The Cowboy Bebop Band weeknight sellout at Hero’s Welcome

Steven Zhu’s band with Gordy Li, RJ Abella, Afu Keteca, Rick Son, Patrick Kao, & Piyotr Kao

The Cowboy Bebop Band weeknight sellout at Hero’s Welcome
L-R: Gordy Li, Patrick Kao, Steven Zhu, Afu Keteca, Piyotr Kao, RJ Abella, Rick Son

Last night at Hero's Welcome, I heard drummer Steven Zhu's Cowboy Bebop Bebop Band (with two bebops). I sat among a large group of show-goers who had never been to a Vancouver jazz show. They mentioned seeing Instagram ads, getting intrigued by the prospect of hearing well-loved music from the anime Cowboy Bebop being played live, and deciding to buy tickets. That's how this Infidels Jazz show sold out faster than any other date in the Tim Reinert venture's history.

Cowboy Bebop needs no introduction to most who are younger than me and is a sort of late-90s anime Star Wars. Its music is popular enough in subcultures that my high school friends wrote a big band arrangement of "Tank!" – the anime's opening theme, and the first number that the band played last night – and brought it in, asking the band teacher if we could play it. We did, of course.

The seven-piece Cowboy Bebop Bebop Band's first outing had been at Tyrant Studios less than two months ago, on March 30th. Back then, Steven's lineup was mostly the same: Gordy Li on B-flat saxophones, Afu Keteca on bari sax, Patrick Kao on guitar, and Piyotr Kao on upright and electric bass. Last night, Rick Son played the house upright piano and a keyboard; Justin Juan, as he mentioned on the podcast, had filled the chair at Tyrant. (RJ Abella on trumpet played last night instead of Nikolaj Hansen at Tyrant.)