Randy Ponzio performs with Shad at Live at Squamish, photo: Kelsey Klassen

 

The local music community is mourning the death of Randy Ponzio after he was found in a Downtown Eastside rooming house Saturday.

The body of East Vancouver musician Bruce Randall “Randy” Ponzio was located after police received a call shortly before 5 p.m. to the Balmoral Hotel in the 100-block of East Hastings.

The 35-year-old solo musician and founder of Quest Poetics recently won the Shore 104.3 FM Song Search 2011 grand prize with his track For The People.

Vancouver police spokesperson Const. Lindsey Houghton said there were no obvious signs of trauma, but police are treating his death as suspicious. Police are awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause of death, he added.

Police appealed to the public in search of Ponzio, who went missing Nov. 15 after leaving a Vancouver residence at around 9 p.m. to go out for a walk.

“He failed to return and his disappearance sparked a search by police, family, friends, and many in the local music community,” Houghton said in a statement. “Despite extensive canvassing and searches in the Downtown Eastside, he was not located.”

Friends and fellow musicians turned to Facebook to expressed their grief and attest to the impact Ponzio had on those he met.

“I am still numb knowing I will never see that big smile of Randy’s again. His zest for life was contagious,” Dave Chesney wrote. “None of this makes any sense.”

Police are now appealing to anyone who saw Ponzio in his final days and hours to contact major crime investigators at 604-717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

 

Editors Note: In the 5 years Ponzio lived in Vancouver, he never ceased in his quest to unite artists under the banner of Peace, Love, Foundation and Family. He has touched so many, and his passing is felt deeply in the close-knit music community. More than half of the $10,000 goal has been raised to help his three children in this difficult time. Please click here to donate.

A celebration of his life is planned for 6pm Monday, November 21st at the corner of Granville and Georgia. Attendees are encouraged to bring candles.

2011 PEAK PERFORMANCE WINNER

Last night, November 17th 2011 at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, the PEAK Performance Project announced the rankings of their top 3 artists:

1st place, winning $100,500: Current Swell!

2nd place, taking home $75,000: The Boom Booms

3rd place, with $50,000: the Matinee

 

Vancouver musician Randy Ponzio missing

Friends and family of Randy Ponzio are calling for help in their attempt to locate the popular Vancouver musician. Ponzio has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday night, Nov 15th. He was last seen leaving the Keefer in Chinatown after an evening with friends.

Ponzio is known for his work with Quest Poetics and as a solo artist. Earlier this year, he won the Shore 104.3 FM Song Search competition.

A Facebook group dedicated to finding Ponzio can be found here.

Interview: Matt Layzell (The Matinée)

The Matinée are having a banner year. Fresh off their selection as the debut band for Vogville Presents, Vogville Recording’s monthly video series documenting the stories of select musicians, and now into the voting round of the 2011 Peak Performance Project, it’s no wonder lead singer Matt Layzell can’t stop smiling.

photo: Tyler Branston

Hailing from Coquitlam, BC, The Matinée have been spreading their roots-rock contagion since 2007. Already staple at Vancouver venues such as The Railway Club and The Biltmore, their journey has also included playing for the Canadian Armed Forces at CFB Cold Lake and the men’s bronze medal hockey game during the Olympics.

Their sound is a classic blend of storytelling and the personalities within the energetic sextet, highlighted by the song chosen as the backdrop for Vogville Presents – L’Absinthe.

Let’s start with the important question: In a perfect world, what drink would someone be drinking while listening your music?

Well, if it is at our shows, they would be drinking a rye & coke, preferably courtesy of Jim Beam. If it’s at home, it might be over a big glass of red wine for the ladies and a tall-boy of Pilsner for the men. And since it’s a perfect world, the drinks are all free!

You’ve played in a wide variety of venues….What was the prison audience like?

