The show began fashionably late as the crowd gathered outside the doors began chanting in unison to be let into the venue. The first local artist no doubt felt the rush of adrenaline that comes with the captivating energy of any music festival.
Sabina Staempfli's music has an appealing acoustic sound but does not quite qualify as folk, with a noticeable resemblance to artists such as Ani Difranco and Chrissie Hynde. She has the same definitive edge in her style and performance, broadening her appeal to a wide variety of fans. The lyrics to her songs give off a very focused and determined vibe, the intensity of which gets you pumped up like the beating your own heart. You are on a ride, never knowing what will come next. With Sabina's smooth licks and catchy tunes, it would be easy to believe she has been playing guitar for decades. At times she refers to her beloved instrument as a security blanket, or even a tool of survival.
Second up was the dual hipsters, Redgy Blackout. A good way to describe the sound of Redgy Blackout is versatile acoustic folk music that has a head-bopping beat with jazzy undertones that are far too easy to dance to. They focus heavily on the lyrics of their songs, sharing personal and meaningful stories that revolve around the insights they have garnered through the simple, everyday experiences of their lives.
David Blair is a singer-songwriter who juggles his time between Vancouver and LA. His style of singing resembles Adam Levine from Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz, easily winning over an involuntary head bop from even the most sulky in the crowd. To compliment his natural charisma which is refreshingly genuine, his original music is very much about the story contained within, adding depth to the overall experience of his performance. In addition to being a well spoken songwriter, he excels at covers, including those originally performed by bands such as The Beatles and Maroon 5.
After a brief interlude, Dr. Zeus, a London Ontario based rapper, takes the stage. It becomes clear from the first syllable that this rising artist has a way of separating himself from the rest of the industry with his fresh beats and organic rhymes that are not only original, but irresistibly engaging. His university experience is composed of psychology courses, forcing him to pave his way through the industry from scratch, with nothing but his own credibility and talent to fall back upon. After spending some time with Dr. Zeus and learning about his background, I felt that he would be more adequately classified as a backyard philosopher rather than a psychologist.
This is the second year in a row of Squamstock that rap sensations Influence, based out of Vancouver, were able to attend the camp exclusive music festival. The MC duo represents Canadian hip-hop at it's finest, pulling out all the stops with a smooth, memorable DJ, mind-blowing breakers and energy that blew the roof off of the building. Kings of their genre, the originality and flow of the freestyles, the catchy and intelligent rhymes and the engaging personalities are just a few of the innumerable qualities that make Influence live up to their name. It is not difficult to see that the fan base they have established have become loyal followers of their movements and activities. It would be a huge loss to Squamish if they were unable to return in subsequent years.
One thing this journalist and music enthusiast has learned from the first 2 years of Squamstock is that even though you are guaranteed an outstanding night of music and entertainment in an intimate venue, it would be outrageous to have any limiting expectations of such a diverse and expansive experience. If you are looking to connect with local talent, broaden your live music experience, or simply dance your face off, Easter Seals Camp Squamish is the place to be during the summer.