Moonshine Express pulls into Kamloops

With nicknames like Superfunk, Pattysticks, Goose and Scraggly Dan, you just know you're in for a memorable night with Moonshine Express.

The East Vancouver band rolls into Kamloops on June 25 for a performance at the Dirty Jersey on Eighth Street.

It will be the group's first visit to Kamloops - actually, the first time Moonshine Express will have performed east of Harrison since forming four years ago at a Vancouver house party.

"We were at this gypsy party where everybody was supposed to bring something to barter and trade," recalled singer Pat (Pattysticks) Garcia of the night Moonshine Express became a band.

"We brought our guitar and some instruments . . . and some moonshine. By midnight, the five of us were in the kitchen jamming and the whole house was dancing."

The quintet had the party going until the wee hours and by the time morning came it was clear the musicians had a successful chemistry.

Moonshine Express was born.

The band would spend the first couple of years playing house parties and warehouse parties, building a fan base while also developing a unique sound - a high-energy blend of funk, jazz, soul, rock and hip-hop, to name a few.

Each band member brought a different genre to the mix. Guitarist Tak Arikushi brought the gypsy-swing influence, À la Django Reinhardt and StÉphane Grappelli, while Garcia brought soul music and hip-hop to the circle. Drummer Dan Hepler offered the punk and ska influence. Saxophonist Dave Goosen added jazz and bassist Toga D'Hoore, a new addition to the band, brings the funk/soul vibe.

"We started playing covers that we liked, gypsy-swing, soul covers and we played a lot of funk - we all love funk - and, so, that's how it just started forming," said Garcia.

Soon, Moonshine Express was writing its own songs and playing larger venues throughout the Vancouver area, gaining a reputation as the ultimate party band.

And today is a big day for the group. Moonshine Express begins The Funky Rum Runners Tour - the band's first tour - which starts in Penticton and makes stops throughout B.C. and Alberta over the next two weeks.

"We're looking forward to the experience and to learning what it takes to be a band on the road," said Garcia.

Catch Moonshine Express at The Dirty Jersey, starting at 8 p.m. on June 25.

Want to hear the band before that? Visit www.MoonshineExpress.comfor links to the band's five-song EP Thank Drunk I'm Not God as well as links to a couple of recent single releases and videos.

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