Updated: May 10
- Scott Roos
February 28th, 2020… That was the last time my shadow saw the inside of a venue. I’ve missed the buzz of activity surrounding a show. I’ve missed that surge of adrenaline that I feel when a band or solo artist hits the stage. Music makes people feel good. It’s common knowledge. It’s literally science. Music makes ME feel good.
For the past few weeks I’ve been commuting to Kinistino for work. To pass the time, I’ve been listening to albums in my car. Front to back. No skipping songs. Just deep listening and meditation. Just me, my car, the open prairies and my tunes. I’ve spent many long drives listening to The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath to name a few and lately their music seems to move me like never before. I was literally brought to tears listening to The Beatles Abbey Road a few days ago. COVID19 has made things weird for me emotionally but I'll get through this. So will you. It seems hard to know what normal is anymore. So we're all making it up as we go along. Riffing on what life throws at us is pretty much all we can do at this point. And reminiscing on what we had before all this went down, I believe, is good for the soul. I remember the night of February 28th quite clearly and so does Five Alarm Funk vocalist/drummer Tayo Branston whose band performed at the EA Rawlinson Centre For the Arts that night.
“The first thing that pops out is remembering how awesome of an evening it was,” explains Branston, “It was our first time in Prince Albert and we had no idea what to expect. We always put an emphasis on fun and excitement in our performances and the crowd really took to it and gave us incredible energy and enthusiasm.”
The energy was indeed palpable. I have seen crowds get marginally “rowdy” at the Rawlinson in the past, but the Vancouver funksters brought their A game that night and the crowd responded by staying on their feet for the majority of the performance as the band put themselves through their paces with their own unique sound and flair. Many fans even abandoned traditional stuffy theatre protocol and went to the front of the stage.
“ (Our sound is) exciting and explosive,” reflects Branston, “We've become known for our incredibly energetic performances, hilarious stage gags and music that makes you want to bounce off the walls. I think fans of the band really appreciate having that animalistic, cathartic, endorphin releasing experience. (It’s) good for the mind and body.”
It was indeed a memorable night for Five Alarm Funk and also, obviously for the many in attendance that night. It’s always interesting to know where the EARC rates in terms of other venues across the country and Branston gave a glowing report.
“ The venue itself is beautiful. The acoustics, stage size, awesome, friendly and professional tech crew and organizers. It's the kind of venue you dream about when you’re payin' your dues and slugging it out on stage night after night in bars. It was an absolute pleasure to take the stage at EA Rawlinson and hope we can do it again in the future,” said Branston.
At the North Sask Music Zine, we are happy to report on live music returning to the area. We’ve been there for the drive-in concerts, the smaller more intimate backyard shows and now are ecstatic to report the return of indoor events.
Five Alarm Funk has not played in front of a live audience indoors since March 11th. They are itching to return to the live concert stage but in the meantime are busy promoting their latest full length release entitled Big Smoke that dropped on Bandcamp back in June (we will have more on that later next week).
“Enjoy the moment! To see live indoor shows slowly coming back to life is spectacular and I know the musicians are gonna be very excited about it,” muses Branston on the return to indoor shows, “I’d definitely say respect the rules. To get things back in full swing we have to make sure the first concerts back are going as smooth as possible. I’d also say to be enthusiastic. In my opinion, there's nothing better than a responsive, engaged audience. After a seven month hiatus from performing it'll be a great feeling to get up in front of a crowd and feel that give and take of positive energy.”
Five Alarm Funk are still waiting for the green light to perform inside a venue with a live audience again and we wish them the best. In the meantime, folks in Prince Albert can catch Belle Plaine this Friday, September 25th at the EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts. It's been a long time since we, the general public of P.A. have seen an actual show inside of a venue. Too long. Support local. That is all...
*pics of Five Alarm Funk courtesy of Cara Stelmaschuk and the EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts