WHAT: Reggae and Ska Night with Redeye Empire, Giraffe Aftermath, Rise N' Shine and Kostaman.
WHERE: Whistler Olympic Plaza
WHEN: Saturday, July 9, 6 - 10 p.m.
Redeye Empire claims this is the Last Chance for Sunshine . Well, it's the name of their fourth CD anyway, directly inspired by the weather of their home on the Wet Coast.
But vocalist/guitarist Mike Redmond says they picked the name because it can mean any number of things - a prediction of an apocalyptic future, perhaps? - or it could be just another interpretation of the old Ram Dass adage, "be here now."
"It's like, get it while the getting's good," Redmond says with a laugh. "Enjoy it while it's there.
"We liked the title it because you can read a lot more into it than you might have to. We thought it was very West Coast. Live life the way you can live life."
That is, bask in the sunshine before the clouds hit. Much of the album deals with the human struggle to find peace within the burdens of the modern world or rekindling the fire within a broken relationship. Heartbreak's a common theme in Sunshine, giving a whole new meaning to the name Redeye. But Redmond says that the angst that runs through the album was unintentional.
"A lot of the songs we've been writing for two or three years," he says. "One of us was going through a bad spell at that moment in time and we probably wrote about it but for the most part I think the message is positive. We're not trying to relay any sense of frustration."
Quite the opposite, it seems. Comprising of Redmond, vocalist/guitarist Gabe Davis, bassist Eric Stephenson, drummer Ryan Davis and freshly acquired guitarist Jay Leonard Jaucto, Redeye Empire's headspace is better than it's ever been. Jaucto has brought a new vitality to the band's live performances.
Most importantly, the band has found its groove with this new album. After five years writing under shadow of their influences, Redmond says they've now etched out their own distinct sound that they're comfortable - and elated - to be playing within.
"It's getting us excited about what we're doing again. We're not trying to be someone we're not. We're comfortable with how our sounds have evolved and we're hitting the pinnacle of it," he says. "We've got it dialed, we're playing lots and we're being readily accepted it communities all over the place."
Redeye has been at the forefront of Vancouver's reggae scene for years now, but when they first started out five years ago reggae was a dwindling genre. Slowly, and with relentless hard work from bands like Los Furios, Giraffe Aftermath and the Empire themselves, a small but tight-knit community has formed where everyone knows and supports the others while collecting a strong legion of fans.
"It still needs more props but I find that more and more bands are playing (reggae) and people are becoming more accepting of it," he says.
Redeye is playing this weekend as part of Whistler's (blandly named) Reggae and Ska Night, along with Vancouver's Giraffe Aftermath, Seattle's Rise N' Shine and Whistler's own Kostaman, with DJ Phroh spinning between each set.
Redeye was tasked by the RMOW with booking the bands. For their part, the band wanted to play a Whistler show to coincide with their Vancouver CD release party the day before and wanted to do something outdoors. Redmond approached the municipality to see if any space was available at Whistler Olympic Plaza, who just happened to be plotting some live music for that date as well but had nothing concrete planned. Redmond put together a proposal for what they planned to do and it all came together for an evening of high-caliber reggae and ska. All of it for free.
"I think it's so cool that the muni is putting some emphasis on live shows, which I think is huge - more municipalities should put more effort into that - and the fact that it's free as a public event is outstanding," Redmond says. "It shows that Whistler's got a real affinity for the arts. They're trying to promote local artists and show off what they have on a big stage."
So let's pray there's more than one chance for sunshine then, hey boys?