Westfest is rocking, and there are still two days left of street entertainment, spoken word and music.
On Saturday Westfest has some pretty hot acts in the evening, such as Bif Naked, headlining at the main stage. Naked is well known for her tattooed and in-your-face style of music, but the singer has mellowed and audiences will be treated to a more reflective and softer side.
For those who want more grunge, then Pack AD is the band to see. The duo, Becky Black and Maya Miller – also from Vancouver – will be hitting Westfest at the start of their extensive cross-Canada tour.
Pack AD’s sound has evolved organically over the five years they have been playing together.
“We started off playing sort of more bluesy, like blues rock, and now we have been morphing into a garage-punk-rock thing,” says Miller. “I don’t know how to describe it – we’ve gotten louder.”
Most of Pack AD’s persona seems to have unravelled in the same natural and spontaneous manner.
“We always lose track of who comes up with anything; we just tend to get together and practise,” says Miller. “Becky will either come up with a guitar riff and I’ll come up with a drum beat to go with it, or I come up with a drum beat and she comes up with a riff.”
Neither musician is formally trained. Their original band was formed while they were out on a day trip to a fun park with two other friends. A suggestion was made and the band was pulled together. After each member picked his or her instrument Miller was left to learn how to play the drums.
When they became a duo, Black picked up the mic and Miller continued to drum.
“There wasn’t any big plan,” says Miller. “It just kind of happened and then it’s been this really great thing, so we’ve kept with it.”
Whether there was a plan or not, Pack AD has taken off. They spend most of their time on the road – eight months of the year. When they are back in Vancouver, they write, record and get ready for the next road trip.
“Touring is a strange thing to do; it’s not real life, for sure. There’s definitely moments when I wouldn’t trade it for the world; then there’s moments when it’s miserable and you just want to be home,” says Miller. “It’s never consistent one way or the other. The only good part is playing the show,”