BeatRoute Magazine B.C. print e-edition - September 2016

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BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.

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ANIMAL COLLECTIVE • DRIVE BY TRUCKERS • TEGAN AND SARA • DANNY BROWN • TA-KU • RIFFLANDIA • FRINGE FESTIVAL • VIFF

September 2016 1


2

September 2016


TABLE OF CONTENTS

SEPTEMBER ‘16

BEATROUTE STAFF

PUBLISHER

BeatRoute Magazine

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

MANAGING EDITOR

Jennie Orton

jennie@beatroute.ca

SENIOR EDITOR

Maya-Roisin Slater

mayaroisin@beatroute.ca

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

& PRODUCTION MANAGER

Syd Danger

syddanger.com

WEB PRODUCER

Shane Flug

COPY EDITOR

Thomas Coles

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

MUSIC

Joshua Erickson

joshua.erickson@beatroute.ca

CITY

Yasmine Shemesh

yasmine@beatroute.ca

COMEDY

Graeme Wiggins

graeme@beatroute.ca

ELECTRONICS DEPT.

Vanessa Tam

vanessa@beatroute.ca

FILM

Paris Spence-Lang

paris@beatroute.ca

LOCAL MUSIC / THE SKINNY

Erin Jardine

erin@beatroute.ca

FRONT COVER PHOTO

Katrin Braga

www.katrinbraga.com

DISTRIBUTION

Gold Distribution

LIVE

Galen Robinson-Exo

galen@beatroute.ca

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Heather Adamson • Sydney Ball • Victoria Banner

Eric Campbell • Jade Cobain • David Cutting

Mike Dunn • Bryce Dunn • Heath Fenton • Ashley

Frerichs • Colin Gallant • Jamie Goyman • Britt

Hanly • Erin Jardine • Prachie Kamble • Noor

Khwaja • Ana Krunic • Cait Lepla • Trina McDonald

Jaime MacNamara • Devon Motz • Jennie Orton

Justin Penney • Liam Prost • Molly Randhawa

Daniel Robichaud • Galen Robinson-Exo • Paul

Rodgers • Maya-Roisin Slater • Kristie Sparksman

Paris Spence-Lang • Susanne Tabata • Vanessa Tam

Willem Thomas • Elliot Way • Wendy 13

CONTRIBUTING

PHOTOGRAPHERS &

ILLUSTRATORS

Sarah Baar • Jenny Bonar • Bev Davies

Lindsay’s Diet • David & Emily Cooper

Asia Fairbanks • Chase Hansen

D.L. Fraser • Amy Ray

Galen Robinson-Exo • Dylan Smith

Sarah Whitlam

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES

Glenn Alderson

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778-888-1120

DISTRIBUTION

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send an e-mail to editor@beatroute.ca

Working for the Weekend with Jacqueline Dupuis of VIFF...................................4

Animal Collective ..........................................................................................................5

Explosions In The Sky ..................................................................................................5

Drive By Truckers ...........................................................................................................6

David Crosby ....................................................................................................................6

Tegan and Sara ................................................................................................................9

Psychic TV .......................................................................................................................10

COVER: WISHKICKER11

Rifflandia Festival .........................................................................................................12

Temper Trap ...................................................................................................................13

ELECTRONICS DEPT14 - 15

• Danny Broan

• Ta - Ku

THE SKINNY16 - 20

• Sevens Nines Tens

• Rebel Sing

• Dodgers

• Subculture

CITY.......................................................................................................................... 21 - 25

• Fringe Festival

• R&B Pizza & Wine House

• Keg de Souza

QUEER .....................................................................................................................22 - 23

• Ask Carlotta

• Queen Of The Month

COMEDY .........................................................................................................................24

• Brett Martin

• That Filthy Show

FILM: VIFF....................................................................................................................... 26

Album Reviews .................................................................................................. 27 - 32

Live Reviews ..................................................................................................................33

Vanpooper ..................................................................................................................... 34

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©BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved.

Reproduction of the contents is strictly prohibited.

September 2016 3


with VIFF executive director Jacqueline Dupuis

Written by Willem Thomas

photo by Sarah Whitlam

Get your butts ready because the Vancouver

International Film Festival (VIFF) is celebrating

its 35th birthday and this year they’ve

truly gone the extra mile with their programming.

Looking back 35 rotations of the sun, VIFF has

grown with remarkable grace. While it’s become

one of the top five largest film festivals in North

America, VIFF has done so without reneging on

the ideals it was founded on. With submissions

from 70+ countries, the festival has continued to

showcase not only the best, most engaging and

culturally-significant films from across the globe,

but also the greatest selection of Canadian content

as well.

Under executive director Jacqueline Dupuis’s

experienced guidance, the festival has undergone a

rebranding and restructuring; a focus on interactive

multimedia has been implemented with the VIFF

Hub, and the festival is aiming to offer attendees

more than just the regular film-viewing experience.

We tracked down Dupuis to discuss the festival,

her role and the art of film itself.

BeatRoute: First off, congrats on VIFF’s 35th

birthday! What does your role at VIFF entail?

Jacqueline Dupuis: As the executive director of the

Vancouver International Film Festival Society (VIFF)

my role is to oversee the entire organization and

its year-round festival and industry programming.

BR: With Vancouver’s film industry in a

healthy state, does that boost VIFF Theatre?

JD: We have a symbiotic relationship with the

industry around us, and we are lucky to be in a

city that is so dynamic and vibrant. It’s not just

the general public who attends the festival, but

those in the industry as well. We do lots of talks,

panel discussions and workshops that foster the

growth and development of the industry and

those working in it. It’s an exchange of ideas and

learning that is born at the local level, and I think

it’s really fantastic that VIFF can provide this

platform and connect these people together.

BR: How is VIFF shaping up for 2016 thus far?

JD: The festival is about a month away and I

think I speak for everyone working on it that

we’re all eagerly anticipating the opening day

of the festival (September 29th!). There are so

many big changes this year, from our bold new

structuring, the wider spectrum of what we’re

offering, to even our branding. We’re finalizing the

lineup of films for this year, and we’re all working

hard to pull off another successful festival while

implementing these changes. I think festivalgoers

are going to respond positively to these

photo: Sarah Whitlam

changes because we’re offering a more complete

package than we ever have before, but breaking

away from tradition can be a delicate matter.

BR: How do you ride the line fairly in

selecting the best films from around the

world for VIFF, while still showcasing as much

Canadian filmmaking as possible as well?

JD: Our curatorial goal is to bring the best

stories from around the world to Vancouver.

This most certainly does not exclude Canadian

and local content; in fact, it represents a

significant percentage. Canadian stories

represent the diversity of our nation, which

we are keen to showcase and helps to foster

the talent right here in our own country.

BR: What kind of music do you listen

to when working at VIFF?

JD: It depends on what I’m working on. When

I need a burst of energy I blast a pop favourite

like “Happy” from my office and dance down

the hall. People can’t help but get into it too.

Totally weird, I know, but it makes us laugh

and it’s so important to have fun at work!

BR: With modern media and culture operating

in such a disposable, rapidly-changing

fashion, do you worry that the integrity of

film as an art form has been eroded?

JD: Not at all! Modern media and our society

in general has been tremendously disrupted

by current and ever-accelerating technologies,

there’s no denying that. But I don’t buy into the

pessimistic view that we’re devolving because of

it. It’s allowed for a democratization of the arts

and that just means more awesome content to

choose from. Art shouldn’t be exclusive, and

that’s why we have the festival, to bring people

together to collectively experience art and

take something away from that experience.

BR: What is one of your first and

fondest film memories?

JD: When I first started watching “films,” I was

amazed by the quality and unique ways of

storytelling that go beyond what we see in traditional

blockbusters. To find these films, I would go to my

local video store and search out titles with laurels

from festivals on the cover. It eventually evolved

into weekend marathons of greats such as Fellini to

riskier wares like Von Trier. I have fond memories of

these formative film years as my mind was blown

and opened up to the vast world of storytelling on

screen. But hey, it’s all about balance. I always love

a good rom-com too. The Notebook, anyone?

VIFF 2016 happens Sept. 29 – Oct. 14.

4

September 2016


ANIMAL COLLECTIVE

past the stress and into the fun

Ten albums and 16 years into their career as

a band, Animal Collective is making their

way to Vancouver later this month. The band

has been called one of the most influential acts of the

first decade of the 21st century for their experimental

works in the realms of freak folk, noise, psych and

pop. Their albums Feels (2005), Strawberry Jam (2007)

and Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009) are some of

Animal Collective’s Panda Bear teases new projects and tour changeups.

the best-reviewed releases of that decade.

More recent albums haven’t been met with

quite the same enthusiasm, but this deep into their

career they’ve still found ways to keep things fresh.

While the band was known to develop new material

onstage long before recording took place, February’s

Painting With was written in-studio, the result of

sketches brought in and jammed to life. The result is

photo: Tom Andrew

one of Animal Collective’s most straight-forward pop

albums, with not a single slow burner on the record.

The spontaneity of the process was complemented

by a certain level of serendipity.

“We didn’t have a game plan – we didn’t

blueprint it like that. We just said ‘here’s my eight

songs, here’s my eight songs’ and saw if they kind of

fit together, but there weren’t conversations about

themes that we were writing about or topics, but it

did sort of turn out that Dave and I had wrote the

words for the songs, it seems like we were sort of

linked up in a way in talking about current events,”

says Noah Lennox, better known by stage name

Panda Bear.

Lennox came into the sessions not long after

completing the excellent Panda Bear Meets the

Grim Reaper. That release and Painting With

both balanced morose subject matter with pop

accessibility, with Lennox stating the works contain

“brother and sister songs in a way, topically.”

Throughout our conversation, lyrics came up

quite a bit. While Lennox feels “like it’s one of [his]

favourite things to talk about and think about in

interviews,” it’s difficult to properly explain in hindsight.

This lead him to an idea for a future project.

“At some point I’ll take an album and – probably

not one of the older ones but maybe for a new one

– and maybe part of the project will be sort of expounding

on what I was thinking when I was writing

this stuff. Writing a song-by-song breakdown of all the

decisions I felt like I was making so maybe I won’t feel

MUSIC

by Colin Gallant

like such a jackass,” he says. “I doubt it would be super

straightforward, I’m sure I would go off on weird tangents

and stuff, but I feel like sort of like a record cover

colours the music in a way… it’s almost like memoirs

of making the album.”

That chance may come soon. Lennox revealed

that he’s begun work on the next batch of solo

Panda Bear songs.

But before that comes to fruition, Animal Collective

continue on a heavy tour schedule through

Asia, Europe and North America, as well as their

own festival taking place this month in Big Sur, CA.

Lennox is looking forward to all of it, noting that

preparation for the performances had been some

of the most difficult to date.

“I had never sang and played the bass lines at the

same time, and they’re often really kind of different

rhythms… And I feel like some of these songs are

some of the most verbose songs we’ve done… It

was a stressful couple of months for me, I’m not

going to lie.”

For anyone who followed the first leg of the

tour’s setlists, you can prepare for a few surprises.

“There’s going to be a Merriweather song that

we’re adding, there’s something off of Water Curses

and maybe I’ll leave it at that. Those are some hints!

I’m not giving it all away. I hope the other guys

won’t be mad at me.”

Animal Collective perform at the Vogue Theatre on

September 27th.

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY

post-rock visionaries find their wild side

Since the mid-90s these Texan extraordinaires

of modern composition have been changing

the face of mainstream alternative, making

eclectic symphonies accessible in a profoundly

moving way. Explosions in the Sky have come to not

only occupy but also define a niche in progressive instrumental

music, releasing seven albums since 2000,

all while labouring over motion picture tracks and a

handful of full-length movie soundtracks.

It would be unsurprising - expected, even - for

the band to have adapted some habits that are

becoming redundant, or even become sick of their

own sound. It is therefore remarkable to recognize

how fresh and simultaneously familiar they manage

to be in The Wilderness, the recently released

album that dares to risk change, challenge internalized

perspective, and limit the near “sucrose

overdose” sweetness that Munaf Rayani believes

has become characteristic of Explosions’ work.

Rayani describes The Wilderness as “an attempt

at trying to write something that wasn’t predictable.”

“We wanted to expand these musical

landscapes of ours and see what we could come

up with if we went left instead of going right, if we

looked backwards instead of looking forward, if

we kind of spun ourselves around and got a little

dizzy.” It truly does attain the abstraction and

impact it aspires to - songs like “Logic of a Dream”

build continuously in a manner that contrasts

their entire past discography, intensely and almost

slightly counterintuitively at times. On the other

hand, tracks like “Losing the Light”, though obscure,

instrumentalize emotional rise and falls in a

subtle manner that is familiar to any long-standing

fan of the band.

The Wilderness is still loyal to Explosions’

traditional sound, as Rayani agrees. “For me it

feels absolutely like us; it carries these melodies

and these tunes that we’ve worked half a lifetime

becoming skillful at.” And yet, it is an album of

evolution. Rather than climbing into our heads and

driving us where we otherwise might have headed,

the instrumentals of the new record shock and

comfort simultaneously. Hoping to “explore some

unknowns” without losing the voice that distinguishes

them as a 17-year-old post-rock collective,

Explosions have gracefully rejuvenated their art

and are both proud and grateful to have come out

on the other side more inspired than ever.

This isn’t to say the band’s lengthy history has

been free of writer’s block and artistic ruts. The key,

it seems, is perseverance of will to make meaningful

things, and faith that it will happen. “We often

wander into it a bit blind, a bit into the darkness...

and as we wander through melody and beat and

conversation with one another this vision starts to

become a little bit more focused and then it leads

us and we follow it to the end of a record.” The

beauty of the process, to Rayani, seems to lie in this

uncertainty that it entails. “Absolutely we hit those

walls, because making music is not easy. It is very,

very, very, difficult. And that’s kind of a good thing,

because it really helps separate the ones who can

from the ones who can’t.”

Watching critics compare The Wilderness with

such highlights as The World Is Not A Cold Dead

Place has not, per say, thrown Rayani off. But the

artist knows what the artist is making and why before

showing anyone else, and growth is not so much a

creative choice as a fact of life. “Just as a human thinks

about yourself growing and who you were two years

ago… how does that compare to somebody you were

by Safiya Hopfe

ten years ago, and how might it look five years from

now, you know?”

“Hopefully we are all evolving to our better selves

every day. I feel like musically that’s where we have

ended up, luckily enough.” Not to say they’re stopping

anytime soon - there’s more to come, and chances are

we are in for more surprises in the coming years.

Explosions in the Sky perform at the Commodore

Ballroom on September 4th and 5th.

Explosions in the Sky are not afraid to take risks on their 7th studio album, The Wilderness

September 2016 MUSIC

5


DAVID CROSBY

finding the light

David Crosby is happy. Content in a way

that audibly radiates from the easy tone

of his voice to the rapture of his deep belly

laugh — something that comes from knowing

what’s important in his life, clutching it close to

his heart, and squeezing it tightly.

Certainly, this kind of joy is an achievement for

any person, let alone a man who has endured his

share of turbulence in the duration of his extraordinary

contribution to music. A two-time Rock

and Roll Hall of Famer who, in 1967, was ousted

from The Byrds on accusation of being difficult

to work with. A folk music icon whose verbal

exchanges between Graham Nash and Neil Young

are as legendary as the music that Crosby, Stills,

Nash & Young (and other iterations of the band)

have made together.; an emblem of rock and roll’s

golden age that once served prison time for drugs.

A songwriter and guitarist, unrivalled in brilliance,

who, on the song “Time I Have,” sings, “I’m looking

to find some peace within me to embrace to bring

that smile back to my face.”

Crosby has found that peace.