Playing the prison was quite surreal. We had to surrender our wallets and phones and were ushered through several hallways to the gymnasium. The doors in front of us would only open once the door we had entered through was locked shut. We felt like prisoners! To be honest though, the inmates we played for were so enthusiastic. You could tell they were very appreciative to have some outside entertainment, and some type of distraction from their daily routine. It felt strange after we finished the set that we were packing up to leave while they were getting marched back to their cells. We’ve been in prison twice, thankfully both times on our own terms.

Describe the experience of being the first band chosen for Vogville Presents?

Being chosen as the first band for the Vogville Presents series was a real honour. We’ve worked out of Vogville Recording several times and have known Jonathan Fluevog for several years. Jonathan is a true supporter of the local scene and really has taken it upon himself to provide local musicians with a top-notch facility that is feasible on an indie budget. The fact that he championed us for the inaugural Vogville Presents video series really gives us confidence in knowing we’re on the right track.

What was the energy like filming it all in one day?

The studio experience is something we truly enjoy, and that day was no different. The song we recorded is really energetic, and it tells the tale of a wild night we spent in Montreal while on tour one summer. When we started recording that day, we really wanted to ensure we captured that energy, the imagery that we connect with that night. We also had the pressure of the cameras rolling and having to get things done in just one day. There’s nothing like a little pressure to make you productive! The highlight of the day had to be the listening party we had once we were done tracking where we all cracked a beer and listened through the song a few times. We were proud parents right then.

You’ve known each other for a long time….did it come together really easily from the beginning? And who got the first tattoo?

We are tight knit group in The Matinée. We grew up together in Coquitlam, and all of us have played in bands together for the better part of ten years now. We used to jam and party in our parents’ basements. We all worked together at a local gas station too. The only difference is now we get paid to jam and host the party. Being in this band really does come naturally to us, and I don’t imagine we’d have it any other way.

As for tattoos, I think it was Mike who got the first tattoo in the group… a dragon on his arm. We are all covered it them now. Geoff just started a tribute to the Lord Of The Rings on his arm. We are all Lord Of The Rings nerds too.

Songs – who writes them?

We all take a hand in the writing process, and all or songs relate to something personal one of us has experienced. Often I have some lyrics or a melody that I will show to the others and then we start constructing the chords and form for the song. Other times, one of the guys might have a riff that I will work with and put a melody to. Late spring we did a writing trip over on Galiano Island. We rented this little wood cabin overlooking Active Pass and just played and wrote music for a week. It was so productive and everyone felt included in the writing process. I think that we’re planning on more of those trips for our next album.

What does the Peak Performance Project mean to you?

The PPP has been nothing short of incredible. Music BC, who funds and organizes the project, and the folks from 100.5 The PEAK have all been so supportive and professional. They really want all of us to succeed and progress our careers and the PPP truly gives you the tools to do so. The Bootcamp was so much fun, and was such a learning experience. We’ve made some really good friends as a result and have found that there really is a scene is Vancouver. We are all one big family in the PPP. And… we got to meet a billionaire (Jim Pattison).

Which band is giving you a run for your money in the Project?

Wow. That’s a tough question. To be honest, all 20 artists in the PPP are so talented. Any one of them could win it all. I really do we feel we are a contender, but man, Current Swell, Rococode, The Belle Game, Acres Of Lions, Maurice, Treelines, The Boom-Booms…. see I could just name them all. That’s how good everyone is. That’s a testament to the PPP and to the musical talent in B.C.

Did you follow last year’s PPP competition and has it helped shape your strategy?

Last year, the big winners were Kyprios, Said The Whale, and Vince Vaccaro, who have all gone on to do big things this year. We certainly have tried to take from what they were doing during last years campaign and put that into our own. We all realize what is on the line here. There’s a big chunk of change up for grabs! We’ve also had some good help from our management too, Simkin Artist Management.

I caught your set at the Red Room and was very impressed. Has your live show always been so high impact or have you made some adjustments during the PP process to add a little zazz?

Thanks for the kind review! We’ve worked hard to make our show really streamlined and professional. That has been an on-going process, but without a doubt, the PPP has made us focus on it. Bands aren’t selling tons of records any more, so you have to be able to put on a show that people are willing to pay for. The PPP spent a lot of time working on our live shows and helping us find ways of making them really engaging. We smashed a guitar on stage at The Red Room show. That was a first!

