GASTOWN

Gastown
Gastown is a tourist hot spot

Gastown is where Vancouver all started, back in 1867 (for more details on Gastown’s history, click here).  Its core area is pretty much all contained within four blocks of Water St., between Richards St. and Carrall St.  Trendy boutiques and galleries, restaurants, and souvenir shops line up the cobblestoned pavement of this historic landmark.  Gastown is also the setting for a few noteworthy events such as the Jazz Festival (free shows) and the “Tour de Gastown” bike race.

Festival Banner in Gastown
Gastown is the setting for some free shows during Vancouver’s International Jazz Festival

Gastown’s pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the Steam Clock.  This may very well be the most photographed item in all of Vancouver.  Every 15 minutes it belches out steam from its musical pipes, delighting the hords of tourists that surround it.

Aside from the overall picturesque street and buildings of Gastown, one last photo opportunity can be found at the corner of Carrall St., where Gassy Jack’s statue stands overlooking the oddly shaped Europe Hotel (now an affordable housing complex).

Gastown B & W

The visit only takes a few minutes, but it’s nevertheless a chance to step back in time and relive some of the atmosphere that was present in Vancouver, more than a century ago.

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Directions:

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2008 JAZZ FEST – SLIDING HAMMERS

Yaletown Splash
Once in a while they open some fire hydrant valves that shoot up in the sky and give us a spectacular show!

Last weekend Gastown was the stage for the free shows and this past weekend it was Yaletown’s turn.  The weather was perfect.  Well, maybe a little too hot?  on Saturday, me and my friends tried to find a spot in the shade with a decent view on the stage, but of course, they were all taken…

 Too Hot to Handle
The shade was our best friend this weekend — it was HOT!!!

Free Jazz at David Lam Park
The David Lam Park in Yaletown.  That ice cream vendor is sure to make a buck sooner than later! ;)

After roasting in the Sun for about 30 minutes, we decided to head to the indoor stage.  A show was already on and, since spots away from the Sun were on high demand, I only managed to sneak way back in the room, with a wooden pillar right in my face. :s  The band Sliding Hammers was playing:

Sliding Hammers
Swedish sisters Mimmi Pettersson Hammar and Karin Hammar

Sliding Hammers
A fine piano solo just ended

I especially liked Ronnie Gardiner, the drummer, from which you could feel a deep sense of joy through his playing (not that the others weren’t having fun — they were; it was just most apparent in him).  He was all smiles and sooo relaxed behind his drum set whether it was a mellow song or playing through a solo.  Going to live shows is so much fun when you can feel that energy emanating from the band/artist.  It was a very enjoyable show with great music and good laughs listening to the comments the sisters had for us in-between songs.

Official Website

2008 JAZZ FEST – RUMBA CALZADA

Rumba Calzada
Left to right: unknown guest; Rolando Preza; Raphael Geronimo

The party was already on as I joined a crowd of ecstatic concert-goers, halfway through Rumba Calzada’s set.  The Latino beats and grooves had many people dancing and cheering at the Maple Tree Square in Gastown.  I was amazed to see how band leader Raphael Geronimo was able to send the groove into hyperspace with his small percussion set.  The solid rythm section was quite enjoyable to watch and hear too.

It’s too bad I didn’t have time to write this article earlier for you guys, as the band was set to play another free show at the CBC Studio One Jazz stage on Tuesday (yesterday).  I’m sure many people took note of it when the band announced this other gig of theirs. :)  Let’s hope they come to your neighbourhood soon! ;)

 

Rumba Calzada
Raphael Geronimo  (multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Apivor in the background)

Rumba Calzada
Miguel Valdez and Rod Murray

Rumba Calzada
Let’s dance!

Rumba Calzada’s Official Website

2008 JAZZ FEST – MOTHER MOTHER

Like Montreal’s “Jazz” Fest, Vancouver’s “Jazz” Fest is not just about “Jazz.”  This past Sunday, June 22nd, it was Vancouver’s own Mother Mother‘s turn to light up the stage with their energetic blend of pop/rock/indie music:

Mother Mother
left: Ryan Guldemond (guitar/vocals); top-right: Molly Guldemond (vocals/synth); bottom-right: Debra-Jean Creelman (vocals)

Mother Mother
Sassy Molly Guldemond

Mother Mother
Ryan Guldemond shredding the fretboard

Mother Mother
Expressive Debra-Jean Creelman backed by Ryan Guldemond on guitar and Ali Siadat on drums

Mother Mother
Ali Siadat

Mother Mother
Jeremy Page (bass/horns)

Check out their official website or listen to their music on MySpace.

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2008 JAZZ FEST – DAL RICHARDS AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Festival Banner in Gastown
Free Jazz in Gastown! :)

I had an excellent first show as I went to Gastown Saturday to enjoy some of the free concerts happening there this weekend.  At 90 years young, Dal Richards is one cool cat on stage and his orchestra is very talented indeed.  There was not one weak number in their set, consisting mostly (if not all) of jazz standards, usually leaning on the uptempo swing style.

If you live in Vancouver or are passing by this Summer, why not check the orchestra out at the Fair at the PNE this year?  Mr. Richards was telling us that they will be playing for us every day at noon and 2PM there, throughout the fair.  Don’t miss out on this entertaining performance!

Dal Richards and his Orchestra
Dal Richards and his Orchestra

Duet
Duet

With All His Heart
Dal had to wave a white towel at him so he wouldn’t overheat from his smokin’ rendition
(I forgot the name of the song — “it’s not on the CD”, Dal said :) )

Sax Player
Saxin’ it up

Battle Of The Drums Raging On
Battle Of The Drums raging on — lol!

Dal Richards
Dal Richards