Local bands play at benefit concert, Saturday at the Astoria

Vancouver bands offer benefit concert to raise money for DTES kids.

Credit: Brasstronaut

Edo, Johnny, Brennan and Bryan of the band Brasstronaut

Rock ‘n roll is good for kids—and a few local Vancouver musicians are out to prove it with a live show at the Astoria

Brasstronaut, Twin Crystals and rapper Shad join the Expendable Youth DJs at the Rock and Roll is Good for Kids benefit concert at the Astoria, June 6, to raise money for Camp Grace. Bring donations for after-school programs: arts, crafts, books, instruments and monetary contributions are all welcomed.

COME to Rock and Roll is Good for Kids at the Astoria, June 6

     6 p.m. – All ages BBQ, everything $1

     8 p.m. – 19+ music show, $12 or

             musical instrument donation

LISTEN to Bend Sinister’s “Juliana”, which references Main St. and 4th and Vine

READ about Strathcona’s punk and psych rock 

FOLLOW Edo’s Twitter posting from his record label Unfamiliar: @areyoufamiliar

READ Edo`s Brasstronaut blog

WATCH the Brasstraonaut’s “Requiem for a Scene” video

Camp Grace is a local non-profit that works to offer resources to children living on the Downtown Eastside. It’s a challenging place to grow up: according to the organization, B.C. has the highest child poverty rate in Canada for the fifth year in a row, and some 70 percent of Grandview Elementary’s students live below the poverty line. Such conditions can lead to long-term problems. Studies show, for example, that 55 percent of adult women involved in street prostitution started prior to age 15.

Faced with these challenges, Camp Grace provides a variety of youth-oriented after-school programs, such as the Jr. Streetleader Program.

Rock ‘n roll, kids, community and general goodness

Brassronaut’s Edo VanBreeman (who is also in The Clips and offered us some Christmas music advice here) reflected on the connections between rock n’ roll, kids, community and general goodness.

One way the benefit concert helps build community is through showing younger musicians and audiences an example of constructive cooperation. This can at times be a difficult issue, given the recent closures of local independent music venues like The Sweatshop, The Peanut Gallery and the Emergency Room. He pointed to Regina`s The Exchange as an example of low-budget, government-sponsored show promotion.

“My experience with Vancouver’s underground music scene has been very positive up to this point, mainly due to the diehard community spirit… Most of these groups are united at some level, perhaps in resistance to some of the bullshit going on with city entertainment bylaws, and also the hegemony created by a handful of selfish (sometimes sociopathic) club owners and venue bookers.

Also, trying to launch or ‘break’ a band is exceedingly difficult these days, so maybe that reality has weeded a lot of the artless commercial-alt-rock-get-rich-quick projects out of the scene… basically you are left with a lot of nice people playing and working very hard.”—Edo VanBreeman

An irony of this situation is reflected in the story behind one of Brasstronaut’s songs, “Requiem for a Scene”. Inspired by a bad hangover and a choice chord progression, Edo explained that the song isn’t about slandering a scene, but rather a statement of the experiences and challenges of Vancouver’s thriving indie music community.


Brasstronaut's Edo and Johnny perform at the Living Room

Brasstronaut’s Edo and Johnny

perform at the Living Room.

The song’s music video features friends hanging out at the Peanut Gallery, Brasstronaut’s former jam space and the site of monthly one-off shows. Buoyed by $400 of cheap beer, the shoot aimed to capture the energy and community of the local scene, in response to some critiques of “hipsterdom.”

The irony is that shortly after the video release, the city closed down the venue.

“People are making some incredible, soulful, complicated art here [in Vancouver] at an unfunded, very grassroots level. If this kind of ingenuity is going to be sustainable, we need better ways of getting people involved who have the resources to fund creative projects, and who will help kids get involved… It sucks that a huge cohort of the Lower Mainland population has no idea about what is going on in Vancouver’s emerging art scene, and therefore lack the motivation to support it.” —Edo VanBreeman