Calgary Theatre Roundup • Animal Collective • Calgary Metal Fest • Charles Bradley • Preoccupations
Editor’s Note/Pulse 4
Bedroom Eyes 7
Monthly Mouthful 14
Edmonton Extra 29
Book of Bridge 38
Sask Tell 31
Letters from Winnipeg 32
Let’s Get Jucy! 36
Theatre Roundup, Beakerhead,
100% Skate Club, MRU Concerts,
CIFF, Netflix & Kill, Vidiot
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Animal Collective, The Dandy Warhols,
Chinese Indie Rock Night, Belvue,
I Am The Mountain, Knots, Timepoint
Ensemble, Mandible Klaw, Conniving
Junior Boys, Pomo, Louis CZA, Odder Otter
Charles Bradley, Snowblink, Lolita’s,
Todd Maduke, Birds of Bellwood
Calgary Metal Fest overview
Preoccupations and much, much more ...
Managing Editor/Web Producer
City :: Brad Simm
Film :: Jonathan Lawrence
Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier
Edmonton Extra :: Levi Manchak
Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner
SaskTell :: The Riz
Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone
Jucy :: Paul Rodgers
Roots :: Liam Prost
Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham
Reviews :: Jamie McNamara
This Month’s Contributing Writers
Christine Leonard • Gareth Watkins • Sarah Mac • Michael Grondin • Kennedy Enns • Haley Pukanski
• Jennie Orton • Kyle Lovstrom • Sara Elizabeth Taylor • Brittany Rudyck • Beth McIntyre
• Sean Orr • Claire Miglionico • Max Foley • Hannah Many Guns • Arielle Lessard • Kevin Bruch
• Mike Dunn • Amber McLinden • Philip Clarke • Ian Lemke • Breanna Whipple • Shane Sellar •
Matt Mosley • Maria Dardano • Cole Parker • Brett Sandford • Andrea Hunter • Dan Savage
Charles Bradley - page 39
This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators
Brett Sandford • Amber McLinden • Brayden Clark • Hannah Cawsey • Mark Preston •
Kenneth Locke • Mike Tan
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BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 3
Tom WoLFE 1962-2016
the Thugs’ fabulous frontman
Except for the hustle and bustle building up to and
during the 1988 Winter Olympics, Calgary in the
mid to late ‘80s was relatively quiet still recovering
from the devastating collapse of oil prices earlier in
the decade. The music scene not quite thriving, but
certainly active with rock ‘n’ roll upstarts percolating
in the burbs, riding on the freshness of punk, playing
originals, boycotting the bar band circuit while putting
on shows wherever they could.
It was out in the far reaches of 17 Ave. SW, long
before Aspen Woods was a residential community,
that Brent Cooper (Huevos Rancheros, Ramblin’
Ambassadors) first saw Tom Wolfe. He was fronting
an early project, The Grey Nuns, that were crammed
into a small barn-dance, wedding party, hootenanny
shack called, coincidentally enough, Cooper Hall. The
two, then edging into their 20s, would soon cross paths
again, trading info and forming a band.
“We ran into each other at a Rank and File show
at the U of C,” recalls Cooper. “As a gag I wrote his
number with a pen on my stomach instead of my
arm or my hand. Tom was kind of taken back: ‘Ah, I
don’t know if I’m comfortable with that.’ We had a
laugh, and he was in the band, that was that. There
was no question.”
The band was the Cryin’ Helicopters, that Cooper
and another friend had christened “just trying to
think of the funniest name possible.” It wasn’t punk,
but rather a ‘60s-based outfit fused with a bit of pop
that Wolfe, in his gangly 6 ft. 3 in. frame, led front and
center, dancing up a storm, doing The Swim, lathering
the fun. Although he had a few Mick Jagger moves,
he was more in sync with Lemmy’s no frills version of
showmanship than he was strutting all over the stage.
Following the ‘Copters, Wolfe bought a guitar
to play rhythm alongside Cooper. They teamed up
with bassist Tom Kennedy and Wolfe’s brother John
on drums forming the Gravity Thugs, infamously
known as the “loudest and drunkest band” to
emerge from Calgary.
“The thing with that band,” says Cooper, “is
that there was tension from the get-go. There was
the two brothers, who had their own brotherly
dynamics and would get pissed off at each other.
Then Kennedy would piss off Tom, the brothers
would side, and I’d kind of be in the middle. Every
time it got tense, we’d reach for the volume knob.
Tom Wolfe leading the charge, flanked by Brent Coop sporting a super-do.
The band just got louder, and louder and louder.
That’s just kind of how we dealt with it.“
When it came to drinking, Cooper says that was all
part of the plan — bottoms up and go. “Those guys
drank for sport, and we got away with murder. We’d
arrive at a place like the Westward (one of Calgary’s
long gone, beloved punk bars) with our own case of
beer and bottle of whiskey.
Our behaviour was driven
by the myth of the Replacements,
and we liked that. We
kind of thought, ‘If things
are going down, we’re going
down with it.’”
Cooper remembers one
messy, drunken aftermath
just before they split up: “We
played this weird, small show
that ended with our equipment all over the place. The
stage was only a foot and half high, Tom jumped off
but he couldn’t get back on. We literally just threw
everything in the back of Tom Kennedy’s VW van. I
walked home and left my car several neighbourhoods
away, wisely. John was lying on his back in the parking
lot, talking to the stars or whatever. Tom was just sitting
on his amp. I have no idea what they were waiting
“Our behaviour was
driven by the myth
of the Replacements,
and we liked that.”
for. Kennedy left and said the next day he was driving
along Macleod Trail up Cemetery Hill, the door flung
open and all the gear fell out.”
Despite the debauchery, the Thugs were a helluva
rock band pre-dating grunge, foreshadowing the
shape of things to come in the ‘90s. They only released
one four-song cassette, but all four songs got heavy
rotation on CJSW. Rugged
guitars oozing with hooks
and melody, panned to each
side of Tom Wolfe’s call-ofthe-wild,
vocals defined the Thugs’
sound and one of Calgary’s
finest rock ‘n’ roll moments.
It was a band of opposing
equals, driven and divided by
tension. Each member contributed
to the writing; each had their own distinct style
and stage presence. Cooper says both Kennedy and
John Wolfe “wrote great songs,” and when the latter
announced he was to moving to another city, that was
a deciding factor to fold the band. One missing piece
of the puzzle made it too incomplete.
Another irreplaceable piece of the picture was
brother Tom. Anyone who saw the Thugs play can’t
by B. Simm
forget the lanky frontman, often shirtless, guitar
strapped on firmly, he’d toss back his long mane of hair,
step up to the mic and bellow out big, bold, beautiful
vocal lines. Wolfe was a tour de force under the stage
lights. A little like Lemmy, a little like Joey Ramone, but
a golden throat all of his own.
“I don’t know where the shirtless fetish came from,”
says Cooper. “Having read Under The Big Black Sun, all
the Californian bands took their shirts off, even Jeffery
Lee Pierce, who was kind of chubby. And they still do.
Because it’s warm? I don’t know, it’s just a thing. Once
I showed up for a Thugs’ gig, I hadn’t seen Tom for a
couple weeks. He took his shirt off and he had a huge
tattoo on his chest. He didn’t tell anyone, just bingo, it
was there. This big dragon! That was a surprise.”
Although Cooper played umpteen shows with
Wolfe, there was a lot of personal ground not covered.
“I don’t know a lot about him outside that world,
playing in bands. He was funny, he was smart, he liked
books, loved rock, had a great record collection and
open to almost anything.”
Tom Wolfe did have an amazing record collection,
at a time when a lot of music that was on smaller or
foreign labels or just out of print wasn’t available in
the vast majority of stores. You had to dig for it. Wolfe
loved the Aussie bands, Rose Tattoo one of his favourites.
There was a band out of New York, Raging Slab, a
mix of metal, Southern boogie and slide guitar that he
was particularly fond of. He loved the Ramones’ foray
into Stephen King with “Pet Sematary,” Blue Oyster
Cult, and of course Motorhead, Detroit, the Stooges
and the MC5. Often he adopted the MC5’s White
Panther lingo referring to a good idea as “righteous”
and his close friends as “bothers.”
In addition, he adored British motorcycles from
the ’60s and ‘70s, and rode one that was immaculately
restored wearing his trade mark, black leather jacket
and Confederate biker boots. A military history buff,
Wolfe delved deep into details about the Vietnam War.
Post Gravity Thugs, he started thinking about putting
together a new band he wanted to call the Daisy
Cutters, named after a weapon used by the Americans
to clear foliage in Vietnamese war zones.
Yet, for all the tough-guy demeanor, Wolfe possessed
a caring, gentle spirit. Truly a sweet soul with
a rock ‘n’ roll heart. He passed away on August 21,
way too early at the age of 53.
4 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE BEATROUTE • JANUARY 2015 | 7
TORCH NIGHT: message of love drives fundraiser
Billed as a evening of
artists, founder Deicha
Carter elaborates and
says, “Torch is a positive
platform that welcomes
all genres and all art
forms.” Diversity is
paramount. In addition to
singers and bands taking
the stage, set designs
and performance art
extremities such as “the
perception of pain” are
also integral to an evening
While Carter carefully
observes that there’s “a
lot sensitivity” around
how someone defines
themselves as a female
artist, she states, “I’m
proud to identify as an
artist first and as a female
second.” In so doing,
Torch is very much an
inclusive event open to all
genders, participants and
supporters. “What we’ve
tried to foster with Torch
is a sense of community.”
Carter expands on the
notion of community in
that Torch is not about
politics, rather it’s driven
by “a message of love.” She
says, “It’s really an evening
of free form, where people
come to express their true
self without having to
filter who they are based
on audience, peers or
expectations of anything
else. And when it’s focused
on love, that also means
it’s about respect.”
Since its first show in
December 2014, Carter
says the network of
women artists continues
to grow, inspiring
each other while their
collective support and
money raised from the
event (held every three
months) now tallies
close to $4000. With
the Patti Smith Night
and the upcoming Amy
Winehouse Night in
December, she hopes
to raise over $5000 for
the Women’s Centre of
Calgary. Carter estimates
that that amount will
assist approximately 25
women rebuild their
lives with help from the
Meet The Torchettes: event organizers, hosts and loving soul sistas, Abbie Thurgood and Deicha Carter. The next Torch Night,
featuring renditions of Patti Smith songs and poetry, takes place Weds., Sat. 21 at Dickens’s. Admission $7.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 7
THEATRE SEASON FALL PREVIEW
mark your calendars now for the first half of the theatre season
A NEW BRAIN
StoryBook Theatre, Sept. 15-24
The bleak gravity of a medical tragedy and the zaniness of a Looney
Tunes short offset each other in this autobiographical musical. When
struggling composer Gordon Michael Schwinn is diagnosed with a
brain tumour, he is forced to face the realities of his own creative ambitions,
all with a cast of lovable screw-ups by his side.
Written / Compiled by Sara Elizabeth Taylor
‘DA KINK IN MY HAIR
Theatre Calgary, Sept. 6 - Oct. 1
Theatre Calgary kicks off their season with the smash hit play that inspired
a TV show and set the theatre scene on fire when it first debuted fifteen
years ago. ‘da Kink in my Hair gives voice to eight women in a Toronto hair
salon who tell their stories through drumming, singing and dance.
THE TALL BUILDING
Handsome Alice Theatre, Sept. 9-17
Three misfits meet in a building that keeps growing floors. High above the
ground, they look out over the city below them: the destructive weather,
the unruly humans, the coyotes that roam the 7-Eleven. This dark comedy
will leave you thinking about identity, connection and a sense of home.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS
Rosebud Theatre, Sept. 9 - Oct. 29
A prosperous middle class family is unexpectedly visited by Police Inspector
Goole, who questions them about the death of a young working-class
woman. This classic drawing room mystery will keep you guessing until the
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
Stage West, Sept. 9 - Nov. 13
December 4, 1956: Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley
all meet at Sun Records in Memphis for what would become one of
the greatest impromptu jam sessions ever. The characters and songs from
that faithful day are brought to life in this Tony Award-winning musical.
WAITING FOR THE PARADE
Alberta Theatre Projects, Sept. 13 - Oct.1
Five women wait out World War II on the home front in Calgary,
struggling, arguing, singing, drinking and dancing their way through this
defining moment in Canadian history.
Ghost River and Aveda Institute Calgary, Sept. 14-18
In the latest of their Six Senses series, Ghost River Theatre invites you to
don a blindfold and give in to this tactile sensory adventure. Touch mixes
storytelling theatre with physical sensations; participants will have their
hair, feet and hands touched.
THE BIG SLEEP
Vertigo Theatre’s BD&P Mystery Theatre Series, Sept. 17 - Oct. 16
A millionaire is being blackmailed, and he wants private investigator
Philip Marlowe to make the problem go away. But that’s not all
Marlowe will have to deal with in this world premiere adaptation of
Raymond Chandler’s most famous work.
