music reviews

under the rocks


October 16, 2021 at Mary Irwin Theatre

by Miles Overn

I Am Ready Album Release Show


palpable anticipation permeated the entire Mary Irwin Theatre

at times the shifting positions of players felt like they were in slow motion, but the reality is that they were perfectly paced and executed with precision and fluidity

they gathered up their bandmates and audience members and took them on musical journeys into spaces and places not before visited

put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces

Jordan Klassen | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Jordan Klassen

Chris Baxter | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Chris Baxter

All photos copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Chloe Davidson | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Chloe Davidson

Drew Schulz | Photo copyright (c) 2021 Miles Overn Photography

Drew Schulz

Under The Rocks Comes Out From, Well, Under The Rocks

October 16, 2021 - by Miles Overn

Local bluegrass band Under The Rocks had been waiting a long time to put on their album release concert for their recent I Am Ready offering. Likewise, local fans of theirs had been waiting to see this beloved group get the chance to strut their stuff and share this new music on a concert stage. The palpable anticipation permeated the entire Mary Irwin Theatre chamber well before the band took the stage.

After a short introduction that included announcements of other upcoming shows, the group's latest video, this one for their new song "Ocean Falls", was played on a giant screen right at the front of the stage. In its own right, it was a compelling video, capturing the essence of the song and including some gorgeous Okanagan scenery. Having said that, what followed was an explosion of energetic enthusiasm by this talented and polished Canadian bluegrass ensemble. Dark, near non-existent, lighting flitted behind, between, and occasionally on the members as they leapt into an instrumental intro that thrilled the assembled crowd and immediately established that critical sharing of energy and embrace that is the hallmark of all great concerts.

This is no ordinary "local" band by any measure or meaning of that word. These are serious, national or international level players who have melded into a dynamic music project that would stand up against many of the best this genre has to offer. They played that way on this Saturday evening as they worked their way through both instrumentals as well as lyric based songs, many of them penned by the band members themselves. As groups who play this style and in this tradition are wont to do, they often physcally flowed and fell into a variety of groupings that allowed for maximum interplay and intimacy while riding the ways of the ecstasy that great musicians playing together encounter with regularity. At times the shifting positions of players felt like they were in slow motion, but the reality is that they were perfectly paced and executed with precision and fluidity. It was beguilling in nature and further charmed the Kelowna concert crowd.

This is a genre built on virtuosity, and plenty of that was on display on this night. Both guitarist Jordan Klassen and fiddle player Chloe Davidson took occasion to soar as their fingers flew across their instruments and they gathered up their bandmates and audience members and took them on musical journeys into spaces and places not before visited that would likely be described as both exhilarating and enchanting. Banjoist Chris Baxter and bassist Drew Schulz played more support roles, but this style depends heavily on that in order for the soloists to embark on their flights of fancy. Additionally, the vocals, and in particular the vocal harmonies, were simply beautiful.

While there were a few technical issues with both lighting and sound, the band played brilliantly, represented themselves well, and absolutely delighted the audience. Clearly they were ready to play. Just as clearly, the audience was with them from the very first song until the lights came up and it was time for all to go home.

Under The Rocks put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces, and they did it by doing what they do, and doing it with passion. Bravo!