by Slone Fox
Whether it’s fart jokes or raucous ballads about dismantling white supremacy, the River Jacks cover the full spectrum of good times. Consisting of accordion extraordinaire Andy “Mandrill” Shannon, guitar wizard Jordan Barrett, moderately-okay drummer Mikey “Ridiculously Strong Handshake” Blotto, bouncing baby boy bassist Tyler Burton, and supreme vocalist overlord Spencer Jo Burgess, the five slices of River Jacks have come together to bless the world with their newest release, LIVE AT SBC.
“The bulk of the songs were recorded in Vancouver by Cecil English at an SBC show we played last April with Terminal City Rats, ATD, and Alien Boys,” says Burgess. “The last two songs on the tape are Beastie Boys covers we recorded in Calgary with Graham Riddle at Wayfarer Sound in early 2018.”
True to the Beastie Boy era, LIVE AT SBC will be available for your listening pleasure exclusively on cassette tape. That’s right. Buy a tape deck. Go raid your dad’s basement for one. Borrow your friends 2003 Volkswagen Jetta and pop that sucker in their built in one. There are unlimited ways to enjoy River Jacks, but the best option is always to make sure that it’s loud.
While the quintet hails from Calgary, they have found a second, warmer home in Vancouver.
“We've been playing in Vancouver for most of the years the band has existed and it has really become an important community to us,” says Burgess, sucking up because he knows this is a Vancouver magazine. “For those of us who grew up in Calgary, Vancouver was ‘the big city’ we could visit nearby. For our third album, we want to come to the big city to record.”
The River Jacks’ third album is set to release in 2020, following the release of their self-titled album in 2014 and Strange Adventures in 2017.
“We're trying a lot of new things with this album. As ever, we try to offer a critical lens into the world around us with our lyrics. Still, it’s probably important to acknowledge we’re a group of 20-30-something cishet white males, which has had an impact on our songwriting,” says Burgess. “We are at our best while we're on tour, living in the band van together, and we want to try bring that to our recorded sound. We hope to be able to bring the bright-eyed openness of our self-titled album together with the discipline and productivity of Strange Adventures.”
While five guys essentially spooning each other in a packed tour van sounds a little sweaty, Burgess claims that it’s a vital part of the connection that makes River Jacks what they are: family. A big, sweaty, hairy, talented family.
“Things get pretty squirrelly in the van and it often ends in hilarity. We have a pretty deep love for each other as well. We are the best of friends and are very supportive of each other,” says Blotto.
Catch the River Jacks at one of their upcoming tour dates:
October 15 - Rossland, BC - The Flying Steamshovel October 16 - Vancouver, BC - Black Lab October 17 - Uclulet, BC - Army, Navy, and Airforce Veterans' Club October 18 - Nanaimo, BC - Nanaimo Bar October 19 - Kamloops, BC - The Kami November 15 - Lethbridge, AB - The Slice
November 16 - Medicine Hat, AB - Liquid Lounge