“I spent a lot of my life being angry and it’s such

a waste of time,” he sighs, speaking over the telephone

from Santa Barbara. “It gets you absolutely

nowhere. I’m trying very hard not to spend time

being either sad or angry, either one. It doesn’t get

anything and it doesn’t create art, either.”

When asked what makes him truly happy, the

response is simple. “My family.” Indeed, his wife and

children are the biggest reason why, at 75, Crosby

has found himself in the midst of one of the most

prolific periods of his career. “If I’m happy with

my family and I’m happy with my life,” he insists,

“That’s when I’m creative.”

Crosby’s newest album, Lighthouse, is due in

October. “I think you’re going to like it,” he beams.

“It’s one of the best records I’ve ever made.” It’s his

second solo effort in two years, following 2014’s

Croz, his first in two decades. The turnaround is

not surprising, given that Crosby has been riding a

surge of inspiration lately. “I’m kind of amazed that

I’m writing this much now,” he admits. “But I am

writing a lot.”

Crosby has always been a profound lyricist and

the subtle instrumentation of Lighthouse allows

that genius to shine. The first offering released

publicly was “Things We Do For Love” — a tender,

uplifting ballad written for his wife, Jan Dance.

“I’ve been in love with the same girl now for, oh,

40 years,” Crosby says. “And so I have a very, very

strong connection with her and it’s taught me a

lot. You have to work at a relationship like that, you

have to do things — not just say, ‘honey I love you.’

You have to do things that show them that you

love them. And it can be little things, it can be just

doing the dishes before they came home so they

come home to a clean kitchen. It can be something

that small.”

Crosby is currently on an intimate North

American tour accompanied only by, on piano,

James Raymond — his biological son who was put

up for adoption in 1962. They reunited 30 years

later, bonded over music, and have played together

since 1997. As such, Raymond’s presence has been

another monumental force in Crosby’s life.

“It was magical,” Crosby says of reconnecting

with Raymond. “It was a wonderful thing. Normally,

that kind of meet up doesn’t go well — people

bring too much baggage to it. But James didn’t. He

gave me a clean slate and a chance to earn my way

into his life and he was very kind to me that way.

As a result, we’ve become very close.”

by Yasmine Shemesh

photo: Django Crosby

Prolific singer/ songwriter David Crosby has found himself happier and more creative in recent years

For his family, Crosby is discernably grateful. It

is their love that drives him forward; it is their love

that continually inspires him.

It is what makes him happy.

Perhaps, his greatest achievement.

David Crosby performs at the Vogue Theatre on

September 15.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS

an American band… open and exposed

On the evening of June 17, 2015, Dylann

Roof, a white 21-year-old is alleged to have

entered the Emanuel African Methodist

Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina

where he opened fire during a prayer, killing

nine people including a state senator. Roof has

confessed to the crime stating that he intended to

provoke a race war with the mass killing. During

the aftermath and investigation into Roof’s background,

photos of him holding a Confederate flag

were found posted on the Internet that sparked

outrage and controversy in the U.S. about the

meaning of the flag: Is it a racist symbol of white

supremacy, or something which represents Southern

pride that manifested during the Civil War?

The first single off Drive-By Truckers’ American

Band (release date Sept. 30) is the rousing yet reflective

rally cry “Surrender Under Protest,” a song

that taps into the divisions and complexities that

shape much of the Southern perspective. In discussing

the meaning of the song, Mike Colley, one

half of DBT’s songwriting core, draws on the history

of the Confederate surrender, and how that’s

been interpreted and embedded in the South.

“The debate over the meaning of the Confederate

flag was re-ignited. It brought back memories

of all the things you grow up being taught if you

grow up Southern. They call it the war of Northern

aggression. You’re taught that it was about states’

rights instead of slavery and that the constitution

gave them the right to secede in the first place.

6 MUSIC

They constantly point out the fact that most of

the people who fought didn’t own slaves. It’s all

an alternative version to imply a greater sense of

nobility to what you are predisposed to see as your

side. But most importantly it installs a sense of victimization.

That brought me to present day and how

selling a sense of victimization has become one of

the most profitable enterprises in the country. Both

financially and politically.”

The conflicting forces the Truckers wrestle with in

“Surrender Under Protest” are ones that run through

much of American Band. While this isn’t the first time

they’ve worn their politics on their sleeves, on the eve

of a very intense U.S. election that reflects a very torn

country, DBT are adamant about addressing moral

indignation and making clear their position.

Citing the new release as “protest music,” Patterson

Hood says, “I don’t want there to be any doubt as to

which side of this discussion we fall on… I don’t want

there to be any misunderstanding of where we stand.

If you don’t like it, you can leave. It’s okay. We’re not

trying to be everybody’s favourite band.”

When asked about the incredible dissent between

Republicans and Democrats, Hood doesn’t want or

need to delve into the fanaticism of Donald Trump as

a major dilemma or that he was a Democrat supporter

(Bernie Sanders in particular), but he does remark

that the radical divide is one that’s not percolating

just below the surface anymore, it’s one that’s getting

exposed, quite literally, for everyone to see.

Running parallel to the election, Hood observed

Drive By Truckers are adamant about addressing moral indignation and making clear their position

a comment he saw online which noted “Racism isn’t

getting more widespread in America, it’s getting more

photographed. It’s not like all of a sudden people are

getting shot, it’s now being caught on cameras. Before

it was something that was primarily talked about in

the black community, and not always what the mainstream

media would focus their attention on, except

incidences like Rodney King. But now everyone has

a phone and a camera in their hands at all time, and

everything is getting out blown up and out there

more. As unpleasant as it is to see and to talk about,

I think it’s better that it’s getting out in the open.

That’s the next step of the process.”

Catch the Drive-By Truckers Oct. 2 at the

Rickshaw Theatre.

by B. Simm

September 2016


September 2016 7


8

September 2016


TEGAN AND SARA

blending sharp introspection with sparkling dance music

It seems like the mainstream is finally ready for

Tegan and Sara, Canada’s prodigal sweethearts.

Now regularly seen performing alongside pop

volcanoes like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, the Calgarian

Quin twins have given Canadian music its

fun-loving, progressive image. Love You To Death,

their eighth album, was released this year and the

ladies will be bringing the fruits of this electro-pop

labour to Vancouver on October 5th. The duo

has family in the city and Tegan now has her own

Love You To Death kicks off the punk electronistas’ North American tour

place. “I never really left!” she says. Her voice is

spritely on a sunny Monday afternoon. Conversation

comes so easy to her. She sounds like your

new best friend and makes you want to forget that

this conversation has a scheduled end. “Vancouver

is like nowhere else in the world,” says Tegan. “The

housing bubble, the location, the isolation, all create

an incredible energy to write songs in.” Tegan

admits to have written many of her favourite songs

here. “There is something amazing and beautiful

about the city but also isolating and dark. The part

of me that needs to expand on darkness really

thrives in Vancouver!”

Weeks from tour, Tegan considers the band’s

ability to keep things exciting on the road. “The

worst that could happen to us is becoming disenfranchised

and entitled. I feel we have to earn our

right to be here, year after year, show after show.”

Love You to Death is a collection of serious

stories dressed up in happy, energetic dance beats.

“That’s the signature Tegan and Sara sound these

days. Taking dark, deep, introspective themes and

pairing them with upbeat music,” explains Tegan.

Now in their 30s, Tegan and Sara are happier and

more secure than they were in their 20s, as tends

to happen with us all. Still, Sara’s side of the record

is about “fighting anxiety, sadness, and the struggles

and isolation felt being in a band.” Tegan’s own

songs deal with love gone wrong and are tonguein-cheek.

“Our past work has been about pointing

the finger outside. You left me. You hurt me. This

record is pointing the finger at ourselves. What role

did I play? What did I do?”

What is it like to make music with your twin

then? One can only imagine the calibre of their creative

partnership. “I haven’t really made music with

anyone else,” she confesses, “so I don’t have a lot to

compare it to. But 20 years into making music with

Sara, it’s still exciting. When I get an email from her

with an attachment, I know it’s a song! I still feel

by Prachi Kamble

so thrilled.” Their maturing relationship has meant

they work with each other more than ever. “Each song

starts with one of us. Then depending on how much

it needs to be reworked, there’s collaboration.”

As two vocal gay women, Tegan and Sara have

never separated their activism from their music.

Tegan describes living an idyllic childhood in

northeast working-class Calgary, and being colourful

ravers and punk rockers in their teens. She remembers

being excited to see Vancouver’s vibrant

gay scene out of high school. Only on joining the

music industry did the sisters experience any less

than cool hostility. “We surprisingly suffered a lot

more sexism and misogyny than homophobia! But

we were really lucky to sign with a really amazing

record company.” The sisters were always protected

by their label. “People have more confidence

when showering men with praise whereas women

are dissected and studied. We survived it by

surrounding ourselves with positive people who

respect us and who we respect. That would be

my advice for our fans and anyone experiencing

discrimination.”

With strong character and strong music, it’s no

wonder Tegan and Sara command some next level

fan love. We say don’t waste another second in

joining this indie dance party!

Tegan and Sara perform at the Queen Elizabeth

Theatre on October 5th.

September 2016 MUSIC

9


PSYCHIC TV

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and the weaponization of pleasure

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is a monolithic

figurehead of underground music and art,

and has always rode the vanguard of the

avant-garde. Given he/r stature as a confrontational

artist going back to early ‘70s with COUM

Transmissions, or inventing “industrial music” as

one-fourth of Throbbing Gristle later that decade,

or embracing acid-house culture with Psychic TV

in the ‘80s, right through to he/r immersion into

pandrogyny (now preferring “s/he,” “he/r,“ “we”

and “us” pronouns) - Gen has always smashed

boundaries and taboos.

Since reforming Psychic TV in 2003, P-Orridge

has continued to craft intricate and fascinating

music, and Psychic TV’s new album, Alienist,

due out this month, will be no exception here. A

return to the music the members of PTV cut their

teeth on in those psychedelic ‘60s, figures heavily.

“We’ve been going through this interesting

phase for a while now, where the band that’s

playing with me now are totally into obscure ‘60s

psychedelic music. The band has a real affection

for that era, and growing up in that era, we saw

all sorts of those bands live, like Pink Floyd. And

it dawned on me that there wasn’t that same

excitement at most concerts that we were seeing

anymore, or being a part of - and that was a

shame! There’s a really amazing experience

that can be had if the band relaxes and just

plays as long as they want, the way they want,

improvising when they want, and just giving

everything they have energy-wise to an audience.

That’s what an audience both craves and

deserves, and that’s why we usually have it in

our contract that we’ll play at least two hours,

because it takes a while for people to relax and

realize they’re in a safe place at last - where

they don’t have to worry about looking cool, or

fashionable.

“They can do ridiculous dances, and it’s okay,

because people are laughing and smiling with

each other - so it’s about that now. That’s the

by Kyle Harcott

drive - is to get that connection with everybody

there, in the sort of timeless moment of energy.

And that’s led us to going back and looking at our

library of what we’ve enjoyed in that way, from

bands in the past - so we’re doing cover versions,

and this new record has two, of the four songs –

‘cause they’re long,” laughs P-Orridge and then

continues. “We‘re covering Harry Nilsson’s ‘Jump

Into The Fire,’ and we do ‘How Does It Feel To

Feel?’ by The Creation. The other two songs are

originals. There’s ‘I’m Looking For You,’ which is

the story of Lucifer’s fall with the fallen angels, and

being told by a cynical observer that rebellion was

over and worthless, and it was too late!” again,

laughs P-Orridge.

“And the other song is about... well, you’ll have

to see, that one’s ‘The Alienist.’ And that’s one

that’s about my love of words, really, because

‘alienist’ can also mean ‘detective,’ and it can also

mean ‘psychiatrist’ as it did in the Victorian era.

So the title has all these different seemingly contradictory

meanings and that’s what that song has

become about - the playing with language and the

different resonance you get. But it’s a danceable

one! So if we could sum it up, it’s that in Psychic

TV, we use pleasure as a weapon.”

While the band doesn’t tour as heavily as they

used to, P-Orridge tells us s/he remains fond of

Canada, and recounts the tale of a special Ottawa

gig in 1990: “Ottawa was weird. We were booked

into this restaurant that usually had cabaret,

Frank Sinatra-imitation singers. Gosh knows why

we were booked in there, it was so bizarre. And

the PA was so inadequate that we turned it into

performance art and piled all the tables and chairs

people were sat in, into a big pyramid, and sort

of did a samba ‘round this pyramid, with abstract

noise in the background!”

Welcome back to Canada, Genesis and friends.

It is good to have you here again.

Psychic TV performs at Venue on September 30.

10 MUSIC

September 2016


JUST DO IT YOURSELF

Written by Devon Motz

Photo by Katrin Braga

East Vancouver has secrets. Some are better than others, like

the hidden creative hubs dotting the neighbourhood and the

projects churning away within them. Little Red Studios is unassuming

enough that you may not even notice as you stumble past

the proud grunge of the Astoria Hotel on your way to the fabled

Red Gate, and it is here that I will be sitting down to talk with local

art-pop outfit Wishkicker.

Our interview was running slightly behind as Megan Magdalena,

the band’s bass player and vocalist, was in the process of receiving

a birthday neck tattoo - a couple of cherries. This was fortunate,

as a neck tattoo is one of the few acceptable excuses for tardiness.

That, and she brought with her a bag of actual cherries. To kill some

time, I decide to explore some nearby streets and alleys. As the sun

set on the faded murals and neon signs of the DTES, the old Rogers

sugar factory was sprawled out like a comatose giant in the orange

glow. It had me feeling sentimental. By that point most of the band

has assembled at their super secret hideout, and it was time to eat

cherries.

Much in the same way a house cat habitually returns to their

preferred sites, the members of the band all firmly positioned

themselves in their respective stations scattered around the studio.

Overflowing ashtrays and well-worn butt grooves make it clear that

a lot of time has been spent in this room. In fact it was in this fateful

room where Magdalena first met Kyle Schick (vocals) and Alex

Smith (drums/vocals), while photographing their previous project

Malk. Guitarist Kaeden Teindl has been writing and playing

music with Schick since they were teenagers, and the two share a

musical vocabulary that makes for some incredibly cohesive song

writing. Although Felix Fung has only been technically playing

guitar in the band for a couple weeks, he has been working with his

band mates on other projects for quite some time - including the Malk

EP that introduced Magdalena to the rest of the band.

The addition of Fung to the band was an organic one. “We’ve been

talking about it for a while, and he has been a pretty integral part of the

process so it just made sense,” explains Schick. The switch was an easy

for Fung as well, saying, “I love those guitar parts and I have no problem

with people thinking they’re mine. Kyle is my favorite guitarist in town.”

Schick jumps on the compliment train, adding, “Whenever I’m writing a

guitar lead I’m just trying to emulate what I think Kaeden would do,” and

suddenly it hits home that what may be Wishkicker’s most endearing trait,

beside their infectious pop tunes, of course, is the realization that they have

a very real and genuine reverence for one another. They are each other’s

biggest fans, and the level of support and affirmation that hovers above the

room leaves you feeling, against all odds, good.

To place Wishkicker into one or even several genres is next to impossible.

The band manages to effortlessly careen from bubbly pop tunes to

avant-garde jazz free form into beautiful airy choruses without breaking

a sweat. Guitar licks like that from the title track “POR QUE, Y?” weave

their way into your subconscious and are catchy enough that by the

second time they reach your ear holes they are already etched into your

brain. The band’s pop arrangements manage to be both complex while

retaining a minimalistic approach, a sound reminiscent of bands like The

Strokes and their early-oughts contemporaries. While the songs give

off a undeniably upbeat tone like all good rock and roll they have their

dichotomies. Lyrics that manage to reflect the malaise of young adult life

while retaining their sunny disposition refuse to be ignored. “Destroy it all at

your own expense, subtract yourself from well-laid plans, you based it all on

only once glance, turned away.”

