Steve's Blog
Greeks and Gatherings and Pumpkins!
Thursday June 19, 2014

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Wow! The Milk Carton Kids extravaganza blew into town last week and they certainly made a lasting impression on all who were at the shows! As they were about to pull away from the curb in their enormous tour bus one of their crew quipped that next time they should do a week's residency at The Rogue! What do you think? Should we try for more than two nights next time??

This weekend is a very busy one indeed! We present an evening of Greek music on Friday at St. James, then on Saturday I'm an MC at The Gathering Festival, a free event in Emery Barnes Park (Seymour and Davie). I'll be there from 2:30pm to sundown, introducing the likes of Jim Byrnes, Petunia & The Vipers, and Gary Comeau & His Voodoo All-Stars. Sunday is Greek Day with West Broadway closed to traffic between McDonald and Blenheim Streets in Kitsilano. On Monday we are looking forward to the Dave & Phil Alvin concert at Capilano University, and on Tuesday we present the amazing trad folk combo Tim Eriksen & The Trio de Pumpkintown at St. James Hall

1. Greek Community Concert w/ Yiorgos & Yiannis, Friday June 20th, 8pm, at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
George Yioldassis (Yiorgos) is a Greek bouzouki player from Vancouver. He was a founding member of the local band “Diaspora” followed by the instrumental duo “Yiorgos & Yiannis" who released their  debut CD “Epitelous” - which means "finally!" in Greek - in 2000. Together with the gifted guitar playing accompaniment of Johannes Grames (Yiannis) he performs Greek bouzouki, rembetiki and laiki music from the 1930’s to the 1960’s - a golden era that produced many interesting and moving pieces.

Come and celebrate Greek music - and Greek snacks and beverages - in the heart of Vancouver's Greek neighbourhood. Tickets are a mere $15 ($11 for members) It will be a fabulous occasion and we really would love to see you there!

2. The Gathering Festival, Saturday June 21st, 10am to 9pm, Emery Barnes Park (Seymour & Davie St.) 
This free event kicks off at 10am with griddle pancakes, and includes film, dance, a concert / dance with Gary Comeau & The Voodoo All-Stars at 1pm, a salmon dinner and a concert with Jim Byrnes at 4:30pm, two sets of music from Petunia & The Vipers (6pm and 7:15) and it all wraps up with Orkestra Slivovica, Beverly Dobrinsky, and the Gathering Place Choir celebrating the Summer Solstice at 8pm. I'll be an MC, and I hope you can join in the festivities. More info:

3. Greek Day  on Sunday June 22nd
Why not join in another celebration - Greek Day. This free event takes place on West Broadway which is closed to traffic for this colourful and popular cultural extravaganza! There will be music and dancing and food and beverages and fun for all the family. The Rogue will be there too, so come and visit our tent.

4. Tim Eriksen & The Trio de Pumpkintown, Tuesday June 24th, 8pm, at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Here is a wonderful article by Alex Varty which was published in this week's Georgia Straight. It's a great introduction to Tim Eriksen and I hope that you'll be sufficiently intrigued to come down to The Rogue and experience this very special concert on Tuesday! Concert details and tickets are to be found here

In trying to convey just how rich and strange his life has been, Tim Eriksen likes to travel back to 2002, when he was working on the film Cold Mountain as a consultant to music producer T Bone Burnett. “In one week, two things happened to me; one was a dream, and the other actually happened,” the singer, scholar, and multi-instrumentalist recalls from his Hadley, Massachusetts, home. “The first one is that it’s midnight, I’m in Transylvania, and it’s a full moon. Nicole Kidman is dancing to Eminem, and somebody goes and puts a big pile of meat out in the driveway. At some point later, somebody starts shouting, ‘Bear! There’s a bear!’ And then Nicole Kidman and I go out with my baby son, Luka, who’s nine months old, and there’s this big, giant, fairy-tale bear in the driveway. Nicole Kidman shouts, ‘Not the baby! Don’t bring the baby to see the bear!’ And then she goes off chasing the bear down the street in a Land Rover. 

“The other is that I’m in Home Depot choosing tile,” he continues. “Of course, the one that’s the dream was the tile. I have been to Home Depot and chosen tile before, but that particular week, that was my dream. And I actually have a video of the bear somewhere on my YouTube channel.”

A cursory search of the Internet turns up little evidence of this ursine encounter, but it’s worthwhile nonetheless. Among the treasures caught on video are Eriksen singing “Farewell to Old Bedford” in the middle of a snowstorm, playing a frolicsome banjo version of “Amazing Grace” atop an autumnal mountain, and using the rock walls of a Colorado park as a resonator while he sings the Macedonian classic “Zajdi Zajdi”. There’s also a clip of Eriksen and his Trio de Pumpkintown bandmates Zoë Darrow (fiddle) and Peter Irvine (percussion) playing the world’s largest hurdy-gurdy.

What stands out from the videos, and from his Josh Billings Voyage album, is that Eriksen is a deep and deadly serious interpreter of traditional music, and that he’s having a hell of a lot of fun in that role. “That hits the nail on the head,” the former Cordelia’s Dad frontman says, adding that his latest project is to take Josh Billings Voyage, a loose concept album about a 19th-century mariner, and turn it into a fully fleshed-out folk opera.

“We just this Saturday did our first performance, and it was really cool,” he says. “Once I realized that it was taking place in a fictional village, it all came together. And then I realized that it was just one in a long series of fictional villages, especially New England villages. There’s this amazingly rich intersection between fiction and history here.”

Fact and fiction are similarly blurred in Trio de Pumpkintown’s more conventional concerts, like its upcoming Rogue Folk Club show. As in conversation, it’s hard to tell when Eriksen is telling it straight and when he’s playing the Yankee trickster, but at least on-stage he has someone to answer to.

“Peter actually monitors it,” he says, laughing. “He’s a lawyer in real life, so he monitors my storytelling, and I look to him periodically to reassure the audience that I’m not lying.”

Which brings us back to that bear story and its accompanying video. Further online sleuthing eventually found it, under the title “Soul of the January Hills, plus Famous People Chasing a Bear”. Enjoy!

5. The Edge On Folk, Saturday 8am to noon, on CiTR fm 101.9 and
Please join me to hear some new music from Dave & Phil Alvin, Chatham County Line, Dervish, Imarhan Timbuktu, First Aid Kit, Lake Street Dive, Ricardo Lemvo, Martin Carthy & Eliza Carthy (who was just awarded an MBE!), Natalie Merchant, The Roving Crows, Forabandit, Habadekuk, Colleen Rennison, Toumani & Sidiki Diabate, Hurray For The Riff Raff, and more. Plus Tim Eriksen, Gary Comeau, Jim Byrnes, Tony McManus, Laura Smith, Coig, Quartette, and various performers on the bill at the local festivals this summer. You can tune in live on CiTR fm 101.9 or Telus TV channel 7023. The show is also streamed live on

6. New Concert!! 
We've just added a wonderful Double Bill of Celtic - and related - music to our concert calendar! New Zealand / Scots trio Pacific Curls will be joined by Scots pipers Ross AInslie and Jarlath Henderson on Monday July 14th in the air-conditioned comfort of Granville Island's Waterfront Theatre - which is around the corner from our new office. It will be our first ever show on Granville Island and we hope to present more concerts there - especially in the summer months when St. James Hall tends to get a wee bit hot. Full details of this concert can be found here  

7. Mailing List
You will soon receive an invitation to join our new email list. We are moving to a new method of delivery, and it is also mandatory for us to request that you opt in to continue to receive these bulletins after July 1st.

Have a great weekend!