Lunchbox Theatre, Sept. 19 - Oct. 8
What do you do when you’re middle-aged, down on your luck, and
trying to find love? Go to Israel and pretend to be a famous actress,
of course! Romance and intrigue are in store for this schoolteacher
when she runs into an ambitious scriptwriter soldier with tall tales
The Shakespeare Company, Sept. 21 - Oct. 8
England is enjoying a period of peace under King Edward IV -- but his
younger brother Richard, power-hungry and bitter about his brother’s
success, plans to change all that in pursuit of his bloodthirsty aspirations
for the throne.
THE GOOD BRIDE
Handsome Alice Theatre, Sept. 22 - Oct. 1
Sent away by her pastor father to wait until God tells him it’s time for her
marriage, Maranatha – a fifteen-year-old Quiverfull Christian – puts on
her wedding dress every night in eager anticipation of the arrival of her
groom. But as time goes by, she finds herself confronted with questions
her faith may not be able to answer.
RUN FOR YOUR WIFE
Morpheus Theatre, Sept. 23 - Oct. 1
John Smith has two of everything: two houses, two wives, two lives
that he must keep separate at all costs. But when John ends up in the
hospital, all his carefully orchestrated plans go out the window -- and
he’ll have some explaining to do.
SECONDARY CAUSE OF DEATH
Simply Theatre, Sept. 23 - Oct. 1
Inspector Pratt arrives at Bagshot House with grim new, but as the
bodies pile higher and higher and the characters get stranger and
stranger, he’s beginning to regret coming at all. Secondary Cause
of Death is the second in a trilogy of spoofs of the Agatha Christie
THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS
StoryBook Theatre, Sept. 28 - Oct. 22
Robert Munsch’s beloved story of a feisty princess and her hapless
prince comes to life in this musical that will capture the hearts of
young and not-so-young alike.
IT CAME FROM MARS
Scorpio Theatre, Oct. 7-15
October 30, 1938: A rehearsal for a weekly radio play turns terrifying
when the cast and crew believe they are under attack by Martians.
Passions ignite, secret identities are revealed and slapstick mayhem
abounds in this award-winning comedy.
Theatre Calgary, Oct. 11-29
Baby boomers rejoice! This tour-de-force solo performance will take you
on an explosive journey through the music, culture and politics that
defined the baby boom generation.
INTENSIOANL PARTICLE + SPLIT FLOW
THeatre Junction, Oct. 12-15
Minimal, radical, subtle and violent, Japanese artist Hiroaki Umeda is a
multi-disciplinary choreographer, dancer, sound, image and lighting designer.
In Intensional Particle, Hiroaki Umeda visualizes the energetic power
of movement using motion sensors creating digital universes that develop
a life of their own in which a body is seemly devoured by sight and sound.
In Split Flow, speed is expressed through strokes of light and a slow moving
body. A high luminance laser projects three primary colors – red, green
and blue – in split-second velocity, which appear white to the human eye.
But when the dancer moves through them, the white light splits into the
three colors and different realities come into existence.
ONE MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY
AND ONE MAN LORD OF THE RINGS
Pumphouse Theatre, Oct. 18-29
Canadian actor, one-man storytelling machine, uber geek: these are
some of the words that describe Charles Ross, who will retell these two
classic trilogies -- all the characters, music, ships and battles -- in just one
mind-bending, whirlwind act each.
Alberta Theatre Projects, Oct. 18 - Nov. 5
Mercey Candy Factory has shut its doors, leaving the sweet smells of
caramel crèmes, jellybeans and chocolate a distant memory. One young
security guard is left to wander the halls alone until a new owner comes to
town in this inventive and darkly whimsical story.
SOULPEPPER’S ALLIGATOR PIE
Vertigo Theatre’s Y Stage Theatre Series, Oct. 21-23
“Alligator pie, alligator pie / If I don’t get some I think I’m gonna die.”
Celebrate the works of Canadian poet Dennis Lee with music, invention
LEST WE FORGET
Forte Musical Theatre Guild and Lunchbox Theatre, Oct. 24 - Nov.12
This world premiere production will use music and song to journey from
WWI to the present day examining the lives of soldiers, their families, and
the way we all are changed by war.
8 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts,
Oct. 28 - Nov. 5
As the explosions in the distance slowly get closer, four women await the
return of the dictator to the palace, the fragments of their lives part of the
mosaic of history.
JEKYLL & HYDE
Front Row Centre Players, Oct. 28 - Nov. 12
The brilliant and ambitious Henry Jekyll thinks his serum that separates
the good and evil natures of mankind will be the cure for the ills of humanity
in this legendary gothic musical based on the classic novella.
CRUMPLED MILK SKIN
Calgary Young People’s Theatre, Nov. 1-15
A discovery has just been made deep in the basement of the National
Library of the World: a long-forgotten book filled with fairy tales and
characters that should have remained lost to time. This collection of wacky
stories will tour to Calgary Public Libraries across the city for a free series.
THE MONKEY TRIAL
Theatre Junction, Nov. 2-5
The infamous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial pitted fundamentalism against
modernism, religion against science, dogma against intellectual freedom
-- and it all comes to life in this play based on the transcripts of the astonishing
THE KINGS OF THE KILBURN HIGH ROAD
Liffey Players, Nov. 3-12
Six young Irish men came to London in the early 1970s, leaving home for a
life of hard work and harder drinking. Twenty years later, five of them gather
in the side room of a pub in memory of one of the group who has died.
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET
Rosebud Theatre, Nov. 11 - Dec. 23
How bad could a job playing Santa for Macy’s get? For Kris Kringle, who
faces a plot to be sent to a psychiatric hospital and a court competency
hearing -- pretty bad. But with help from a little girl and an attorney, he just
might get a Christmas miracle.
AGATHA CHRISTIE’S THE HOLLOW
Vertigo Theatre’s BD&P Mystery Theatre Series, Nov. 2 - Dec. 11
Unhappy game of romantic follow-the-leader explodes into murder. Many
in attendance had motive and opportunity – but who did the crime?
Stage West, Nov. 18 - Feb. 5
Enjoy the memorable music that came to define Hollywood’s biggest
movies, from Saturday Night Fever to 8 Mile, Top Gun to Despicable Me 2.
Calgary Opera, Nov. 19, 23, 25
A masked ball thrown by a Russian prince leads to mistaken identities and
eventually jail in this classic Viennese operetta full of high jinks and hilarity.
SLIPPER: A DISTINCTLY CALGARIAN CINDERELLA STORY
Alberta Theatre Projects, Nov. 22 - Dec. 31
With the help of a fairytale time machine, Edward travels from the olden
days to modern times to meet Cinderella in this light-hearted, music-filled,
absolutely Calgarian show.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Calgary Young People’s Theatre, Nov. 24 - Dec. 3
Young D’Artagnan has come to Paris to fulfill his lifelong dream of joining
the fighting, laughing, rapping Musketeers.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Theatre Calgary, Nov. 24 - Dec. 24
Theatre Calgary celebrates 30 years of this annual Christmas tradition.
DISNEY’S BEAUTY & THE BEAST
StoryBook Theatre, Nov. 25 - Dec. 23
Join Belle, the Beast and all the beloved characters -- and songs -- from the
original movie for this magical show suitable for ages 6 and up.
‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Stage West for Kids and Birnton Theatricals Crayon Series,
Nov. 26 - Dec. 24
Every Christmas Eve, the Mitchell family reads their favourite holiday story.
But this year, after reading the story, strange things begin to happen and
the whole family is caught up in the magical spirit of the season.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY
Lunchbox Theatre, Nov. 28 - Dec. 21
The beloved American holiday classic about the fateful Christmas Eve that
George Bailey considers ending his life has been reimagined in this live
1940’s radio broadcast.
SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR
U of C School of Creative and Performing Arts, Dec. 2-10
Six characters break the theatre’s sacred fourth wall when they appear at a
rehearsal and plead for the chance to tell their stories in this contemporary
play that interrogates the nature of illusion and reality.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Morpheus Theatre, Dec. 2-17
The holidays just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Bedford Falls
and the story of George Bailey, a man whose idealistic view of life takes a
beating when he faces one misfortune after another.
Forte Musical Theatre Guild, Dec. 6-18
It’s ba-ack! The sometimes racy, sometimes sweet Naughty…but Nice!
promises to leave you with a song in your heart and a smile on your face.
CHRISTMAS AT THE OPERA: DOCTOR MIRACLE
Calgary Opera, Dec. 8-11
The featured operatic rarity at this annual Christmas tradition is Doctor
Miracle (Le Docteur Miracle), a delectable one-act farce that revolves
around young lovers thwarted by their elders and a Christmas dinner gone
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 9
TORCH HANDBUILT MOTORCYCLES
custom built bikes for women, by women
Three years ago Patti Derbyshire and her partner,
Bernie May, were on a couples weekend riding
through the Rocky Mountains. While in
Revelstoke they met someone who worked on vintage
British cycles who happened to refer to a Triumph
of his as a “ladies bike.” Intrigued by the comment,
Derbyshire asked what he meant. He said that vintage
bikes are usually smaller, yet still powerful, and women
preferred them because they were easier to handle
physically. At the next gas station, she jumped off her
bike, brimming with excitement and told May that
she wanted to start a motorcycle company that was
geared towards women. She already had the name:
As the Chair of Entrepreneurship, Marketing
and Social Innovation at Mount Royal University,
Derbyshire teaches a number of classes related to
creativity, design thinking, and human-centred design.
It didn’t take her too long to delve into the ergonomics
or lack thereof when looking into motorcycle design
and female riders.
“Bikes have been around along time. But there are
a number of important differences between men and
women in terms of comfort on the bike and us being
able to manage the bike,” explains Derbyshire. The six
women builders who engineer and design for Torch
have talked to and measured about a 1000 women.
Derbyshire says, “We’re making really important
changes to feet design and hand configuration. Most
women have tiny hands and bikes are set up for big
man hands. Seat designs are really a big deal as well.
Women’s hips sit at a different angle, and our pelvic
bone is lower. Thigh bones are also positioned in
women different. They come out so that we’re a little
bow-legged, and what we lose is that we can’t put our
feet on the ground comfortably. A lot of the time you’ll
see women trying to balance the bike on tippy-toes,
and that’s not super safe at all.”
Fitting the design of the bike is so problematic that
it often results in women giving up on learning to ride
altogether. Derbyshire says there’s a train of thought
within the cycling industry and ride community that
not everyone’s cut out to get on a bike.
“But that’s just not true. We are systematically leaving
certain groups of women and some guys out too
because of the equipment.” Derbyshire notes that 30
percent of new riders are women, but only 20 percent
make it out of training, and then only 10 percent stick
with the sport primarily because of the lack of equipment
options. Those limitations, of course, present an
opportunity for Torch to produce a better bike built
specially for women.
The Torch Handbuilt Motorcycle Festival features
25 custom bikes designed by and for women. Derbyshire
says these are people building bikes in their
backyards, garages and some of the smaller shops in
the city. “And what we really go for is bikes and builders
with a story.”
In conjunction with an organization in Brooklyn,
Torch is hosting a film festival focused on the emerging
subculture of motorcycle filmmakers.
The Torch Handbuilt Motorcycle Festival runs from Sept.
15 to 25. For more info go to torchmotorcyles.com
They’re not a motorcycle “club”, but they take riding seriously.
10 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
100% SKATE CLUB
female skate collective goes city wide
Like a jailhouse filled with violent and non-violent
offenders alike, Erica Jacobs is both wild and
mild under one roof.
By day, she earns a living as a dental hygienist (albeit,
of the sort pleasant and affable enough to easily
endure the invasive process of having your teeth
scrapped with sharp little weapons), but by night
she’s a totally badass, four-wheeling, psychopath who
assembles women of every age to explore the benefits
and infinite bliss that skateboarding can instill.
Founder of Calgary’s first and only all girls skate
collective, 100% Skate Club, (or ‘Hunny P,’ as Jacobs
sometimes refers to her baby), Erica has sounded
“Let’s laugh. Let’s share, let’s grow women’s
skateboarding,” says Jacobs. “Let’s support each other
and build a community where girls can learn how to
skateboard. We had two moms sign up last night.”
Around 60 female skateboard enthusiasts have
signed on to become affiliates of 100% Skate Club
over the past two years. Member’s maturities range
from three to 54-years-old.
The qualifications are simple. Be of the feminine
persuasion, have a desire to skateboard… and that’s
it! Follow the gang on Facebook, find out where and
when (Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. The location travels
around, as is the essence of skateboarding), sign a
waver and shred. It won’t cost you a dime and you’re
bound to make new friends.
Erica assumes custody of her creation, but she encourages
every member to be proactive and elevate
“Everybody has the opportunity to take a leadership
role. I don’t have to be the leader. I can follow.
I want you guys (Skate Club members) to lead me.
After two years, Skate Club can totally exist without
me,” says Jacobs.
Since teaching gymnastics, Jacobs is naturally acclimated
to coaching and with the newly announced
by Kyle Lovstrom
plan to include skateboarding in the 2020 Olympics,
Erica occasionally fantasizes.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if a Skate Club girl represented
Canada in the Olympics one day? It won’t be me,” she
laughs. “But it’s fun to think about.”
