This year’s Sunset Festival is going to be epic. Get ready for an evening of outdoor yoga, music, tasty food, and a brew (or two). Get your tickets here, you won’t want to miss this.
What’s happening at the Sunset Festival?
- live performances by Chromeo, Dear Rouge, and Youngblood
- a sunset yoga practice led by Global Yoga Ambassador, Stephanie Synder
- a licensed venue with gourmet grab-and-go food for purchase
- stellar views of Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park
World leaders, powerful CEOs, and assorted other fat cats could learn myriad lessons from Chromeo, but the number one tip that Dave 1 and P-Thugg have is this: Know thyself, know thy vibe, and stay thy course. The rest of the population will catch up. What this means is that Chromeo is really good at being Chromeo. The mission, the package, the vision—it’s been a straight shot of pure intentionality from the jump. These Chromeo dudes? They have the whole being-these-Chromeo-dudes thing totally wired.
And with the benefit of blessed hindsight, we can all see now that Chromeo stuck to it with the natural doggedness of the soulful heirs that they are. Funk a game plan—these guys had a ten-year battle strategy. When they released their first album in 2004, Rick James was still the Antichrist to all but the enlightened. Fast forward to today, and ‘80s funk—which makes up a major part of Chromeo’s DNA—is all over the charts.
So it’s the perfect time for a fresh dose of the real stuff and—lo and behold—Pee (still looking a smooth criminal in a Coogi) and Dave (ever the Semitic/Gallic heartthrob in tight pants) are back. We are officially on the cusp of the Canadian funk lords’ fourth album’s release. It’s called White Women and it’s a doozy. As a work of cultural theory, it posits that we are living in a post-nostalgia age. All previous genres and styles of music now coexist within a singularity of moves and gestures. (Ouch, sorry, got possessed by a cultural studies prof. for a second there… but the foregoing is true of Chromeo, just FYI.) More importantly, as pure entertainment, White Women perpetuates and elevates Chromeo’s existing blueprint: sexy funk, ass-targeting beats, melodic honey, and smart lyrics about the foibles of contemporary love.
Dave 1’s words continue to turn urban music clichés on their heads. On “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”, a Chromeo crossover comet if there ever was one, our arch antihero witnesses his ex in the arms of other guys… wearing the jacket that he bought her. Conversely, the pristinely produced “Over Your Shoulder” is a paean to the insecure. You’re all beautiful, ladies, is the message; don’t even sweat that body-image noise. And “Sexy Socialite” is a warning to the highhanded party girls of the early twenty-teens. Check yourself, sayeth Chromeo.
White Women is the band at its most ambitious, with both the pop and the muso elements of Chromeo pushed into the red. On the hooky side, we’ve got instant classics like the soaring “Come Alive” and the pulsating “Frequent Flyer” which offer moments that would make Hall & Oates and Wham green with envy. On the crate-digger side, Dave and Pee employ an unprecedented analog arsenal that would make Kraftwerk drool. Mtume’s female vocalist croons on more than half the album. Steely Dan’s string conductor pops up on the progressive album closer “Fall Back 2U.” Try all that on for size, nerds.
But for all that 80’ talk, White Women, more so than any other Chrome-opus, is firmly grounded in pop’s present. It features some stellar cameos, too. Solange belts it out with Dave 1 on “Lost On The Way Home,” Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend contributes the piano-led, heartstring-pulling intermezzo “Ezra’s Interlude,” and Toro y Moi dives into the undiluted electro-funk of the aforementioned “Come Alive.”
2014 happens to be the Year of the Horse, which makes sense because Chromeo are about gallop in on shining white steeds to delicately trample all of us with their sublime sound. The weather is perfect; the water is warm; the people are waiting. Here comes White Women to remind everyone else just how this shit is done.
While bands often spend their early days discovering their musical directions and vying for visibility, the story of Vancouver’s Dear Rouge is something unique and almost unheard of in Canada. The band is led by husband and wife duo Drew and Danielle McTaggart. Between the two of them, they carry years of touring and recording with multiple bands and different musical ventures. It was these days of young exploration that led them to meeting. Both driven by a passion to create energetic music with a creative backbone, they formed Dear Rouge and their debut EP Heads Up Watch Out.
