City of Glass and The British Columbians at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival

Photos by Alex Ramon

First off, I have to say that the title for this article is much too long. I could have abbreviated the festival into TWSSF, but I don’t think many people would know exactly what I meant. I’m all about abbreviations, don’t get me wrong, because I try to do the least possible work but still get the job done. For instance, instead of washing underwear, one can flip them inside out thus gaining the maximum amount of wear time (ok that’s a little disgusting, even for me… but you get the picture right?). But let’s get back to the music at hand, and try to forget the painful image I embedded into your head. City of Glass and The British Columbians had the honour of playing up in beautiful Whistler, BC for the TWSSF (see what I did there!) and they both put on quite a show for those innocent tourists/snow bunnies walking throughout the village.

City of Glass

City of GlassCity of Glass is from beautiful Vancouver, BC and coincidentally also a Douglas Coupland book about our beloved metropolis (I haven’t actually read the book so I can’t make any more comparisons… but I’m sure there are more similarities if I look deep enough). Making that long trek up the Sea to Sky highway, COG played at the glorious Pontiac Stage up in Whistler. The sun was shining, people were cramped on the patios, and music was blasting throughout the PA system.

It didn’t take long for people to stop and listen to this five-piece, who brought a new brand of laid back rock (or as I like to call it, chill-a-rock… no relation to Chilliwack, BC). They are comprised of Michael Champion, David Phu, Cole Godfrey, Mark Ellis, and Daniel McCormack. Before the band hit the stage, I got a chance to talk to Michael and David, and funny enough, we actually know each other from back in the day (and when I say back in the day, I mean a few years ago…). I remember one summer a buddy of mine invited me over to a house party out in Burnaby. I attended this beerfest and I distinctly remember some of the COG members playing in a Rage cover band. I don’t remember much of that night, but I do remember rocking out in their basement to “Sleep Now In The Fire.”

That was a long time ago, and things sure have changed for these growing musicians. They ditched their rap metal experiment, and evolved into indie pop rockers. Their melodies are memorable, their hooks are catchy, and they’re very gracious for every opportunity they get to share their music. They remind me of The Airborne Toxic Event, as well as SEEDS winner Yuca, who also played at TWSSF. If COG continues creating such memorable tunes, they’ll soon be following in those band’s footsteps. They’ll be releasing an EP this summer, so big things are in the horizon, including a tour of the West Coast later in the fall.

The British Columbians

The British ColumbiansHmmm. I wonder where this band’s from. If you guessed Alberta, then you have the same sense of humour as the boys from The British Columbians. Coming all the way from Vancouver, this four-piece is comprised of Girard Knox (guitars/words/voice), Dave Moran (drums/voice), Christopher Ellis (electric & upright bass), and Owen Connell (keyboards/guitars).

They sure have come a long way. I remember hearing about this band a while back, and they were supposed to play a show with my man Dan Mangan at the Railway Club, and for them to make it all the way to Whistler, winning the Zune Contest to play on the main stage at TWSSF is something short of a miracle. They beat out thousands of bands vying for that one single spot, and their straight up rock and roll style rewarded them with a great opportunity to showcase their music.

With snowboarders tricking out in the background, this was the perfect environment for The British Columbians to display what they’re capable of. Girard had that rough manly voice that was perfectly suited for the incredible instrumental interludes, and at times reminded me of The Trews and The White Stripes. He knew exactly when to rock out, and when to pull back. And in my opinion, he is the prototypical frontman, interacting with the crowd all the while maintaining his pitch perfect vocals. The best part of their set was when they played “Big Momma’s Door,” especially when Dave pulled out the acoustic guitar and jammed away in the back behind his drum kit. It showed the diversity of this band, and big things are in the horizon for this talented foursome.

The British Columbians will be going on a NXNE tour, kicking off their journey at The Media Club on June 11th, so if you’re in the area you should definitely check them out. If you’re elsewhere in this wonderful country of ours, check their myspace and see if they’ll be coming to a city near you.