Monday, June 13, 2005

Back from the Junction: by Andrew Hoshkiw

My second festival weekend was amazing.

I think I'll have to spread out the experience over several entries, each being a glimpse into some aspect of what happened.

For the first one, I'll talk about the partying.

I was really doubtful going into the weekend that I'd have anywhere near as much fun as I did in Watson Lake. My impression was this weekend was going to be aimed more at an older crowd, and people with families, than the rowdy, crazy youth that dominated Watson Lake

As far as I knew, none of the bands qualified as punk or hard rock. And in fact, with half the experience being a bluegrass festival, I half expected to be falling asleep in my seat.

And, in this regard, Friday was pretty mellow for both festivals. In fact I went to sleep early, around midnight.

Saturday was looking pretty much the same, until about five in the afternoon, when I encountered at the main Alsek stage, a band calling themselves The Whiskeydicks.

I'd say the best description for this band would be Celtic rock with punk and gypsy overtones. Loud, crazy and at times completely out of control.

In an environment where other bands were getting a lukewarm reaction from the audience, with some clapping and the occasional lone dancer, these guys (five boys and one girl) by the end of their set had a hundred people dancing in front of the stage and everyone else up out of their seats

If the crowd had been a little bit deeper, I swear there would have been moshing and crowd surfing.

It was completely amazing. Two fiddles, two guitars, an upright bass and a set of drums. They played all original tunes with an energy I haven't seen on stage since Gob. And even though that was only three weeks ago, with these festivals I've seen a lot of music since then.

After their performance, I mentioned to one of them, a very cute fiddle player named Zoe, that I'd like to interview them at some point. She seemed all right with the idea but not terribly enthused.

So I went away, did some other things. Went back to camp, had some food, had a nap, then went and checked out more of the bluegrass fest.

Got back to the Alsek fest about 11:00 p.m.

As soon as I got there, I encountered one of the band members at the gate. It's as if he was there on duty waiting for me.

He quickly gathered up the band, and then together we went to the hospitality tent to do an interview.

By this point in time they were already well on their way to intoxication, and because there was an imbalance between them and me, they started the interview by filling me with liquor.

We talked for about an hour. I really won't get into it here. Some of it was quite interesting though. This time I had the foresight to remember my minidisc and record the conversation.

It was definitely a great talk. Some of it might even be printable, and if I can extract enough information, I should be able to write an article just on them as this up-and-coming band who will (I have no doubt) be big within a few years.

That is, if they can devote a little less energy to drinking, and a little more to promotion and getting a CD out.

Anyhow, after the interview the group of us split up and I went to watch the bands that were playing. More than once throughout the evening I encountered various Whiskeydicks, who would give me more booze.

They've been together since September, and they said this was the first major interview they've done. I get the impression they really think I'm going to write great things about them, and I am, for sure, but I don't know how far my words will go.

It'll be a big feature article with lots of pictures, and everyone here will read it, or at least see it, but I doubt that'll go very far in their social scene of Vancouver.

Anyhow, at the end of the show, when everyone was leaving, I decided to go for a walk. There were a lot of people who arrived late and couldn't get into the campgrounds, and so they camped in a field next to the festival site. After the show, this is where a party of about a hundred people developed.

As I was walking around, I encountered them again, and again they gave me more alcohol.

And then, they decided to play some more music, and out came a guitar and a fiddle. It was wonderful. It's amazing how they can play.

It went on for hours, and when I finally dragged myself away, exhausted, about half past five in the morning, they were still playing.

whisky dicks contact:

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