It’s no secret that Vancouver is an incredibly expensive city to live,

especially for Millennials parting ways with more conventional lifestyles,

but the band believes this shouldn’t make it impossible to support local

art. “I’m always broke when I go to shows,” explains Magdalena. “I want

to be able to wear bands’ merch, but I also want to be able to buy their

music and I usually can’t afford both. I want to be able to offer both for

cheap, because that’s what I would want at a show. We’re putting together

these goody bags that will have buttons and stickers and a digital download

code so you can have a piece of merch and be able to listen to our music

without spending all your cash. It’s something you can sell with integrity

and be proud of.” Wishkicker have wholly embraced the DIY mindset, as

Magdalena reflects on the realization that if “the band needs something

right now… you can just make it right now. And then it’s done.” Schick adds,

“I gotta say, it’s been amazing, I have never been in a band where that aspect

comes easily.”

Magdalena is no stranger to Vancouver’s creative scene, and has had

her part in art, music, film and fashion in underground circles since time

immemorial. “I just like to make stuff. I’m lucky to be around incredible

humans all the time; it’s just a steady stream of badass creatives

that keep me constantly going.” This constant outpouring of art only

fuels Wishkicker’s fire, and its clear the visual aspect of their project

is incredibly important to the band. “The artwork and the things

they make everyday, it keeps this world up. It’s really complete, and

it totally inspires the decisions we make,” explains Fung.

Wishkicker’s first release POR QUE, Y? is an incredibly fun collection

of pop songs whose infectious guitar licks and vocal melodies

worm their way into your head and stay there for you to hum for all

eternity. The release’s artwork is a perfect match for the bright and

quirky songs; the sunny colours and playful text perfectly compliment

the five-song tape EP complete with a collage made from old

science fiction cover art. As fun and charming as these songs are,

Schick admits they were more akin to demos that he put together

himself over time. With new members comes a new sound and

Wishkicker 2.0 is coming with all sorts of changes.

The new songs, being the first the band has wrote as a group,

instantly give off a more aggressive tone and a newfound sense of

earnestness. “The writing process has been extremely rewarding so

far, and I think this next batch of songs is really going to reflect that.

The previous EP took me the better part of a year to put together

by myself, but we just fired off these songs so quick,” explains Schick.

A big part of Wishkicker’s new sound and live show will be Schick

forgoing his guitar in an effort to focus solely on his front-person

duties. “I just want the songs to be the best they can be, and now that

we have someone competent on guitar, I can really focus on singing and

performing.” Wishkicker’s upcoming tape release at the Fox Theatre will

be Schick’s debut vocal-only performance: “It’s terrifying, and I might

end up doing the Ricky Bobby all night … I’m still super nervous but

that’s what you need to force something interesting to happen. I can’t

get shit done unless there is a fire under my ass, otherwise I just lay

around all day getting anxious and daydreaming about getting things

done.”

With appearances at both Fringe and Rifflandia festivals this coming

month and their sights already set on the next round of songs, there’s

plenty to keep the fire burning. As the night draws to a close, drummer

Smith’s late arrival gives an injection of energy and silliness, an

occurrence that is clearly not a rarity. He regales us with stories of a

possible touring van. There is talk of some “sick blue flames,” which

has the band justifiably excited. Although no concrete tour plans

have been made, Magdalena does my job for me, saying, “We don’t

know where we’re going, but we’re definitely going somewhere.”

Be sure to check out their new sound and soak up the love at Wishkicker’s

tape release at the Fox Theatre Sept. 3, at Fringe Fest Sept. 10,

and the Copper Owl for Rifflandia Sept. 15 in Victoria.

September 2016 11


RIFFLANDIA 2016

by Jamie Goyman

Vancouver Island’s premiere

festival graduates to big kid pants

BEST OF THE RIFF

BeatRoute’s picks for this year’s Rifflandia

by Joshua Erickson, Jamie Goyman and Lucas Kitchen

Inspired by NXNE and SXSW in the late ‘90s, Rifflandia

Musical Festival, now in its ninth season, has

continually had a keen focus on bringing an always

expanding artist line-up to Vancouver Island. The

multi-venue mixture of local and international acts

has been the perfect opportunity to enjoy and discover

new artists as well as Victoria itself. “It was Iceland

Airwaves in 2007 that finally tipped me to the fact

that Victoria was the perfect city in many respects.

Beautiful assortment of venues all within walking

distance of one another,” explains one of the festivals

directors Nick Blasko. “I think our diversity of programming

and commitment to local has really helped

establish it … For our size, we often have headliners

that punch above their weight, so to speak, so people

feel like they can experience world-class artists in the

comfort of their backyard - without leaving the island.

Also, our long standing relationships with our partners

such as Phillips Brewery, who have been commuters

since year one.”

Beginning with six stages, 65 artists and around

1,500 attendees, Rifflandia has since grown into the

15 venue, 148 artists and 3,500+ attendee behemoth.

“Hopefully we can continue to provide the same great

programming and refine our model to be sustainable.

We aren’t in any rush to grow any bigger,” says Nick.

Every artist that comes through shares in the same

unique pleasure of playing and experiencing a festival

that engages attendees and artists alike with the city

that plays the backdrop. Encouraging venue hopping

and crossing paths with people throughout the night

is only a portion of the festivals charm. Keeping its

goals within reach, Rifflandia continually surprises

with its progression and consistently keeps itself on its

self-carved path of success. “The best part is getting to

share something that you had a hand in creating and

seeing people engage with and enjoy it! And seeing

the long term cultural and economic impact on the

city is quite rewarding,” tells Nick.

Advice from behind the Rifflandia scenes? “A wristband

and a comfortable pair of shoes is all you need.

Oh, and a pile of beer tickets.”

Rifflandia happens in multiple venues around

Victoria from September 16-18.

With 148 artists playing the festival

this year, who do you choose to

see? Well, like we do every year,

BeatRoute is presenting night shows at the

Copper Owl at Rifflandia 2016, and we highly

recommend you check out ALL of those acts.

That is one option. However, there are also

a tonne of great acts playing outside of our

stage. Here are 10 of our picks of acts not to

miss out on at Rifflandia 2016!

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

A story worth telling over and over again, Charles

Bradley is the stuff of legend. The soul singer

reaches audiences and commands attention with

his showmanship and raw emotion. He is passion

at its finest.

Sunday, September 18, 5:40 p.m. on the Main Stage.

Eshe Nikirum

Eshe Nikirum’s got his shit relatively together. At

16, the producer/rapper has successfully released

the electronic/hip-hop EP NKIRU. The skill

shown in each track ensures heads are nodding.

We can’t wait to see where this goes.

Saturday, September 17, 8:30 p.m. at Woodhall.

John River

Fresh talent with flow that never breaks and lyrics

that could cut if they wanted to, but instead

push a story stacked with knowledge. This guy

could be the future of hip hop, tune in.

Saturday, September 17, 10:00 p.m. at Phillips

Backyard.

Kaylee Johnston

Be sure to check out Kaylee Johnston’s self-titled

debut where her solid vocals and indelible music

will have you humming her songs well before and

long after her live show.

lead singer Colleen Rennison provides.

They will blow you away and then pick

you back up only to knock you down again.

Saturday, September 17, 2:00 p.m. on the Main Stage.

Prozzak

You know that CD you bought in Grade 7

that got stuck in the CD player in your mom’s

minivan so you had to listen to it on the way to

every soccer game in the summer of 1999? That

CD was Prozzak’s Hot Show and now Simon

and Milo are back to hit you with that late-90s

nostalgia.

Saturday, September 17, 11:00 p.m. at Capital Iron.

Shane Koyczan & The Short Story Long

Poet and writer Shane Koyczan has continually

shown why he deserves the acclamation he’s

received from audiences, bringing spoken word

to the foreground in Canada; his words resonate

with people in a truly human way.

Friday, September 16, 10:30 p.m. at Alix Goolden

Hall.Sunday, September 18, 4:55 p.m. at the

Rifftop Tent.

Wolf Parade

Fresh off a five-year hiatus, indie-rockers Wolf

Parade are back on the road again. Their aptly

named fourth EP, EP-4, is a return to form for

them and the chance to see them on stage

should not be missed.

Sunday, September 18, 7:15 p.m. on the Main

Stage.

The Zolas

Vancouver indie band The Zolas have been

creating catchy hooks for years and with the

release last year of their latest effort, Swooner, it

has been harder than ever to keep a their music

out of your head.

Charles Bradley

Eshe Nikirum

John River

Saturday, September 17, 9:30 p.m. at the Victoria

Event Centre.

Saturday, September 17, at 3:10 p.m. on the

Main Stage.

Lee “Scratch” Perry

Lee “Scratch” Perry is the godfather of Dub. His

early effects and remixes helped

bring a mind-bending and innovative

instrumental sound to reggae, remixing

pre-existing vocal tracks in an alien way that

mystifies the masses.

Kaylee Johnston

Friday, September 16, 6:45 p.m. at the Rifftop Tent.

No Sinner

Festival director Nick Blasko is all about sweet Riffs.

With the May release of their sophomore album,

Old Habits Die Hard, fans of No Sinner are once

again treated to the strong vocal driven rock that

Prozak

No Sinner

12 THE SKINNY

September 2016


THE TEMPER TRAP

Aussie quartet sticks it out through thick and thin

Toby Dundas is the man behind The Temper

Trap’s invigorating drumbeats. His voice is

a serious shade of mellow as it traverses the

Atlantic Ocean and resurfaces through the metallic

husk of my ancient phone. The guys are travelling

in a bus across the French-Belgian border,

en route to their next tour destination. I picture

the green, French countryside whiz past Dundas’s

window and fade under the nine o’clock evening

light, as he recounts to me what he has been

listening to lately. “A lot of movie soundtracks.

“Sicario. A budget horror film called It Follows

has an amazing John Carpenter soundtrack. And

Tash Sultana.” Sultana, fellow Australian singer-songwriter,

is joining the band on tour. “She is

ridiculously talented,” Dundas verifies. The tour

will bring the band to the Commodore Ballroom

in Vancouver, on September 21st, and follows the

June release of their third album Thick As Thieves.

Since the colossal success of Sweet Disposition,

the giant sonic caramel that melts in your ear and

seeps into your brain, and which also became the

star of many TV commercials, the band has put

out three albums. The guys are famous for their

catchy hooks and soaring, emotive vocals. “We’re

a pop band so hooks and catchy melodies excite

us and are a part of our DNA. The best stuff just

comes naturally,” reflects Dundas.

The band has always experimented with diverse

genres - rock, pop, indie, alternative and electronic,

as well as hints of soul and gospel. With

Thick As Thieves, they return to the mood of their

debut album. “We talked about going back to the

guitar-heavy sounds of the first album. We had a

lot more synths on the second but we missed the

rawness and energy of the first. The guitar was a big

part of that so we really focused on them.”

Thick As Thieves is a departure from the band’s

earlier albums, in terms of the extent of external collaborations.

Main producer Damien Taylor rounded

up a host of songwriters and other producers. “He

got people like Malay on ‘Summer’s Almost Gone,’

which brought a hip-hop sensibility to the track and

created a nice juxtaposition against the rock sound

that is natural to us. That really opened our eyes up

to the collaborative process.”

As young as 11 years old, Dundas was listening

to Nirvana, DJ Shadow and the Smashing Pumpkins

and it ignited his passion for drumming. He

worked at a recording studio, played drums for

bands on the side, until he met Dougy and Jonny

and got gladly caught in the vortex of band life.

“We had so much fun together. Writing, touring,

stuck in vans, driving between Melbourne and

Sydney.” The band has faced their fair share of

challenges since then - an impossible to beat debut

in Sweet Disposition, which Dundas describes

as a “high watermark,” and the bowing out of

their lead guitarist Lorenzo Sillito that “was like

losing a family member.”

Dundas felt particularly rewarded by the

writing process this time around. “The title of the

album, Thick As Thieves represents the bond we

forged over the four years of creating the album. It

was such a long writing process. We’re really excited

about cruising around North America in a bus

now!” The band has played in Vancouver a few

times. Dundas remembers it well. “I spent three

weeks there in 2001 and a couple of weeks up at

Whistler. I grew to love the city. We’ve always had

a great time and the Commodore is a great venue.

We’re really looking forward to coming back.”

As are we. Here’s to big guitars!

The Temper Trap performs at the Commodore

Ballroom on September 21st.

The Temper Trap are back with their infectious pop-rock on a new album Thick as Thieves

by Prachi Kamble

photo: Jonathan Dy

In stores everywhere

September 16 - 2016

Tour

September 28

October 1

October 3

The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, BC

Mac Hall Ballroom, Calgary, AB

WECC, Winnipeg, MB

flemisheye.com/preoccupations

September 2016 THE SKINNY

13


ELECTRONICS DEPT.

DANNY BROWN

CLUBLAND

finding identity within timing and trajectory by Graeme Wiggins September 2016

For someone who occasionally calls himself the “Adderall

Admiral” and is known for a certain degree of altered-state

tomfoolery, Danny Brown is in a pretty chill place right now.

He explains, “I’m home. Right now I’ve just been trying to relax

and prepare myself mentally and take care of myself. Because you

know on the road, you can’t take care of yourself and, like, be healthy.

You have to eat shitty food, a lot of stuff you have no choice over.”

With his latest album Atrocity Exhibition coming out in September

and a tour in support, things are quickly about to get crazy for Brown.

It’s important that he do the right things to prepare: “Trying to drink a

lot of water. Like a detox, you know what I’m saying? I know I’m about

to be gone for the next three to four months so the best thing to do is

just sit around [and] relax.”

Atrocity Exhibition, named after a Joy Division song, is the spiritual

successor of his critically acclaimed album, XXX. For Brown, his music

is somewhat of a documentary about where he’s at. “Every album is

always pretty much about my life, you know? Whereas, with Old I

went back in time and let people know where I came from; with this

album it’s picking up where XXX left off,” he explains. Like a standup

comic who needs to take some time between writing in order to have

enough experiences in order to have something to joke about, Brown

needed some time to have life give him things to rap about. So if, the obvious

question is, XXX represented where he was at a few years ago, where

exactly is he at now? “I’m good. It’s the best I’ve [ever] been. Whenever

you can take that much time to make a project, obviously things have

to be going good. I feel like a lot of people just want to rush. They just

want to hurry and make money. They have to put out a new project

so they can work. With me, I just wanted to take a little time and live

life so I could have more stuff to write about, you know?”

That time was a luxury Brown felt he could afford, given the

state of hip hop today and his place in it. While it’s common for

the Young Thugs of the world to release upwards of five to 10

albums’ worth of material a year, Brown occupies a pretty singular

space in the industry. “I never really rush music like that. I don’t

have to try to stay relevant or anything like that. I’m in my own

lane doing my own thing. I don’t have competition or anything.

I don’t have to worry. I can’t lose my job from taking time off

because there ain’t no one doing what I’m doing.”

Press around the album so far suggests that musically it’s a

closer in sound to XXX than Old, but for Brown it’s really a little

more complicated than that. He clarifies: “I wouldn’t say that because

I think I always progress with every album, I just think that

it’s the closest thing that people can compare it to. I don’t want to

say that it’s a new thing because I think I’ve been on the road to

make music like this for awhile, I just think that now it’s coming to

realization in song form.” In the same sense that someone who is

trying to draw a picture from their mind’s eye and repetition slowly

brings the image closer and closer, the mental picture Brown

sees is his music getting closer to what he’s trying to achieve. “I

would say that when I make certain songs, you can make the same

song a thousand times and the thousandth one will be better than

the first one, you get me? A lot of these songs are songs that I’ve

probably made before now they are just bigger better faster and

stronger,” he maintains.

