The Art We Are was already packed to gills before Chipko Jones even took to the stage. Families played Uno in the booths while newcomers combed the room for any unclaimed seating and the women working the counter rushed to get everyone coffee and snacks.
The band harmonized well, and sounded very polished. The combination of Waseem Hakhroo on drums, Moot Murphy on guitar, Jacob Chatterton on bass, Jen Millan on trumpet and Anessa Lang on alto saxophone brought a cleanly-polished sound that coffee shop shows often lack.
Listening to Chipko Jones’ music makes you feel like you should be sitting at a beach bar on vacation and not in an artsy coffee shop hiding from the tail end of winter and Hockey Day in Canada crowds. The music had a chill energy that had everyone swaying in their seats. The lyrics are all about peace and love, man.
Chipko Jones would perhaps be better suited to a larger venue where listeners would actually have room to dance, or at least all sit. Considering the enthusiasm of the audience, the limited space of a coffee shop seemed a little restrictive.
From the beginning, the audience was very appreciative of the band, clapping and cheering after every song. Although Chipko Jones intended to end their set at 8 p.m. the audience cajoled them into playing an extra half hour.
“Wow, thank you guys for being so friendly,” said Moot Murphy on vocals and guitar.
After two years of playing at smaller events like festivals and open mics and hosting their own gigs, Chipko Jones is in pre-production of their first record, to be released later this year.
Their unusual-sounding name was inspired by the Chipko movement, a forest conservation protest in India in the 18th century that grew into a prominent ecofeminist movement.
The next show at the The Art We Are will be Jay Semko, guitarist of Saskatchewan band The Northern Pikes on Feb. 14.