Contributed photo South Surrey-based band The Escapes will play an ‘End of Summer’ bash at Ocean Park Hall Saturday.

The Escapes cap summer with hometown show

South Surrey-based band blends pop, jazz and funk influences

The fresh jazz-funk-soul-meets-pop sound of South Surrey’s The Escapes has already won the young group a developmental deal with Vancouver’s 604 Records.

That’s not too shabby for a group that – as bassist Keely Rammage-Scott explains – is largely made up of 19- and 20-year-olds only just going into their second year of university studies.

It’s keeping them hard at work on their music, with gigs at least once a month – even more during the summer – at such preferred Vancouver venues as The Railway Club and The Biltmore, she said.

But they always love playing to hometown fans, which is why they’re particularly looking forward to this Saturday’s ‘End of the Summer Bash’ (Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m.) at Ocean Park Hall, 1577 128 St.

“The hall has always worked really well for us,” Rammage-Scott said.

Another reason to look forward to the Flamingo Events Centre-organized, 19-plus show is that it will reunite them with Vancouver’s R&B and Motown-based Derek Pitts and the Bullets.

“We’re basically splitting the bill equally,” Rammage-Scott said.

“We got placed in a lineup with Derek and his band a year-and-a-half ago and he asked us to join him on a show a couple of months later. We thought ‘who better to invite to join us on this show?’ It’s a great vibe, the two bands together.”

Formed close to three years ago, The Escapes brings together the pop-based sensibilities of Rammage-Scott and lead vocalist and guitarist Isobel Ralph, and the jazz background of brothers Max (lead guitar, vocals) and Rhett (drums) Cunningham, and Jack Wells (keyboards).

Teamed by musician, teacher and producer Jesse Burch (who turned Rammage-Scott from a guitarist to a bassist in the process), the members clicked musically and creatively around a mix of influences, including contemporary bands Hiatus Kaiyote and Vulfpeck, as well as old-school masters like Stevie Wonder and Prince.

Rammage-Scott calculated that it’s “a 50-50 blend of lyrical and instrumental content” in which Ralph writes many of the lyrics, but everyone contributes to the musical development of each song.

“It’s a real collaborative process for us,” said Rammage-Scott, who said it gets them past the challenges of being at different schools (she and Max Cunningham are at SFU, Ralph is at UBC, Rhett Cunningham is finishing Grade 12 at Southridge School and Wells is Western University in Ontario, but comes back for gigs in the summer).

“Luckily, most of us still live at home in the White Rock-South Surrey area,” she said.

Tickets are $15. For more information, visit www.theflamingo.ca

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