Country diva Kira Isabella performed Saturday, Nov. 1 at Cactus Jacks Nightclub. Vancouver band Me and Mae opened the show, followed by duo Autumn Hill and then Isabella.
The female-dominated audience was slow to build, with just 20 girls crowding the stage for Me and Mae, but with every act the group doubled. Although not as big a crowd as CJs is used to, the audience was still formidable and their response filled the room.
Me and Mae performed with charisma and had the audience singing along as they ended their set with Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
Mike Robins and Tareya Green of Autumn Hill channeled their inner Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko in black leather outfits. Robins and Green played enthusiastically, feeding off the audience. Green’s tambourine even lost a few zils (the metal cymbal parts).
Autumn Hill performed some new songs that will be on their upcoming second album, including “It’s a Good Night for Going Nowhere” – an instant dance anthem.
They closed with a rendition of “Royals” by Lorde, first in a rock interpretation and then country. Autumn Hill also had a World Vision charity information booth set up between acts.
Her performance at CJs is part of Isabella’s first headlining tour to promote her latest album Caffeine and Big Dreams, released Oct. 14. Her set drew the biggest crowd, with at least 80 people dancing, and more seated at the back.
After a few songs, Isabella changed from a glamorous red corset and black heels to a simple black tank top and cowboy boots.
One ambitious man held a ring out to the pint-size powerhouse, but his proposal was not accepted.
Halfway through her set, Isabella said that she wanted the band to come out onto the floor for a song or two, and then decided instead to perform on top of the bar. This spontaneity and fun characterizes Isabella’s showmanship.
Along with her original music, Isabella sang a medley of songs across different genres, from “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore to “Rude” by MAGIC! and “Fishin’ in the Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Before ending her set, Isabella got teary-eyed, thanking the audience for their support.
“I’m sorry I’m such a wimp, you guys are just so awesome,” Isabella said, dabbing her eyes.
She returned for three encore songs, the first of which was a refreshing solo acoustic version of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer.”
Kamloops was the fourth stop on their “Shake It” tour. In the coming weeks they will work their way east, ending in London, Ont.