If your music could be the soundtrack to any movie made to date, which would it be?

Hmmm. I wish we could say Lord Of The Rings, but we just don’t have the right songs… yet. So, I guess I would say No Country For Old Men.

5 places/things than define Vancouver for you?

1) the sound of the BC Ferries horn
2) Gastown
3) Granville Island (Brewery ;)
4) the Commodore
5) Sushi

Best music advice you’ve been given?

Our good friend Lyle Chausse (EMI) was one of the first to take us under his wing when we started playing shows around town. He told us that the view from the top of the mountain is great… but the view from half way up is still pretty f—ing good. Enjoy the ride up as you never now when your ride will end. I think that’s great advice. We try to be in the moment and really enjoy everything we do as a band. If we never play BC Place, we’ve still done and seen a lot and can take pride in that.

Year’s best gig you’ve seen?

I caught The Black Keys at Deer Lake Park this summer. That was damn good show. They make so much good noise for just two guys on stage.

Favourite local charity?

We would have to say the Coquitlam Animal Shelter as we are currently working an awareness campaign for them as a part of the PPP contest. You can learn more about the shelter on our website too. They definitely need help raising funds to care for the animals they take in, and are in need of foster homes for those animals. They are one of the only no-kill shelters in the lower mainland as well.

Favourite way to discover new music?

Other people’s playlists on their iPods. Celebrity playlists on iTunes. Youtube. The PPP! Some of my favorite bands are local and in the contest.

Thoughts on the Canucks?… changes you’d make, Lou and his millions, nickname for Rogers Arena… Go:

1) We need some toughness. Bring back Gino or Brashear!
2) Lou will be fine. He’s a great goaltender. This will be his year.
3) I like the Phone Booth. The Call Center or Dead Zone could work too.

Did you (Matt) have to work on smiling for entire sets or does it come naturally?

That just made me smile! Was there anything stuck in my teeth? Truthfully, I have had to work on it. It doesn’t hurt that we have a lot of fun on stage or that we play a lot of fun music, but I have had to remember to smile for the audience at times. Now I think it just happens naturally.

If the stars align, what would the next 2 years look like for The Matinée. Feel free to get fantastical on me.

Oh we’ll get fantastical on you. Ok, well, we will record our album early next year with Rick Rubin in a cabin on a lake somewhere isolated. After performing on Letterman we’ll get chosen to open for Ryan Adams & The Cardinals as he tours around the world. After a few months, he’ll fire us somewhere in Europe for stealing the attention of his lady (Mandy Moore) and drinking all his beer. We’ll rent a villa in southern France and start work on a new album with lots of guest stars and invite you to come review our album release show in London. How’s that sound?

It sounds like you should keep your ears out for the raised glass music of The Matinée.

photo: Tyler Branston

 

VIFF: Inni (Sigur Rós)

Inni, the follow up to Sigur Rós’ hugely successful 2007 tour doc Heima, had it’s 2011 Vancouver Film Festival debut at the Vogue Theatre last night. The venue was perfect for the gritty concert footage, which closely followed the band members as they broke out a set at London’s Alexandra Palace in 2008. Interspersed with archival clips going back as far as 1998, it’s either the band’s first live album, or second band film, and the definitive Sigur Rós experience.

Kaleidoscopic mood altering camera angles and film techniques involving prisms cocoon the viewer in the onstage experience. Comic relief comes between songs courtesy of the Icelandic band’s classically dry humor.

First time listeners of the band are left more with a feeling than a knowledge of the music but fans of the band’s more ethereal work will revel in every note.

Inni is showing again on Sat, Oct 8th at Empire Theatre.

As part of the 2011 Rifflandia festival, taking place this weekend in Victoria, War Child is setting up a uniquely designated War Child Lounge in Victoria’s beautiful new Atrium Building (800 Yates Street, Victoria, B.C.) on Sat, September 24th and Sun, September 25th from 11:00am-1:00pm.

photo via War Child

Select musicians and bands will perform short acoustic sets, with all proceeds going to support War Child’s work with war-affected children.