Their follow up EP Kids Wanna Know helped hone their alternative dance-rock sound and also led to the duo winning the Peak Performance Project in 2012, the largest artist development project in Canada. Bolstered by their success and now financially equipped to delve further into their music, Dear Rouge got straight to work on their first full-length record. The record’s lead single “I Heard I Had” is a driving synth-rock jam, which shocked the entire Canadian music industry by steadily climbing the alternative and rock charts to the Top 5 - with no label or album backing it; a rare feat especially for a band that had no previous charting history.
Dear Rouge’s debut album BLACK TO GOLD is the culmination of these achievements. “This was our chance to go deeper. We had the time now to take some risks”, says Danielle. The album boasts an expansive sonic palette with punchy guitar hooks, uplifting synth layers, and the sincerely powerful vocal delivery of Danielle. Producer/Engineer Ryan Worsley and Drew produced the majority of the album, providing a steadfast vision for their sound whilst working alongside Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother) and Gavin Brown (Metric, Hey Ocean!). One listen of “Colours” or “Best Look Lately” showcases the band’s ability to craft songs with mass appeal that maintain independent authenticity. Dear Rouge have found a distinguishing strength in tackling heavy, hard-hitting emotions in song form by transforming them into tunes so easy to digest, you may not realize what’s being explored on the first listen. “We Don’t Fit Together” explores the tensions of a love that cannot be, juxtaposed by harmonies sung by the married leading duo. On the anthem-like “Nostalgia”, try not to feel that bittersweet emotion when Danielle achingly pleads, “Hold on; I won’t forget you”. The title track “Black To Gold” is an unabashedly 80’s influenced affair as Danielle’s vocals pierce through the uptight synth-drums to announce, “We came too far to be looking back”; summing up the organic beginnings and stream of creativity that has kept them looking forward, excited of what is to come, rather than to the past.
It feels as if Dear Rouge has been in existence for quite some time; a thought that was stirring in the mind of this duo since before they met or first started playing music. Now that this idea has been realized, it will soon be in your head too.
Youngblood is the creative, dream-pop brainchild of Alexis Young. Inspired by the likes of French electronic duo Air, the fiery Grace Jones, and a little bit of sultry Nancy Sinatra, Youngblood manages to mix dreamy, marshmallow sounds laced with dark, pulsating grooves, crafting a unique blend of artistic pop.
Prior to Youngblood, Alexis cut her teeth in the indie dance-rock band Sex With Strangers. During her 4 years as their singer/keyboardist, she completed 2 full-length studio albums, received notable airplay on MuchMusic, CBC and Canadian-wide commercial radio, as well as toured multiple times to NYC, Toronto, Western Canada, and Seattle. Sex With Strangers was also a top 20 finalist in the 2011 Peak Performance Project.
Now, Youngblood’s 5-piece band features members of Gay Nineties and Fake Shark. Their enigmatic live show is a sensory rapture bursting with energy.
The first single Easy Nothing, released May 2015 online, was produced by Kevvy Mental (Fake Shark/Carly Rae Jepsen), while Youngblood’s forthcoming EP out summer 2016 has Alexis writing with the multi-disciplinary Parker Bossley (of Gay Nineties/Mounties/Fur Trade) and produced/engineered by Juno nominated DJ and producer Sleepy Tom (Fool’s Gold Records). The latest single, Feel Alright, has been flying up the Spotify charts, peaking at #6 on the Top Viral Chart in Canada.
Stephanie resides in San Francisco where she has been teaching yoga since 2000. She is indebted to her beloved teacher Sri Dharma Mittra for sharing with her the real heart of the practice. She has also been deeply influenced by Richard Rosen, Tias Little, Nicolai Bachman, and Ramanand Patel.
Stephanie's down-to-earth, generous and loving vinyasa classes are living labs for self-discovery, acceptance and truth. There are two requirements for attending Stephanies classes: a desire for positive change and a good sense of humor.
As someone who is committed to a life of service through teaching and her work with charitable organizations, Stephanie was a founding Board Member of Headstand, a national non-profit organization dedicated to integrating Yoga into the curriculum of schools that serve at-risk youth. She also has an ongoing partnership with City of Hope and leads their annual Yoga for Hope event in San Francisco. Locally Stephanie is committed to helping families with children by actively fundraising for Raphael House
Stephanie teaches workshops and retreats internationally, is an industry festival and conference presenter, and has been interviewed and profiled by Yoga Journal magazine, YogiTimes magazine, Fox News, Redbook, Spirituality & Health, and InStyle Magazine who named Stephanie as San Francisco’s most sought after yoga teacher. She presents at colleges and universities as an expert on the subject of yoga and has written numerous articles for industry leading publications.