Before heading off to the Otalith Music Festival my dad gave me a call wondering if I was going to see The White Buffalo at Upstairs Cabaret in Victoria. I simply said I had no idea who it was and it was happening during the first night of the festival. He left it at that and I didn't hear about The White Buffalo anymore other than a friend of his from work was going to the show in Victoria.
Jake Smith, or as he is better known as The White Buffalo has a powerful presence. It's clear when he takes the stage that he's a someone to not be reckoned with. When he picked up his guitar and started into his first song it was clear he was talented singer/songwriter. It takes a lot a presence like The White Buffalo's to pull a crowd into an acoustic performance so late in the festival. It's not surprising his performance became one of my favourites of the entire festival.
Later during his stage banter he mentioned that several of his songs had been featured in the television series, Sons of Anarchy. It's a huge hit in my family. Mainly, because my parents think they are badass bikers too. Well, that and it's just a good show. Backstage I got a chance to talk to Jake Smith for a few minutes and make a bit of an ass of myself when I was telling him how much I liked his set. Sometimes I can still get starstruck.
By this point Ryley and his family had headed back to the campsite, and our neighbours from the campsite were dragging me into the beer gardens for a few beers. It's where I bumped into a friend who had moved to Calgary earlier in the year, but came back to the island for the festival. I quickly finished my beers, and headed back to the pit.
A few years ago a musician (and now podcaster) had recommended I check out a band called The Cave Singers. Of course I'd follow what he'd say blindly. I want to get on SuperTrain. Quickly the Cave Singers became a favourite over the fall or winter I was listening to "No Witch." Not just because of the recommendation, but because it was interesting music. Close to what I like, but different enough to get me to dive in deeper.
I had a chance to shoot them last year when they played Club 9one9 here in Victoria, and another time they stopped in town. The second performance I just went to enjoy the show, because sometimes you just need to enjoy a concert and not work. The Cave Singers always put on an outstanding show, and their performance at Otalith was no exception. Flutes, calisthenics, and lots of facial expressions graced the crowd.
Between the Cave Singers and Current Swell I waited in line for the beer garden with my camp neighbour. We bounded over our red beards among other things. The beer gardens had reached capacity so all we could do was wait to get in. Wed did however let the guys from Brasstronaut cut in line so they could get back in to have some beers.
Right now there is this musical movement here on the west coast that I'm not a huge fan of. It's this west coast surf folk rock thing that you'd hear around a campfire on a beach somewhere. Some would file a band like Current Swell in this category, but I'd argue against it. The are a well rounded alternative rock band with heavy west coast influence, but still accessible. They are really good at what they do, and it's not surprising they have a huge fan base that I'd include myself in.
A couple years ago Current Swell won the Peak Performance Project which is an amazing accomplishment. A huge boost to a band's career with all sorts of perks for recording, touring, etc. Since winning I've seen them perform more around town in bigger and bigger events. Rifflandia and headlining VIC Fest mainly. Each time I see them I become more of a fan and marvel at how much better of a band they are becoming. Current Swell is certainly a band I'd recommend any one see if they get the chance.
Before Current Swell started their encore I headed back to the campsite. Exhausted from the long, but amazing day I'd had at Otalith and in Tofino. I'm sure those beers didn't help. When we got back Ryley had a campfire going and some beers ready to go. We stayed up bullshitting about the festival for a little while before putting out the fire and heading to bed.
The Otalith Music Festival was an amazing experience that I'm extremely grateful for being a part of. It will forever be burned into my mind as one of the best destination music festivals I've ever been to and be the basis for all festivals to be judged against. I can't quite put my tongue on it, but this festival means something. It's bigger than one would think based on it's size and location. The festival organizers have huge hearts and were truly excited by everything that was going on at the festival. It's a rare thing.
I know I'll be back for the next Otalith Music Festival.