Review of our show at The Victory Square Block Party Last Night!!

The Ballantynes bring Vancouver to its feet at the Victory Square Block Party

By Gregory Adams, September 3, 2012

Folks have been known to lose their shit while the Ballantynes lay down their brand of soul.

“….East Van Soul Club DJ Jonny Was capitalized on the surge of movement by spinning R&B classics like the Isley Brothers’ “Why When Love Is Gone,” which packed the area as if it were an outdoor version of the sweaty monthly he and Ballantynes vocalist Jarrod O’Dell run at the Biltmore.

With O’Dell’s band having only a couple of 7-inch singles to its name, it may have seemed a bit premature to book the developing outfit as headliners. That said, the act managed to do what the rest of the lineup hadn’t: it got a mass of people moving. Of the dozens crammed up front to catch the energetic septet, one miniature Nana Mouskouri look-alike in a devilish crimson dress threw her arms around her towering beau’s neck as they bopped to the band’s Northern Soul-inspired numbers.

On-stage, vocalists Jen Wilks and Vanessa Dandurand harmonized and beat their tambourines in unison to the coy crowd-pleaser “Stay,” which also had O’Dell interjecting with more rock-geared, from-the-throat cries.

Sadly, Durand brought the event full circle by dedicating the already powerfully bouncy number “The Railtown Abbey” to a recently deceased friend of the group’s. The extra emotion on the cut was clear to see, with O’Dell nearly knocking himself over as he threw himself across the stage to sing his lines, and mild-mannered four-stringer Max Sample snapping his spine to a fret-jumping bass line.

The unit lost a little ground with a faux-dance-craze piece based around a game of Simon Says, but still managed to keep the crowd on its feet until the end of the set. Considering you could have practically seen the ass-print marks across the lawn from nearly seven hours’ worth of sitting down, it was about damn time.”

Photo by Rebecca Bissett