The first time I saw Kytami perform was at Rifflandia in 2015, when my friend Deriek of the band Spaceboots told me, "Come check out Kytami, I'm performing with her." I knew little but that she played the violin. But being myself, I absolutely love going into shows with no expectations. I met up with a few friends, and in an absolutely packed venue, we collectively pushed ourselves to the very front of the crowd, leaned up against the protective rails, and I eagerly waited for the show to start.
I was fucking blown away. Sometimes when I go to shows, I stand back and observe, and other times I find myself completely lost in the music - and that was the case for the first time I saw Kytami perform. I went insane, dancing my ass off and losing myself completely for the hour-long set. I knew I would see her again and again. And I have.
From Tall Tree to Lucky Bar to Rock the Shores I've seen Kytami perform at every opportunity in front of me. She has never disappointed, always throwing every bit of energy she has into her performances. Phonik Ops always makes sure to announce and remind the crowd that 'the harder we go, the harder she goes' - and it's true. Kytami feeds off of the energy of the audience, and we're sure to never let her down either.
Friday's show at Sugar was to celebrate the release of her long anticipated album, Renegade, which has since become a soundtrack to my daily life. Between The Jackal and Listen Up, one of those two tracks has disintegrated my awful stock stereo system in my car, and still every time I turn it up as loud as it goes.
Having just returned from a West coast tour with the legendary Datsik, I was amazed at how much energy this performance still held - Kytami is showing absolutely no signs of stopping. Despite constant bouncing, dancing, jumping, all the while flawlessly playing her violin, Kyla shows zero exhaustion, clad in her show gear which this time included a fucking jacket in a nightclub. How that girl does it is beyond me, but she manages to hype up the crowd every single time.
The beauty of watching Kytami perform is not restricted to the size of the location. I've seen her perform at festivals for an audience of a few thousand, to in a nightclub for a few hundred. The consistency of the performance remains the same, and when she tells the crowd to jump, we jump. Sugar Nightclub was absolutely shaking on Friday night, and I thought the building was going to collapse. But, we partied on. Let the walls come down.
Between Kytami and Phonik Ops, these two on their own are mixing two different styles of music - a mix of Branden's drum and bass/electronica elements, and adding the classical violin sound expertly mastered by Kyla, who herself has years of history and experience with drum and bass. But with the guest performers, this duo takes it up another notch further - performing with Deriek 'Dirty D' Simon from Spaceboots, who adds a hip-hop sound, working to both help hype the crowd, and adding his vocals. And then to add to it further, Gino Trash stepped out on stage with his guitar to give a gritty punk-rock accompaniment to a few tracks. So here you have an amalgamation of four performers, and four very different genres of music, flawlessly synchronized together to create a sound that by all means shouldn't be considered possible, but with everybody playing their own part, effortlessly shows that the love of music holds no restrictions.
The journey of these musicians is far from over. Having already toured multiple cities and festivals across Canada and the US, no doubt with the release of the Renegade album, these musicians will soon be hitting the road again soon - who knows where Kytami will go this summer? I'm willing to bet that we'll start seeing festival announcements soon with Kytami & crew on the lineup. Fingers crossed!
In the meantime, be sure to check out her Facebook page for clips of videos from previous shows, as well as tour updates and show announcements.
And also check out her new album! Find it on -
So all RIFFLANDIA FESTIVAL weekend I wandered around with my iPhone, shooting quick clips of crowds, and performances. Here's what I came up with. I'm super stoked to see the professional videos of Rifflandia, but this is my experience ;)
Huge thank you to Atomique Productions for another successful Rifflandia year, and I already can't wait for the next one. And of course a MASSIVE thank you to Do250 for including me as part of their team.
I caught a few clips of performances from
I am Caleb Hart & The Royal Youths
Band of Rascals
Zoubi And The Sea
The Wild Romantics
and watched so many more performances. Rifflandia again is a true experience. I'm so blessed to have shared it with everybody and experienced yet another successful festival full of laughs, love, and smiles.Electric Avenue was a brand new addition this year and a huge success.
Thank you so much to Caleb Daniel Basil Hart, our The Road to Riff: Contest Showcase • Sugar NightClub • (Victoria, BC) winner for generously letting me use Tasman Jude's song 'Every Breath' to accompany this video
The first time I saw Caleb Hart perform on his own was about a year ago, almost to the day. I went down to do an open mic at the Breakwater Cafe on a Tuesday and Caleb got up with his guitar and absolutely wowed the crowd. I remember being absolutely blown away by not only his playing, but the power and intensity of his voice and its natural reggae sound. I knew I would be seeing him perform again sometime soon, and I was right.
A few months ago my roommate booked Caleb Hart and his accompanying band, The Royal Youths, for a show at Upstairs Nightclub. I'd seen Caleb play on his own twice at the Breakwater and never with a band. I knew it was going to be GOOD. And it was.
