Andrew Allen is a giver. He doesn’t think of himself as such, but a quick tour through his Facebook page or his band’s website and Allen’s philanthropic character becomes very apparent. He is heavily involved with a variety of charity organizations and is even running a contest to take two fans with him to Ethiopia to conduct volunteer work.
Allen is also a tenacious worker who strives to develop and maintain close relationships with his fans, as evident by his recent and unique summer tour that was organized around backyard gig invitations.
“It was just such a personal experience, you know.” Allen reflected on the tour that carried him across the backyards of Canada, “to perform for a groups of 40 or more people and create memorable moments; it was wonderful, a lot of fun.”
Intimacy and charity are core concepts of Allan’s performance and he brought both characteristics to the Nakusp area for Saturday night’s fundraiser. All smiles, the infectiously positive Allen and crew reached out to the people of Nakusp and invited them to dance and groove along to a set list of pop laden hits intermixed with familiar Christmas classics.
Originally set up on the stage in the auditorium, the band decided to move their gear to floor level during sound check to be closer to the audience; a move that was well received by the crowd of approximately 200 guests.
“Several years ago, I was involved in an accident where someone lost their life and it made me realize that life is so fleeting and we don’t have a lot of time,” Allen responded when asked about his ability to develop connections with his audience. “So I decided that I needed to make the most of it. I’m just trying to use this life in the best way possible and make the world a better place.”
This was Allan’s first performance in Nakusp, although a native of Vernon, he is no stranger to this side of the Monashee mountains. Allen recalled heady days of his youth on a motorcycle, rolling through the soft shoulders and dangerous curves of the basin. Although a frequent visitor, he never generated a chance to perform. Organizer Kim Macaulay, also from Vernon, had reached out to Allen through social media and invited him to perform his first show in Naksup as a fundraiser initiative for the Nakusp Arena.
Allen was willing and enthusiastic to add the Naksup stop on his current promotional tour of his EP, All Hearts Come Home; a Christmas album performed by Allen on ukulele.
“I like the ukulele,” he said. “It’s just such a fun, and non-violent instrument.”
Allen was joined in Nakusp by longtime friends Dan Oldfield on percussion, Cole Friesen on guitar and John Tromsness on the upright bass for the fun-filled evening of music, stories and talk of the “amazing fish tacos at the Three Lions.”
The evening also included a special guest appearance by local musician Mitch Zorn, who opened the show with a sampling of his artistry. The vocal talents of Zorn drifted through the auditorium and caught the attention of Allen during our interview, prompting him to send out props at the start of his own set. “Mitch was flipping awesome. Dude has some chops.”
Allen left Nakusp to continue on his tour, which will take him to Bali for a couple of weeks before he prepares for his trip to Ethiopia. The success of the evening has given rise to the notion of inviting Allen back to perform at next year’s Falcon’s Cup.
Macaulay was thrilled with the concert turnout and would like to thank Overwaitea, The Three Lions and the Village of Nakusp for all their support. Macauly would also like to thank Donna Rebman and Cheryl Black for their efforts stating, “I could not have done it without them.”
The dedicated group of volunteers raised enough money during the event to close the gap a little more on their goal of purchasing an ice divider for the arena.