And don’t get the wrong idea: while there are more collaborations

on this album than previously, the songwriting remains

Brown’s. “I bring people in, but the songwriting is pretty much all

me; I don’t need help writing songs. Producing is one thing. I’m not

a producer, I’m a songwriter.” To make the point clearer, “I mean,

Prince didn’t have features, Michael Jackson didn’t need help

moonwalking, you know?”

Catch Danny Brown Live October 6 at the Vogue Theatre and check out

Atrocity Exhibition out September 30 on Warp Records.

by Vanessa Tam

While many citizens find themselves either lamenting the

finals days of summer or romanticizing the upcoming days

of fall layering, or both, the rest of us are celebrating the

onslaught of our favourite musician’s fall tour schedules. Count us

in with the latter as we round up the shows you should definitely be

checking out this September.

Anderson .Paak

September 4 @ PNE Amphitheatre

Supremely talented singer, rapper, producer and drummer Anderson

.Paak brings together years of hardship and experience to his one of a

kind neo-soul sound. Receiving his first major break by being featured

on six songs from Dr. Dre’s 2015 album, Compton, the artist has since

gone on to release his second studio album, Malibu, to much critical

acclaim. With features from major artists like BJ The Chicago Kid,

Schoolboy Q and The Game, the record remains on rotation for many

fans around the world.

Rome Fortune

September 10 @ The Alexander

Possibly just as recognizable for his interesting beard hues as he is by

his very deliberate flow, rapper Rome Fortune comes from a musical

family with roots tracing back to famous jazz musicians Richard Adderley

and Cannonball Adderley. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the prolific

rapper has released over eight EPs and mixtapes before releasing his

debut LP Jerome Raheem Fortune earlier this year.

NAO

September 24 @ The Biltmore Cabaret

Self described “Wonky Funk” songstress NAO is a classically trained

musician hailing from London, U.K. Touring her popular EP For All We

Know across North America this fall, she is definitely one of the most

interesting artists leading the popular alternative R&B wave that’s

currently on the rise.

Kaytranada

September 30 @ The Vogue Theatre

Growing up in Montreal, Canada, Kaytranada a.k.a. Louis Kevin

Celestin first started gaining popularity with his bootleg remixes of

Janet Jacket’s “If” and Amerie’s “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” during

the prolific bedroom producer era on SoundCloud. Inspired both by

‘90s R&B and 80s funk and disco, the producer’s highly anticipated

debut full length album 99.9% was released earlier this year and boasts

features by Canadian heavyweights Craig David, BadBadNotGood, and

River Tiber.

Time and experience has helped create a unique flavor for Detroit rapper

Anderson .Paak

14 ELECTRONICS DEPT.

September 2016


TA-KU AND WAFIA

turning a game of one on one into collaborative magic

As corny as it sounds, true creative collaboration

should feel as easy and natural as

a casual meetup between friends. This is

pretty much how fellow Australians and Future

Classic label mates Ta-Ku and Wafia describe the

process behind their collaborative m(edian) EP.

A self-taught new media entrepreneur, photographer,

and long-time beat maker who came up

alongside Soulection artists Esta, Sango and Stwo,

Ta-Ku first started gaining traction as a producer

with the release of his much-loved EP, Songs

To Break Up To. Known to his friends as Reggie

Matthews, his uniquely atmospheric and emotive

production style has taken him on tours around

the world and landed him collaborations with

major artists like JMSN and Gallant.

Alternatively, Wafia Al-Rikabi, who just goes

by Wafia onstage, used songwriting and singing as

a creative outlet while she was in university before

deciding to pursue music full-time. Her debut EP,

XXIX, was released on Future Classic just last year to

critical acclaim.

Meeting for the first time by chance through a

mutual friend on a basketball court in Melbourne,

the two seemed to hit it off right away as fans of one

another’s music. “I was told by my mutual friend to

check out her music and that she was one to watch,”

recalls Matthews. “It was so refreshing to hear such an

effortless, soulful and understated sound.”

A long time fan of Matthews’s work herself,

Al-Rikabi remembers her chance encounter with

the Perth-based producer, “I didn’t think much of

[it at first] because I figured he’s always meeting

new people. It wasn’t until I got home that night to

a few messages from him asking to work together

that I lost my mind.”

Connecting off of the random encounter, the

two seem to bring the best out of each other

almost instantly. “I know that Ta-ku’s processes

and attitudes toward music are incredibly rare,”

Al-Rikabi mentions. “He loves collaboration and

he’s incredibly generous. His generosity makes you

by Vanessa Tam

want to give him all your best work because you

know he’ll honour that. He sets the bar for me and

makes me strive to be as productive, creative and

kind as he is in every way.”

She goes on to say, “Working with Reggie has

[also] reinforced that importance of collaboration

for me. That you don’t have to do it all on your

own when there are incredibly talented people

out there that just want to be a part of it all.

There’s a beauty in having an idea by yourself

then bringing it to other people to make it

better.”

Working with Al-Rikabi proves to be an equally

inspirational experience for the experienced

producer, “She’s honest. She’s constructive. She’s

professional,” Matthews mentions. “She’s a really

clever songwriter too. It’s been such a great

experience learning from her and she is ever so

humble that it makes me feel at ease.”

In addition to being the first, and probably

not the last, collaboration album for the duo,

m(edium) also happens to be one of the first

records where Matthews decided to add his own

vocals into the mix. “I’ve always wanted to sing! I

just never thought I was any good at it,” he says.

“I’ve always wanted to push myself creatively

though so it got to a point where I said to

myself, ‘What do I have to lose?’ My singing is

not the best and I do make mistakes but it has

been so much fun being able to express myself

through my voice.“

Currently touring the new EP across North

America as a pair, this will also be Matthews’

first time performing a live set in Vancouver.

“The Ta-ku live show is a visual story with projections

and live animation. It’s myself and my band

that consists of live keys and drums,” he lovingly

states. “Wafia graces the set with her soothing vocals

and we take you on a feels ride of your life.”

Ta-Ku and Wafia will be performing live at The

Vogue Theatre September 26th

Effortless collaboration rises from nothing for two Australian musicians

September 2016 ELECTRONICS DEPT.

15


SEVEN NINES AND TENS

crunching numbers one gig at a time

Being unique is easy. Being unique with talent:

not so much. Not to say Vancouver band

Seven Nines and Tens are entirely unique;

like most bands, they wear their influences on

their sleeve. Bands like Cave In, Deftones, and

Drive Like Jehu instantly come to mind, but for

what they do, they make it look easy and they do

it well. Atmospheric space metal riffage with skyscraper-reaching

build-ups, they get both powerful

and dirty as they polish it off with amazing dreamy

soundscapes. Adding more to this approach is the

fact that they have no vocals, save for their latest release

“Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Slums,”

as it toys with some random yet well thought-out

vocal parts. This was a first for the band, as previous

releases were all instrumental.

“The main reasons our songs don’t have more

vocal parts is that I can’t play the guitar parts and

sing them simultaneously. I literally wrote 300

vocal ideas for each song on our new record and I

only kept four parts. My quality control instincts are

a bit out of hand but also, in my opinion, necessary. If

I was coming up with consistently great vocal ideas,

our songs would have more singing.”

Those are the words from Seven Nines and

Tens’ main instigator, guitarist and sometimes-vocalist

Dave Cotton. The rest of the cast these

days consists of Drew Christie on drums and

Riley McGuire playing bass. And I say “these days”

because Sevens Nines and Tens have had a history

of membership changes. In the end Cotton has

made it his baby and if you give the tunes a listen

you can surely tell that he cares dearly.

“At first the band was a democracy but given

that I wrote 95 per cent of the music, eventually

I just took the reins and ran with it,” Cotton

explains. “I’ve had a consistent line up twice in

the nine years that I’ve been doing this project.

There are many reasons for the line up changes.

Also, I feel it’s sort of obvious given the climate of

the music industry currently, but we don’t make

much money. Putting in a lot of work for little to

no monetary compensation is a less than desirable

endeavour for some.”

The work ethic is evident in the songs. They are

well crafted and you can hear the care and time

put into them. For a band that doesn’t do much

outside of Vancouver, Cotton has somehow been

able to wrangle his way into some high profile

opening slots over the years. Shows with bands

such as Minus The Bear, Intronaut, Sumac, and

by Heath Fenton

Scale the Summit are just the tip of the iceberg for

their show credits. They always seem to get in on

the most perfect show for a band doing what they

do. It is shows like these that Sevens Nines and

Tens have slowly been building themselves up as a

go to Vancouver band.

“Onstage we like trying to hit that sweet spot

between not being too earnest or on the other

hand, aloof. It took six or seven years to get to

a place where we can wow almost anyone with

our live show. A shit ton of work went into that

in itself but it makes for a genuinely, resolutely

enjoyable life.”

Sevens Nines and Tens perform at the Biltmore

Cabaret on September 6th.

REBELS SING

a posthumous shout-out to the late, great Todd Serious

Music is a strange thing; to some it is just a

way of generating income, but to others

it’s a way of life. It’s your voice when you

can’t speak, your mentor when you’re feeling lost,

and your friend whenever you’re alone. It brings

people together and unites them; making strangers

into family, and even the strangest of people

find a language they can share with the world.

No genre speaks more truly of this than the DIY

punk scene. Punk music has always been known

to attract the outcasts, the free thinkers, the ones

who can see what’s wrong with the world and

aren’t willing to be quiet about it. But with this

radical way of thinking also comes discrimination,

bullying and a lack of understanding from those

that don’t see the world the way they do. This is

why the bands that we love become such a huge

part of our daily life.

On March 7th, 2015 the entire Vancouver punk

scene was rocked with the announcement of the

death of Todd Serious, lead singer of The Rebel

Spell. Spell was a band that truly lived everything

that DIY punk stands for; from hand cutting and

gluing cases for their first album back in 2003 to

their song lyrics and how their tour van had been

converted to run off of vegetable oil. The Rebel Spell

had a voice, a cause, they wanted to make the world

a better place and in this they succeeded.

On Friday September 30th at The Rickshaw

Theatre, the love that everyone feels for this band

will be shown in typical DIY fashion with a tribute

LP release show featuring such acts as ATD, Jeff

Andrew, Soundcity Hooligans, Reckless Rebels and

Jesse Lebourdais. It will be a time of healing, and

of celebration for the life so many of us have been

touched by. Todd may be gone, but his words and

A DIY tribute to Todd Serious, a titan of the punk community, from his fellow soldiers.

ideals remain immortal, and in that alone he has

forever changed the world for the better.

by Jennifer Di

Rebels Sing happens at the Rickshaw Theatre on

September 30.

16 THE SKINNY

September 2016


SUBCULTURE

notes from the underground

I

shake my head as I’m wading through the absurdity

of Facebook’s new event rules. How

the hell are they selling this concept? For 40

bucks I can expose my event to 200 people

that I can’t even invite as I’m limited to 50

invites per event. My gig poster has too much

text on it and may be disqualified. Isn’t the

point of the most basic show poster to have information

on it? My news feed is inundated with

threats of sample shows I’ve posted, that you’ll

only see if you level up to a sponsored post. The

math on 10 shows a month gets ugly. I would

rather put more posters on the street for that

money than expose it to random

Facebookers who couldn’t give two

shits about punk or metal or would

just be cyber-attending anyway.

Promoters are desperate to get

people out to shows these days.

The concept of booking 10

to 20 bands on a night and

dubbing it a ‘fest’ is still rolling.

At least with 10 bands you

already have up to 50 people at

your event. Double that with a

standard one-per-band-member

guest list and you’re at 100. Yet, there isn’t

any revenue yet to offset the cost of production,

except for booze sales, which generally go to the

venue. If you have these hundred people, chances

are more of the general population will show if

it seems the least bit exciting. It becomes a show

about the herd rather than the performers.

Humans are always looking for an angle on

their “see and be seen” craving or are on the

prowl for sexual conquest, even though sexuality-based

advertising is considered taboo now for

our more “enlightened” subculture. The mainstreamers

have no problem with the scantily

clad vixen images they utilize to sell everything

from pop-stars and movies to video games.

by Wendy13

We’re reaching here folks. We’re trying

anything. I’m still going with the old school

city-postering a couple print ads plus the social

media stuff, a weekly mailer, gig listing websites

and a reasonable amount of posts about shows.

That’s more promotion than most venues. So

that isn’t the issue. Times have changed. It seems

more Millennials are interested in meat market

dance parties or hipster schlock.

Summer was also jam packed with every festival

genre you could think of. Every weekend had

multiple out of town camping style destinations.

It sure seemed like the city was empty at certain

points. Hopefully, now that autumn

draws near and everyone gets back to

business, the show circuit perks up.

Reports from across the continent indicate

the same dilemma. Is the desire

to see new, or killer local underground

bands vanishing?

I realize a lot of times these are unknown

bands. Every band has to start

somewhere. How many can say they

saw a band in the beginning? I understand,

drinking at a bar is pricey, even

if you’re one of the cheaper booze

establishments. We’ll never be the liquor store

or have the summer appeal of a simple backyard

BBQ or beach excursion with friends. I get that.

Maybe I could pop a camera on the bands and

cyber-transmit the shows pay-per-view style

since everyone is obsessed with shitty phone

footage and absorbed with their tech devices.

I met a dude recently who was bubbling with

excitement that he wants to become a promoter.

He stated he didn’t care about making

money. He’s got that part right. Most of us are

treading water. I smiled and told him I appreciated

his enthusiasm and to let me know when he

was wading into these precarious waters. Bring

your life jacket and a day job.

September 2016 THE SKINNY

17


18

September 2016


September 2016 19


DODGERS

making dystopia a thing of beauty

As we push forward into an age of utopian

tendencies and Orwellian uncertainty, the

musical reflection of these times can be

found in basements on the fringe streets paved

with trash and abandoned hope. Utilizing their

surroundings and critical thinking skills, Dodgers

have been writing music that could comfortably

be called dystopian rock – a sub-genre that is

both self-aware and self-aggrandizing.

With one EP, released in February of 2015, a

single released February of this year, and recently

this summer, a split 7” with post-punk pals Blessed,

Dodgers have been honing a craft that’s fully

their own. Shane Hoy’s agonizing vocal melodies

accompany his sometimes beautiful and often

unnerving guitar lines. Carlos Mendonca’s dirty

bass riffs shift the gears with Nitya St-Laurent’s

sporadic and adventurous drums. The sound is

at once disorienting and ethereal. About the split

7”, Hoy says, “We were talking about doing a split

with Blessed since we played our first shows in

7575’s basement together. Those boys said Tim

Clapp [of Kingfisher Bluez] would be into putting

it out, so we were like, ‘Well heck, sure.’” The 7575

basement he refers to is the former home of the

band and a jam space to many.

The band is currently in the works of recording

an LP with Corey Myers, who has been their

go-to guy since the Bombshells EP last year. When

asked about a title, Mendonca says it is tentatively

titled Aracneedle Paralysis. When asked what

that is supposed to mean, Mendonca says, “It’s a

conjunction of all our fears,” running off that, it

makes perfect sense. Dodgers have a sharp eye for

themes and seemingly evoke the subterranean

and fringe elements of humanity, without removing

themselves from the equation. In rather good

spirits, Mendonca mentions, “We have a 17-minute

song on there,” which clocks out at about the

same length as the entire first EP combined. Hoy

Dodgers’ forthcoming LP takes dystopian rock to an epic scale

elaborates, “A sort of progression has definitely

happened. The A-side is a collection of songs with

varying themes. The B-side is a one-song concept,

which is a route we previously haven’t taken.”

