Two B.C. musicians who are now based out of Melbourne, Australia have decided to take their show on the road for their first Canadian tour.
Los Borrachos — Kevin Falkenberg and “Big Bobby” Armich — will be bringing the “Save Our Summer” tour to a number of small towns starting on Aug. 15, and their schedule will be bringing them to Ashcroft and Clinton on the 17th, and Lytton and Lillooet on the 18th. The Journal was able to get in touch with Falkenberg via email on Aug. 11, the day after the tour was announced, and asked how Los Borrachos — and the tour — came about.
“Los Borrachos started in Port Alberni about 13 years ago when Bobby and I started a band called RedFish Blues,” he says. “We’re two guys who are very good at putting up with each other. I’m like his father, although I’m 20 years younger. We met at a music store in Port Alberni. He asked me to play at his mom’s 70th birthday with him and we hit it off right from the first note.”
They toured extensively through Europe before settling for some time in Costa Rica. “While in Costa Rica people began calling me ‘Borracho’. I thought it was just a nickname; then someone pointed out they were calling me ‘the drunk,’ due to my prowess at drinking tequila on stage. It’s a shtick we have kept up to this day: we continue playing while fans pour tequila in our mouths. Thus the name Los Borrachos came about and stuck.”
They played on the road for about six years, then bought a motorhome-cum-tour bus, with the idea of building a stage on the side and driving it back to Costa Rica. Soon after, however, they were picked up by a touring company in Melbourne, and since then have toured primarily in Australia and Vietnam.
Falkenberg says that in February he realized that COVID-19 was about to drastically limit travel, so the pair came home for a long overdue visit with family and friends that was supposed to last for one week. Just days after landing, however, return flights and visas were cancelled.
“Fast forward a few months and here we are going crazy. After 13 years of playing six nights a week, we’re now limited to the studio and the very occasional gig.”
One day in the studio, they were discussing all the festivals that have been cancelled this summer, and the impact this has had on the mostly small communities that host and rely on them. “The idea struck: we have the motorhome, let’s finish the stage conversion and go on a tour, giving these communities a little bit of enjoyment before the summer runs out.”
They have never toured with the motorhome, so Falkenberg notes it will be a new experience; one they’re very much looking forward to.
“We’re hoping to establish a new form of touring that will work in the given climate. We call it ‘contactless touring’. We have the stage, the power, etc., so we just show up, lower the stage, and play.”
The pair have always primarily played their own music, but like to throw in a few covers by their favourite songwriters as well. “Our set varies: blues, country, rock, and even contemporary, depending on the vibe of the people we’re playing to. We’ve released four albums to date, but due to industry politics the songs aren’t currently on any platforms, only a few on YouTube. We’ll be releasing all of our works later in the year on Spotify and iTunes, and we’ll have some discs to sell on the tour.”
The Los Borrachos Facebook page notes that this is a social distance tour, and stresses that everyone must be safe, respectful, and patient with current restrictions. Groups should keep to six people or less, with no mingling. “We have a new set of rules, and we just need to learn how to work with them so we can still enjoy our beautiful country.”
The tour kicks off in Hope at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15. On Sunday, Aug. 16 they will be in Merritt (12 p.m.) and Logan Lake (6 p.m.); on Monday, Aug. 17 they will be in Ashcroft (Heritage Park) at 12 p.m. and Clinton at 6 p.m.; and on Tuesday, Aug. 18 they will be in Lytton (12 p.m.) and Lillooet (6 p.m.).
All shows will be performed in open public spaces allowing for easy social distancing. There is no charge for the concert, but the duo are hoping to get donations through PayPal to help them along the way; there are links on the Los Borrachos Facebook page.