RICK MACDONNELL, SnowSeekers Inc.
Kids, punctuality pays off. Forget all this "fashionably late" garbage; good things happen when you're on time. And if you're lucky – like I was today – you might experience something you might not have otherwise.
The plan was to hit up the Hey Rosetta! show at the Whistler Live! stage in the village this afternoon. They're an amazing Atlantic Canadian act, and I was in need of some serious east coast flavour.
Excited as I was, I headed over to the Village Square about 45 minutes early, because you never know when a band is going to invent the "reverse encore." A man-boy can dream.
When I got there, the place was already full to the brim. Knowing that there was no way that several hundred people would show up in hopes of a reverse encore, I figured that something was up. Lo and behold, Wassabi Collective was on stage playing to their latest crowd of converts.
Never before has a bongo solo caused me to have an emotional reaction. Never before have I screamed "Whaaaaat!" without first having misheard someone. This thing was sick.
Unable to contain my excitement any longer, I busted out into what must have looked like my impression of a wacky, waving, inflatable arm-flailing tube man. I call it dancing.
Wassabi Collective is a seven- or eight-piece band masquerading as a five-piece. Singer Melissa Meretsky sings, raps, and plays the aforementioned bongos. Fellow frontman Brent Hongisto sings, raps, and plays guitar.
The group is rounded out by Jimmy Lewis (vocals & drums), Rahj Levinson (keyboards), and Andrew McCormick (bass). Their genre-busting fusion of pop, rock, hip-hop, reggae, jazz and funk was the perfect expression of what the Olympics are all about.
"We take a lot of different elements that don't usually belong together, and we make it work," Meretsky said. "It's one of the themes of the Olympics, really."
Hailing from Nelson, British Colmbia, the group had an idea about what to expect from its Olympic experience, but "It's been so much more than what we thought it would be. The crowds have been amazing, and we've had just the best time. There's really nothing to compare it to, for us."
Best of all, the band actually handed out free copies of a limited edition CD during their performance. When I say handed out, I mean completely free.
Needless to say, I was on a high when Hey Rosetta! finally took the stage. As sad as this is to admit (I'm from the east coast), I've never seen them live. There's always a bit of uneasiness for me when I see a band live that I've listened to for years, but Tim Baker (vocals/piano/guitar) and the boys did not at all disappoint.
There's little I can say here without losing all sense of journalistic integrity. Originally, this piece proceeded for three paragraphs during which I made verbal love to the band. I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable, so I'll synthesize that same sentiment into something more digestible.
Hey Rosetta! are truly one of this country's unheralded treasures. They've won a host of national awards, and still, that's less than they deserve.
I only hope their presence at the Olympics presents them with the international acclaim they've earned.
Not bad for a bunch o' newfies.
Stay tuned to www.snowseekers.ca/olympicnews for daily blogs, videos and more throughout the Olympics.
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