It isn’t just members of 100% Skate Club reaping
the rewards of Erica’s volunteered time and
contributions to Calgary skateboarding. A few courageous
members of the Calgary Police Services
(CPS) recently completed a six-week initiative
implemented by the city, wherein officers learned
how to skateboard in an effort to better understand
the mindset of freewheeling youth. Jacobs
was hired to instruct.
“The police were great. I commend them on their
willingness to take a risk and try something that is so
challenging. They really put themselves out there.”
Other community engagement programs
sanctioned by the city aimed at humanizing those
lawless skateboarders in the eyes of civilized society,
included distributing a brief, but charming newsletter
featuring trading card like statistics of local
skateboarders around newly erected skate parks.
On top of weekly 100% Skate Club meetings, Erica
also organizes local amateur contests, and is team
manager for Artschool, a homegrown art intensive
skateboard company brought to the world by the
insanely talented and prolific illustrator, Mark Kowalchuk.
Everything downloaded from Kowalchuk’s
brain and put to paper is a goddamn masterpiece.
Erica has worked her body to the bone curating
Calgary’s thriving skateboard scene, quite literally…
“I’ve been to work multiple times with scrapes on
my elbows, road rash on my chin, massive hip bruises,
missing skin off my spine from sliding on my back…”
Jacobs is a gem. Her zest for life and quest to master
physical challenges inspire all who have had the
good fortune of making Erica’s acquaintance.
Check out 100% Skate Club before the snow falls.
how to launch a concert hall
If you just finished building a state-of-the-art acoustically
perfect 787-seat concert hall in the middle of
town during the city’s Year of Music, how would you
Mark DeJong is the Artistic Program Coordinator
for the stunning new Bella Concert Hall at MRU
Conservatory’s Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts
believes that there are a few key steps to a successful lift
off. “A world-class performance space deserves a worldclass
line-up,” he notes.
Among the artists gracing the stage in over 22
events are Canadian pop singer-songwriter Chantal
Kreviazuk (Nov. 8, 2016), reggae legend Ziggy Marley
(Oct. 13, 2016) and musical astronaut Chris Hadfield
(Nov. 26, 2016).
On Kreviazuk, DeJong explains, “She was trained in
the Conservatory tradition of classical piano, then took
that knowledge and expanded it into the popular music
realm.” Since, she has written songs for fellow artists
including Avril Lavigne, Josh Groban and Drake. “She
can also create a wonderful aesthetic and the acoustic
setting of the Bella will be perfect for that.”
DeJong explains his addition of Ziggy Marley and his
island culture to the line-up, “When you study music,
regardless of genre or style, the importance is to tell a
story and to have a heartfelt message behind what it is
that you’re performing. I think Ziggy Marley embodies
that at the absolute highest level.”
Former Commander of the International Space Station,
Colonel Chris Hadfield will offer a worldly keynote
address on his experiences on and off planet. “We want
to present someone who has achieved the pinnacle in
their chosen field,” says DeJong. “For us, Chris Hadfield
represents a Canadian who followed his dream despite
what most would consider insurmountable odds.”
by J. Love
There is even early talk of a musical number or
two, likely from his album, Space Sessions: Songs
From a Tin Can that he recorded while on the
International Space Station.
This is a major diversification for the MRU Conservatory.
“Typically, the Conservatory has presented concerts
that are focused on western classical music,” he
explains. For those looking to follow in that tradition,
the Kronos Quartet (Mar. 22, 2017) and Zukerman Trio
(Feb. 17, 2017) will be representing, along with Chinese
pipa artist Wu Man (Mar. 3, 2017) of Yo-Yo Ma’s
famous Silk Road Ensemble.
Some homegrown global-reaching artists will also
play the Bella. Raghav (Sept. 21, 2016) is a Bollywood
meets North American pop singer whose
radio-savvy hits have charted in the UK, India and
here in Canada, while youthful pianist Jan Lisiecki
(Jan. 20, 2017), who was trained at MRU Conservatory
early in his career, will return to give the venue’s
Steinway piano a workout.
The last step to launching is to let everyone know
what’s happening. “Finally bringing the Bella to the
world means we can now bring the world to the
Bella,” DeJong states. From classical to contemporary,
pop to reggae, DeJong appreciates this season’s diversity,
“That was our goal… to have a concert season
that showcases something for everyone. That’s what
a community gathering place should be. I think that’s
what the Bella does best.”
For tickets and more information on MRU Conservatory’s
Music to Your Ears 2016-17 Concert Season, or
to check out who’s playing the Bella Concert Hall, go to
tickets.mru.ca or call 403-440-7770.
12 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
head in the clouds, feet on the ground… it’s an exploration of mind and body
“We don’t like to call it festival,” says Mary Anne
Moser, The President and Co-Founder of Beakerhead.
“A festival sounds like you’re celebrating
something or there’s a niche topic, but we’re not
celebrating anything. Beakerhead is the thing. It’s
not about something, it is something.”
It’s also something to be discovered. You have to
read between the lines. There’s a concept or and activity
tucked into all of the displays and events, but
you have to dig into it to find out what it’s all about.
There are more than 60 events this year, and
most, says Moser, are almost all new. Although, one
familiar set of footprints are returning this year.
“Those big bunnies, that filled Central Memorial
Park,” Moser pauses. “Well, they had babies. Of
course! They’re smaller, cuter and more of them.”
Clara Venice will also be returning with her trippy,
electro-pop, bubblegum extravaganza, making
the Theremin sing creating a cosmic splendor.
What is new, however, are giant tentacles “erupting”
from buildings in Inglewood, a giant Scaffold
Art gallery takes over an entire parking lot along
Memorial Drive, while the Lougheed House will be
illuminated in a flood of spectral light and imagery.
The Sky’s The Limit offers free balloon rides along 17
Ave. SE, Beakernight has been moved from 10 Ave.
SW in Sunalta to Bridgeland and a river walk that
stretches from Inglewood to Kensington that pulls
more neighbourhoods into the exploration.
One of the interactive spectaculars that Moser is
looking forward to is the BASS Ship. Located in the
East Village, this 30-foot high space ship has a secret
communicating device with a code that can crack
by those who jump on board that want to beam
messages into space.
And then there’s much more down to earth
experiences. Waiting for the Parade is a production
by Alberta Theatre Projects that celebrates the vital
role of women in wartime, and their contribution to
innovation. Love Lab: The Darker Side of Relationships
is an animated presentation that explores the
by B. Simm
perils of revenge while downing a drink or two at
the No.1 Legion.
Between the free and ticketed events, Beakerhead
is a wealth of experiential fun and exploration.
Walk the streets, ride your bike, grab a pint, it’s all
about engagement in a smattering of different ways.
Beakerhead takes place from Sept. 14 to 18. For info
about all of the events go to beakerhead.com
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 13
14 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
No holds barred comedy drags romance all over the canvas
“A pro wrestler’s coup de grâce, the so-called “chokeslam” is an impressive looking powermanoeuvre
that involves grabbing your opponent by their throat and lifting them into the air
before driving their body into the mat in a single-handed display of artistic violence.”
by Christine Leonard
From turnstile to turnbuckle, Calgarian screenwriter/director Robert Cuffley is no stranger to
the choreographed spectacle that is the film festival circuit. Over the course of the past-decade
and a half the CIFF veteran and Alum of Canadian Film Centre has debuted his independent
works at Toronto International Film Festival, The Palm Springs International Film Festival and
the SXSW Film Festival, amongst others.
“All my films have played at CIFF,” says Cuffley, who is already forecasting red carpet fisticuffs at
his upcoming world premiere. “There’s something strange about editing process,” he explains. “I’ve
probably seen the film 50 times, but the first time you see it with an audience you’re feeling the
eyeballs to the left and right of you looking at it and you’re looking at how they react. It is a weird
experience, but a good one.”
Perhaps chief amongst Cuffley’s manifold talents is his knack for carving out compellingly
meaty roles for actresses to sink their teeth into. This skill-set has been showcased his previous
films; Turning Paige (2001), Walk All Over Me (2007) and, Ferocious (2013). The latter, starring Kim
Coates, was filmed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Thus it was only fitting that the award-winning
filmmaker returned to that rough-and-tumble prairie province next door to realize his latest vision,
the romantic-comedy Chokeslam.
Produced in Regina in the fall of 2015, prior to being polished off in Alberta, the ambitious
coproduction of CHAOS A Film Company Inc. and Karma Film, in addition to being the recipient
of support from Creative Sask., the Alberta Media Fund and the Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy
Exchange initiative in association with Just for Laughs. Although slightly daunted by the inherent
challenges of bringing a sport/romance/comedy feature to life on the silver screen with Chokeslam,
Cuffley is gratified to finally be able to share his timeless yet uniquely Canadian narrative.
“I would never call it a wrestling film it’s more in the spirit of a perverted rom-com with
wresting,” says Cuffley. “You don’t have to be a fan of professional wrestling to enjoy it. The
theatrics of wrestling is a performance that is hard to take your eyes off of. Even more so
you’ve got a personal connection with one of the characters. It makes the experience a little
more visceral psychologically.”
Throwing over a life of endless cold cuts for a surreal hot pursuit, Chokeslam’s everyman-protagonist,
Corey Swanson (Chris Marquette - Bad Country, Broken Horses), is an underachieving deli
clerk who seizes upon his ten-year high school reunion as a second chance to win the affections
of his high school crush Sheena Halliday (Amanda Crew - Silicon Valley, Charlie St. Cloud). A pro
wrestler and all-around ass-kicker with the reputation of being the Lindsay Lohan of the sports
entertainment world, “Smasheena” is a prime example of the non-traditional female archetypes
and resultant perspectives that Cuffley excels at exploring.
“It honestly never occurs to me to say ‘Okay, what’s my next movie with a female character?’
it just ends up that way. Someone pointed out to me that one thing that I do unwittingly
with them (the female characters) is that in one way or another they’re performing in the
film. You get to see the character they inhabit and then you get to see who they really are. In
Walk All Over Me it was a woman trying to become a dominatrix, in Ferocious it was the life
of a semi-famous television star. And that fascination is the key here with Sheena; in front of
and behind the camera.”
Tag-teaming with co-writer Jason Long and producer Carolyn McMaster, Cuffley, who studied
film at S.A.I.T. and the National Screen Institute, capitalized on the proximity of Regina’s local
High Impact Wrestling Canada promotion. The professional wrestling phenomenon contributed
some true grit and their signature impactful “Saskatchewan Style” to the director’s fourth outing.
Authenticity definitely didn’t take a backseat to humour, as Cuffley enlisted real-life wrestler
Chelsea Green (Queens of Combat, WWE Tough Enough) to portray Angel, an up-and-coming
fighter with Smasheena in her sights. Likewise the expertise of former WWE wrestlers Lance Storm
(Green’s trainer) and Harry Smith, son of the late British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith, not to mention
three-time WWE champion and WWE Hall of Famer Mick “Mankind” Foley, brought some serious
cage-cred and a flare for the dramatic to the project.
“I had to come up to speed with my co-writer Jason Long,” Cuffley explains. “I grew up with
Stampede Wrestling as well, but he kept with it and to this day really enjoys it. I was lucky enough
to have a crew of real wrestlers, with the exception of Amanda Crew. And she was the type, thank
goodness, that got a trainer and started seven-days a week and came pretty ripped. We also had
Chelsea Green come in a week early and she just gave me tonnes of insights, like always playing to
the 20th row,” he continues. “Mick Foley was such a pleasure. He’s such a kind guy, but not only
that he’s now a stand-up comic. He’d riff a little bit off of some of the lines and his improv was so
good that I could not cut it out!”
Only time will tell if WWE fans and general audiences respond favourably to the battle-scarred
charm of Cuffley’s wrestling-centric romp (please, don’t bring your homemade crowd-signs to the
movie theatre). But, I ask you, who could resist the allure of an uplifting depiction of the resiliency
of the human heart when pitted against the threat of ignominious defeat, or deny the glory of
small-town dreams painted in sweat and neon body-paint and projected into the stratosphere like
a Roman candle on steroids?
“I fully embraced the ridiculousness of it. And it is ridiculous. People falling through tables and
getting hit 42 times in the face and not bleeding. Jason and I are both John Hughes fans, so the
romance aspect is definitely inspired by Some Kind of Wonderful and Breakfast Club, amongst
others. Which means taking those moments and squeezing every drop from them, but in a way
that’s endearing not cheesy.”
CHOKESLAM 6:30 PM - 98MIN @ THEATRE JUNCTION GRAND, SUN. OCT. 2
16 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
CALGARY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
by Jonathan Lawrence
lineup promises that, yes, they still do make movies like they used to
It’s Friday night and you’re out with your friends, trying to decide what
to do. Still hungover from last weekend and having outgrown Pokemon
Go, you suggest to the gang that you all catch a movie. Scoffs and sneers
define the following moments.