Admission to the War Child Lounge is by donation (minimum of $10.00) payable at the door, or in advance at warchild.ca/rifflandia.

Saturday, Sep 24th:
·         11:00 – 11:20 Michael Rault
·         11:30 – 11:50 Mike Edel
·         12:00 – 12:20 KO
·         12:30 – 1:00  Mother Mother

Sunday, Sep 25th:
·         11:00 – 11:20 Olenka
·         11:30 – 11:50 Royal Wood
·         12:00 – 12:20 Vince Vaccaro
·         12:30 – 1:00  USS

All the infos

Rifflandia Festival: Victoria, Sep 22-25

Decades collide in a genre melting Festoria that is 1/3rd local, 3/3rds epic. But that’s impossible you say? Watch and learn.

Rifflandia 2011 – Victoria, BC … Sep 22-25

City And Colour • Broken Social Scene • Cold War Kids • Mother Mother • De La Soul • Blackalicious • Gomez • Awolnation • AraabMUZIK • Besnard Lakes • Bonjay • The Cave Singers • Daniel Wesley • Eliot Lipp • Eskmo • Felix Cartal • Giant Sand • Hollerado • J Mascis • Jim-E Stack • Jokers Of The Scene • The Knocks • Ko • LA Riots • Lance Herbstrong • Lyrics Born • Machinedrum • Matthew Barber • Nosaj Thing • The Pack AD • Ra Ra Riot • Royal Wood • Sage Francis • TokiMonsta • USS • XI and more.

 

Lineup

Info

Tickets

Playlists

Check back for the Tracks Rifflandia 2011 playlist of local and Canadian artists.

Fairview Pub: Phareke and Friends Sep 23

Last time I caught one of Phareke’s evenings at the Fairview (WTF? Where’s the Funk), I spotted Mayor Gregor out on the dance floor. The mayor’s a cool guy, but it was a pretty mean beat that got him out of his seat and onto the floor.

I can’t claim that Vancouver’s most famous cyclist will be in attendance, but judging by the lineup, this night will be equivalently fierce.

Live performances by
—————–
Jess Vaira (jazzy, smooth Rhythm & Blues)

The 323′s (funk trio, comin up in the city)

Jessi Nicholson (Supremely soulful, R&B Singer Songwriter)

Phareke N Friends (Inspirational Hip Hop backed by an 8 piece band of talented musicians)

When: Fri Sep 23rd
Where: Fairview Pub
Tickets: $10.00 at the door

FORTUNE: Stellenbosch Orphanage fundraiser

A lovely local girl named Shannon Wood leaves on September 29th for Stellenbosch Township, 45 minutes from Cape Town, South Africa, where there is an orphanage for children who are in desperate need of educational enhancement and medical help. The volunteer program she is a part of involves providing a safe, fun and creative environment for these children, giving them the opportunity to develop to their full potential. She will be involved in planning and implementing a program which uses educational games, song and dance, arts and crafts, gross and fine motor co-ordination and story-telling to allow these children to have fun while learning and developing at the same time.

She is currently raising money to bring with her to transfer to a specific project once there, having been advised this is the best way to make sure the money raised is going to be put towards the childrens’ needs directly and not advertising or to the owners of the orphanages. She is planning initially to be there for 3 months, however there is a potential opportunity to stay on as an intern working full-time with the MD or be transferred up to Durban to work at a school there.

Her first fundraiser at the ANZA Club (feat. performances by local artists Kelsey Klassen, Tonye Aganaba, Randy Ponzio, Jess Vaira and David Morin) raised $1500 for the cause without even trying, so don’t miss fundraiser #2:

Vivo Headwear & S Wood present

FORTUNE SOUND CLUB

When: Sep 23rd @ 1030pm

Who:

BONJAY
RICO UNO
SINCERELY HANA

and more!

