Music is the flavour of the season, and the much loved Retro Concert Weekend packs in the acts from August 16 to 18.
Kicking off the weekend is Vancouver-based Heart tribute band Barracuda.
The band, fronted by Donna Caruk, as Ann Wilson, with Rachael Chatoor performing as Nancy Wilson, has only been together for a couple of years, but already they’re turning heads.
Barracuda has a lot of support behind it, “really adding to our credibility” according to Murray Mcvay, the band’s manager and co-founder.
Mcvay recounts that Dee Lippingwell, who photographed Heart for over 30 years, called Barracuda “the closest rendition to the original Heart lineup that you’re going to get” adding that Chatoor not only looks like Nancy Wilson, but also has all her vocal abilities and stage moves.
Positive feedback also comes from Heart’s original co-founders and members Roger and Michael Fisher, so much so that Roger has often performed on stage with Barracuda.
“Roger has fallen quite in love with the way that we do Heart because we do it to the original standards. Donna’s voice is the closest to Ann Wilson’s in her prime,” explains Mcvay. “The other thing (the Fishers) really like is how authentic we are about doing the songs note-for-note . . . dual guitar solos are very much a Heart standard sound, we bring mandolin into the set for two songs, and also Donna learned to play flute.”
That attention to detail has even earned Caruk the top praise possible for a tribute artist — a nod of approval from Ann Wilson herself.
“Barry Samuels (Heart’s original booking agent) walked in (to the Wilson’s dressing room) and said, ‘Ann I’ve got this lady here, Donna, she sings in a Heart tribute act called Barracuda,’” Mcvay recalls. “Ann said, ‘How’s that working for you?’ Donna melted a little bit, and then Ann said, ‘I’ve seen your videos, you remind me a lot of myself when I was younger.’ ”
Well on her way from learning to sing by belting out Heart songs as a kid, Caruk has been performing since she was 16, but always dreamed of launching a Heart tribute project.
Two years ago the time was right and Caruk and Mcvay advertised for musicians to make up the band. Since then they’ve played gigs around B.C., opened for Sweet (Ballroom Blitz) to a crowd of 6,000 plus people, and are looking forward to their biggest gig scheduled to date, the Canada Day 2014 celebrations in Surrey, B.C. that expects to see 25,000 spectators.
In the meantime, catch a listen to Magic Man, Mystral Wind, and all your favourite Heart tunes as Barracuda performs them on August 16 for their free show at Sun Peaks.
The full band comprises Donna Caruk (vocals, flute, guitar), Rachael Chatoor (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Terry Gibbard (guitar, keys and vocals), Bob McIntosh (bass), Curtis Leippi (drums) and Rod Knowlan (guitar, mandolin and vocals).
A string of other solid acts are on the lineup for the Retro Concert Weekend too including BC/DC (AC/DC), Mostly Marley (Bob Marley), Hip Too (Tragically Hip), Fandango ZZ (ZZ Top), Steel Wheels (The Rolling Stones), and tributes to Ray Charles and James Brown.
The venue for the concerts has changed slightly to accommodate growing viewership. The new stage is at the base of the mountain in sight of Masa’s, Bottoms’ and the Delta Sun Peaks’ patios.