“What is there to see?” they cry.
“Nothing but superhero flicks,” responds another.
“They just don’t make films like they used to!” shouts a frustrated man
as he flings a scarf around his neck.
If these conversations seem all too familiar, fortunately, you are in
luck - especially you, angry scarf guy. Coming September 21st, the Calgary
International Film Festival, or CIFF, is just around the bend, and will be
celebrating its 17th year in bringing the best independent films from
around the world to our neck of the woods. If you’ve thrown your scarf
across your neck in despair for lack of original storytelling, unique visuals,
and too much CGI in popular films, make sure to check out the many
innovative and diverse films being shown at the festival this year, which
lasts for 12 days ending on October 2nd. And if you’re still indecisive,
according the CIFF website, 98 per cent of patrons of the festival in 2015
“had fun attending.” The other two per cent, on the other hand, likely just
don’t enjoy good films.
While the lineup of films at our city’s film festival is always impressive
- and this year is no different - it’s important for people to know that the
final selections aren’t just an assortment of random films, or a “best-of” list
from other festivals. Each film is, in fact, carefully selected by a gang of film
lovers who narrow down an insurmountable list of submissions; this year,
there were over 2,000 film submissions received for 2016.
One such film lover is programming manager Brenda Lieberman,
who stated that a few of the goals instated at the festival are to “make
sure [each genre] feels really well-balanced, [and to] make sure to have
something for everybody.” She stresses the importance of accessible
films, as well as more challenging ones. At the same time, she tries to find
hidden gems that were overlooked by other festivals, as well as films from
unknown filmmakers who simply “paid the entry fee into the festival.”
At the end of the day, Lieberman notes that a successful lineup is based
on a “high number of discovery titles and films that were more of an
One of the ways that the talented group at CIFF ensures there is something
for everyone is to assign films into categories, such as Canadian Cinema,
Late Show Series, World Cinema, and Documentary Series to name
a few. Lieberman and her team try to provide a wide range of genres and
other criteria represented within each category as well, making sure “that
we have female directors…and different interest groups.” In the World
Cinema Series, for example, “We tend to divide up the countries, so we
make sure there’s representation from different parts of Asia to Northern
Europe, Eastern Europe, Central, Latin America,” Lieberman explains.
“We’re really trying to cover as many countries as possible.”
Music lovers will find a lot to enjoy about this year’s festival, with
several music-oriented documentaries being featured as part of the Music
on Screen Series. From tales of iconic blues guitarists to the dangers of
being a female rapper in Tehran, to the resurgence of music in Libya
following the fall of Gaddafi, there’s a fantastic mixture of music, culture,
and history within these films. Furthermore, the National Music Centre
will be screening The American Epic Sessions on September 28th with
a filmmaker in attendance and a Q&A session following the show. It is a
fitting venue, with its display of musical history and exhibitions, given that
the film is about olden recording technology and its subsequent effects
on the music industry.
CIFF isn’t just your ordinary movie-going experience; it emphasizes a
sense of community. It feels like a genuine celebration of film. Calgarians
are gradually coming to realize this as the festival saw a steady increase in
attendances over the previous four years, with a record-breaking 35,000
attendees in 2015 - over four times the attendance when it began in 2000.
The festival has gotten such attention that MovieMaker.com recently
named it one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” With the
explosive rate that CIFF is growing, coupled with Calgary’s vastly expanding
film industry, it could perhaps one day be up there with Cannes or the
Venice Film Festival. Hey, if half of Hollywood can fly to France, I am sure
they can make it to Alberta.
That said, CIFF does benefit from smaller crowds than, say, the New
York or Toronto Film Festivals. Perhaps you’re less likely to bump into
Martin Scorsese, but it does allow for a more intimate setting between
audiences and filmmakers in the festival’s post-screening Q&A sessions,
networking opportunities and the Behind the Screen series, which are
casual gatherings where filmmakers and fans can interact on a personal
level. Aspiring filmmakers, actors and writers, take note: don’t miss this
amazing opportunity. More information on the Behind the Screen series,
and the festival as a whole, will be available September 7th on the CIFF
So angry scarf guy, you can relax, I’m sure there will be a few films out
there for you. And CGI lovers, there’s something out there for you too.
Let’s not be pretentious here, this is a community of film lovers. I expect
to see you all there.
The 17th Calgary International Film Festival happens Sept. 21 – Oct. 2.
giving the spotlight to the stand-ins
by Jonathan Lawrence
Hired Gun opens with a narration defining the title of the film, and
we learn this is a documentary not about mercenaries and rifles, but
longhaired musicians and six-strings – more importantly, the session, or
stand-in, musician. The musician in question is compared to an “assassin”
because “nobody will know who he is,” the narration tells us. “But he’ll get
the gig because he is the elite player.”
While the idea of being an anonymous player with some of the biggest
acts might be appealing to some, the documentary emphasizes the shared
struggles that these hired guns experience. While they are musicians who
play with machine-like precision, they rarely see any credit for their work or
career longevity. Bitterly aware of this fact, they acknowledge that musical
virtuosity does not always equate to lasting demand within the industry.
“Job security was my awesomeness,” one session guy, Phil X, jokes. “If I’m
not great tonight, there might not be a job tomorrow,” another laments.
While one should never feel entitled to a career when entering the
music industry, Hired Gun demonstrates the tragedy and heartbreak that
often accompanies it. These expendable musicians, often playing with
several bands at a time, only see their skillset as a job; there’s no room for
messing around. Charming mistakes or creative leeway is best left to the
rock stars. It’s hit the notes or hit the road.
It’s a fascinating subject, and one that hasn’t really been addressed
before. Fran Strine, the director, was inspired to make the film after being
“burned out” as a touring photographer for such artists as Nickelback,
Staind and Dolly Parton for 17 years. Despite this, his photography
background is evident throughout the film, and the film certainly benefits
from it; the cinematography is top-notch. The idea was born while he
was speaking with Jason Hook, whose shredding abilities on the guitar
are featured prominently throughout the documentary as a hired gun for
Alice Cooper, Hilary Duff (less shredding) and the current guitarist for Five
Finger Death Punch (lots of shredding).
If there’s a common thread among all successful musicians with lasting
careers, no one knows what it is. However, it’s clear after watching this
documentary that each of the talented musicians featured are incredibly
humble, laidback and proud of their accomplishments; there’s no hint of
ego here. Strine agreed, stating that “that’s why these guys still work today.”
In his attempt to get to the “core of these musicians’ lives and stories…
we struck a cord and went beyond ‘Behind the Music’ and really exposed
the good, the bad and the ugly side of this business.” He adds: “I think the
audience will never look at the stage the same again.”
This is a wonderfully made documentary, with high production values
and fantastic interviews ranging from Alice Cooper to Rob Zombie to Ray
Parker Jr. Its themes echoed last year’s CIFF documentary, The Glamour
and the Squalor, which also focused on the unsung heroes behind several
large rock bands. Strine says, “As a music lover myself, I always wanted
to take a look behind the curtain and hear the essence of these players’
stories and the stuff you weren’t supposed to hear about.
“I think most audiences will find with Hired Gun, stories that will make
you sit up and see these musicians in a new light.”
SUN. OCT. 2 , 11:30 AM @ EAU CLAIRE 4
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 17
LET HER OUT
it’s what’s in our heads that’s truly frightening
What do an evil twin, murder, prostitution,
beating up men, and the power of
friendship all have in common? Let Her
Out brings all these elements into one horrifying film
as part of the Calgary International Film Festival’s Late
The best type of horror movie is one that constantly
keeps you on the edge of your seat. Let Her Out
manages to do just that, while still providing all the
elements that you’ve come to expect from horror.
Bringing psychological thriller and gore together into
one plot allows for it to push the boundaries of what is
expected while still keeping you grounded in reality.
“I’m infatuated with horror because of the extreme
emotions that you can get out of it,” director Cody
Calahan says. “You’re playing within reality because
you want to suck your audience in but you can kind
of reel them in and then completely break that reality
and go somewhere completely terrifying or even
absurd and still be able to sort of drag the audience
along with you.”
The main character, Helen, struggles with her mother’s
past and her own life in isolation. After experiencing
blackouts, she consults a doctor who tells her she
has a growth in her brain. She begins descending into
a series of psychotic episodes that threaten to ruin her
life. “Vanishing Twin Syndrome” is at the base of this
film, and it’s downright terrifying.
Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs when “a twin or
multiple disappears in the uterus during pregnancy as
a result of a miscarriage.” The fetal tissue is absorbed
by the other twin or the mother, which gives the
appearance of a vanishing twin. The result of such has
a psychological effect on Helen, and in this case, the
viewer of the movie.
by Amber McLinden
Let Her Out does many things to an audience. A
horror film that excellently pulls on different genres,
you are left questioning the existence of the entire 87
minutes you sat watching it. “Unstable anxiety” is the
realm this film exists in, Calahan explains.
Shocking its viewers is certainly one of the main
goals of the film, and it wastes no time in doing so, using
the opening scene to establish the shock value you
can expect throughout the entire show. Working with
award-winning cinematographer Jeff Maher, a feeling
of instability and constant movement is created that
translated from shooting to onset, Calahan says.
“We wanted it to continuously move,” he continues,
“so the camera is almost constantly moving, even if it’s
in a room it’s still all handheld. The way we wanted it to
feel really bled into real life.”
If you’ve ever had the unfortunate displeasure of
being stuck with your own thoughts, you’ll be able to
relate to the main character, Helen. A small presence
in a big city, her development is drastic to say the
least. Calahan intended this, and purposely excluded
relationships from her to accentuate her disconnect
with the outside world.
Perhaps the most terrifying moments in the film are
grounded in reality. Through a series of events, Helen
comes to lose control of her mind and tries to understand
what happened during periods of time she can’t
remember. Calahan adds: “The two things that battle
a person are the brain and the heart. We wanted to
make a movie where we could kind of hold back a little
bit of the heart and make it a more cerebral movie.”
SAT. SEPT. 24, 10:45 PMA @ GLOBE 18+ (NO MINORS)
WEDS. SEPT. 28, 4:45 PM @ GLOBE
a horrific history’s first shots fired
by Jonathan Lawrence
There’s a headline often seen on the news today
with alarming frequency: “Worst mass shooting
in history.” However, prior to August 1, 1966,
America hadn’t really seen such devastation on that
level in a public area. On that day, however, a 25-yearold
architectural engineering major and former Marine
(another recurring theme) climbed to the top of the
University of Texas Tower with a plethora of guns.
Ninety-six minutes later, 46 people had been shot.
Sixteen died (including his wife and mother before the
rampage). Keith Maitland sharply addresses his reason
for making Tower, the documentary on this historical
tragedy: “We wanted to tell a story set 50 years ago
that would feel as immediate as something unfolding
in front of our eyes today.”
Although the sniper is never seen by the citizens
of Austin, the great tower, with its bold, symmetrical
design and imposing stature, stands in his place, keeping
his veiled position. It looms ominously over the
campus and surrounding neighbourhoods, providing
the sniper with an unbeatable vantage point. He is
safely guarded, and as the thunderous gunshots ring
out at a near rhythmic pace one after another, and
students and teachers alike find cover wherever they
can, the once sunny campus becomes a battleground.
This is 1966, and there were no technically-advanced
bomb-disposal robots available to take this guy out.
“I saw Tower as sort of a modern Western,” Maitland
writes. “You know, with reluctant heroes, and civilians
peeking out of windows to watch what’s happening in
the town square... Structurally I was thinking about the
great ensembles in Robert Altman films and of course,
Rashomon ...But first and foremost I wanted to balance
all of the action, with emotion and heart. We never lost
sight of the fact that these are real people, describing
the most traumatic event of their lives. So, tempering
the action with the emotion was paramount.”
Tower succeeds in telling a visceral story on numerous
levels, one of which is its striking art design, which
expertly blends hand-drawn animation with old,
scratchy film stock. “I knew that we had some great
archival footage to work with,” Maitland writes. “News
reporters with 16mm cameras had recorded these
incredible action moments on the ground during the
shooting, and all that was really missing were medium
shots and close-ups of our characters to fill in the
detail. So through the animation we could transcend
time and space to really capture the feeling and the
action on campus that day.”
Although the characters are hand drawn, the
animation used in the film is startlingly lifelike, which
Maitland informs is called “rotoscopic animation.” He
expands on this, stating “all of the performances are
real actors recorded in costumes with props, on video.
We edit the video just like we want it to unfold, and
then the artists come in and digitally paint 12 frames
per second. It allowed us to re-create scenes without
having to be on the campus itself.”
He continues: “Most of the scenes were performed
in an open space, like my backyard, and then the artists
would composite the foreground character paintings
with backgrounds that they created based on photos
and archival footage and little pieces of iPhone video
that I created walking around the campus separately...
It was an aesthetic decision with a real pragmatic value
to the production.”
“I definitely found inspiration in Richard Linklater’s
Waking Life, and in Waltz With Bashir,” he adds.