What: $10 OBD to dance along with the city’s best sounds (and sound system)

Don’t miss the awesome prizes & auction items to be won

LIVE at Squamish: Review

There haven’t been any weekends in recent memory more picture perfect than the second edition of LIVE at Squamish. Blue skies and snowcapped mountains greeted the roughly 10,000 fans each day as they streamed into the Squamish Logger Sports Grounds. With temperatures soaring in to the twenties, music fans from around the province got to enjoy an amazing line-up of local and international artists and their long-awaited summer.

Saturday kicked off with a high octane set from contest winners The Proper Villains. Australian multi-instrumentalist Kim Churchill professed his love of Vancouver’s pho after his jaw dropping solo set, while Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric awed in the background with just a guitar, a piano and a taste of things to come.

Kyprios & the Chaperones

Other highlights from the Garibaldi Stage included a fun mix of originals and covers from local lad and Peak Performance winner Kyprios, who had a touching moment of tribute to fallen Canuck, Rick Rypien, followed by the slick Polaris-nominated hiphop of Shad. Judging by the comments from the fans in the front row, and the vibe around the stage as the sun went down, Shad is Canada’s quencher to our hiphop thirst.

Hey Ocean

Meanwhile, across the grounds, Hey Ocean filled the big Stawamus stage with bubbles and shark balloons, and showed why they are steadily rising in the Canadian music milieu. Later the same stage was treated with all the talent of the John Butler Trio. Butler carved out a swath of the set with just riffs and slaps on his twelve-string, and then told the crowd they were beautiful as his bandmates rejoined him on stage.

Girl Talk

As the evening got moderately cooler, virtually everybody in attendance at the very family friendly festival packed in around the Girl Talk stage to have a giant dance party. A few dozen lucky Girl Talkers were invited up on stage, and the rest just jumped in to dance amidst toilet paper and confetti while arguably the world’s best mashup DJ reminded us of every song we have ever liked, ever.

Panda Watch

Sunday had surprises in store, with the mysteriously masked Panda Watch revealing themselves to be local darlings Said the Whale, complete with all new material and a closer that had the audience clapping and singing, “We are lucky and we know it.” Vancouver prog-rock has gained a new face in Dan Moxon, the endearing tie-dyed teddybear fronting Bend Sinister, who offered the crowd an inflatable shark he found outside a Jaws screening earlier this summer.

The Dudes

Black Mountain

The Zolas brought their family on stage to sing along with their last song. Shane Koyczan brought the crowd to a reverent hush with his slam-poetry set about bullying and depression. The Dudes showed some healthy beverage-consuming competition and Black Mountain’s ominous Zeppelin-Sabbath hybrid, Tyrants, brought the sun down.

Metric claimed the stage with a hair-shaking, fist-pumping run through their extensive catalogue of hits such as Help I’m Alive and Monster Hospital, and frontwoman Emily Haines took the time to remind everyone they’re listeners too and that she was so happy to perform at the same festival as Stars because, “We’ve like, known them forever.”

Emily Haines of Metric

Weezer’s winged “W” watched as they said it ain’t so and got up-close and personal with fans while a host of DJ’s, including duo Major Lazer, kept the party going late into the night.

The relatively simple two-stage set up allowed steady flow through of fans from one act to another, and delays were minor. The festival had some awkward moments however, when acts The Belle Game and Black Mountain were advised during their closing minutes that they had to wrap.

Adding to the world-class music and scenery were a variety of interactive stations. It was really beautiful to see entire families enjoying the sights – from the silent disco, to the secret Green Couch Sessions and an artisan village.

Organizers brand.LIVE estimated that attendance was roughly 19,000 over the two day festival and LIVE at Squamish is expected to have generated close to $1 million in related business for the district of Squamish, in addition to the inestimable impact the support of a successful festival has on the local music community. For the second year running, LIVE at Squamish delivered a top-shelf experience destined to grow bigger and bolder with age.

For all the photos from LIVE at Squamish, check out the Tracks facebook. See if you can tag your friends!