Dodgers are a band that seemingly doesn’t rest.

by Luke Kokoszka

Their songs are intricate and dismaying and never

without merit.

Dodgers 7” release show September 11th at the

Cobalt with Megafauna and Passive.

ART D’ECCO

finding truth where the beauty is hiding

by Jennie Orton

We can all agree at this point that 2016

has been a pile of festering waste,

infecting everyone who comes in contact

with it and leaving residue like a calling card.

Amongst the wreckage is the indelible losses of

David Bowie and Prince; titans of shameless individuality

and the kings of all misfit poets and glam

squad warriors. In their wake we await those who

will pick up mantles or at the very least continue

the good work in whatever small corners they

inhabit. Art d’Ecco is one of these fine creatures.

A neo glam artist, prone to wearing costumes

on stage and with soaring vocal prowess, d’Ecco

has been cultivating his signature flavour in the

deep dark woods of British Columbia. He emerged

flaunting a kind of motown infused glammy psychedelic

fusion, delivered by a fierce visage.

“I felt burnt out and, on a whim, decided I

needed to make a change,” d’Ecco says. “At first it

felt exhilarating, impulsively packing my bags and

running away. I moved on January 1 so it was my

de facto resolution; one that soon wore off, leaving

me with feelings of isolation and regret. What

the hell was I thinking? I’d gone from one extreme

to another and suddenly I was alone.”

“Over the course of the next year the songs took

shape on the piano and I felt this immediate calm set

in, the kind you feel when you finally find your missing

car keys or your wallet after a three day bender.”

Produced by Vancouver-based Jason Corbett

(Jacknife Sound, ACTORS), from first listen of Day

Fevers and the dusty spaghetti western cinematics

of “Sunrise,” it becomes evident that this is to be a

self-reflective journey, a heroes wandering through

the abyss. But don’t expect the album to be bogged

down by introspection and mellotron; Fevers sounds

a lot like what would happen if T-Rex did a duet with

Orbison in Venus’s best-kept-secret underground

euro pop club.

The result is an album that is eyebrow-raisingly

good. “Nothing Ever Changes” is a weightless but

substantial ethereal and reflective trip, much like graham

Nash’s life-changing “Better Days” (look it up,

you’ll be glad you did). “Until it is Over”, a ghost train

deep into the gripping and thirsty wasteland that is

longing, a self professed “kitchen sink song,” lacks all

the pretence of most lofty ambitions attempted by a

new artist; it just keeps getting more compelling as it

goes, erupting into a full meal deal of crashing hi hats

and Brian Wilson style other-level vocals. It is almost

jarring when it ends.

“This song is about hijacking your feelings,”

d’Ecco teases about “Changes.” “In the words of

Walter White: ‘It’s not over, until I say it’s over.’

Emotionally, that is.”

And if you are looking for singles, you can’t

do better than the insidious and dangerously sexy

“She’s So Hot,” a track that will loop in your head like

a large dose of happy pills.

As debuts go, this is a remarkable achievement,

one that is deeply personal and fruitfully ambitious.

Self-realization put to music and sent out into the

barren landscape to find a new way home.

“John Lennon put it best (paraphrasing): ‘Tell

the truth, make it rhyme, and put it to a beat.’

It took a long time for me to reconcile this. Find

your own voice and use it as a tool to chip away

and whittle it down deep until you expose your

truth. That’s where the beauty is hiding.”

Art D’ecco takes you on a self reflective

journey with the release of Day Fevers

Day Fevers album launch party will be at The

Rickshaw on September 10

20 THE SKINNY

September 2016


FRINGE FEST 2016

Behind the curtain.

by Yasmine Shemesh

It’s that time again. A time of storytelling. Creativity.

Emotional rollercoasters that have you

spilling tears of laughter one minute to covering

your mouth in surprise the next. Yes, the Vancouver

Fringe Festival is back and, running from

September 8 to 18, is offering quite the spread

with 700 performances from over 90 artists.

And since artists are chosen completely at

random, that leaves free range for experimentation

in a massive variety of topics. “This

year there’s a lot of magic shows, puppets,

and clowns,” executive director David Jordan

says. “But there are also a lot of stories about

war, recovering from mental health issues,

body image, and politics. The Fringe really

does span the theatre gamut.”

The Festival, which returns 100 per cent of

its net ticket revenue to all performers, has a

few things that make 2016’s affair stand out.

One is the anticipated return of the Electric

Company Theatre. “Seeing the Electric

Company come back to where they started to

do a 20th Anniversary show is exceptional —

they’re one of Canada’s most celebrated theatre

companies so it’s nice for them to come back to

where it all started,” Jordan enthuses, noting the

company’s 1996 debut. Also, the Big Rock Brewery

Fringe Bar, the festival’s nightly presentation of

live music, has been given a new home in Granville

Island’s Ocean Art Works. “At the Fringe, we

watch shows and then we share our experiences,”

Jordan continues. “What better way than to do so

while seeing a great live band play? Plus there’s a

feisty DIY nature of both Fringe theatre and the

independent musicians we invite to perform at

the Fringe Bar. We hope that these artists feed

off of each other and inspire each other to create

even more.”

And, first-time Fringers, fear not — we know

how intimidating a 700-strong performance

lineup sounds, so we asked Jordan to impart some

navigational advice. “Bring a friend! You might

want to latch onto someone who already knows

their way around the festival or you might want

to take the leap with a like minded art explorer,”

he says. “Either way, it’s important to be social.

The shows are short, so you have lots of time in

between to have a drink, talk to other Fringers,

and rant and rave about the shows you’ve seen!”

MUST-SEE SHOWS

BeatRoute’s list of Fringe’s can’t-misses

by Reid Carmichael, Chris Jimenez, Prachi Kamble,

Noor Khwaja and Yasmine Shemesh

Butt Kapinski

Join Private Eye Butt Kapinski in solving a murder

mystery on the Fringe’s opening night. With the

audience as the co-starring partner, Kapiniski

taps into a hilariously dirty world of darkness and

deceit. Deanna Fleysher wrote and stars in this

interactive noir-style comedy. (CJ)

September 6 at Performance Works.

Sea Wall

British playwright Simon Stephens has crafted this

intimate and sensitive portrait of modern fatherhood.

Acclaimed Vancouver actor and writer

Brent Hirose, of The Suckerpunch fame, plays

Alex whose perfect life is riddled with doubt.

Underneath love for his wife and child, there

is a deep abyss within his heart. Evan Frayne of

The Fighting Season is directing this emotional

endeavor. Bring tissues for this one. (PK)

September 8-17 at Havana Theatre.

2 For Tea

This show honestly sounds too amazing to be real.

With more than a handful of “Best of Fest” awards

at similar Fringe Festivals and five-star ratings

across the board, British duo James & Jamesy’s 2

For Tea is sure to be a must-see show of this Fringe.

Allegedly, audience members have peed themselves,

so pack an extra pair of pants just to be safe.

(RC)

September 8-18 at Firehall Arts Centre.

man’s beard, the two better themselves with indie

rock or some other Australian-bred nonsense. This

is another multi-award winner with rave reviews, so

try not to miss it. (RC)

September 8-18 at Revue Stage.

Leash Your Potential

In Leash Your Potential, comedian Ryan Gunther

walks us through the art of corporate survival.

Gunther has performed at the Northwest Comedy

Festival and finished second in the Fifth Annual

Punchline Comedy Competition. Here, he uses

15 years of his work experience at a Fortune 500

company to guide you through the mystical maze

of corporate submission. Expect a good hard

examination of bureaucracy. You will enter a world

where talent, competence, and hard work are

pretty words and nothing more. Gunther will cover

sizzling hot topics such as appearing busy, email

obfuscation, ass-covering, and avoiding blame.

You’ll go home with a Masters in Corporations!

(PK)

September 8-18 at Studio 1398.

The Dance Teacher

In a time of increased social media awareness

with cases of sexual assault, Gerald Williams’ The

Dance Teacher explores the delicacy of assigning

blind judgments. A case is explored through the

eyes of Justin, an accused assaulter and a charming

protagonist who works to confusingly intertwine

guilt and innocence, leaving the audience to make

the final verdict. Watch this artful examination of

controversy with a performance at half price on

opening night. (NK)

September 8-18 at Studio 16.

Great Day For Up

1996 was a significant year for Jonathon Young. It

was the year that, while still a student at Studio 58,

he penned and performed his one-act show, Great

Day For Up, for the first time. The same year, the

theatre collective he co-founded, Electric Company

Theatre, made their debut at the Fringe.

Two decades (and many awards) later, ECT and

Young (currently the company’s artistic director)

celebrate this special milestone with a brand

new production of Great Day. (YS)

tracks. Sounds educational. (RC)

September 9-18 at Studio 1398.

Just Watch Me: A Trudeau Rock Musical

Canadian playwright Daniel K. McLeod has created

this musical feast that premiered at last year’s

Fringe. The show was an instant hit with audiences

amounting to over 400. Just Watch Me is set in the

present day and during the 1970 October Crisis.

This is a coming of age satirical tale that will satisfy

all you #Cdnpoli geeks. Last year McLeod predicted

the 2015 federal election results, so you know

you’re in good hands. This year’s piece has been

updated and expanded. Lots of live music here too

to keep the political talk light, frothy, and always

enjoyable. The Pierre and Justin solos are rumoured

to rock your socks off. Watch out. (PK)

September 9-18 at Firehall Arts Centre.

Get Lost Jem Rolls

Jem Rolls humorously takes us through an array

of off-beat life travels in his performance Get

Lost Jem Rolls. The combination of poetry and

story-telling prose creates a high-energy vibe that

makes you want to go out and soak up the world.

As cue cards depict vivid and exciting scenes

from city to city, the show is a refreshing reminder

to truly reflect and experience travel. (NK)

September 10-18 at Revue Stage.

September 9-12 at Waterfront Theatre.

Zeppelin Was A Cover Band

The Ballad of Frank Allen

If comedy, music, and little men living in beards

is your thing, Australian Shane Adamczak’s The

Ballad of Frank Allen promises the three in a happy,

heartfelt three-way marriage. After a sci-fi accident

shrinks a hapless janitor and tangles him in another

Music history nuts need apply for this one. From

playwrights Stéfan Cédilot and Ben Kalman, the

show uses a documentary style of storytelling

to “recount the story of the blues through the

rock band Led Zeppelin.” Cédilot will apparently

be pointing out the bands “veritable

plundering of blues standards,” to earlier blues

Go to BeatRoute.ca for

more Fringe Fest fun!

September 2016 THE SKINNY

21


queer

PEACH COBBLAH

Community Places and Sweaty Faces

Written by David Cutting, Photo by Chase Hansen

ISOLDE N BARRON

The Queen of East Van

There are sweaty people and then

there is Peach Cobblah. If you are

lucky enough to ever sit at one of

her shows, she jokes about the ocean of

sweat that comes forth from her pores in

delug-es. If you’re new, the joke doesn’t land

until about five minutes later when a rather

intense rendi-tion of “Good Mother” by

Jann Arden turns into a sweat shower from

The Baddest Bitch of East Van.

Once upon a time, Peach Cobblah

decided to try drag as a one off to get

tips so she could get drunk. Emerging on

the scene in Apocalypsticks’ “Mean Teen

Queen” segment, Peach sweated her way

into the hearts of East Van drag lovers with

her unique hip-hop drag style, which, at the

time, was unlike anyone else.

Inspired by artists like Nikki Minaj and

Missy Elliot, Peach brings hip-hop attitude

to every per-formance no matter the song.

And, with her signature arm waves and leg

kicks, she works it. She cites Roseanne as

another influence, which definitely shines

through in the crass and an-noying manner

that Peach’s humour manifests.

Peach can be found every Tuesday at

1181 for Shame Spiral, a show that is a

staple in the drag community. Part drag

show, part storytime, the show explores the

ideas of how certain behav-iours make us

feel and how expressing it can bring joy and

build community. Her brilliant “Blender of

Shame” is loaded up each week with random

songs that audience members pull for

her to perform. The level of mystery and the

campiness of Peach merge to create a drag

mon-ster that is hard to look away from.

Peach brings community together. For numerous

years, she has produced, performed,

and en-couraged new talent at The Cobalt

in East Van. Her stage is always welcoming to

new talent and is always a supportive place for

new queens to learn to express themselves.

Without taking herself too seriously, Peach

is always listening for the social commentary

around her creations so that community is

being built and nurtured. “Hustla and The

Gay Agenda, like Queer Bash before it, are all

events that help raise money for Zee Zee Theatre,

but also create a really im-portant space

in East Van in a queered way,” she says. “I love

the West End and spend a lot of time there,

but it’s vital for East Van to be able to party in

their own backyard too.”

“I want to create spaces that people feel

like they can be themselves in, like perhaps

the guy at the end of the bar has never been

to a show before, but by coming, he gets

exposed to new people. I take it as part of my

job as a drag queen to be the ambassador

of the space I am in, to get to know people,

to help them have a good time, and to help

them find their truest expression of self.” This

is Peach’s true essence and if you have ever

been to a show she is hosting, you will most

certainly be warmly welcomed.

Peach in no way would claim the title of

community leader, but her patience and willingness

to foster and nurture the community

makes this true without having to toss around

the label.

“I think anytime someone puts on drag

and gets a microphone they become de facto

leaders because people listen to what they

have to say,” says Peach. “I’d like to think I’ve

used that bi-zarre power to introduce people

to things that I’m passionate about: building

community, theatre, vital local charities like Out

in Schools and A Loving Spoonful.... Do leaders

have missteps? Ab-solutely. But we grow and

reflect and challenge ourselves and others and

that keeps our com-munity strong.”

In other news, Peach shared with BeatRoute

that she is also producing a show

inspired by the intersection of drag and her

occupation as a playwright. We are buzzing

with excitement to see and experience

Ghosts of My Tuck, which Peach promises is

weirdly political and wonderfully atrocious.

For anyone wondering where to experience

Vancouver drag, find Peach’s events

and get down there. Leave your judgments

and inhibitions at the door, because this bad

bitch encourages our authentic expression.

Catch Peach Cobblah on Tuesday nights at

1181 for Shame Spiral, September 17 for THUD

at XY, September 18 at Village Bistro for Queen

Eggs and Ham, a monthly drag brunch in

support of A Loving Spoonful, and October 14

for Hustla: Homo Hip Hop at the Cobalt.

Sitting at a stage-facing table in the centre

of the Cobalt with the spotlight on

her is Isolde N Bar-ron. On the stage,

a contestant of her annual Mr/Miss Cobalt

Competition awaits what she is going to say.

The words that follow are constructive, elevating,

and, at their core, kind. This is Isolde.

Classically trained in theatre, she yields her

knowledge of performance as a tool and her

generosity to share her input and wisdom

with others is what truly makes her The

Queen of East Van.

Isolde began drag in 2007, after being

inspired by big queens in Toronto who

really tapped into old glamour and camp.

Needing a remedy for traveling to Vancouver’s

West End for drag cul-ture, Isolde

began creating performances for a show

called Bent (an old East Van institution)

where, dressed up like Ursula and accompanied

by a cast of minions, she performed a

number from The Little Mermaid and dove

right into the drag scene.

Her name came from an intensely boring

poetry reading she was attending where

someone mentioned the name Isolde. She

thought it was humorous because placing

an ‘N’ with it could elicit a character of

sorts, but she still wasn’t sure where she

wanted it to go. Eventually, it was her father

who came up with the Barron part, which

fit nicely with the old school glamour campi-ness

that was her driving inspiration.