Tower is a chilling, yet fascinating documentary
about the events of that fateful day, and although
they occurred over 50 years ago, it is immediately
SAT. SEPT. 24, 11:15 @ GLOBE
SAT. OCT. 1, 9:15 PM @ CINEPLEX EAU CLAIRE 3
18 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
middle-aged punk relives being king for a day by Philip Clarke
In his on-screen lead role debut, Billie Joe Armstrong
(of Green Day fame) stars in the indie feature film
Ordinary World. Armstrong plays Perry Miller, a married
man and father of two who wishes he could just
relive his glory days back in 1995. Those storied days of
old when he was clean-shaven, sported bleach-blonde
hair and didn’t have a care in the world. Twenty years
later in modern-day New York City, Perry feels like he’s
having his own proverbial “mid-life crisis.”
Now he’s bespectacled and his unkempt hair is
beginning to grey. Three-day-old stubble sits evenly on
his face and his forehead is perpetually creased with
lines indicating his true age. His beloved punk rock
band is currently “on a hiatus.” He absolutely loathes
working in his younger brother Jake’s (Chris Messina)
hardware store that once belonged to their father. His
in-laws don’t take him seriously at all. Even his own
wife (Selma Blair) seems to have forgotten his own
birthday turning the big 4-0. It’s only his daughter that
seems to be aware of how lost he feels, even though
she’s still unsure of how to tell her class what he does
for a living.
Jake can’t deal with Perry always being late. Not
just that, but when he does actually show up to
work, Perry has absolutely zero interest in upping his
salesmanship skills whatsoever. Perry is so completely
separated from his job living in his own world that he
ALBERTA SPIRIT 2016
showcasing homegrown passions for filmmaking
The Alberta Spirit series is a fantastic opportunity to showcase local
filmmakers who have been carefully selected to show their homebred
films at the Calgary International Film Festival. That said, there is something
extremely refreshing about Jaimie Stewart and Voytek Jarmula – two
clearly dedicated Alberta filmmakers who are drawn to capturing others’
passions on camera.
even believes they sell dish soap based off a quiz that
Jake gives him just to prove a point.
So as to hopefully get this malaise of responsibility
out of his system, Jake gives Perry a thousand dollars to
do with what he will. That is of course under the proviso
that after his birthday, Perry comes back to work
and takes it far more seriously. Perry takes his brother’s
birthday gift and goes to the very hoity-toity Drake
Hotel. Despite conventional wisdom, Perry wants to
spend his money on the famed Presidential Suite.
Perry calls his former band mates to relive his
hard-partying punk days. What starts out as an awkward
striptease from a birthday-present stripper quickly
turns into an all-out rock show that could level the
entire building. To make matters worse, his daughter’s
school talent show is happening that same night. Will
Perry make it back in time to be there for his family?
Or will he resort to being an immature punk that just
wanted to pursue his passion with zero consequences?
We feel the awkwardness of reconnecting with
former friends or former flames. We’re with Perry as he
feels like a disappointment to his child. We cringe as he
feels like he can never live up to his in-laws’ expectations.
We hope to have achieved our dreams by the
time we’re 40. If we’re already 40, we’re saddened to see
that our life didn’t turn out exactly the way we wanted
or expected it to.
Ordinary World is equals part sad, charming, and
fiercely relatable. Armstrong delivers a performance
that he most certainly was tailor-made to play.
What parts of the film are Perry and what parts are
Armstrong seamlessly blend together in a fictional
mirror of reality. The film works the best when Perry
is singing and playing guitar, because that’s what
Armstrong was always best at. Being a father in real
life, Armstrong also feels perfectly at home when
he’s being a father to his on-screen daughter. It’s the
quiet moments here and there throughout Ordinary
World that make the film work.
MON. SEPT. 26, 7:30 PM @ GLOBE 18+ (NO MINORS)
FRI. SEPT. 30, 10:30 PM @ CINEPLEX EAU CLAIRE 2
bloodlust in the Bayou
Young Asher’s (Gabe White) biggest concern in life
is how to have sex with girls. He goes to his older
brother Chester (Chester Rushing) for whatever advice
he can spare. They do this while carelessly wandering
around the Louisiana backwoods amidst all manner
of swamps and gators. Then one day, Asher witnesses
the disturbing murder of his brother at the hands of
their cruel father Ivan (Gary Stretch). His father also
mercilessly beats Asher to the point of mind-numbing
submission. His paternal abuse is so bad that Asher
becomes both deaf and mute as a result. His father deservedly
goes to prison for the next 21 years. During that
time, Asher’s childhood friend Nana (Candace Smith)
teaches him sign language to help adjust for his lack of
both speech and hearing. Two decades pass as Asher
now grows into a bitter man (Joe Anderson) that’s just
trying to take care for his obese TV-obsessed mother.
When his father is released early from prison for reasons
of “overcrowding and good behaviour,” Asher kicks his
hyper-violent revenge plan into high gear.
Ivan enjoys his newfound freedom the only way he
knows how. Naturally this is by casually murdering anyone
that gets in his way. Asher dons his brother’s grey
wolf headdress and loads up with a sawed-off shotgun
to settle the score. Along the way, he reconnects with
Nana who films webcam Internet videos to make
ends meet for her and young son. Asher’s tethering to
these two people is the only thing that helps keep him
from drowning in the sea of violence. Their presence
is the sole way that he can avoid his own soul from
being completely consumed by hatred. Trying to take
justice into your own hands isn’t as easy as you’d think.
Revenge is messy, complicated and it never works out
the way you want it to.
My Father Die is darkly poetic and visually rapturous.
Shot on the Arri Alexa camera, director Sean
Brosnan and cinematographer Marc Shap used many
different lenses to give the film its distinct look in a
very deliberately-chosen 2:66:1 aspect ratio. There are
many quiet moments punctuated throughout the
film that showcase the hauntingly beautiful setting of
the Louisiana bayou. The film’s visuals are equal parts
We caught up with Stewart and Jarmula to talk Stephen Hair In Passion,
one of the shorts in the Alberta Spirit series depicting local theatre actor
Stephen Hair, who is best known for his role of Scrooge in the theatre
production of “A Christmas Carol” – a part he has been playing for the
past 20 years.
“Stephen Hair is such a kind and understanding man and we were fascinated
at how he could play such an iconic and mean-spirited character for
so many years,” says Jarmula.
“As we met with Stephen and spoke with him, we realized [he had] the
richness and passion we were looking for,” says Stewart.
Stewart, who is the founder of production company Beautiful World
Media Inc. says that for as long as he could remember, he was drawn to the
idea of showcasing uplifting and inspiring content to help people feel the
value and purpose in their lives.
Jarmula says that their hope for Stephen Hair In Passion is that viewers
feel encouraged about their own journey in life. “We don’t have to be discouraged
by our present,” he writes, “but instead we can keep looking for
opportunities to be led by our hearts and discover and enjoy activities that
make us feel so unquestioningly purposeful and filled with passion.”
Another such Calgary-based documentary filmmaker is Dominique
hyper-stylized and grounded in visceral realism. It also
has its moments of pitch-black humour amid all of the
bloodletting and haunting voiceover.
When he was 16, Brosnan was heavily inspired by
John Millington Synge’s play “Playboy of The Western
World.” It was initially his intention to adapt it into a
screenplay, but eventually decided to change tack and
use it for his inspiration for this film instead. Being so
ensconced in the cinematic poetry of the film itself,
Brosnan is hard at work on adapting it into a graphic
novel as well.
Stripped down to the very bone, the film eschews
Hollywood conventions and glamour. It’s unapologetically
brutal and uncompromising in its depiction of
both sex and violence. It doesn’t succumb to clichés,
because of the sincerity in its storytelling. Every blood
spurt, body-kick or bone-break is motivated and used
to help tell the story. The characters feel authentic
and the seedy underworld feels truly lived in. The film
is so much more than your “standard revenge flick,”
because of its subversion to genre tropes. It rises above
the rest of its genre’s ilk by way of having something
to say about human nature, manhood and the roles
we play in each other’s lives, by summarizing it as such:
Man at his very core is a violent and savage beast.
SUN. SEPT. 25, 10:00 PM @ GLOBE 18+ (NO MINORS)
SAT. OCT. 1, 2:30 PM @ GLOBE
by Claire Miglionico
Keller, who has a passion for storytelling. She has directed both on
the local and international fronts and has experience with travel and
For her short, Grandma Learns to Drive, Keller spent quality time
with her grandparents. That’s because the 12-minute documentary was
inspired by Keller’s grandmother’s biggest regret in life: not knowing how
But at 86 years young, Keller’s grandmother, Therese Fournier, was
determined to get her license, despite a language barrier and her biggest
obstacle - Keller’s grandfather. “He really did not want to see my grandma
get behind the wheel!”
“As a documentary filmmaker,” says Keller, “I get to live a little piece of
many different people’s lives. It’s an opportunity to spend a good chunk
of quality time with someone and the chance to live a little bit in their
world. Grandma Learns to Drive is a funny and inspiring film. I hope that
my grandmother’s story will motivate others to go after some of their old
forgotten dreams. Expect a good laugh and maybe even a tear or two.”
Catch Grandma Learns To Drive, Stephen Hair In Passion and eight more
short films at Theatre Junction GRAND Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 19
Choice CIFF Cuts
FOR SHOWTIMES GO TO...
Star is a typical teenage girl, looking for more out
her future than the usual 9-to-5. She stumbles across
such an opportunity one day in a crew of traveling
magazine salesmen, who take her along on their
escapades across the American Midwest, living a life of
lawlessness, partying and crime. Finding a confidante
in Jake (Shia LeBeouf), Star becomes entangled in ever
more intense situations as the consequences of their
actions catch up to them.
Winner of the Jury Prize and nominated for the
Palme d’Or at Cannes 2016, American Honey is director
Andrea Arnold’s first film set in America. It tells a
tale of rebellion, growing up and making mistakes, but
through it all, keeping hope for something better.
Meet the Ice Queens, the lowest-ranked high school
cheerleading team in the Arctic Circle of Finland.
Lead by Miia, an ambitious coach who’s tired of
losing, the Ice Queens aim to rise up the ranks of
competitive cheerleading while coping with the
added struggles of teenage life.
Cheer Up follows the Ice Queens as they are
pushed to their breaking point and battle their way
through a demanding training routine. This Hot
Docs Official Selection is a coming of age story that
takes us into the daily lives of a group of teenage girls
seeking to improve themselves.
THE ROLLING STONES OLÉ OLÉ OLÉ!: A TRIP
ACROSS LATIN AMERICA
You know you’re part of history when the U.S. president
is your opening act. Such is life for The Rolling
Stones, the legendary British rock band who are still
packing venues after more than five decades.
This documentary follows the band’s America Latina
Olé tour across South and Central America – a route
that only recently became possible with the opening
of restrictions on Cuba in 2015. After traveling
through Chile, Argentina, Colombia and five other
countries, the band was eager to kick off Cuba’s new
future despite logistical nightmares.
Director Paul Dugdale’s genuine rapport with the
artists has paid off to provide unprecedented access
to the band’s more candid behind-the-scenes moments
as they make history.
GARY NUMAN: ANDROID IN LA LA LAND
In the late 1970s, Gary Numan topped the charts with
electronic hits like “Are Friends Electric” and “Cars”,
making him one of the world’s best-selling recording
artists. But behind the makeup of theatrical alter-egos,
few people knew that Numan was extremely
self-conscious and living with undiagnosed Asperger’s
syndrome. While privately struggling to perform, the
press labeled him a freak, pushing him to the edge of
Depressed, anxious and nearly bankrupt, Numan
had effectively disappeared from the public sphere
by the late 1980s. In the film, he unabashedly and
honestly recounts the stresses of stardom, Asperger’s
and the intense struggle to build a life and re-establish
a career after his initial fame had waned.
BUGS ON THE MENU
The Goldin brothers raise cricket protein for human
consumption, and they’ve seen their farm grow
tenfold in two years. While an estimated 2 billion
people eat bugs worldwide, it’s still not an accepted
food in the West, and with the population projected
to surpass 9 billion by 2050, the time to consider
alternate proteins is now.
Bugs on the Menu follows start-up companies and
highlights how these and other restaurateurs, cricket
farmers, scholars and scientists are part of a movement
to normalize insect eating in the West as an
alternative to traditional, resource-intensive meat. By
showing the benefits to raising insects for consumption
across the board, this film is a well-researched
and persuasive argument to open your mind and
consider what our future diets will look like. Director
Ian Toews & Producer Mark Bradley will also be in
Building on the broken ankles of 2011’s Goon,
Brett Harvey explores the impact of fighting in
hockey and the role of the enforcer, a position
unique to hockey in almost all of professional
sports. Composed of interviews with some of the
game’s most famous brawlers, like Dave Semenko,
Dave Schultz and George Parros, Ice Guardians
gives these players a rare chance to reflect on the
precarious nature of their position as well the
challenges they faced in trying to make it to the
Harvey has also recruited a supporting cast
of skilled players to go deep into the connection
between hockey and fighting – a connection
seemingly present since the first bench-clearing
brawl at the first recorded professional game.
