Vancouver Artists Rock the Roundhouse for RightsRock 2012

This blog post is written by Stefano Beninteso, an intern from our Vancouver office.

Tough Lovers, Vince Vaccaro and Sam Alviar perform at RightsRock 2012 concert. Photo credit: Stefany Mailhiot

In the midst of the 2012 holiday season, three local Vancouver artists took their talents to the stage in support of International Human Rights Day. On December 6th, at the fabulous Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown, Sam Alviar, Tough Lovers, and special guest Vince Vaccaro rocked the Roundhouse to an eager crowd waiting in anticipation for the fantastic show they had been promised over the previous three weeks.

The bands delivered, and then some. Sam Alviar and company were the first to win over the crowd with their charming performance, by the end of which, they had many people in search of their debut album at the merchandise table (they are currently recording and expecting to have album out by Spring 2013). The quartet featured back-up vocalist and bass-slapper Myles Keoble, lead guitar shredder Adam Baldwin, the relentless and ruthless Jonathan Mitchell on the drums, and the swooning lead vocalist Sam Alviar – with his catchy acoustic guitar riffs and the occasional sweet sounds of his endearing harmonica. By the time the band had finished their thirty minute set which included favourites “Evelyn” and “I Lie Awake” among many others, the bar had been set.

After the crowd had returned from a quick break to sign petitions, write postcards, and pick up some Amnesty gear, the stage was set for the second act of the night. The audience was immediately blown away by the sound emanating from the musical geniuses of Tough Lovers. The band proved their worth of every vote they received in solidifying their place in the top 20 list of artists from the 2012 Peak Performance Project. With lead singer Jamie Smail’s enthusiastic, dynamic vocal range, Dane Stevens’ slick bass hands, Graham Madden’s ‘madd’ lead guitar skills, and the powerful, pulsating, beat producing machine that is Ryan Stephenson, Tough Lovers’ set “Started With a Spark” that turned into a full blown ball of fire “Before the Sun Set” on their performance for the night; The crowd, once again, had been sold on the talent they had just witnessed before their very eyes.

By the time the crowd had returned to their seats and settled in following a brief break, it was finally time to introduce our special guest performer. The final act of the night consisted of a mandolin, an acoustic guitar, and non-other than 2010 Peak Performance Project top 3 finalist Vince Vaccaro, who instantly won the crowd over with his soulful, heart-warming, and captivatingly memorable melodies. But for the exception of clapping and cheers of appreciation after each song, the audience remained silent, awe-struck at the sound of Vince’s breathtaking vocals as he performed popular hits such as “Costa Rica” and “Catch a Fire”. His performance of “Brother” was incredibly moving and noteworthy. With the backdrop behind him displaying pictures of hope for human rights, Vince’s voice rang out to the words of the chorus: “when you come to me I promise I won’t lie. I promise I won’t turn you away”. The forty minute set flew by all too quickly for the crowd, who were all enthralled by Vince’s performance.

Some of the audience had the opportunity to interact with all the artists after the show, who were happy to have a quick chat and sign some autographs.

As successful as the evening was on the musical front, it also turned out to be a fantastic night of activism. With the vehicle of music being the driving force behind the event, many friends, family, and members of the greater community gathered to rally around this truly important global day. It was a great way to fuse people’s love for music with their drive to help people around the world emerge from the darkness of human rights abuses.

Human rights belong to all of us, not only you and me. Through events like RightsRock 2012 and the many others that took place both nationally and internationally in light of human rights day, we have been able to celebrate all the progress we have made on the matter since 1948. However, these events also remind us that there is still a lot of work to do ahead. You can be a part of this very important movement by taking action today. You never know, you could help save a life.

A big thank you to all of our volunteers and everyone who helped make this event possible. Check out some sweet photos from our event taken by our amazing photographers Stefany Mailhiot and Ludivine Lecat here!