Icicle Ball goes universal 

What: Sno-Core Icicle Ball featuring Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Blackalicious, and Saul Williams

Where: Whistler Conference Centre

When: Feb. 23

Grooves, funk and jams rev it up at this year’s Sno-Core Icicle Ball.

The annual Sno-Core Icicle Ball takes place on Feb. 23, in conjunction with Tourism Whistler and newcomer Upstream Entertainment, a Vancouver-based concert promoter that specializes in diverse sound.

The musical lineup promises funkalicious sound, with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Michael Franti and Spearhead, San Francisco hip hip outfit Blackalicious, and Saul Williams, an MC and former poet and screenwriter. Denson has worked extensively with Lenny Kravitz, been featured in a horn solo on the single Let Love Rule, and toured with the Mama Said album promotion.

Meanwhile Spearhead brings their "expspearience" to town with a funky set that aims for "cosmic transformation" with its audience.

Although the Icicle Ball has been going on for six years, this is the first year Upstream has entered the foray.

"There will be some serious collaborations going on as well, and all the musicians will jam at the end of the show," says promoter Derek Arrowsmith. The live show will be recorded by Upstream, who also work with House of Blues at the Commodore venue.

The co-organizer for the event is the Tourism Whistler events department.

"Gwen Young (of Tourism Whistler) had a huge hand in helping with the show, and worked her ass off to get us a good deal at the conference centre venue," says Arrowsmith.

Last year Upstream brought the String Cheese Incident to the conference centre for two sold out shows. The company specializes in picking up quality, lesser-known bands with a strong sound.

"There was nothing of its kind in Vancouver… bands with funky style and groove sounds. We always went to Seattle or Portland to find what we were looking for," says Arrowsmith.

For Arrowsmith, the show is a logical progression.

"Myself and Yanni, my business partner, were going to all the shows we now bring. We went to loads of Grateful Dead shows, 65 in total, and I never listened to any classic rock again," he laughs.

The Sno-Core band lineup is part of a larger tour that begins in San Diego, with 41 shows in total, and ends in Washington, D.C.

For information call Tourism Whistler at 604-932-2394, the Streamline at 604-904-4207, Highlife and Zulu Records in Vancouver or check online a www.upstreamentertainment.com.

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