Although fighting has long been a bone of contention,
thrilling and disgusting fans for decades,
Ice Guardians also looks at the new challenges
on the horizon that once again threaten the very
existence of the position.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR PRISON
How to Prepare for Prison examines the lives of
three very different convicts as they navigate the
legal system from conviction through sentencing.
The cases aren’t considered in terms of guilt or innocence,
but rather pragmatically in terms of each
convict’s unique life and emotional landscape.
Director Matt Gallagher follows Joe, Courtney and
Demario (respectively charged with marijuana
trafficking, fraud and felony assault) over a period
of three years as they work with lawyers and
prison consultants to anticipate the needs of their
families and emotionally prepare for the physical
rigours and threats of incarceration. Gallagher also
interviews Lee (sentenced to 40 years for armed
robbery) whose open and frank discussion of his
experience begs the viewer to consider the difference
between the humiliation of punishment and
In 1968, Elektra Records released the self-titled
album by a little-known rock band called “Iggy
and the Stooges”, whose main claim to popularity
was the frantic, manic and usually dangerous atmosphere
of their live shows. Alternating between
drug-fuelled highs and crushing comedowns, the
band carved a niche into the music scene that no
one had ever seen before, and paved the way for a
genre called punk rock.
Covering nearly five decades of breakups and
reunions, stage dives, hostile audiences and the
hyperbolic excess of the rock star lifestyle, GIMME
DANGER is a documentary that doesn’t hold back,
much like its subjects. Director Jim Jarmusch (PAT-
ERSON, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE) gets personal
stories from the band members themselves to
paint an honest and in-depth portrait of one of
the most influential bands of all time.
20 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
The Jungle Book
Now You See Me 2
Fathers and Daughters
The key to forging a strong father-daughter bond
is the dad’s willingness to serve invisible tea to
Sadly, the father in this drama didn’t make it to
In the present, Katie (Amanda Seyfried) is a sex
addict who has anonymous hook-ups to fill a void
left by her mentally ill father, Jake (Russell Crowe),
an award-winning author.
In the past, Jake suffers from violent seizures
caused by the death of his wife. Meanwhile, his
in-laws are petitioning to keep him from seeing his
five-year-old daughter, Katie.
Sullen, bleak and unrelentingly depressing, this
American-Italian co-production may be a well-acted
and somewhat interesting exploration of the
effects a parent’s past actions have on their child’s
present, but its parental profundity is done-in
by its muddled, melancholic, and occasionally
On the bright side, at least his daughter isn’t
having sex with nameless strangers in exchange for
The Jungle Book
The worst part about being raised by wolves is
listening to them brag about all the fables that
they’re featured in.
Fortunately, they’re only a fraction of the jungle
beasts found in this action-adventure.
Forced to flee his wolf pack when the Bengal tiger
(Idris Elba) that killed his human father comes
looking for man-cub meat, Mowgli (Neel Sethi)
must make it out on his own.
Along the way he encounters a menagerie of
rainforest inhabitants (Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray,
Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken) who
either want to help or hinder him on his journey
of self-discovery, and in his epic showdown with
his striped stalker.
Although this collected work of Rudyard
Kipling stories has been adapted ad nauseam, this
Jon Favreau directed version finally gets it right:
eye-popping imagery, solid voice acting and a
Moreover, Mowgli will make a great human/
animal ambassador for the forthcoming logging
Cats make better burglars than dogs because they
don’t stop to sniff the night watchman’s crotch.
Unfortunately, the feline in this comedy is
messed up in harder crimes.
Recently dumped Rell (Jordan Peele) and his
unhappily married friend Clarence (Keegan-Michael
Key) receive unconditional love from Keanu,
a kitten that randomly showed up on Rell’s
Unbeknownst to them, Keanu belongs to two
assassin brothers who desperately want him back.
Rell and Clarence unknowingly impersonate the
cutthroats to liberate Keanu from the drug dealer
(Method Man) who stole him from them.
While the absurd plotline lends well to the
comedy duo of Key & Peele, surprisingly neither
brings their usual genius to this action-y
buddy-comedy. Not to say it doesn’t have its
moments, just that it doesn’t have as many as their
television sketch show work.
Incidentally, a crime boss is more apt to have a
gamecock as their house pet.
The biggest difference between Mother’s Day and
Father’s Day is that kids can actually find their
moms to celebrate with.
This romantic-comedy, however, has found a
few fathers that have stuck around.
Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is a single dad dealing
with his wife’s death during May; Miranda (Julia
Roberts) is a successful writer reunited with
the daughter (Britt Robertson) she gave up for
adoption; Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is a divorced
mother whose husband (Timothy Olyphant) has
just remarried; and Jesse (Kate Hudson) and her
sister (Sarah Chalke) are about to introduce their
narrow-minded mother (Margo Martindale) to
their controversial partners.
The third installment in Gary Marshall’s forgettable
sabbatical series, Mother’s Day may follow
the same sappy multi-love story narrative as its
predecessors, but it differs because it arrogantly
believes that schmaltz can eradicate intolerance.
Besides, why make a million-dollar movie for
Mother’s Day when a phone call home would’ve
The Nice Guys
If it weren’t for bad fathers there wouldn’t be any
porn stars in the world today.
Thankfully, there are no shortages of either in
When an adult film actress (Margaret Qualley)
disappears, a gruff enforcer (Russell Crowe) is
forced to work with a PI (Ryan Gosling) and his
daughter (Angourie Rice) in order to find her - and
to dissuade a dangerous third-party.
But when her latest project turns out to be
an X-rated exposé on the car industry’s exhaust
inhibitor cover-up, the motley detectives find
themselves searching for her misplaced stag film at
the 1977 L.A. Auto Show.
With all of the sleaze of 1970s pulp cinema and
the witty banter and odd couple camaraderie of classic
comedic duos, Gosling and Crowe forge a unique
bromance through a sharp script and apt directing.
Furthermore, porn shoots make the best crime
scenes on account that they’re covered in DNA
Now You See Me 2
Lumberjacks and magicians have a lot in common
on account both like to saw women in half.
Fortunately, no red and black plaid shirts are
worn in this action-thriller.
The underground conjurers that comprise The
Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco,
Woody Harrelson) are employed by the FBI (Mark
Ruffalo) to prevent a software wizard (Daniel Radcliffe)
from stealing a decryption device.
The quartet is evened out by new edition Lula
(Lizzy Caplan), who helps uncover a connection
to a former colleague (Michael Caine) working
behind the scenes.
The obvious follow-up to Now You See Me,
this sequential sequel benefits greatly from the
addition of Caplan’s character. However, the same
cannot be said of Harrelson’s twin brother: Chase,
or the onslaught of digital slight-of-hand and
overly complicated cons.
Besides, everyone already knows the real dream
team of magic is: Copperfield, Angel, Henning, and
the tiger that mauled Siegfried & Roy.
He’s a Balloon Animal Activist. He’s the…
NETFLIX & KILL
what’s streaming and slaying this month
envy you, Future People. In the space year 2016.75,
you will have already seen Marvel’s Luke Cage.
You’ll know if Netflix-Marvel has kept up the streak
it started with Daredevil, continued with Jessica Jones,
slightly wobbled with DD’s second season, and will
some day be tying together in a Defenders crossover.
Is it as good as the trailer? Does he say “sweet Christmas”
too much or not enough? Also, do you have
Google Glass and jetpacks and food in pills? People of
the present can tune in on September 30th.
There’s also season two of Narcos out on September
2nd. The original got some details and Pablo Escobar’s accent
wrong when telling what turned out to be a propulsive
and slick little story of the drug trade, and covered
the majority of the Columbian drug kingpin’s rise and fall.
The second season might have to stretch the story a little
thin, but should be worth a watch nonetheless.
Hulu is just going to skip new releases in September to
just be, but Amazon is just killing it: they’re putting out
the original movie Weiner Dog, by Todd Solondz. That
name is either going to make you squeal with delight or
curl up into a ball. For those of you unfamiliar with his
work… dude is dark. Not in some Zack Snyder, teenage
boy’s idea of dark, but actual who-hurt-you dark. There’s
also new Transparent (September 23rd) and Tig Novaro’s
series One Mississippi (September 9th), because
you’re going to want to hard-reset your karma.
by Gareth Watkins
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 21
past the stress and into the fun
Animal Collective’s Panda Bear teases new projects and tour changeups.
Ten albums and 16 years into their career as a
band, Animal Collective make their first ever
live appearances in Alberta 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 the best-reviewed
photo: Tom Andrew
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
one of Animal Collective’s most straight-forward pop
THE DANDY WARHOLS
mellowed Bohemian flavour with a touch of pop and a big messy finish
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 like such a jackass,” he says. “I doubt it would
be super straightforward, I’m sure I would go off on
by Colin Gallant
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
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
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 in Vancouver at the Vogue
Theatre on September 27th, in Calgary at the MacEwan
Ballroom on September 29th and in Edmonton
at Union Hall on September 30th.
by Jennie Orton
Before hipsters had the French press, artisan
gin, birch wood phone covers, waxed
moustache and riding a unicycle to work,
they looked to the Dandies of the Warhol variety
for hints at flavour. A uniquely self-aware Portland
anomaly back before Bohemian was chic and
before Portland became a sea of condos and ironic
street art, the Dandy Warhols have always been
sneering while indulging; never pretending to be
something they are not and telling it like it is with
such an unbridled sense of knowing sarcasm that
you can’t really argue.
They have resurfaced with Distortland, their first
full studio album in four years, after spending a considerable
amount of time in a traveling time machine
celebrating the 13th anniversary of Thirteen Tales
from Urban Bohemia Live at the Wonder, their third
and first measurably commercially successful album.
Distortland has that very self-aware, road-weary tone
that we all adopt when we spend any significant
amount of time looking backwards. Guitar player
and founding member Peter Holmström, for one, was
glad to get back into a forward trajectory.
“Speaking for myself, I don’t really like dwelling
on the past,” Holmström admits. “When we did the
reissue of Thirteen Tales it really started freaking me
out because it was like we were looking back on what
we’d done and felt like it was signalling the end.”
Though it would appear to an outside observer
that the Dandies were teetering dangerously close
to becoming a “heritage act,” the creative juices still
flowed and the band continued to navigate a business
and a home base that were both being gentrified
and re-packaged to fit a changing time.
“For the first 10 years or so there was just this
steady – it felt uphill – sort-of climb. The success and
the way the music industry was going and our place
in it. And then Napster and all that stuff changed
the way that everybody does business, and it’s just
sort have been survival mode since then,” muses
“I’m not really sure we’re necessarily sure what is
Though the Warhols are, as always, trying to
suss out enough of the game rules to play by them
without succumbing to the tides, they have picked
up wisdom from their time in the gauntlet that has
changed their tone from societal observations to
existential minefields. Couple that with the pop sensibilities
of Jim Lowe behind the boards (Taylor Swift,
Stereophonics, Fitz and the Tantrums) and you have
an album that is both accessible and full of those
messy truths we have come to be indebted to the
Warhols for bestowing on us while we try to ignore
the fact that our coffee isn’t fair trade.
“We try sometimes to play along and do things
that will – not fit in – but that would fit the format
better than what we normally do, like shorter song
lengths and less noise, but we never get it quite right,”
That coming up short of getting it exactly right
is what has made The Dandy’s Warhols such an
appealing touchstone for the ideals of those who
want to march to their own drummer but who don’t
want to just say “fuck it” and burn out like a candle;
something messy but with the strength to evolve.
During “Catcher in the Rye,” a head bobber and
personal favourite of Holmström’s, churning with
momentum led by Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s purring
vocals and Holmström’s neato guitar tricks, Taylor
“Don’t you know anything can get you down
If you let it.
Some days more than others
This is how I’ve lived and learned
To divide them.
If you needed a friend I can lend
Some of my time to remind you.”
And remind you they will.
“You realize that all that little petty stuff is just
petty stuff and it doesn’t matter. And you just let it
go,” says Holmström. “Yoga and meditation helps.”
The Dandy Warhols perform at Marquee Beer Market
and Stage in Calgary on September 19th, at Starlite
Room in Edmonton on September 20th and at
Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg on September 22nd.
They’ll be stopping in to play Vancouver later, at the
Commodore Ballroom on December 6th.
photo: Erich Bouccan
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 23
notable acts coming to town in Sept.
Thursday, September 15th at The Ironwood
Tami Neilson is bringing her staggering voice and swagger across Canada in September and October with a
stop at the gorgeous Ironwood in Inglewood on September 15th. This show marks the eve of the release of her
latest album, Don’t Be Afraid, which is already making impressions with its raucous lead single “Holy Moses.”
The gospel-indebted album was recorded live on the floor, capturing her range of tender balladry and fiery rave
ups. See it for yourself while she’s still playing to cozy rooms.
