Warless by name, partying by nature 

Vancouver funk lovers perform at the Dubh Linn Gate as part of the Whistler Village Beer Festival

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Let's dance Warless plans to get the party started at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub on Thursday, Sept. 15
  • PHOTO submitted
  • Let's dance Warless plans to get the party started at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub on Thursday, Sept. 15

Despite its name, Warless likes action — onstage, with music and good partying.

Singer Rika says the Vancouver funky, ska-loving, reggae-ish band has been touring from the start — the band started as a duo eight years ago, rounding out to a five piece eventually — and for them, it's all about making danceable bass grooves.

"We had a great summer. We're always really busy at this time of year. It starts in June and we mainly get pulled into a lot of festivals, seven or eight this year all the way up to Haida Gwaii," Rika says.

"We end up not playing Vancouver much. There is one coming up in November, but it feels like ages."

He particularly likes the north.

"It was our second time at Haida Gwaii as a band, for the Edge of the World Festival. It was totally awesome. What a great place."

Rika performs alongside guitar-vocalist Keith Leinweber, drummer Erin Sage Sharp, bassist Eric Lu and keyboardist Noam Ascher.

Rika and Leinweber have known each other since their schooldays in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.

"Keith and I were the duo and we never expected it to get this far. We were noodling around on our guitars, playing open mics and then we got positive reaction," Rika says.

"It was organic. We met two friends who sat in with us and we learned out to be a band with them."

Writing original tunes for Warless has been important to Rika — the most recent six-song EP Upbeat Liberators was released in 2014, the band's third.

"We had learned a bunch of covers but after a while I wanted to write my own and started moving into the funkier, dancier sort of stuff, which I immediately loved. It is great fun to perform it on stage and that's a priority," Rika says.

"We want to get the room dancing and so much fun for us as players. We're playing three sets in Whistler, from some of our acoustic songs — sit down and listen — and the get up and move.

"The Red Hot Chili Peppers has always been one of the bands I look up to, and George Clinton and Parliament. When a band gets extravagant. I'd love it if we wore costumes but I'm the only one willing to do it!"

Warless is performing at the Dubh Linn Gate as part of pub's Beefsteak Dinner, which in turn is part of the Whistler Village Beer Festival (www.wvbf.ca), on Thursday, Sept. 15.

It's an all-you-can-eat dinner of sirloin served on small disks of bread, with Worcestershire sauce and pickles. Tickets are $50.

"We want people to let go, forget about the city and work, be a little more liberal," Rika says.

"We'll do our best to take them there. Our keyboard and bassist come up with funky beats and I put the words over it — it doesn't even need to make sense. It's driving the energy. Positive energy."

Rika promises a show that will "go all over the board."

"I come very much from dub, reggae and DJ music and our bassist likes electronica and funk. Keith loves folk and John Prine. We bring out sensibilities and styles and it shows from song to song," he says.

"If you enter the room on 'Who we'll ride' you'll think we're a straight-up reggae song, then we might flip to the next song like 'Personal devices' and it sounds like house music.

"It keeps us interested, I think, and caters to a lot of people. It makes it more interesting for everybody."

With a name like Warless, you'd be right in Rika's desire to keep things positive.

"There's a lot of things in the world right now that can be crappy and get people down. When people listen to music, we talk about the environment, but we're not pushy about it," Rika says.

"It's meaningful and real to me or other people in the band — but being uplifting has to be a part of it."

For more information on the dinner, visit www.dubhlinngate.com.

For more information on Warless, visit www.warless.com.

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