The Cobalt became home base for Isolde

when they picked her up for a weekly drag

show clev-erly titled Apocalypstick. It was

here she began to really bring a new excitement

to the queer scene of East Van. “We

[Peach Cobblah and Bambi Bot] worked

tirelessly to create an exciting new energy

for the queer community in East Van,”

says Isolde. “Some of the individuals in this

community didn’t feel comfortable in the

West End scene so by us adding a drag show

to the scene in East Van, it created a new

space for them to convene.”

The drag scene now is much different.

Isolde has a weekly show at the Junction on

Davie with Carlotta Gurl called the Barron

Gurl Show. “It is an exciting time right now

because the west and the east are meeting

and this is creating a really cool fusion of

drag,” she says. “The community spaces

are becoming communal and we get the

opportunity to connect with a broader

audi-ence.”

Isolde continues, “When we are dressed

as clowns people are more willing to open

up to us, to connect with us. It is our duty

to be their cheerleader and help them be

one with the community in the space.” The

inclusive nature of her role in the community

is related to the matronly quality of her

character.

Next year will be Isolde’s 10-year drag

birthday and after all these years it’s the

audience that keeps her going. “I love when

I am onstage fulfilling the song and the

audience is there with me,” she enthuses.

“These moments are rare but they are transcendent,

you become one with everything.

It’s magic, you are fulfilling the illusion,

the makeup, the lip sync, the costume,

the womanhood, When I see the audience

living for my moment that’s what keeps me

going.” For all this time, Isolde has had the

companionship of her darling husband/wife

Peach Cobblah (see beside) to share in the

magical drag journey with.

A mother to some, a mentor to those

who seek, and a wife to one, Isolde sits in a

throne in this community with poise and

grace, unafraid to speak her mind, lend a

hand, or offer wisdom. She lives to the full

meaning of the title Queen.

Catch Isolde N Barron on Wednesday nights

at the Junction for The Barron Gurl Show and

Sep-tember 18 at Village Bistro for Queen

Eggs and Ham, a monthly drag brunch in

support of A Loving Spoonful.

22 CITY

September 2016


Dear Carlotta,

I’ve low key been with my boyfriend

for five months and we’ve managed

to keep it a secret from all our

friends. But now he wants to go

public and I’m afraid losing the

danger will ruin the excitement of

the relationship. How do I tell him

he’s hotter as a dirty little secret

than my cute everyday buddy?

Thanks,

Mystery Makes Me Moan

Dear Mystery Makes Me Moan,

First of all, do you want a boyfriend

or a lover? Identify the parameters

of this relationship. If he wants this

to be something serious and go

further, and you just want the once

in a while fuck buddy, of which I have

several, then you have different wants

and you need to talk about that. Talk

to your partner, he may want what

you want but not know you want it!

Find the frequency you’re both on and

plug in your speakers and go for it.

Dear Carlotta,

As a male, who cross-dresses and

enjoys feeling feminine, I find it

difficult to connect with gay men

or straight men. I’m either too

femme for the one or too male for

the other. Is this alienation from

both camps a risk or hazard to anyone

entering the world of relationships,

or do relationships take on a

different slant whereas cross-dressers

are concerned?

Sincerely,

Love Lost

DEAR CARLOTTA

Carlotta Gurl is a drag performer and entertainer. With over 20

years experience she is stepping out into the world to answer your life

questions, no matter the situations, she won’t judge be-cause she has

been there and done THAT.

Dear Love Lost,

Go online and look for sites that

cater to these thoughts. Tons of

support groups exist where you can

explore this deeper. There’s also lots

of literature on this subject which

can help u tackle this. There are

many different people out there

looking for many different things

which lends credence to the phrase

“variety is the spice of life.” If you’re

patient and take your time to look for

the right person who will accept you

as you, in all your resplendent beauty,

then you will find it was well worth

the effort. I have found that in my

many myriad romantic relationships

that being open to the possibilities

can lead to wondrous results.

Dear Carlotta,

My father and I are both gay and

we find the same guys hot. How

did I make sure we don’t fuck the

same guys?

Sincerely,

It Runs In The Family

Dear It Runs In The Family,

This is an instance where “share and

share alike” is not relevant. Talk to

each other about where you like to

go to meet men and try to avoid

each other’s general haunts. This is

really a question of how open you

are with each other about your sex

lives. For example, “Hey dad, I’m

really into this guy I met last week,

here’s his pic, you haven’t slept with

him, have you?” and if he has, maybe

he can give you some fatherly advice

about him. If there are any real hot

daddies you’re both into and don’t

wanna fight over just send them

Carlotta’s way and she’ll make sure

he’s well taken care of.

Dear Carlotta,

What advice would you give to

someone who is wanting to kick

their “imposter syndrome’s” ass?

Sincerely,

Own Worst Enemy

Dear Own Worst Enemy,

This little voice needs you to take

the reigns of life, you need to inform

the imposter that you are strong.

Inner demons are in us all, if you embrace

them and make them a part

of your character you can work with

them. If they tear you down, then

tell them to shut the fuck up and

get out, be powerful. Now if your

imposter voice is as big and as pushy

as Carlotta you might as well give in!

bitches like that never shut up.

Thank you Lovers, see you next

month!

If you have a life question or need advice

and want to ask Carlotta, Please

send an email to david@beatroute.ca

Carlotta can be found at The Barron

Gurl Show on Wednesdays at the

Junction, Full-Length Feature Fridays

at the Odyssey, and Absolutely

Dragulous on Saturdays at the

Junction.

QUEER ABOUT TOWN

MONTHLY

SEPTEMBER 10

Shine Fashion Show

@ Commodore Ballroom @ 8 p.m., $75

Ride or Die with Alma Bitches and Berlin

@ Odyssey @ 9 p.m., $5

SEPTEMBER 11

Brooke of Mormon

@ The Junction @ 12:30 p.m., $5

SEPTEMBER 17

Thud

@ XY @ 9 p.m., $10

Playboy with Jane Smoker and guest Dee

Blew

@ XY @ 11 p.m. $10

SEPTEMBER 18

Queen, eggs and ha.m.: Drag Brunch for

Loving Spoonful

@ Village Bistro @ 11 a.m.

SEPTEMBER 24

Lollipop with Coco and Ilona

@ Odyssey, @ 9 p.m., $5

SEPTEMBER 25

Queers & Beers: Cider Edition

@ Cobalt/Boxcar @ 5 p.m., $5-15

SEPTEMBER 26

B-Roll: Mean Girls

@ The Penthouse @ 9 p.m., $10-15

SEPTEMBER 30

Man Up

@ Cobalt @ 9 p.m., $9

OCTOBER 2

SweetNsticky with Katy Hairy

@ Displace Hashery, @ 9:30 p.m., $5-10

OCTOBER 14

Hustla: Homo Hip-Hop

@ Cobalt, @ 9 p.m. $8

WEEKLY

by David Cutting

TUESDAYS

Sha.m.e Spiral with Peach Cobblah

@ 1181, @ 11:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAYS

Drag Queen Bingo

@ Celebrities, @ 8:30 p.m.

Barron Gurl Show with Isolde N Barron

and Carlotta Gurl

@ Junction, @ 10:30

THURSDAYS

Boobtube: Rupauls Drag Race All Stars 2

VIEWING PARTY

@ The Emerald, @ 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAYS

Wet & Wild presented by Pumpjack and

Stea.m.works

@ Pumpjack, all night

Full-Length Feature Fridays with Carlotta

Gurl & Guests

@ Odyssey, @ 11 p.m.

SATURDAYS

Absolutely Dragulous with Carlotta Gurl

& Guests

@ Junction, @ 11:30 p.m.

SUNDAYS

Sanctuary with Alma Bitches

@ 1181, @ 11:30 p.m.

The Shequel with Alma Bitches

@ XY, @ 1:30 a.m.

September 2016 CITY

23


THE BRETT MARTIN SHOW

a promising existential attempt at Canadian late night talk

Canada has a rich culture and

vibrant entertainment scene

but oddly enough Canada only

ever had one late night talk show: The

Mike Bullard Show. It was short-lived

and there’s almost been a decade-long

scramble in the comedy community

to be the Canadian comedian who

cracks the missing talk show formula.

Every major city has their version of a

local variety show and some people

get really close…Paul Anthony’s

“Talent Time” at the Rio has fantastic

production value and manages

to air on Shaw TV once a month. The

Brett Martin Show promises none of

this. “Ummm… we’re gonna have like

a monologue, a desk, some sketches

and probably swearing,” Brett Martin

explains, sounding like he is writing the

show between sips of whiskey. “Unlike

The Daily Show or The Colbert Report,

no one is walking out of the show more

intelligent than when they entered.”

Martin will be the host and he will

have his co-host (fellow comedian

Sam Tonning) and several special

guests joining him. “We tried to get

Trudeau, then we tried for the mayor

of Vancouver… at this point we’ll

probably just interview a guy with a

horse mask.” Martin assures us the

show will be a planned night of fuckery,

a carnival of dumb, or his newest

failure; but his 14-year comedy career

suggests otherwise. Martin is one of

Vancouver’s top headlining acts: he

has a TV special, album and tours the

country year round. His demeanour,

which effortlessly parallels The Dude

from The Big Lebowski, has long prevented

self-produced vanity projects

making it exciting to see exactly what

he may be up to with this show.

The Brett Martin Show may prove

to be a perfect vehicle for his abilities

as Brett’s award winning headlining

sets are free flowing and conversational

in nature. There are currently

no non-stand-up shows running out

of Yuk Yuk’s so to have the club open

on a Sunday to let Brett do his thing

demonstrates industry confidence

that Martin knows what he’s doing

(despite the fact he assures us he

doesn’t know what he is doing). The

show will be edgy fun as both Martin

and co-host Tonning, while very

intelligent and socially conscious,

have never expressed any interest in

political correctness in their comedy

stylings, often going for top-notch

shock humour.

Catch The Brett Martin Show live September

11th at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club.

No really. Brett Martin knows what he’s doing.

by Victoria Banner

THAT FILTHY SHOW

showing us the right kind of wrong while sporting a strap-on

by Jennie Orton

When David DJ Roy

recounts his favourite

moments of That Filthy

Show’s past, his eyes twinkle with a

devilish, mischievousness confidence

that’s steeped in a well-earned sense

of self. Roy is the Puck of Vancouver’s

Downtown Eastside; a resident

and member of the community for

years, Roy has seen the highs and

lows of the world down here and has

managed to emerge, not only with

a wicked sense of humour, but also

find a community of like minds to

share that humour with him.

“It is a safe place to be offended,”

Roy says of The Filthy Show,

a monthly blood- and vulgarity-soaked

variety show featuring

comedy, music, and burlesque

that has just acquired its new

home at Pat’s Pub.

“It gives me a place to be me

and other artists a place to be

themselves too.”

Other artists like the Vancouver

burlesque community’s resident

massacre artist Bloody Betty. Betty

and Roy have worked together on

many of the Filthy Shows and that

union has yielded many of Roy’s

favourite moments.

“She brings the right kind of wrong,”

says Roy. “We make a good team. My

strengths and her strengths complement

each other. And she’s fun to drink

with too.”

For a taste of what to expect at That

Filthy Show, behold one of Roy’s favourite

memories: He and Betty decided

to co-host a show as each other. Roy

performed a burlesque act as Betty,

complete with stockings and black tape

pasties, set to both traditional and punk

versions of the West Side Story number “I

Feel Pretty.” If you think this performance

didn’t end with Roy sporting a strap on

and hosting a “Cock Ring Toss” contest,

then you don’t know Filthy.

The show has featured acts like

Stevie Sleezburger, Lisa Person,

Pickles LaVey, Brandy Blue, and Jenny

Magenta to name a few. Each bill is

always a who’s who of the swaggering

no-fucks given elite of low brow,

high concept, guts on the dance

David DJ Roy and friends show how fun the gutter can be

floor, eastside Vancouver arts scene.

The result is a night that is not for

the faint of heart but definitely for

those who like their comedy merciless,

their dancing girls breathing fire

with blood on their teeth, and their

music crazy loud.

There are only two rules, according

to Roy: “Have it come from a

positive place; and no racism.”

Check out the next That Filthy Show

at Pat’s Pub on September 15th

where the featured acts will be

Bloody Betty, music by Pub 340’s

ukulele sporting darling MacKenzie,

and comedy by Andrew Fox

and Buck Moody. $10 at the door.

24 COMEDY

September 2016


R&B ALE & PIZZA HOUSE

putting beer and community in the sauce

R&B Brewing has been a Vancouver

staple since it opened in

1997. Located in the heart of the

Brewery District in Mount Pleasant,

the beloved brew masters have a deep

appreciation for East Van and the mellow

edge you can only find in a West

Coast industrial area. Rising trends in

craft beer culture and a recent acquisition

by Howe Sound Brewing has

gifted a nice new expansion to R&B:

a bright, casual Ale & Pizza House for

the community to sit and enjoy.

Owner Leslie Fenn takes some time

to walk through how the establishment

was built entirely with both the

existing brewery and surrounding area

in mind. “Lots of the design aspects of

the Alehouse are made out of recycled

material,” she says, pointing to the

bar, playfully coloured with yellow

and green old plastic water piping.

“Everyone working at the brewery really

pitched in, those stools were even

made by our delivery driver.”

Left to be their own separate

entity from Howe Sound, the new

establishment features sandwiches,

salads, and, of course, pizza — beer’s

perfect counterpart. And there’s a real

sense of community in the air. The

chorizo comes from a food import

you can see out of the open patio-like

windows. Behind the bar are taps that

feature all of R&B’s top brews (try the

award-winning Sun God Wheat Ale),

and a neighbourhood guest tap. Fenn

hopes to attract the neighbours for

lunch. “We’ve kept it fast, cheap and

light,” she says.

“Everyone in the brewing community

is friendly,” adds one of the resident

brewers. “We all know and work with

each other…we like our neighbours.”

He constructs a flight on a plank of

curved wood made from upcycled

barrels (for a perfect range of R&B flavours,

try the Vienna Lager, White IPA,

Sun God, and their strangely delicious

sour stout). Meanwhile, chef Archie

Retieffe is excited to show off his

pizzas. “We spent two weeks testing

doughs…we flew a guy in from Toronto

for this one.” The pizza doughs are

light and fluffy, noticeably flavoured

with hoppy craft beer in both the

sauce and dough. Retieffe insists he

can finish making a pizza in less than

10 minutes — just enough time for

anyone nearby to grab lunch and then

go back to making movies, beer, or

whatever else gets manufactured in

the East Van industrial area.

R&B Ale & Pizza House is located at 54

East 4th Avenue and is open Sunday-Thursday

11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. and

Friday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.

A mainstay of the East Van brewing community takes it up a notch

by Victoria Banner

KEG DE SOUZA

food for thought

As state government sells of

more public housing for

private ownership and developers

buy up more real estate, the

rate of homelessness continues to

rise and inner city Sydney is slowly

being converted into a sea of luxury

apartments.”

Reading the description of New

South Wales’ capital on Keg De

Souza’s website might cause you

to do a double take. The damaging

logic that makes housing a commodity

in Vancouver seems to be

near identical to what has created

Sydney’s situation across the globe.

It then makes perfect sense that the

Australian artist has been spending

much of the last year in Vancouver

and is situating herself in Chinatown

in preparation for her next project,

which is centred on the complexity

of food culture in the city.

De Souza has been doing work

across the globe creating public

space for conversations using “food

as a metaphor for displacement.”

She has done similar projects in

Sydney, New York, and the Isle of

Skye, where she created temporary

tent structures to host picnics,

where people bring food identified

with the geographical place they are

in. One of the surprises she noted

was how much Indigenous foods

were eaten in Vancouver while, in

comparison, the New York picnic

had nothing meant to represent

Aboriginal culture. There’s a real

tie between the displacement and

decimation of Indigenous culture,

gentrification, and global migration

in De Souza’s work, and while the

connections are complex, often food

is one way we can start to see these

connections in a city’s culture. Of

her new project, De Souza is careful

not to be too predictive of what will

come of her time spent in Chinatown,

saying, “My work unfolds as I

spend time in a place.”