• Colin Gallant
Saturday, September 24th at Dickens
Millencolin is a Swedish punk band barreling towards its 25th anniversary. While punk rock doesn’t
always age in the way a fine wine does, their eighth album, True Brew (2015), showcases a band that still
has riffs, anthemic choruses and energy to spare. Whether you’re looking for a blast of ‘90s nostalgia or
have kept up with the band all these years, there’s no doubt that this appearance at Dickens on Saturday,
September 24th is certified rare.
photo: Levi Manchak
Monday, September 26th at Commonwealth
One of music’s most provocative performers returns to Calgary after a sold out show at Flames Central during
Sled Island. Peaches was also the guest curator at Sled Island 2016, helping to shape the program and keep
weird, sexy, positivity at the forefront. Expect favourites like “Fuck The Pain Away” and newer cuts from the
outrageous Rub in a more intimate space than you’ve seen her before. Oh, and definitely be prepared to sweat
at Commonwealth on Monday, September 26th.
Friday, September 30th at the Palomino
Every “electric” pun used when referring to The Jolts is warranted. This enduring band of speedy, ‘70s-inspired
punks have been lighting up the stage since 2004. Often compared to The Ramones – rightfully so, as the band
moonlights as The Ramores each Halloween – but have carved out their own niche with NUMBER releases
over the years. Come get sweet, spicy and charged up on Friday, September 30th at the Palomino. • CG
24 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
CHINESE INDIE ROCK NIGHT
worlds collide at massive Legion party
by Colin Gallant
Oneida’s Kid Millions joins some of China’s finest for a cultural import this October.
photo: Lisa Corson
BeatRoute is thrilled to be a co-presenter for
Chinese Indie Rock Night on October 7th at
the #1 Legion in Calgary. We had Ricky Maymi
(Far Out Distant Sounds distribution, guitarist
for Brian Jonestown Massacre), Barnaby Bennett
(Two Headed Dog booking) and Kid Millions
(performing at the show, Oneida, more) answer a
few questions to get you acquainted with what’s in
store at the show.
BeatRoute: How did you first become aware of
Carsick Cars, Chui Wan, Zhang Shou Wang and
Ricky Maymi: I was exposed to this music in August
2012 in Melbourne, Australia by a good friend named
Julian Wu. He’s Chinese Australian and went to China
to visit some family and came back with a suitcase full
of CDs. I found the music to be foreign yet familiar.
Greater than its influences and also slightly dangerous,
brimming with a certain youthful vitality seldom
heard in the modern day youth culture of the western
world. I got involved with the labels Maybe Mars and
Genjing Records in Beijing to help with some DIY
distribution and now we have a new company, Far
Out Distant Sounds, which deals exclusively in underground
Chinese bands. I’ve tour managed and booked
North American tours for Carsick Cars and Chui Wan
in the past and work with Two Headed Dog in Canada
to bring the bands there.
BR: How do you think these bands fit in/stick
out from the indie scene in China? How do
they fit in/stick out from one another?
RM: Carsick Cars are one of the longest standing
names in Chinese rock. They, along with PK14 paved
the way for almost all the bands that came after them
in the Beijing scene, maybe some other places in China
too. Chui Wan are a world unto themselves. They
don’t fit in with anybody, nor do I believe any of that
interests them as artists. Alpine Decline are a band
originating from L.A. but who decided to move to
Beijing and found themselves embraced by this scene
to the point where they are basically a Chinese band.
BR: What can you tell our readers about the
collaboration between Kid Millions and Zhang
Kid Millions: The performance will be drum set and
whatever instruments Zhang Shou Wang is interested
in playing. When we played last time he used electric
organ and Shahi Baaja [a modification of an early
20th-century Indian instrument played with strings
and typewriter keys]. There’s no discussion in advance.
I had just met Shou Wang a few minutes we went onstage.
We just got up there and improvised. It will be
the same on this tour. This performance was instigated
by Nevin Dormer (founder of Genjing Records) when
I visited China in 2014, I had heard of Carsick Cars of
course and was open to anything.
BR: It’s not often we see Chinese bands in
Calgary. Do you think there’s a cultural value
to this? If so, what?
Barnaby Bennett: One-hundred per cent – not
only are these some of China’s best bands, they
are some of the best live bands performing anywhere
right now, period. Chui Wan’s unique style,
anchored by Wu Qiong’s hypnotic bass riffs, has
led to them to play festivals such as Austin Psych
Fest and should appeal to fans of bands such as
Tame Impala. The last time Carsick Cars played in
Calgary the venue was at capacity all night with a
wild crowd, and another Chinese band we booked
with Ricky called Birdstriking played last year’s
Sled Island and was named as a festival highlight in
multiple publications. And speaking of Sled Island,
Kid Millions was just at this year’s Sled with Oneida,
Man Forever and People of the North, and this will
be the first ever North American performance by
his project with Shou Wang from CSC.
Carsick Cars, Chui Wan, Kid Millions + Zhang Shou
Wang and Alpine Decline will be playing at the #1 Legion
in Calgary on October 7th, at the UP+DT festival
in Edmonton on October 8th, at The Royal in Nelson on
October 9th and at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver
on October 10th.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 25
I AM THE MOUNTAIN
forest folk turns soulful in new expression
Am the Mountain (IATM) is forever growing.
Since their last release in June 2015 (While Off
Adventuring), IATM has gained three full-time
members as well as a healthy local following.
Colton O’Reilly, the heart and mind behind the
project, believes that in life everything is constantly
growing into newer, better versions of itself.
“The world isn’t stopping either, so you have to
grow with it.”
As new member Jesse Aaron Shire explains it,
the pursuit of living authentically is the mainstay
within the supportive arts and music community
in Calgary. “People talk a lot about what it is to live
through your passion and I think I’m finally starting
to realize what that means, embodying it, having it
manifest in a certain way.”
This most recent manifestation is an evolution
of their sound and style. Each musician brings
their own feel and finds a fit between O’Reilly’s
A new track from the upcoming album, “Motorcycles,”
begins with mellow chords echoing,
trumpet twinkling in with a great lick before
Colton’s voice slinks over it all. The tune is sultry
but soft, delicate and dulcet. Jazzy drums back
it all as IATM takes us on a sensual, sincere trip,
complete with a tremendous trumpet solo.
As the song fades, we are left with the refrain:
“If you find yourself, just keep finding yourself…
by Andrea Hunter
photo: Mike Tan
And your love will shine through.”
It evokes the feeling of constant metamorphosis.
As Shire explains it, “We’re developing our sound,
while still keeping a foot where we were. But it’s a
transition, growing together, trusting each other.
Hopefully people will latch onto that and appreciate
that as well.”
IATM is playing alongside many other great artists
at Circle the Wagons, a community-centric festival
rooted in a beautiful park setting. “We’ve never really
played a festival before, so we are very excited to play
alongside a great cast of talent, including our idols…
Our name is on the neck of a llama [referring to the
event’s promo poster], and it’s beside Scenic Route
to Alaska, which is our all-time favourite band. So it’s
a little dreamy.”
Shire reflects on the various shows he’s played,
big and small, and remarks that it’s not the quantity
of crowd but the quality of their enthusiasm and
engagement that really matters: “It’s more about the
atmosphere we try and create, so people can get
invested and sink into it. We want to create a space
for whatever space people are in.”
Catch I Am The Mountain at Calgary’s own Circle
the Wagons festival Sept. 10 alongside Beats Antique,
Goldfish, The Velveteins, Yes We Mystic, and
many more. Head to circlethewagons.ca for event
and ticket info.
‘you can be so blindsided by love’
As if by fate, four men from three countries
all found themselves in the same city, with
a common dream: making music. Tom
Stefoulis, from Sydney, Australia, came to Calgary
thinking he would stay for six months. “My first
night,” Stefoulis reminisces, “I went to a show and
watched three Calgary bands; 36?, The Ashley
Hundred, and Windigo; at a basement party,
and I remember thinking, ‘This place is cool, I’m
going to want to stay a bit longer.’” His best friend
Will McCartney flew to Canada to join him and
together they continued their quest. Stefoulis was
fundraising on a street corner and met Mr. Clark
from South Africa, whose son Brayden would
soon become the drummer for the band. While
auditioning musicians from Kijiji, they found, and
fell for, Phil Hulan from Ontario.
Their forthcoming EP, Leave The Light On is an
intimate follow-up to their self-produced How To Be
A Lion (2014). It tells the tale of the many facets of a
romantic relationship: “A relationship that was quite
literally tearing my world apart, tearing my sanity
apart,” Stefoulis confesses. “You can be so blindsided
The recording of the EP, produced by Nygel Asselin
(Half Moon Run, Cairo), took place over weeks
by Beth McIntyre
in multiple studios and several cities, one of which
being The Farm Studios in B.C. The band went into
recording with an open mind. They were using older
equipment – “vintage,” Hulan corrected – and had
big technical difficulties halfway through recording.
There were surprise buzzes and various noises, but
the band did their best to not stress over perfection.
Stefoulis believes, “A record is like a snapshot: the
songs change and evolve all the time, and a record
just saves a snapshot of how it is right now.”
The music video for “Take Me,” directed by LKVisuals,
was filmed in Calgary and Ghost Lake. It’s a
tribute to the beauty of the city and its surroundings.
The stunning visuals match the intensity of the song
perfectly as a giant fire is blazing in front of Stefoulis,
Clark flawlessly drums out the almost too complex
and groovy bridge drum bar. The video tells the story
of a tumultuous relationship, and creates the perfect
backdrop for the song.
Multiple shots of whiskey, many hours spent playing,
a few days in paradise, and one black eye later,
Leave The Light On was ready to see the light of day.
Belvue is excited to celebrate their EP release at Vern’s
on September 2nd, with Run Deer Run, Happy Birthday,
and Brayden Bell.
photo: Brayden Clark
Neal Moignard emerges from four years in the shade
It’s been four years since we’ve heard from Neal Moignard as Knots. The
solo singer/songwriter who sailed into the sunset with 2012’s White
River of White Lies has now returned armed with a ‘90s college rock-fueled
missile, blazing through the late summer sky, with the forthcoming
Four Years in the Shade.
The album’s debut track, “Higher Power,” immediately states that
Moignard and his newly assembled band deserve our undivided attention.
The track intelligently marries the sounds of his earlier influencers, like The
Microphones, to the ilk of Pavement and a slew of DIY music titans. Guitars
feverishly blast with equal parts panache and groove, while Moignard’s
confident vocal delivery dances around a spirited rhythm section to deliver
a sound that’s altogether new and inviting, yet also to be admired with a
sense of nostalgia.
After peeling back the curtain on previous Knots material (2009’s
The Blistering Sun, the Pale Moon, Hahahaha saw the band tour across
the country with Calgary-turned-Montreal art rock stalwarts BRAIDS),
there’s a curiousness about what prompted such a significant update in
sound. Moignard admits it was a combination between a chance meeting
with guitarist Lauchlin Toms (Violence, Port Juvee) at the recently
defunct — and greatly missed — Good Luck Bar and a first-of-its-kind
residency offer at CJSW radio.
“When I met Neal, I looked at him and said, ‘I used to watch you
when I was younger. I loved your music in that era,’” explains Toms
about their run-in.
“I was totally out of form… I just thought that maybe Lauchlin would be
a good guy to put me back in the headspace,” remembers Moignard. With
the offer of a residency by CJSW music director Whitney Ota to conceptualize,
write and demo the new Knots material in the station’s studio space,
the creation of Four Years in the Shade began.
Throughout the next six months at CJSW, the two wrote song outlines
that would grow to become the album. Before turning to friend and neighbour
Craig Fahner (Feel Alright) to record, Moignard and Toms recruited
bassist Jared Larsen and drummer Dylan Cameron (Empty Heads) to
complete the sound. The newly minted Knots took the rough songs into
the studio and put down the record in a two-day barrage. “The connection
in the room was amazing,” beams Toms of the process. “The direction of
the music took on a life of its own.”
Witness the release of Knots’ Four Years in the Shade via Bart Records on
September 7th at Broken City with guests Fiver, Feel Alright and We Knew.
by Brett Sandford
photo: Brett Sandford
26 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
modern classical that’s more than just Mozart
Local composers, small venues, shared sense of community, modern classical music.
Now bursting into its second year, the
Timepoint Ensemble is largely focused on
cultivating and exploring the grassroots
new music community in Calgary. With a focus
on accessible, free education programs revolving
around pushing “new music” or what is commonly
called “contemporary classical” in Calgary
to the forefront of new audiences, the Ensemble
is planning for a jam-packed season. Following a
photo: Kenneth Locke
highly experimental debut, now that the Ensemble
has figured out its members’ strengths and
created relationships with many musical partners
(including choreographers, composers and other
musicians), the Ensemble is now branching out to
explore the potentials of community to prove that
classical music does not have to begin and end
The 12-person musical coalition includes soloists
by Arielle Lessard
specializing in everything from the French horn,
violin, clarinet and sometimes even uses found
objects like books to bring its pieces to life. Timepoint
is unique in offering triple the regular amount of
shows for such a group, clocking in at 10 per year. In
2015, they commissioned six works and hosted the
world premiere to eight pieces, a huge undertaking.
