Rockin’ out on Rowcliffe

Rockin’ out on Rowcliffe

Photo credit and copyrights to Shane Collins & Gonzo Okanagan

The spring weather of 2022 has been having some sort of bipolar tantrum as of late. The sun will arrive but the cold, sharp winds that come up every afternoon thwart the chance for the inhabitants of this fair valley to shed the long sleeves and soak up the sun.

Soon enough, that sunshine turns to cool, gloomy skies, threatened by heavy, bloated clouds that come parading along every afternoon. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it only threatens.

Early afternoon skies

When I heard of the backyard bash that Kelowna’s ruckus rockers, LUCKY MONKEY, was putting on, I had to check the weather forecast. When I did, I was rolled over by a wave of skepticism. The forecast was typical of a May Long weekend.

Gloomy predictions were looking back at me from the screen of my phone. I had doubts and when I woke up on that Saturday morning, I saw large, cumulonimbus clouds bulking up beyond the mountains. As my morning blossomed, so did those clouds. I had a photo gig close to home. I decided on walking to the event and I put on my rain jacket just in case. Those clouds had turned into behemoth thunderheads, bloated and black, heavy with rain. I had a feeling that those clouds might dump and soak the town and potentially, ruin the block party all together. 

I went to my photo gig and before long, I was finished and was elated to see that those threatening clouds had dissipated and were out of sight, no longer a danger for the good times planned for the party. As fate would have it, they seemed to take that cold wind and gloom with them and the sunshine was left to soak us all in its warmth and it was only 4:00pm. 

Dan Harden

I raced home, changed, grabbed my girlfriend and we hopped on the bikes. A quick toke and a beer for the road, we made our way over to Rowcliffe Ave; a lovely, quaint street downtown Kelowna that used to host a block party that shut the entire road down and would host music, local artisans and vendors and would be a party that would see hundreds of visitors in a single afternoon. That was before the pandemic. Now, it will be reduced to a single house and its small backyard, but as we pulled up we could hear music blasting from behind the small house and its fence.

A throng of smiling, beautiful people were in attendance. A small tent was set up where beer was pouring from its faucets. Beer by donation. Three words that put a smile on my face, I ordered two and joined some friends on the lawn. 

Beautiful women were everywhere and DAN HARDEN was just beginning his set. He set the tone with his comedic style of songwriting. He rocked the crowd with a summertime groove. There were kids and dogs and a real family vibe going on. 

Devon Coyote

DEVON COYOTE took the stage next. He hasn’t lost his touch at all. I’m a few beers into the event now as the soothing sounds of Devon’s slide guitar fill the sunny skies overhead. 

Hot Sax

HOT SAX are a relatively new ensemble, composed of four prolific musicians, including NILS LOEWEN, one of my favorite stand up bassists. Anyone who can cover TOM WAITS like Nils can, he’s a talent I always look forward to seeing live. These guys really got the crowd moving. I like sitting on a lawn, watching live music but hearing that saxophone mix with the sultry sounds of summer, well, I was up off my ass and dancing in no time. 

I’m not sure how to pronounce the next band but I’m guessing it’s pronounced (sick) S.I.I.K are a young, local quartet harnessing a kind of rock that my ears absolutely love. They have a sound reminiscent of 90’s punk rock thrash with the new age prowess of youthful noise. I will keep my eyes and ears open for these guys as the summer unfolds and I recommend you do too, dear reader. 


As the sun set and the night wrapped itself around the voluptuous treetops that line Rowcliffe, LUCKY MONKEY took to the stage and cut the night with an electric thrust. If you haven’t seen this crew before you’re truly missing out. Not only can they melt your face with the heavy guitar riffs and fat bass lines, but frontman and home owner of the event, KASSIDY RRITZUK, wearing his trademark bowler cap, controls a crowd with a charisma unlike anyone else. And of course, there’s Josh on the drums, keeping time to it all. 

Lucky Monkey

Back in the day, Kelowna used to host another small event. KELOHA was a music festival right downtown and on the beach. I used to think that seeing live music while floating in the water was the best way to enjoy a live show but, after an evening of music and an afternoon of much needed sunshine, the backyard bash definitely has my vote. It was a respectful moment of the live music movement. The yard wasn’t trashed. Cans were placed in the appropriate bins. People treated one another with respect and even the neighbors came to rock out with the bands. 

Little Georgia enjoying the fun for all event

When DAN MANGAN came through Kelowna a few weeks prior, he mentioned something called SIDE DOOR, an airbnb kind of approach to potential music venues. Anyone can sign up. If you have a backyard or a basement that can host a show, SIDE DOOR is a potential answer to meeting the overwhelming demand for live music here in the age of 2022. So many bands who are eager to hit the stage. So few stages to hit. Especially here in Kelowna. 

It was truly a revival of rockin’ out on Rowcliffe and I hope that we can see it unfold again sometime soon. The backyard live show is one to experience and it gives me a renewed hope for all the music to come as the year unfolds. From here on out, I hope the weather remains warm, the music is played loud and good times can be found beneath the trees of a backyard near you. 

Backyard fun for all
Cheers to the sunshine
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The Okanagan’s been my home since I was born. Life has taken me across the planet several times and through that transient lifestyle I developed a journalistic style to my photography and to my writing. My influences would be that of James Nachtwey, Annie Lebovitz, Ashley Maile, Hunter S Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Tom Robbins, Wes Anderson and Charles Bukowski. The world outside this incredible valley, its cultures and its mystery is what’s kept me working and trying to save my money, so I can keep getting back into the world. That’s the way it used to be. Covid has opened my eyes to the land I call my home and there are so many tales to tell right here in BC. From tales of the impoverished to the neglected to those who overcome adversity, to the spirit to overcome fear, the power of storytelling has never been more relevant. I’ve always been a storyteller. There’s a tale worth telling in every neighborhood. I just happen to write about what happens to me along the way and I’ve kept them close to my heart, hoping one day I’ll have an outlet so I can tell those stories the best way I know how; by writing them down. From adventures of long ago, both here or maybe far away, future interviews with musicians, artists of all kinds, the coverage of events, the people I meet along the way, whatever I get up to I intend to have you as my guest as I go back in time and dig up the bones of those old adventures or chase down new ones. Through the alchemy of storytelling, you can come along with me if you like. Before Covid-19 I was really coming into my own photographing live shows; punk rock bands, hip hop showcases, tattoo portraits, rock climbing adventures, Femme Fatale burlesque performances you name it, the phone was finally beginning to ring. Then Covid showed up like a hurricane and I guess it wiped us all out in one way or another. I have a real bone to pick with Covid-19 and if I can share some stories for our readers to enjoy, I’ll do that and when we can return to live music and to foreign travel and we can safely get to working on mending what’s been damaged I tell you I want to be ringside like Joe Rogan commentating on Covid getting its ass whooped. I want to see it tap out and watch us overcome this hardship, raise our collective hands triumphantly and move on into whatever new normal is waiting for us. I’ll be there and through my eyes, just like the boss man, Hunter himself, I’ll do it in Gonzo fashion and bring you kicking and screaming along with me. So hold on tight and dig in. It might not always be pretty but I won’t call it all ugly, neither. That’s for you to decide. My name is Shane Collins and I hope you’ll read along with me and our team here at


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