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Freeflow can do anything

Vancouver’s top live show heads to Whistler for CD release

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Who: Freeflow

Where: The Boot Pub

When: Monday, Jan. 31

Freeflow’s self-titled CD is a lot of things, and none of them predictable.

With a style that has its roots in many genres, some scary musical talent, and an energy that has filled the biggest venues in Vancouver, Freeflow is a master of the urban music scene.

They play music that’s familiar, with elements of punk, hip hop, ska, and electronica in every song, and at the same time create something that’s wholly original. They’re tight, but there’s still wiggle room to create and improvise, part of the reason why they’re such a popular live act in the Lower Mainland.

Because comparisons are inevitable, I made a short list during the first spin of the CD that includes Jamiroquai, Sublime, Faith No More, BTK and Shaggy. I also noted that fans of local porn-funsters Slow Nerve Action will love this music for its funky grooves.

Upon closer examination of their CD cover, I discovered a list of the band’s musical inspirations, none of which were on my list – Spearhead, The Roots, K-OS, Ozomatli, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Toots, Al Green, Soloman Burke, TCQ, and Arrested Development.

Of course, the band draws most of its inspiration from its audiences, which have been growing and growing.

"We have a good buzz going right now, a great local following in Vancouver that keeps on growing," said Evans, who added that the band has already played more than 300 shows. "We put a lot of energy into our live shows, and we get a lot back."

Putting the CD together was a challenge because it was difficult to capture that live feeling. Producer Ben Kaplan helped to ensure that the CD was as close as possible to the live experience.

"We have our producer to thank for that," said Evans. "From the beginning he said this is what I want to do, and that’s capture what you do live in the studio, that sound and that energy.

"We’re not a jam band, but we do a little more jamming in our live shows, that’s always been an element of the whole Freeflow thing. We want to improvise, and there’s definitely an element of freedom in the music and the unexpected."

The band has maintained the same lineup since it began five years ago, although it has grown in size and skill recently with the addition of E-Spliff-MC, who adds the entire hip hop element to their urban sound.

At first some of the band’s fans wondered how Evans felt sharing the spotlight with another vocalist. "I think it’s great, he’s great, and it adds a whole other dynamic to the band as well, and lets me get on with it by sharing some of the weight. If you’re on stage for hours and hours and you’re getting called up for encores, it’s nice to have someone sharing the load."

This won’t be Freeflow’s first show in Whistler – they made the mistake of coming here at the tail end of the Thanksgiving weekend to an empty village and an almost empty venue.

This Monday, with a new CD and a growing reputation in Vancouver, they’re hoping to do a little better.

For more information on the band, reviews and samples of their music, visit the band’s website at www.freeflow.ca.

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