Last Friday, on a nice spring night, a friend and I headed out to China Cloud to take part in the merry acoustic music making that was happening in this discreet location. Finding China Cloud was an adventure on its own. Tucked away in Chinatown, you have to keep your eyes extra peeled to be able to find that little sign that points to a doorway. Through the doorway and two flights up the long narrow staircase, you will be greeted with some funky artwork in a lobby that leads to another room. Set up like a friend’s living room with couches, a wooden bar that serves four-dollar booze, interesting little bits of art and furniture and a nicely designed stage, China Cloud was the perfect venue for a mellow night of acoustic music.
China Cloud is a hidden gem in Vancouver’s music and art scene. Located on Main St., this art gallery/studio serves as an awesome intimate space for gigs, art exhibits and comedic performances. Providing a hip but comfortable setting, many friendly, PBR guzzling hipsters and curious spectators flock to this place to indulge in some of the best music and art the city’s has to offer. China Cloud has also been the home base and local hang out of some of Vancouver’s up and coming artists and musicians.
That night, three local artists serenaded an eager audience with their velvety voice and smooth guitar playing. Rob Butterfield, Khingfisher and Arn Rhys each played their own acoustic set featuring covers and some of their originals songs. Each musician has effortlessly spun lullaby-like songs for everyone’s enjoyment.
The evening started with the musical performance of Rob Butterfield. With his sunglasses, a cowboy hat and his cowboy charm, this talented musician took us back to the roots of music when he started strumming his guitar and belting out thoughtful songs rich with simple but touching melodies. Butterfield was definitely a great start to the evening as he welcomed the crowd with what was in store for the rest of the night.
Singer/songwriter Craig Alan Mecheler a.k.a. Khingfisher was the second musician to take the stage and another one to give an outstanding performance. There is a prominent sincerity to his music that is both heartfelt and pure. His songs are storytelling at its finest. “The Bright Light City” was one of the most memorable songs he played for the crowd, melancholic and absolutely beautiful.
The last performance was from Arn Rhys ending the night with more music from the heart. He certainly made it worth the wait with his interesting old style folk sound that kept the crowd mesmerized. Playing some songs from his album Chapel of the Fool, Rhys showed the audience that he doesn’t just play music well but he can also write. His songs are honest and his skills in singing, guitar playing and writing are something that is hard to overlook.
The acoustic evening at China Cloud was a great way to spend our Friday night. Listening to music so pure and touching was a perfect weekend starter. The venue also made quite an impact on us. Funky but laid back as the crowd sat on the floor and opened their ears to the sweet music that was playing for them. Good vibes, good music. What more can you ask for?
Photo By Michael Irvine