Outdoor pianos for the Vancouver summer: The Carnival Band’s Ross Barrett jamming with the Carlo Rossi Gang

Enjoy the Carnival Band’s Ross Barrett and the Carlo Rossi Gang playing for Spyglass Dock, on one of four pianos that CityStudio has positioned around Vancouver for a limited time this summer.

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      (On mobile? Click here to watch the video on YouTube.)

      Sky Lambourne was strutting barefoot working a trumpet when the Straight found him underneath the south end of the Cambie Street Bridge last week.

      The eighteen-year-old and his band, the Carlo Rossi Gang, had a sizable crowd gathered in a wide circle around them. The piano that the boys had set the rest of their gear beside was located on the False Creek seawall, and a lot of people passing by had stopped to check out the show.

      “I feel like little things like that—just putting the pianos out there—it’s so simple,” Lambourne told the Straight later that night. “But it’s the little things like that that make everything change for the better. It’s tiny little things like that that make people slow down, wherever they’re going, and think that it’s all not so bad. Like, ‘We got music. It’s not so bad.’ ”

      The Straight’s original plan for the evening was to have Ross Barrett sit at that piano—one of four that appeared around Vancouver this summer—and play a protest song he wrote for the Carnival Band.

      With the Carlo Rossi Gang already in full swing, Barrett pulled out his sax and, naturally, entered the fray.

      Alongside Lambourne, Noah Franche-Nolan on piano, and Erin Levinson on drums, Noah Gotfrit was playing bass that night. He told the Straight that the outdoor pianos have been a fun boost for local street musicians.

      “We’ve been busking down there around the pianos because, fuck, when else are you going to get to play an instrument like that outdoors?” he asked with a laugh. “We love to play music all the time. And that was a pretty good spot to go and play. We found we could make a little money and have an audience. So it was great.”

      Barrett evidently shared the boys’ enthusiasm for the venue.

      “What an incredibly beautiful thing in a Vancouver landscape to come walking down the street and find a piano,” he announced at one point mid-song. “Some people, they’re fearing for the heart and soul of our lovely city here. But every once and a while, something like this happens.”

      The Carlo Rossi Gang have a gig at the Prop House Café tonight (August 30).

      The venue Barrett and the Gang play in the video above is Spyglass Dock. It was one of four pianos that CityStudio positioned around Vancouver for a limited time this summer.

      They disappeared on August 24, but don’t worry; there’s a good chance that the pianos will return next year.

      The Carnival Band’s Ross Barrett and the Carlo Rossi Gang’s performance is the fifth in a four-part series presented by the Georgia Straight. The previous installment was published on YouTube and at Straight.com on Friday, August 23, 2013.

      Part one: Rachel Iwaasa with Bach’s Goldberg Variations
      Part two: Joseph Hirabayashi with "an accusatory pop song"
      Part three: Dawn Pemberton with a love song for you
      Part four: Emet S.W. with an old soul's rendition of Skyfall