015, Sound & Color captured that Muscle Shoals vintage R&B swagger, yet their live reputation is as celebrated as their albums. Have you seen their appearance on SNL?
9 p.m., Garibaldi Stage
Alt-country duo Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, a.k.a. Whitehorse, have found great success with their studio recordings, with most of their albums garnering Polaris Music Prize nominations, but they're something else live. Using looping pedals and a stage full of instruments and gadgets, the duo make it sound like they're a full band, and the energy they produce live is difficult to capture in any other medium.