But she has already drawn parallels

between Sydney and Vancouver,

noting its colonial influences, diverse

migration, and high-end “foodie”

culture. Through public engagement

and experimental mapping, De

Souza is shining light on what she

Dissecting culture by going through the stomach

calls “artificial hierarchies around

food.” She notes the “clash of soup

kitchens and upscale farm-to-table

restaurants” in the Downtown

Eastside and has been exploring the

curious circumstance of meeting an

urban farmer who grows produce

for both.

This fall, De Souza will be working

out of her studio — once a Dim Sum

restaurant located on the northeast

corner of Keefer and Main Street

— and collaborating with the local

by Sydney Ball

community on a food-mapping

project in Strathcona as part of her

residency at the Burrard Marina

Field House Studio, an off-site space

of the Contemporary Art Gallery.

Find out the dates and times of

upcoming events at contemporaryartgallery.ca

Keg De Souza’s residency at the

Contemporary Art Gallery runs from

September 10-October 31.

September 2016 CITY

25


MUSIC IN FILM AT VIFF 2016

American Jazz and Japanese Metal highlighted for this year’s doc picks

Music lives in sound, but truly comes alive

when it can be seen as well as heard.

And for those who could never pick

between an album or a film, VIFF 2016 does not

disappoint with a lineup that is brimming rhythm.

These five documentaries are will settle any

sound-lover’s score.

GIMME DANGER

Iggy Pop and his Stooges were one of the

biggest acts to shake up the rock scene. This film

pays tribute to that past, through that past, using

16mm footage from the original Stooges run.

Directed by Jim Jarmusch, it is a must-see for any

music nut. Of course, the star of this doc is Iggy

himself, and viewers will love wallowing in the Passenger’s

greatness most of all.

WE ARE X

If you haven’t heard of X, here’s a précis: they

are the biggest rock band in Japan. They have

the biggest shows, the biggest drum set, and the

biggest hair. But despite selling 30 million albums,

the band broke up in the peak of their fame. With

talking heads from greats like Gene Simmons, this

is the story of X and its star, Yoshiki, as he tells the

story of the greatest band you’ve never heard of.

TWO TRAINS RUNNIN’

The great blues artists of America have been

slowly fading away, but they have never been

forgotten. During the height of the Civil Rights

Movement, two of these blues artists—Taylor

Branch and Gary Clark Jr.—were sought out to

perform for the people once more. Narrated by

Common and featuring astounding performances,

PLAYING LECUONA

Lecuona: one of the greatest jazz musicians

and composers in Cuban history. Like Handel

before him, students of Lecuona’s music believe

he must have been guided by God to create

such stunning music. This documentary follows

those who can’t let the master’s music go, and

viewers are treated to performances from some

of Cuba’s greatest artists, whether they play in

the studio or on the street.

by Paris Spence-Lang

I CALLED HIM MORGAN

Not to be outdone, the American jazz artists

take their rightful place, and with a decidedly

more dramatic air. Following the story of jazz

musician Lee Morgan and his wife Helen who shot

him dead during a gig, this is jazz music at its rawest

and most impassioned— cut short by an event

whose ghost still haunts those involved.

See these movies and innumerable others at the

Vancouver International Film Festival, running

from September 29 to October 14.

FREIGHTENED

the high seas of low-cost goods

Your skirt is from Indonesia. Your peppers

are from Chile. And it all came here on a

giant boat. We’ve heard plenty about the

social issues that occur where these products originate—but

few people are aware of what goes on

while that clothing and produce heads our way. In

Freightened, we learn that what we know is only

the beginning.

Coming from director Denis Delestrac (Banking

Nature), this documentary peers deep into the

hull of the shipping industry that is so rarely

thought of, save for the tanker parkade in English

Bay. But it is this industry that runs the world

economy: Ninety per cent of goods consumed

in the West are manufactured elsewhere and

shipped abroad in giant cargo ships that can reach

almost half a kilometre long. These ships are what

allow us to get our H&M shirts for less than the

price of a Subway sandwich, but, as Delestrac

quickly reveals, the costs—while hidden—are

immense.

One cause of this problem is what people in the

industry call “sea-blindness.” These massive ships

are often forced to dock far away from urban centres,

which means they are ignored by those who

unknowingly rely on them. Think about it—when’s

the last time you biked out to Deltaport for a picnic?

But it extends beyond the consumer—not even

the captains and crews, or even the owners, are

certain of what they’re shipping. As one expert in

the documentary points out, “‘Said to contain’ is a

legal term.” In one container out of Iran, Nigerian

authorities found 250 tonnes of rockets and grenades.

The container was “said to contain” glass

wool and marble slabs.

The industry is rife with other issues, and

Delestrac relentlessly puts them on display one

by one. From oil spills to noise pollution, jail-like

Exposing the dark underbelly of the business that brings us our comfort items

working conditions to corporate crime, it’s

difficult to walk away from Freightened without

feeling, well, frightened.

Delestrac does an excellent job of unveiling the

fascinating and discomfiting world of shipping,

a topic which otherwise seems as obtuse and

lumbering as the ships that fuel our world. And

by Paris Spence-Lang

after a viewing, one thing’s for sure—you’ll look

never look at the oil tankers in English Bay the

same way again.

See Freightened at the Vancouver International

Film Festival, running from September 29th to

October 14th.

26 FILM

September 2016


ALBUM REVIEWS

Preoccupations

Preoccupations

Flemish Eye

It’s tough to imagine many other bands that could

bounce back from the year Preoccupations just had.

The group formerly known as Viet Cong began hearing

charges of racial and political insensitivity with regards

to their name shortly after the release of their 2014

Cassette EP, but with the release of their critically

adored and commercially successful self-titled LP in

2015, these criticisms suddenly became much louder.

Suddenly a band that was selling out shows around

the world began being inundated by protests at many

of their shows. Promoters began pulling dates and

others refused to book their shows. Critics who once

championed the band suddenly began to focus solely

on the divisive nature of their name. Many, including

this writer, felt the band should have been a shoe-in

for the 2015 Polaris Prize, but that too felt more like a

referendum on a name and less like what should have

been a victory lap for a band that had created one of

the best albums of the year.

While they claimed there were “zero political

connotations” in regards to the choice of the name,

the attacks and protests only seemed to get louder

citing that a lack of intent is not equivalent to a lack

of effect. After all, the military wing of Viet Cong

were a destructive force that killed thousands of civilians

and ruined lives of thousands of others. In late

2015 the band, which was now being.referred to as

“four guys from Calgary who chose a really bad band

name,” released a formal apology to anyone they had

offended and announced they would be changing

their name.

Preoccupations feels like a cathartic exercise for

the band on both a psychological and sonic level and

definitely amplifies many of the group’s earlier works.

The album’s production and songwriting feels much

more full than previous efforts, which are in large

part due to the new material being lathered in layers

of synthesizers. The results of which give the album a

more interesting and accessible sound without sacrificing

the ambiance that helped draw comparisons to

acts like Joy Division.

The album opener and first single is the dour and

menacing “Anxiety.” The aptly titled track sets the

tone for the album with singer Matt Flegel’s lyrics

creating a vivid picture of the backlash, abandonment

and humiliation the band members went through.

While the album has many highlights, the track that

will likely stick for many listeners is the Dan Boeckner

guest vocal appearance on the 11-and-a-half-minute

opus, “Memory.” Boeckner, whom many will recognize

from his work in Wolf Parade and Operators,

introduced the band at last year’s Polaris Gala and

was one of the few to stand up for the band in a public

forum. The track explores themes of loss and remorse

and builds and grows until it collapses into several minutes

of distortion and reverb.

While there are not any real missteps on the album,

“Sense” and “Forbidden,” the two brief tracks that start

off the final third of the album, feel more like snippets of

ideas than fully realized songs. Neither is unlistenable by

any stretch, nor do they feel out of place in the flow of

the album, but they also don’t leave much of an impact

or call out for repeated listens.

The album closes with its two strongest tracks,

“Stimulation,” which is the most familiar sounding of

all the songs on the record, and the stunning “Fever.”

The latter is a tremendous conclusion and feels like

the band shedding the weight of the tumultuous

past year. The track is a definite showcase for Daniel

Christiansen and Scott (Monty) Munro who lather

the track in roaring synthesizers, weaving in out of

howling guitar riffs into a chaotic build while Flegel

repeats the line “You’re not scared/You’re not scared/

Carry your fever away from here” until everything

fades into a soaring and therapeutic crescendo.

Preoccupations have made a bold and powerful

statement and the album is a resounding success on

all fronts. It is a statement on all levels that the band

will not be defined by its early missteps and are here

to stay. With any luck this record will allow them to

once again be judged on their art and not the name

that’s on the box.

Written by Lewis Cohen

Illustration by Cody Fennell

September 2016 REVIEWS

27


Atmosphere, Fishing Blues Clipping, Splendor & Misery DJ Khaled, Major Key Chixdiggit!, 2012

Atmosphere

Fishing Blues

Rhymesayers Entertainment

There are those in the music industry who

believe Atmosphere are in the twilight of their

career. Those who feel it would be best if the

Minneapolis duo hung up their proverbial hats.

Is it possible to make good rap music in your

middle age? Or does everything get notably

softer? While Atmosphere’s latest release

Fishing Blues does have less fire and more of

a laid-back vibe, it still bears all the marks of

honest hip hop, marks that Ant and Slug have

worn since their foundation. Is it as biting and

sharp as God Loves Ugly? No. Is it as insightful

and philosophically poignant as When Life

Gives You Lemons? Potentially. “Besos,” with its

delicate flute intro, and snidely succinct lyrics

puts the listener in all types of human positions

without feeling too preachy. “Next to You (feat.

deM atlaS)” gets gloomy as Atmosphere does

best while still coming together oddly sexy.

“Seismic Waves” hits home with musings of the

Apocalypse and the condition of an ailing world.

Atmosphere may have aged, but with these years

has come a storied wisdom that makes them less

angry with the world and more in the role of a

disappointed or critical observer. Perhaps this

fatherly disapproval is just what the world needs.

• Willow Grier

Mykki Blanco

Mykki

!K7

“Betty Rubble (I Got the Midas Touch)”was Mykki

Blanco’s first song uploaded to SoundCloud four

years ago. She rapped, “You should leave the room

before there’s blood on the tiles/ before there’s

blood on my teeth with the cannibal smile.”

Three years later, Sled Island made dreams

come true by bringing Mykki to Calgary. At Commonwealth,

Blanco challenged the crowd, chanting

something along the lines of “I’ll never let a straight

man push me down.”

Four years later, and we’re finally hearing Blanco’s

debut album, Mykki. In that time, we haven’t been

short on Mykki projects. There have been leniencies

towards punk, hip hop and electronic music, but

Mykki is the first to successfully meld all three. The

sound is a fully realized Blanco, smoke in the air and

standing over the bodies of those she’s had to shred

apart to get to this point. Her sound is disaffected,

her lyrics are reflective and emotionally raw, and

she’s created a debut indebted to the journey she’s

taken to get here.

• Trent Warner

Chixdiggit!

2012

Fat Wreck Chords

2012 is the latest release from Calgary punk veterans

Chixdiggit!, their first full-length in almost

a decade.

Currently, Chixdiggit! Are celebrating 25

years together and 2012 is the perfect accompaniment.

The album highlights the highs

and lows of life on tour and drags the listener

through countless countries and festivals, plus

all the antics that go hand in hand.

As with every Chixdiggit! record, 2012 is

heavy on the tongue and cheek and stays true

to their classic upbeat riffs and catchy beats.

They’ve also switched it up a bit, beginning

with the record itself; 2012 is a one-song

album, clocking in at just under 25 minutes.

This alone is a first for the band: normally

their songs last around two minutes long and

there’s around a dozen per album. Musically,

they’ve added a slightly darker tone and a

slower beat as an interlude between KJ Jansen’s

travelling lyrics. Giving the listener the illusion

of bouncing between tour dates, gearing down

between borders and plane rides, then jacking

up the tempo just in time to hit the stage.

Lyrically, 2012 is not much different from many

other Chixdiggit! songs, which fans will be

quite pleased with. Jansen’s vocal stylings have

stayed intact and their humour is right on

point, but the subject matter has gotten deeper.

Reminiscing over beloved shows, favourite

pastimes and must-stops along the way. Which

after 25 years of girls, booze and parties – it’s

about time we get a little more intimate with

the boys of Chixdiggit!.

• Sarah Mac

Clipping

Splendor & Misery

Sub Pop

Dystopian sci-fi concept albums have a surprisingly

storied history in hip hop. From Deltron 3030’s

self-titled debut to Die Antwoord predecessor

Constructus Corporation and their two-hour

epic The Ziggurat to Lil Wayne calling himself a

Martian (maybe not that one).

Noise rap group Clipping has decided to

take their own swing at the concept with their

fourth release, Splendor & Misery. The group

is fronted by Tony Award-winning rapper

Daveed Diggs, whose rapid-fire flow fits as intimidatingly

over the near acapella-like sparse

arrangements as it does on the frequent ultra

harsh blasts of feedback, provided by producers

Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson.

Clipping has always played with the idea of

genre friction with their signature mish-mash

of harsh noise and hip hop. Splendor & Misery

takes that dynamic a step further, jumping

back and forth between styles at will. From

industrial, to post-rock, to hymn-like Barbershop

quartet sing-songs, the group varies their

style drastically from track to track. The group

maintains cohesion through this sonic chaos

by following the journey of an escaped man

from a slave colony and the ship that he commandeers.

The lyricism subverts mainstream

hip-hop conventions by repurposing their

meaning and using them in their sci-fi setting.

Diggs’ lines employ frequent references to

hip-hop culture (Kendrick’s “Control” verse)

and science fiction (The Dispossessed, Clay’s

Ark, etc.) in the group’s effort to blend the

two. This exploration of sonic and narrative

space makes Clipping’s Splendor & Misery an

interesting and compelling blend of genres.

• Cole Parker

Crystal Castles

Amnesty (I)

Casablanca Records

Crystal Castles has had a tumultuous few years

since the release of III back in 2012. Vocalist Alice

Glass and producer Ethan Kath have had a creative

falling out of sorts, a dramatic breakup-esque

change of heart. It’s a little ironic, considering

the somber, contemplative and cruelly beautiful

themes this iconic duo deals with. Since Glass’

departure, Kath has joined forces with vocalist

Edith Frances to take another swing at the triedand-true

Crystal Castles recipe.

Amnesty (I) is an ever-more-polished exploration

of their infectious brand of witch house.

It’s also an assertion that Glass’ departure

hasn’t hamstrung Crystal Castles’ potential.

Frances is a dead ringer for Glass’ spectral

wails and solemn siren song. While boundaries

aren’t being pushed in the vocal department

yet, this first album post-fresh start sets the

tone for what could be another prolific stint of

releases.

In regards to production, Kath has truly

settled into his comfort zone, enrapturing

listeners with works of art that are equal

parts stiflingly beautiful and unapologetically

brusque. “Fleece” and “Char” are textbook

Crystal Castles material, elegantly playing off

one another in symbiotic contrast.

However, the duo’s synth wizard also takes a

few swings at the massively popular, crystalline

echoes of witch trap, popularized by artists

like Clams Casino, Plastician and Sorsari. The

result is tracks like “Femen” and “Sadist,”

which elegantly straddle the line between

banger and soundtrack to an opiate binge.

