If you are a lover of music then chances are you feel a special connection to live performance. There is something magical when experiencing live music that does not occur when simply listening to a record. This is why it is commonplace to see artists release live DVDs and CDs. In Vancouver, we enjoy a thriving and eclectic local scene. As a fan, attending shows on a regular basis can be a difficult commitment to make and at times a costly endeavour. So what is the hardcore music fan to do? How can one stand in awe of such a deliciously diverse buffet of musical offerings and satisfy his or her voracious appetite? Simply by tuning into CiTR 101.9 FM on Oct. 1, that’s how. Thunderbird Radio Hell, who in recent years have sought to bring the live experience to its listeners, will go one step beyond and offer a full 24-hour showcase of Vancouver’s finest local music live and direct.
Besides giving fans of the show a unique chance to hear tons of their favourite acts, the program will also give artists a kind of exposure and experience that they may not be accustomed to. From 6 p.m. on Oct. 1 to 6 p.m. the next day, bands and solo artists will roll into campus and bring their best to the airwaves. I sat down with Ben Lai, host of Thunderbird Radio Hell to find out a bit more about his hopes for the show. “Right now we’re thinking between 24 to 30 acts. We’re trying to be slightly conservative in our scheduling since it’s our first year doing this. Initially we were thinking about breaking some record, but for now we are just going to try and squeeze as much music comfortably into the show as we can.”
Expect to hear a bit of everything from rock and ska to new wave, hip-hop and psychedelic. In our discussion, Lai could confirm the participation of electro-punk act Twin Crystals, New Wave revival rockers You Say Party! We Say Die!, garage punks What’s Wrong Tohei, ambient/folk singer/songwriter Leah Abramson and psychedelic rockers the Green Hour Band.
Hosting duties for Thunderbird Radio Hell began in 2002 for Lai. Prior to taking the reigns in Hell, Lai was involved with Shindig [ed. It’s currently happening every Tuesday at the Railway. Come down!], a battle of the bands program in which the winning act earned a live showcase on Thunderbird Radio Hell. Out of this relationship, he soon inherited hosting duties and is now primed to take his love of presenting live music to the next level.
In an undertaking of this kind, there are numerous obstacles that arise in terms of production and scheduling.
“The change over is gonna be a big deal. Setting up gear, people getting in and out of the lounge. We’re hoping we can cut time down from half an hour to maybe 20 minutes. Getting a house drum kit and some amps in here will hopefully save us some time.” Another factor Mr. Lai noted was the volume of people that could potentially be buzzing around campus at noon while bands are trying to unload their vans. “My show normally runs at night when campus is empty. With this, when everybody’s at lunch or whatever and bands are coming out here through traffic, we’re gonna have to tell them to come early.” While rock ‘n’ roll and punctuality rarely go hand in hand, Lai remains cautiously optimistic.
Lai even has a plan to keep going throughout this upcoming marathon of music. “There will be a bed of sorts somewhere. I don’t handle coffee all that well. There’s also the after-party. I’m thinking maybe power naps.”
Tune in Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. to 101.9 FM or online at www.citr.ca for Twenty Four Hours of Thunderbird Radio Hell. The after-party will be taking place at the Ukrainian Hall on Oct. 2 with bands to be announced soon.