Jon and Roy will join Current Swell (pictured below) on stage Friday evening at Flashbacks

Jon & Roy play Flashbacks as Culture Days hits Kelowna

Jon & Roy and Current Swell know each other well enough to swap bandmates and they're coming to Kelowna this weekend

  • Sep. 26, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Victoria is coming to Kelowna—or at least a nice slice of the capital city’s music scene.

Jon and Roy and Current Swell return to Kelowna this weekend with the kind of back-to-back acts they love to play on a tour destined to showcase a lot of foot-stomping, folk-loving fun.

So connected are the two groups they’ve actually traded a bass player, or rather Current Swell‘s bass player, Louis Sadava, joined Jon and Roy a couple of years ago to make a trio.

This doesn’t mean they’re entirely on the same musical track.

“I think we’ve evolved quite a bit quite a bit into an upbeat tempo, more dance-y thing,” said Jon Middleton, the Jon in Jon and Roy, in interview this week.

Jon and Roy have traditionally been as folk as it gets this side of the ’60s, although they’ve always mixed in a little reggae and blues and can claim roots, believe it or not, in hip hop. Current Swell, on the other hand, is clearly a blues folk rock act with just a hint of the laid-back reggae taste one can imagine life among the Vancouver Island hippies must foster.

Current SwellReviewers in Hawaiian pegged the latter band as playing “northern surf music” when they landed on the islands for one tour, but if you really want to picture their sound, it’s impossible to do so without envisioning a banjo and harmonica on stage. So the four-piece Current Swell and the duo-turned-trio, Jon and Roy, can lay claim to a similar (foot) stomping ground in acoustic folk-style music—but with two very different outcomes.

In other words, they are perfect touring companions, and they’ve tested the theory in as far flung music-loving regions as Australia.

As their music has evolved, Jon and Roy say they’ve started blazing a new trail with a get-up-and-dance style in their recent work. This doesn’t mean they’re shirking their hippie-loving Bob Marley-cultured lifestyles for the glitz and glam of electronic. They’re still planning a folk EP for the winter, after all. But they are hoping to showcase a new sound than fans are used to when they arrive in town on Friday.

Jon and Roy played at Habitat in December and were a big hit the Keloha Festival the year before, so many a Kelowna folk nut will be out for the concert, staged nicely on the first night of Culture Days and Kelowna’s first Culture Crawl.

Current Swell, followed up Jon and Roy’s stop at Keloha 2012 with their own that appearance at the festival this year. Following The Matinée on Sunday afternoon, their raucous, foot-stomping tunes proved the perfect appetizer for the final performances, or at least a great warm up for Capital Cities.

No matter how you slice it, these bands are fantastic performers. Jon and Roy have played with Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas, Bahamas, Finley Quaye to name just a few and Current Swell are accustomed to lighting up a stages with acts like The Beach Boys and Xavier Rudd.

And it would appear they thoroughly impressed the folks who run Keloha. Wet Ape Productions, which puts on the Keloha Festival, is putting on this show.

Jon and Roy and Current Swell play Flashbacks on Friday, Sept. 27. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.


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