West Coast Guitar Night Press


Vancouver's finest guitar pickers take over the Drive this Saturday night at the Vancouver East Cultural Center
By Marc Reichertz, Live On The Drive

If you're any kind of music fan at all, odds are good that you're a fan of the guitar in some way, shape or form. Whether it's the acoustic six-string, banjo, dobro, Weissenborn, lap steel, pedal steel or even ukulele, you'll be lucky enough to sample them all come Saturday night if you plan on heading out to the Cultch for the 9th Annual West Coast Guitar Night.

Nearly a decade old since the event was first conceived by local guitar guru and producer Les Finnigan - the Guitar Night has become a musical tradition at the Cultch and a shared celebration of this universal instrument for the audience and musicians alike. Flamenco guitarist John Gilliat looks forward to playing at the event every year: "I love performing at the Vancouver East Cultural Center. It's the perfect venue for acoustic guitar. Most of all, I love getting together with everyone (the other performers). The night is always great to catch up and be able to enjoy some of our city's best guitarists." Through the years the event has expanded from four to six featured guitarists, but apart from this, the intimate venue, gifted performers and enthralled audience remains the same.

The world class talent and diverse variety of picking and plucking styles is really what distinguishes the West Coast Guitar Night and makes it an event unlike any other on Vancouver's musical calendar. From Classical to Flamenco and Jazz to Blues the virtuosi lineup of performers possesses flawless technique and displays dash and daring as they explore the myriad possibilities up and down the fret board. Kent Hillman is a fingerstyle guitar player specializing in jazz, classical, and traditional American music; Acoustic Guitar Magazine has praised him for his "rich harmonic ideas and jazzy digressions." Classically trained guitarist Hanh Nguyen is a past winner of The Northwest Guitar Competition and has performed across North America as a soloist and member of The Canadian Guitar Trio. Versatile Juno Award-winning guitarist Steve Dawson plays an ambitious array of string instruments (I caught him at the Jazz Fest this summer dazzling the crowd on the Weissenborn Hawaiian Guitar). Edgar Avelino is an exceptional musician weaving the exotic sounds created by South America's greatest composers while John Gilliat explores the passionate world of Flamenco guitar. Finally, Les Finnigan is a brilliantly inventive guitarist whose unorthodox right hand technique and use of alternate tunings combine to create an original and incomparable style.

Les believes the diverse lineup, varied styles and casual format of the West Coast Guitar Night is the perfect way to break down the formality that often accompanies people's notions about solo acoustic guitar performances. So this is the perfect way for the performers and audience to relax and stretch out for an unencumbered guitar extravaganza. And for all those aspiring pickers out there, one of last year's audience members enthusiastically added - "It's the best $20 guitar lesson I ever had!"

The 9th Annual West Coast Guitar Night
Saturday, September 29th, 8 PM (Doors at 7:30)
Vancouver East Cultural Center
1895 Venables St. (at Victoria Dr.)
Presented by String Plunker Records