Mathew James, the Ensemble’s artistic director and
French horn soloist says that they’re “as loud as [they]
can be about it” and try to “get friction with Calgary
Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) and Calgary Opera.
Even though we’re all classically trained that’s sort of
where the similarities end.” It’s this resistance against
formality and their willingness to create and explore
that makes Timepoint an oddity in the Calgary’s
The ensemble is a not-for-profit and is putting
loads of creative energy into connecting programs,
venues and initiatives that are vastly different from
one another. They play works by, and collaborate
with, living composers and bounce between venues
from show to show. In a sense, they’ve successfully
abandoned the traditional quest for a home venue in
favour of interacting with spaces and meshing with
local communities “in spaces people already go to.”
One of their most ambitious and bizarre upcoming
projects is an interactive music installation in
collaboration with Escape the Room. James says,
“Usually, what we’re seeing a lot of lately are vibration
speakers in music installations, but [for this project]
we’re still figuring out how to make sound as interactive
as possible for audience members. The idea for
this is conceived with composers to have you interact
with live music, with the unseen members of the
Ensemble that are behind the wall. Everything is still
in its early development stages right now but we’re
exploring how to give the audience direct control and
impact on the Ensemble.”
The Ensemble has also made a conscious effort
to create digital resources to fill a void that they
identified in Calgary. Online, Timepoint has a slew
of media content such as live performances, “Meet
the Ensemble” features, and podcasts discussing
everything from their projects to personal interests
to encapsulate “21st century culture through the lens
of music.” They also have a Patreon crowdfunding
campaign that offers patrons more access to the new
content they’re consistently generating. “The state
of economics in the arts makes it so that it’s a blend
of profit generation, donations, and grants but we
always want to bring things back to the community
level. We kind of follow an ‘80s punk ideal. We don’t
want to play concert halls and we don’t want to be in
tuxedos. We want to be in bars, in venues, connecting
directly with our audience,” James says, “And we want
to make a lot of noise.”
The Timepoint Ensemble kicks off their 2016 season
with a free-to-the-public performance of “Bridging
Divides - Cascades, Layers, and Nightmares” at Mount
Royal University, in the TransAlta Pavilion Room
ED2102 on September 24th.
September is upon us, with a flurry of students
laden with back to school gear, a cooling
of temperatures, and the last few summer
festivals packed into a short few weeks. To start the
month off a little differently, local rapper Eazy Mac
brings us Music For The Visually Impaired, a short
film premiering at The Plaza Theatre September 1st.
Meant as an accompaniment for his album release,
the premiere seeks to eschew the limits of logic in
favour of progression and will be followed by an
onstage interview conducted by fellow Calgarian
The first week/weekend in September brings us
Calgary Pride! This year’s festivities include involvement
from more venues than ever before and events
that span from August 25 to September 4th, so there’s
plenty of time to learn, support,
mingle and enjoy. Check out the Calgary Pride
website for full event listings.
To round out the last dregs of festival season, two
greats compete for audiences on September 10th.
One Love, western Canada’s largest hip hop music
festival, who this year bring us paradoxical talent like
Atmosphere and Big Sean takes to Millennium Park
the same day that Circle The Wagons will delight
audiences and benefit our local communities. The
festival that combines circus culture and playground
activities, food trucks and beer, local and touring acts,
electronic and acoustic, family fun and more adult fare
takes over the University District this year. Local talent
like I Am The Mountain, Scenic Route To Alaska, and
Windigo, will take to stage alongside Calgary’s Cirque
de la Nuit, as well as touring giants like Goldfish and
If you have a hankering for ‘90s to early ‘00s pop/
rock/alternative hits (don’t we all), Rockin’ 4 Dollar$
is hosting a Big Shiny Tunes themed event September
14th. This may be your one and only shot to see
Classic Action cover Blink-182, The Wells cover No
Doubt, and If I Look Strong; You Look Strong cover
Marilyn Manson. Probably. Well, almost definitely. You
shouldn’t miss it either way.
And finally, Calgary’s week-long art, science and
technology celebration, Beakerhead runs September
14th-18th and includes plenty of think-outside-thebox
workshops, massive art installations, Extreme
Boardgaming, Engineered Eats, and way more. This
festival is one of the most unique offerings our fair
city has and definitely a chance to learn something
new! Close out festival season by making your brain
a little bigger!
• Willow Grier
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 27
there’s no escaping their long arm
photo: Mark Preston
Mandible Klaw: You’ve probably seen them around.
mighty amalgam of Calgary bands that claims some serious reach
when it comes to connecting with their local scene, Mandible Klaw is a
partnership with an impressive musical lineage.
All told, the list of artistic affiliations shared amongst drummer Mikey,
vocalist Steve, bassist Niall, and guitarists Dave and Justin reads like a veritable
“OMG, it’s that guy!?” of YYC rock ‘n’ roll history. “Niall and I were in Spastic
Panthers, Justin and I were in Gudenpist and The Bloody Hells, and Steve and I
by Christine Leonard
were in the Nrbs,” explains Mikey.
According to vocalist Steve, the concept of forming Mandible Klaw had
been brewing for a while when he and Mickey set about recruiting co-conspirators.
“We decided to try and pick out the best parts of our favourite local bands
and see if they would be into it,” says Steve. “And they were! Everyone brought
some songs and ideas to our first jam and we played out four songs in a couple
hours. Then that was it!”
Courting infamy with their well-seasoned debut LP, Mandible Klaw has
stumbled upon a rich hunting ground for making original discoveries within
familiar territory on their emergent sonic creation.
“I love it. Definitely my favourite release I have been on. The music is really
tight and everyone’s input gels really nicely,” Steve continues. “No title and
no real theme either. The songs just kind of came out of how we were feeling
when we wrote them.”
Capturing the volatile style of the off-the-cuff Mandible Klaw, in-studio
and in the heat of the moment, presents a daunting technological challenge.
Thankfully, the intuitive skills of producer/engineer Graham Riddle, of Calgary’s
Wayfarer Sound, contributed a measure of mix-master control to their
audio innovations. Added to that, the steady steam-presses of Canada Boy
Vinyl, who stamped out the final product in all of its glossy 12-inch glory.
“Graham was awesome to record with,” confirms Niall. “The recording sessions
were really relaxed and, I think, that environment coupled with Graham’s
relentless enthusiasm brought out the best in all of us. One of my favourite
things about punk music is it’s not indulgent. I love playing shorter songs
because you’re not beating an idea to death. Short, explosive bursts are the
way to go.”
Fourteen pummeling 90-second-long tunes that create and destroy worlds
in the time it takes to fry an egg: now that’s a bargain, and a thrill, at any price.
Mandible Klaw’s album release party is September 10th with 2/3 of Nothing, Norwegian
Icebreaker and DSO at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club.
‘they’re coming out of the goddamn walls!’
photo: Hannah Cawsey
by Michael Grondin
Calgary’s horror-punk powerhouses the Conniving Cadavers have
released They Mostly Come at Night… Mostly, their first EP in two
years. It’s an exploration into ripping punk rock themed after the
‘80s classic horror film Aliens. The recording sees the band charge through
five tracks with their personalized brand of fast horror jams, and pay homage
to the imagery and sounds of their childhood.
“We’ve been friends for a long time. Aliens is a movie one of us taped off
the TV when we were little kids and we would have sleepovers at each other’s
houses and watch it endlessly,” says lead singer and guitarist Anthony
Janicki, of the band that got its start in high school.
“Since we’re a horror-punk band, we figured why not make an entire
five-song EP all about one of our favourite horror movies,” he adds. “We
basically picked our favourite parts of the movie and decided to write
songs about each of those scenes.”
They Mostly Come at Night… Mostly was recorded in Calgary at Echo
Base Studios. The Conniving Cadavers showcase a wide range of technical
abilities in quick and fun street punk with thrash metal stylings. But
they also have tons of poppy melodies and all the oohs and ahhs you can
expect from a horror-punk outfit.
“Generally, horror-punk has very poppy melodies and sound, and we
really like that,” says Janicki. “I try to bring my own edge to the vocals, and
we try to have the music show our individual styles while also showcasing
the music we love.”
Janicki has illustrated a music video in tow for the release. With the
Conniving Cadavers channeling the sound of such acts as the Misfits and
Iron Maiden, the shocking images and theatrics the band use in humorous
style pairs nicely.
Janicki says having a distinct theme is his band’s main motivation, and
this approach seems to have staying power.
“The Conniving Cadavers are a novelty in that kind of way, because we
try to be memorable by having an image and characters, and it’s a lot of
fun,” he explains. “We broke up for six years and when we got back together
and people still remembered us and I think it’s because of this distinct
Conniving Cadavers will be releasing their EP at Broken City on September 9
alongside Forbidden Dimension and Misused.
28 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
double album heavy on synth, easy on the heart
Edmonton-based Synth-goth darlings Cygnets
have been dealt many different genres and
labels during their six-year existence. One thing
everyone can agree on is their ability to sound as
though they’re from anywhere but Edmonton, or
even this decade.
It’s easy enough to compare the three-piece to
Depeche Mode with their sullen exterior and pulsating
synths that morph easily from a dark baseline into pop
lightness. What Cygnets do a bit differently from most
new wave, post-punk, post-industrial bands is embrace
their hometown roots.
The last two years were comparatively quiet for
the band that’s had a steady output with releasing, on
average, an album a year since they started out in 2009.
The relative quiet, however, resulted in the Cygnets new
double album Alone/Together out Sept. 23.
Guitarist Chris Bruce was obviously excited to talk
about the new record, beaming to BeatRoute “we took
our time with this one for some reason! … It was cool.
We approached it differently. We let things come to
us more organically and that happened to take longer.
And with our label, Negative Gain, they have a bit more
structure in mind when it comes to releases.”
“A lot of the songs were written around the same
time; arguably as a cohesive thing,” adds vocalist/
multi-instrumentalist Logan Turner. “Thematically
linked, I guess you could say. Isolation in society seems
to be the most prevalent thought.”
Comprised of Turner, Bruce and synth player/
multi-instrumentalist Dan Snow, the simplicity of the
line-up makes space for outside projects to emerge and
continuously breathe fresh life into the existing Cygnets.
As Turner succinctly puts it, “Outside of music, I do
When the dudes in Cygnets aren’t playing their
synths in the dark, they’re out and about creating music
videos to go with their tracks.
Cygnets paid kids “in cake” filming their latest music video.
by Brittany Rudyck
Although some may view the concept of doing a
music video as outdated or irrelevant, Bruce was quick
to point out their continued importance as an art form.
“We were arguably part of a generation that viewed
music videos as very important because they were
marketed to us so hard,” says Bruce. “I appreciate them
as an art form first and foremost. So now that marketing
dollars and the push behind them has melted
away we aren’t waiting for anyone to do them for us.
We’re always figuring out ways to make it happen,
which ultimately makes us better filmmakers and
artists as a result.”
That sentiment is beautifully blatant in Cygnet’s most
recent video for “I’m Sorry (So Sorry),” which shows the
band not having any fun in the West Edmonton Mall
Galaxyland amusement park.
Both Turner and Bruce laughed when asked about
the making of the video, which cost the band virtually
nothing to create. Scenes feature the trio not
enjoying the rides at Galaxyland, riding Edmonton’s
High Level Bridge Streetcar, and invading a little girl’s
While the birthday party may have been staged it
seemed to feel a little real for the boys in the band.
Logan jokes, “We felt so bad for her! We kept feeling the
need to tell her she was doing great and that she wasn’t
Bruce chimed in, adding, “She was a good sport
though. She’s the daughter of one of our fans and it
wasn’t even really her birthday. We bought her a cake
and told her she could keep it afterwards. We essentially
paid them in cake.”
Catch the formidable Cygnets at their album release
party on September 21st in Edmonton at the Buckingham
with Strvngers and iVardensphere. Also catch
them on September 22nd in Calgary at Broken City
with Regina’s Extroverts.
JESSE AND THE DANDELIONS
kind of true blue
by Haley Pukanski
photo: Levi Manchak
Jesse and the Dandelions sure know how to have fun.
Emotional folk heroes Jesse and The Dandelions
release their third album on September
9th. Vocalist and songwriter Jesse
Northey gets personal with the release of his
new album, True Blue. “Mostly I’m asking who
in life are the real deal. Are they stars? Does
being a star make you a jerk?” Jesse asks.
True blue features melodic riffs built on top
of catchy beats to create a soothing vintage,
poppy sound. The eight-track album comes
along with an aesthetically fitting promotional
infomercial (which debuted on HYPERLINK
and a music video for the album
anthem, “No Fun.” Both videos touch on the
playful energy that the album dances around
but also takes regimented ideas and forms them
into cohesive themes. “The video was an homage
to my past also while poking a little bit of fun at
myself,” says Northey. From the figure-skating
Northey in the “No Fun” video, to the awkwardness
of an ‘80s-style infomercial in the promotional
vid, Jesse and the Dandelions warm you up
from your toes to your soul. Along with writing,
producing, recording and performing, