Vancouver alt-soul band The Boom Booms have spent the summer crisscrossing the province, playing festivals, concerts and, on one occasion, a tugboat.
While performing exclusively in B.C. has meant contending with wildfires and smoky skies, the season was also marked by memorable highlights.
The Question caught up with the band’s frontman, Aaron Ross, ahead of their show at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Saturday (Sept. 2) about the best moments of their season.
Vancouver International Jazz Festival
For The Boom Booms the summer was split into distinct categories: the half when they were trying to perform new songs perfectly and the half when they took a looser, more laidback approach.
Their Vancouver jazz fest show marked the former. “It was fun to kick off the summer with the Vancouver Jazz Fest show,” Ross said. “We previewed a bunch of new material. It was fun to do their first big stage rip for that material. The timing gave us the motivation to get everything going at the beginning of summer.”
Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival
Kaslo might be a village of just over 1,000 in the West Kootenay, but every year it attracts an impressive roster of acts to its jazz festival. This year, alongside The Boom Booms, that included the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. “We caught some awesome bands,” Ross said. “They have a beach in their town and they put the stage on the water, so it’s really one-of-a-kind.”
But the highlight turned out to be their set at the after party, which, upon first glance, seemed like it might be a disaster. “By the time we got started, people were super drunk,” Ross said. “It was hot in the hall and we were like, ‘let’s get in there and sweat.’ But it went really well and it set the tone for the second half of our summer.”
That meant “going out there and ripping it, honestly,” he added. “Since then we’ve gone out and played shows loose, you could say.”
Backyard anniversary party
The band attended — and performed at — a 40th anniversary party for some friends this summer. Only, this wasn’t a typical anniversary party; it was for a member of the legendary Vancouver band Doug and the Slugs.
“We grew up around that (music),” Ross said. “They’re like the forefathers of The Boom Booms.”
Turns out one half of the honoured couple was a friend’s dad. As a result, the party was packed with people the band knows — from members of Bend Sinister to Hey Ocean’s Ashleigh Ball. “It’s so trippy to perform for a backyard full of people you know,” Ross said. “It was a weird feeling. You’re not quite nervous, but something about it felt ceremonial.”
Tofino tugboat show
When the band visited Tofino for their second show there of the summer, they didn’t exactly know the details of what they were getting into.
All they knew was retired NHL player Willie Mitchell was celebrating the opening of the Tofino Resort and Marina. “We got there and they said, ‘you can get onto the boat,’” Ross recalled, with a laugh.
Turns out, they were set to play on a tugboat at the marina for a crowd on shore. “(The) sound was great bouncing off the buildings,” Ross added.
Catch The Boom Booms at Whistler Olympic Plaza as part of the Whistler Presents Outdoor Concert Series on Saturday (Sept. 2) at 7:30 p.m..