The Royal Youths consist of Caleb Hart on vocals, Rhett Reilkoff on guitar and backing vocals, Liam Mackenzie on the drums, Karl Williaume on bass and backing vocals, and finally Andrew Greenwood on the saxophone. Yep, there's a sax player. How do you think they achieve that perfect reggae-funk sound?
The sound mastered by these guys is a team effort, plainly displayed in their immaculate performances. It's the combination of heart shared by each member of the band, and a flawless synchronicity of talent, skill, and simply soul.
Last weekend at Sugar Nightclub was the Road to Rifflandia contest hosted by Victoria's own do250 featuring four bands. Lazy Ghost, Caleb Hart and The Royal Youths, Small Town Artillery, and The Bad. These four music groups each brought their own unique sound to the stage and competed against each other by performance alone to determine who would win the slot of kicking off the Rifflandia 2016 music festival on the Thursday night. The winning band was determined by who had received the most votes from the audience that night.
To be completely honest, all of the bands truly blew me away that night. It was a friendly competition and each band performed to their absolute best.
At the end of the night the winner was announced, and a huge congratulations to Caleb Hart and The Royal Youths!
They will be opening the Rifflandia Music Festival with their performance at the Anian stage located at 516 Discovery Street, on Thursday September 15th at 8:30PM. I couldn't be more excited to see this band perform again.
I want to thank the rest of the bands for their performances on Saturday, it was a real treat to come down and see some amazing music from -
Small Town Artillery
I totally wish you guys had all won!
Here's a video of Caleb Hart and The Royal Youths performing their cover of Shaggy's 'Angel'. The band flawlessly rocks out every note of the song while Caleb has mastered the vocals of both Rayvon's chorus vocals, and listen to how the crowd goes WILD after the momentary first chorus break, and Caleb immaculately delivers perfection of his Shaggy vocals during the verses. Stunning.
If you're hitting up Rifflandia, be sure to check these guys out at the Anian Stage at 8:30PM to kick off the whole festival.
You can find Caleb Hart on -
And more on his band The Royal Youths on -
Thank you guys (all of the bands) for such a great performance. Looking forward to seeing you guys again at Rifflandia!
I don't know if I should start this story this way but fuck it. When I first moved to Victoria four years ago I'd heard of this band, Spaceboots. And what I heard was to 'stay away' from them. These party animals. Shows of theirs came and went and I didn't go. I lived for three years in Victoria before actually going to a show and getting to know these guys.
Can I interrupt myself here? Okay. My first Spaceboots 'show' was actually in 2010, at Mile 0, down on Dallas Road, at a beach party. These guys carried down guitars, amps, mics, drums, everything. They set up and played one song on the beach before the police showed up and shut it down. This was technically my first Spaceboots show, but I had no idea what the band was called.
Back to the now. I befriended a Spaceboot by complete accident, and sitting chatting he casually mentioned that his band was playing a show and I should go. I said, "Sure, what show?" and he said, "Spaceboots," and I was like, aw fuck. Okay. I'll go and I'll check these guys out.
I'll never forget my first Spaceboots show. It was at Lucky Bar on March 27, 2015. I remember ordering a ginger ale, one after another. I was just past four months sober at that point and the whole show scene still caused a bit of anxiety. I remember I had my purple hair in a ponytail and I was wearing metallic silver booty shorts with a black tank top. I didn't really know anybody there, and everybody knew all of the words to every song. I had listened to Let's Just Party on YouTube so I had a song to sing along to - phew! I'm always a bit of an observer, and I watched the crowd vibe and just go crazy for these guys, and they put on a hell of a show. For the encore they ran backstage and quickly changed and re-emerged in Ghostbusters outfits with spray foam guns and the audience screamed. By this time I had fallen into a strange comfort shared by the crowd and I was up at the front screaming and dancing, which I never do. I left that show that night and was just amazed and wowed. Okay. So this is Spaceboots.
But then it started to become something more than that. It slowly started becoming more than just the music. I went to every show trying to hold onto that vibe from the crowd. I remember my ex refusing to go with me, stating that he 'felt like a groupie', following them around to all of their shows. But for me, it wasn't about that. I was starting to learn the lyrics. I had a few favorite songs. I was sticking with my ginger ale and seeing that these guys were about more than just partying. The love was becoming apparent. It wasn't about fans, it was about friends, love, and support for all that everybody does. I started breaking out of my shell of anxiety and started introducing myself to people at shows. I started making friends.
Rifflandia was the pivotal point for me. I already felt a closeness with these guys and they were playing a show at Rifflandia on the Thursday night. I wondered if I wanted to buy a ticket simply for the Thursday night, or commit to the entire festival. Anxiety, you see ... fuck it. I spent the money and I bought a weekend pass to Rifflandia. I had no game plan, no idea what to expect. I saw Spaceboots and I watched the crowd go crazy and I thought, "Those are my friends. This could be my family." The Sunday was the real cementing - I was at the main stage at Rifflandia and went all on my own, a huge step in overcoming my anxiety. I was dancing through the crowd and I saw a helmet and I thought, "Oh, there's one." I had no idea who it was and walked over and tapped Deriek on the shoulder. I said, "Hello, you're going to be my Rifflandia friend for the day," and we made a decision to be best friends that day. When we were walking around I mentioned that I didn't drink and Deriek full-out stopped and said, "WHAT? And you still hang around in the music scene? Sober?" It blew his mind and from there on out Deriek Simon has become one of my number-one supporters in sobriety. I've attended many get-togethers at the Boots house, and always drink my trusty ginger ales. It's happened a few times where I carry around my green can and he mistakes it for a Cariboo and his face falls - until he realizes it's a ginger ale. So much for these 'party animals', hey? Who the fuck else could push me to do an open mic and buy me a shot of apple juice afterwards?!
We had a huge Thanksgiving dinner there this past year and most of the boys were away in Fort St. John. I was in Vancouver the night beforehand, and got a message from Mike (Redbeard) asking where I was. I said, "Vancouver, you?" and he came back with, "Sitting right next to Deriek with Josiah," and I burst into tears. I wanted to leave Vancouver that moment. The next night I showed up and almost all of them were home, flitting about, Deriek, Laban, Josiah, Beard, Sean, and Harley was MIA. Until Beard showed up from the ferry with Harley. And then it was all tears and a room full of hugs and love. I felt so at home in their home.
When I met the boys, there was the six in the band - Deriek, Laban, Josiah, Sean, Beard, and Harley. Six elephants. A few weeks before Christmas I was browsing through Craigslist and stumbled on this tapestry - hand-sewn, with six elephants on it. I had to. I had to. And so I did.
It was a Christmas gift to the house, to the band, to the family. Without even realizing it, Spaceboots had become my family. We did the Thanksgiving dinner, we did a Christmas dinner, we called each other up to chat, we spent quality time together, we played music, we listened to music, we went for drives, dinners, we did and do so many activities that don't involve partying. We loved and all love each other - and the love extends to everybody else who is part of this family, part of this elephant pack.
The reason I'm writing this is to talk about the show on Thursday, because it was the crux of my emotion regarding this whole year and a half of my life I've known these guys.
Thursday the 28th of July was a hugely emotional night for the Spaceboots and Reinders family - it was the Spaceboots show at Lucky to honor the memory of Sean Reinders, who tragically passed away earlier this year. Similar to my first Spaceboots show at Lucky, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that it was going to be emotional, and the boys hammed it up. There was no opening act, except them. We had Deriek telling terrible knee-slapping jokes dressed up as a cow, Dan and Beard performing Lil Jon's 'Get Low' on a ukulele, we had Josiah come out once in an American flag outfit to sing Borat's Kazakshtan national anthem, Lisa and Harley performing songs together, him on guitar, her on keyboard. We had Debs come up and play drums and ROCK IT! We had Nevil Meyer perform an original song he wrote for Sean. I raffled off a custom-made Spaceboots bikini and the boys dragged me on stage - eep! Sean's family attended and stuck it out until closing time at the bar. We had so much love flowing through that bar that it was overwhelming and we shared the grief, together, as a family. We loved together, we lost together, and we're now in the process of healing, together.
And isn't that just what a family does?
I'm not writing this to talk about the music, even though it is amazing. Still waiting on that album, boys! No. I'm writing this to talk about how Spaceboots has changed my life.
Spaceboots have become my biggest supporters in sobriety, and through these friends I've met infinite and ever-growing more friends. These people have pushed me to and past the limits of my anxiety and shown me that life doesn't have to be scary, and that you don't have to drink or do drugs to have fun. I've grown so much as a person thanks to all of the time I've been blessed to spend with everybody. I've grown into myself and learned to take pride in myself, and pride in my friends.
If I hadn't met these guys, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. I wouldn't have had all of the tears, smiles, laughing until your cheeks and stomach hurt, great stories, life experiences, and love that I have now. I would not be the person that I am today. I probably would not have this level of self-love and self-respect and pride that I take in myself every single day. I would not have the level of confidence and lack of anxiety that I now feel when I go to a show or festival. Sometimes I even wonder if I would have had enough strength to remain clean and sober without the support from these guys. I can look around any room and spot out a quick family member. I walk around town and see Spaceboots shirts and hats everywhere.
The line-up has changed since I met them, but the same love goes -
I love you guys. Thank you for all that you do - the music, the smiles, the love, the support, and the welcoming arms to anybody who needs it, or who wants it.
It feels just like home.
I first met Schayde on my 24th birthday. She was this tiny sprite flitting about my living room, it was my birthday party and she was dating my younger brother and he'd brought her over. I knew I loved her right away, her straightforward attitude. Schayde says what she wants, when she wants, and I love her bubbly personality.
It all came to be that we were all sitting around the living room, and I grabbed my guitar and strummed out an Ed Sheeran song - The A Team. Afterwards Schayde picked up my guitar and played the exact same song, in a style much different than I or the original - she truly made it her own. Her voice echoed through my living room and sent shivers down my spine. Schayde's voice is too big for her body. She handed my guitar back and I thought to myself, I quit. At that point Schayde had just celebrated her 17th birthday. I couldn't believe this talent was sitting in my living room.
I've seen Schayde perform a few times since then, driving up to Duncan for her shows at the Duncan Showroom. The Duncan Showroom (formerly at the Garage on Duncan Street) has since moved to Station Street and has remained a staple in the Duncan music scene for as long as I can remember. I saw my very first show there when I was 13, Mouthfull of Bees, an alternative rock band from Vancouver, and I absolutely loved the atmosphere. I went back dozens of times through my teenage years. Even though the location has changed, the Duncan Showroom still holds the same familiar atmosphere - a venue truly dedicated to the youth of Duncan pursuing their love of music and creativity. The owner, Long John as he's affectionately dubbed, pushes a love of music and sobriety - you won't find any alcoholic drinks for sale at the Showroom. It pushes the belief that you do not need alcohol to enjoy a live show, and I love it.
So I took a drive up to Duncan to watch Schayde perform at the 39 Days of July music festival, put on yearly by the Duncan Showroom, It's a festival set up right in Charles Hoey Park at the train station in downtown Duncan and features local artists from Duncan, artists from worldwide coming to perform, dance schools highlighting children's dance performances, and a plethora of creativity - and it's all free! For 39 days you can go and watch all types of music happening in downtown Duncan anywhere from 12-8 on the stage. It's truly wonderful and I've been blessed to attend a few performances this summer. I was definitely excited to see Schayde again.
The second song Schayde performed was the second song on her CD, called Pirate Ship. She wrote it a few years ago and it's been one of my favorites ever since I picked up a copy of her CD at the last performance I saw her do at the Duncan Showroom. I was so excited to hear her play Pirate Ship. This girl has a major talent for not only guitar, but for truly projecting her voice, and her song writing capabilities. Interestingly enough, Schayde caught the same plague of a head cold that I had suffered with the week previous so this performance is actually her playing through a cold - not that you'd know it from her voice!
The hour passed by far too quickly. At one point approaching rain threatened to make its way over but Long John and Ted were prepared and quickly bagged up the exposed speakers. Phew. Luckily the rain stayed far away and Schayde's performance went uninterrupted. She played a medley of covers and originals. Here's another original, called Outcast Beauties, a song she wrote recently that describes her and her friends, and hits me hard.
Clearly Schayde exhibits an extreme amount of talent when it comes to writing her own songs, and she writes, plays, and sings from the heart. For the entire performance I had goosebumps, and at certain points I felt a definite pull in my chest that threatened to spill into tears. It's hard to find music that affects you like that, and for me, that music is Schayde Dame's.
Another one of her impeccable talents is her ability to take a song and truly turn it into her own. If you are ever lucky enough to see Schayde perform, you'll hear exactly what I mean. For example she started the performance with a rendition of Britney Spears' 'Toxic' and it wasn't until she finished the first chorus that I realized it was a cover. She added such a unique sound to the song that I believed she had written it.
Schayde has no problem interacting with a crowd and grabbing the attention that she deserves. At this performance, I think Schayde managed to earn her newest and youngest fan, as this toddler was completely entranced by her, and through her performance she paused between verses to call out a quick "Hello!" with a smile that made the child's day.
At the end of the performance Schayde put down her guitar and stood up and looked out at the crowd with a big smile. "Thank you for bearing it with me, even through this nasty head cold!" she said, though it hadn't affected her performance one bit. She asked the audience to clap along with her, and we started clapping to the exact same beat and pace. Out of nowhere, Schayde started singing, and I laughed with a start when I realized what song we were clapping to. She did an acapella rendition Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin, and us as the audience were included, and were her instrumental backup for her finale performance.
Wow. Another amazing performance from one of the most talented people I'm blessed to know. Schayde has always rocked it, and will continue to keep rocking it further and further into her musical career. Keep your eyes open for upcoming shows, like the one at the Shaker Mill Pub in Lake Cowichan on Saturday July 23, or any of her performances which I'm sure will be coming up at the Duncan Showroom.
Want to hear more? Check out her Soundcloud page.
Go give Schayde Dame Music a like on Facebook and contact her through there for a copy of her CD, or pick one up in person at the Duncan Showroom, at 133 Station Street, Duncan BC.
Rock on, Schayde!