But the final two tracks, “Ornament” and

“Their Kindness Is Charade,” are some of the

finest Crystal Castles originals yet. Taking the

best of classics like “1991,” “Intimate” and

“Vietnam” and repackaging them into beautiful

ambient serenades, it’s clear that a bit of

metaphorical boat-rocking has breathed new

life into a project that, while sometimes feeling

a bit formulaic, never disappoints.

• Max Foley

DJ Khaled

Major Key

Epic Records/We the Best Music Group

In addition to the Snapchat motivational

speeches, DJ Khaled gave us “anotha one”

of his studio albums. Khaled’s ninth album,

Major Key, was released in July of this year,

and I unabashedly enjoy this LP. Collaborating

with Drake, Future, Nas, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar,

Bryson Tiller, and many others, it’s kind of hard

to hate the lyricism and production of this album.

If you ignore DJ Khaled’s famous phrases

like “major key,” “anotha one,” and my personal

favourite, “they don’t want you to [insert dumb

thing they apparently don’t want you to have

here]” and just focus on the production, it’s not

bad at all.

If DJ Khaled is good at one thing, it’s compiling

an album. Khaled had a part in writing every song

on his ninth album and produced some. The tracks

on this album adopt the modern trends hip-hop is

moving towards, and has something for every rap

enthusiast on the music spectrum, even the Top 40

fans we all know and love. I was almost 100 per cent

sold on this album until the ever-so-vanilla Meghan

Trainor and hip hop’s hangnails, Wiz Khalifa and

Wale, made an appearance. Besides that, Major

Key is the perfect album to bump to in your whip

or local club. I guess DJ Khaled was right; I didn’t

want him to have a good album, but he did it again.

Major key alert. Bless up. Maria Dardano

• Maria Dardano

Dodgers/Blessed

The Invention of Breaks/Swim

Kingfisher Bluez

While BeatRoute already spilled some words on

the fertile Fraser Valley soil that spawned Blessed

and their offspring, less has been written about

Mission, B.C.’s Dodgers. The two bands have

28 REVIEWS

September 2016


SEPTEMBER I5 - I 8, 2OI6

VICTORIA, BC

RIFFLANDIA.COM · TWITTER.COM/RIFFLANDIA

FACEBOOK.COM/RIFFLANDIA · INSTAGRAM.COM/RIFFLANDIA

Tickets available at Rifflandia.com and Lyle’s Place

September 2016 29


30

September 2016


come together for a two-song split on Kingfisher

Bluez and it’s easy to see why. While the brooding

Blessed offering, “Swim,” may not represent what

Blessed sounds like currently, it fits with Dodgers’

“The Invention of Breaks.”

Sounding a little like the singer from Bauhaus

fronting Q and Not U, the three piece’s self-described

“subterranean crack rock/post-civilization-punk”

is the standout. Meandering and

morose, it’s the soundtrack to a depressed teen

learning to drive for the first time; too heavy

on the breaks, too heavy on the gas, while dad

cranks Jimmy Buffet on the tape deck to try

and relax. It’s mathy, it’s jazzy, it’s dark and it’s

tropical. It’s a total contradiction and I wouldn’t

expect anything less from a Corey Myers-recorded

Fraser Valley band.

• Sean Orr

How To Dress Well

Care

Domino

On his fourth record, Tom Krell of How To Dress

Well sings with a euphoria that hasn’t always been

present in his work. He builds on the combined

influence of ‘90s R&B and 2000s emo that was present

on 2014’s What is This Heart? but shifts his focus

from spirituality and death. If that album were about

questioning life, this album is about living it—and enjoying

it. He’s hopelessly devoted to pop music, and

the healing power it can have. Anyone who’s cried

alone in their car while singing along to Beyoncé’s

best or Katy Perry’s worst will understand.

On album opener “Can’t You Tell,” his falsetto is

disarmingly sexy and tender. “What’s Up” creates

a sentimental delight with a beat reminiscent of

the Rugrats theme song. He manages to sing with a

vocal staccato that emanates Future (were Future

into Oprah’s Lifeclass). “The Ruins” serves as the

emotional core of the album. It’s a reassurance

that in your highest bouts of self-doubt and

worry, Krell—or at least his music—will be your

solace.

In a note on his website, Krell wrote that “Care

is a truly joyous record – I hope that hearing it

brings you pleasure above all else.” His album is a

reminder that life and music aren’t always meant

to be taken so seriously. It’s OK to acknowledge

your feelings and move on.

• Trent Warner

Frank Ocean

Blond

Independant

After four years of false starts, rumours, and

delays, it started to feel like Frank Ocean would become

R&B’s next Remy Shand. But then, in the span

of a week, Ocean made his official return with a new

visual album ENDLESS, and the proper follow-up to

2012’s Channel Orange, Blonde.

Unfortunately, Blonde is bland music masquerading

as high-art. It’s an album that plays out as

glacially as the wait for it to arrive did. Admittedly,

Frank is one of the few talents that warrants a

listen just based on the potential he’s shown in

the past. That doesn’t change the fact that despite

its massive cast of A-list collaborators, Blonde is a

slog. A slog that has its moments, but still feels like

a 17-track album of wallpaper instrumentals that

Ocean does nothing to elevate. It’s a mish-mash of

Frank Ocean, Blond

unrecognizable efforts from some of music’s most

visionary talents.

Tracks like “Nikes,” “Ivy,” and “Nights” hint at a

Frank that is working to live up to the expectations

he made for himself on Channel Orange,

the former and latter being just about the only

songs the even remotely resemble a traditional

single. That’s not to say that an album needs

singles to be enjoyable. In 2016 alone, artists have

been releasing amazing, hookless albums with

willful disregard for radio play, but when Kanye,

Kendrick, or even James Blake do it, there is payoff.

On Blonde, payoff is rare, and like much else

on the album, it often comes obfuscated by haze

from an artist trying his hardest to keep fans at

an arm’s length.

It’s especially telling that the best moment on

How To Dress Well, Care

the album doesn’t even come from Frank Ocean

himself. Andre 3000’s stunning surprise verse on

“Solo (Reprise)” casts a shadow over the whole album,

leaving the listener with a new question to

ask unrelentingly: “Forget Frank, where is Andre

3000’s album?”

• Jamie McNamara

Angel Olsen

MY WOMAN

Jagjaguwar

It’s hard to know how to take Angel Olsen’s sudden

shift in tone on MY WOMAN. Burn Your Fire for No

Witness is a deeply self-serious record in moments.

The melodrama of a line like “everything is tragic”

lands appropriately because there is an assumption

that the emotional directness is accomplishing

September 2016 REVIEWS

31


Angel Olsen, My Woman Wild Americans, Lighten Up James Vincent McMorrow, We Move

something. This new record however is steeped in

muddy irony.

The first half goes over well. Early tracks like

“Intern” and “Shut Up Kiss Me” are goofy and fun,

with a raw looseness that carries on the garage

attitude of the louder moments on Burn Your Fire.

Olsen also turns down some of freak folk shrillness

on these tracks, maintaining the beautiful operatic

weirdness of her timbre, while more convincingly

rocking out with it. The disaffected guitars and

dirty synths are warm and welcoming.

Later tracks carry on similarly ironic titles like

“Heart Shaped Face,” but arrive with moments

of sparse tenderness that land ambivalently. The

closing piano ballad particularly is hard to read.

It’s a beautiful track with distant pianos and

fuzzy condensed vocals, but its aching sentiment

is hard to take seriously on such a lucid record.

Either way, Angel Olsen takes a bold step

on MY WOMAN. Years from now, when she’s

rich and famous, this record will probably be

essential. For the time being, however, it’s tough

to read into.

• Liam Prost

Wild Americans

Lighten Up

Independent

It’s been said that hearing the sound of one hand

clapping will leave you deaf. The premise is that to

hear the proper sound of one hand clapping is to

cup the hand and strike the ear of the listener, creating

an air pocket that ruptures their eardrum.

This would have been preferable to hearing New

Jersey band Wild Americans’ recent EP, Lighten Up.

If the title refers to easing the amount of effort it

takes to write lyrics, then good job all around. Even

the nicest sounding production and studio harmony

can’t hide the Wile E. Coyote-anvil-slingshot effect

of lines like “I know at times I can’t help myself, try

to remember the past,” or…”Whoa, my life is in a hole,

whoa, my life is in a hole.” It’s like swallowing a bottle of

brain cleaner and evacuating clichés.

And please, can we set a cap on using “Whoa” as

the only verbal idea in the chorus? Surely we can think

of more to say, Keanu. There are only so many ways

to dilute the grandeur of expressing emotion musically

with pained versions of the word “oh,” and

for over 80 bars (I stopped counting after 40),

or for the sake of the time I won’t get back,

the last two-and-a-half minutes of the EP, Wild

Americans used three of them. This is the dim,

dull, chips ‘n’ pop party of indie rock.

• Mike Dunn

James Vincent McMorrow

We Move

Dine Alone

Despite two successful albums in his home country

of Ireland, multi-instrumentalist James Vincent Mc-

Morrow’s most popular song is still a cover of Steve

Winwood’s “Higher Love.” It’s admittedly a beautiful

rendition, marked by soft piano and McMorrow’s

beautiful falsetto. Like with any cover though, you

wonder if the artist behind it has any creative spark

of their own. While his debut was made up of what

you might expect from a cover artist, filled to the brim

with acoustic guitar and simplistic piano arrangements,

his second release, 2014’s Post Tropical, showed definite

growth. We Move, McMorrow’s newest release, builds

atop of the lush soundscapes and 808-fueled R&B

croons of his sophomore LP by upping the tempo

a bit and filling the sparseness of the instrumentals

with psych rock inspired guitars and layers of reverb.

McMorrow still manages to keep the intimacy and

heavy-heartedness of his arrangements intact, mostly

thanks to his supernatural upper register. That falsetto

is powerful, able to evoke raw emotion and energy like

few others can, and it’s what allows him to build each

track off We Move to a cathartic conclusion. Lead

single “Rising Water” capitalizes on the psychedelic

influence with a relaxed jam about desperation after

a lost love. Other highlights include “Evil,” featuring

a crazy fun vocal-sample driven breakdown at the

end and “Surreal”, a soaring ballad that shows off

McMorrow’s voice perfectly.

• Cole Parker

32 REVIEWS

September 2016


Gwen Stefani, Eve

Rogers Arena

August 25, 2016

When I told people I was going to see Gwen Stefani,

they looked at me with pity and confusion

(sweet child, now why would you do something

like that?), and then after considering it for a

photo: Timothy Nguyen

while were like, “actually that would be pretty

cool, it sounds so out it must be in.” Stefani’s

dirty laundry being washed in public recently

hasn’t helped with enticing fans out of the woodwork

of their now late-20s to early-30s adult lives.

Rogers Arena had trouble selling out the venue

and tickets were rumoured to have been given

away at embarrassingly low prices. Once onstage,

Gwen’s opening line to the fans was straight from

the gut and emotional: “Thank you for showing up!”

It was touching and a little sad. She then started

playing songs that once upon a time must have

packed venues from door to door. That’s when

things went from doubtful to shameless fun at the

Gwen Stefani 2016 concert, making it my most

bizarre concert experience ever.

Eve opened the evening and played for a spirited

half-hour with backup dancers doing the best they

could. Stefani’s set list was a third new stuff, a third

solo stuff and a third No Doubt stuff. Her outfits

were not as spectacular as I expected from someone

of her standing. She wore a multitude of Lara Croft

outfits with ‘90s plaid skirts, showing off her Amazon

warrior princess body. The production value of the

show was quite threadbare too; compared to some

of the shows of contemporary artists, even the up

and coming ones, the lights and projections lacked

creativity and detail. Despite all these shortcomings,

Stefani used her biggest weapon to make sure everyone

in the stadium had a great night - her songs!

She sang back-to-back classic winners, “Rich Girl,”

“Hollaback Girl,” “Cool,” “Hella Good,” “It’s My Life,”

“What You Waiting For,” “Harajuku Girls.” Eve came

back onstage for “Blow Your Mind” and the duo

owned the stage, now two Amazon women instead

of one. Her newer songs like “Used To Love You”

didn’t get as excited a reception as her older work,

still they were catchy and one could sway to them

without a problem. It was clear to see that Stefani is

now going down the mildly dance music route to sell

records. That hurts a little since we grew up watching

her break all the rules, fuelled by her glorious pink

hair and bindis. She interacted with fans, pulling

one onstage and politely dodging his sweaty kisses.

Stefani ended the show with “Don’t Speak,” which

caused everyone to lose their voice the next day, I

am sure. Her encore consisted of “Sweet Escape” and

“I’m Just A Girl,” and sent us out into the summer

night with our ‘90s appetites satiated.

It’s hard to see your teen idols grow up, to witness

the end of a musical career. Stefani still has some

fight left in her and a repository of great songwriting.

Her new work lacks her usual fight-the-system, fightthe-man

elements and maybe that’s why it hasn’t

resonated with fans, who love her for it. For this tour

and probably the new album as well, it seems like

her PR team definitely could have done better. This

concert had all the makings of a disaster, but Stefani

turned it around on the pure strength of her

songs, and we as fans got to relive our teen years

and sing our hearts out. We showed up and saved

Gwen Stefani, and she saved us right back.

• Prachi Kamble

Rodriguez

Orpheum Theatre

August 29, 2016

It is impossible to discuss Rodriguez without mentioning

2012’s excellent, Oscar-winning documentary

Searching For Sugarman, and Sixto Rodriguez’

tumultuous career since. After the documentary

won the Oscar in 2013, demand for Rodriguez to play

shows in North America sky rocketed. Unfortunately,

at that time, Rodriguez was suffering health problems

and after receiving mixed reviews for his tour so far

that year, nearly all of his tour dates were cancelled.

Rodriguez re-emerged back in 2015 and Vancouver

was lucky enough for him to grace the stage for us on

a warm August evening in 2016.

This reviewer’s impression of this show is

impossible not to compare to the experience I

had seeing him in 2013, while he was dealing with

his health problems. At that show, Rodriguez sang

the songs beautifully, but his playing was frantic and

although his backing band was excellent, they struggled

to stay on pace – as Rodriguez ignored the drive

of the drums and went on his own time. Occasionally

it would all click and would sound incredible, but

these moments were few and far between.

Fast forward to 2016 and Rodriguez is taking

the stage. This time, alone. I had no idea this show

was going to be a solo acoustic show. It was also

apparent he was still sick, as his two daughters

both supported his arms and shoulders as they

walked him on stage to his seat. None of this

seemed to bother the audience. The second they

got a glimpse of him, the crowd was up on their

feet cheering. So loudly Rodriguez himself asked

everyone to quiet down before he started.

With his music stripped down to just a guitar

and voice, it showcased just how wonderful and

creative a songwriter Rodriguez really is. The

energy and feeling of the songs are completely

timeless and the passion is all still there. While Rodriguez

himself looks frail and his playing would

speed up and slow down, his voice sounded

magnificent and packed full of emotion.

Playing the vast majority of the songs of his two

albums, Cold Fact (1971) and Coming from Reality

(1972), Rodriguez also energized the crowd with

covers from artists including The Rolling Stones,

The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and more. Playing

for around 50 minutes, Rodriguez left the stage

accompanied by his two daughters and it seemed

the show was over. Yet, 5 minutes latter, Rodriguez

walked back on stage and was met with a standing

ovation and rapturous applause. After a 4 song encore,

he left the stage again even though the crowd

wanted more.

It is no small feat for one person with an acoustic

guitar to hold an audience’s attention for nearly 75

minutes. Yet, 74 year old Sixto Rodriguez was able

to do just that. In a stunning and emotional display,

Rodriguez’ raw and stripped down versions

of his now classic songs proved to be the ultimate

way to experience his music.

• Joshua Erickson

photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

September 2016 REVIEWS

33

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