The resurgence of Vancouver’s underground music scene
Avery Nowicki (they/them) // Contributor
There are 3 hours and 21 minutes until midnight on December 31st, 2022.
New Year’s Eve lurks on the corner of E Hastings and Columbia, amongst the blinding glare of convenience store windows pumping LED electric green onto rat-riddled sidewalks covered inch to inch with thirty-foot-tall punk kids. Their hair is glued into eclectic configurations of black dye and mullet cuts. Their chatter squeaks through the street as smoke trails into an inconspicuous black door behind them — the one that reads only “109” in thin black lettering. As the door opens, the entrance to one of “Vancouver”’s underground venues is revealed, sprawling with pink light and roiling with heat. The scream of Felisha Rolin, lead singer of Felisha and the Jazz Rejects, illuminates the entire venue. The floor crackles at every drum hit, and each pang from the guitar moves the audience into the throes of a light mosh. This is Felisha and the Jazz Rejects, and as the audience, we are putty in their hands.
Felisha and the Jazz Rejects first began when their lead singer wanted to take her solo work to the next level. Inspired by early 2000s Avril Lavigne, she began infusing punk influence into her solo music. Her release of “Pure Toxin” in April 2022 ignited a new beginning for her music. It was shortly after this that they performed at Buddha’s (@Buddhas109ehastings) for the first time, with “Vancouver” punk bands The Virgin Losers (@thevirginlosers), and Bluestem (@bluestemband). After this, their band began to explode, quickly cementing themselves as pivotal members of the music scene in so-called Vancouver. They spent their first summer as a band playing backyard shows, local pubs, Lanalou’s (@lanalous), The Citr Victory Square Block Party, and Redgate (@redgatesartsociety) with long-beloved indie boy bands and punk solo acts who were finding their way through the scene at the same time. They even participated in a local battle of the bands in early September. Every show they play brings an inexplicable electric energy, making it clear that Felisha and Jazz Rejects are already an irreplaceable part of the newest configuration of the local music scene.
Felisha and The Jazz Rejects entered the scene at a time of rebirth, where so many young kids were pushing themselves into the narrative of the local punk and indie music. With local record labels like KingFisherBluez (@kingfisherbluez) supporting these young artists’ careers, it is clear that our city is creating a new scene as we speak, one that will soon be remembered as one of the great times for “Vancouver”’s alternative history. Felisha and The Jazz Rejects are already an integral part of this rebirth, and their impact on the audience reflects that. You can find more of their music on their instagram (@felishathejazzreject), and by checking the site calendars of the local venues listed above.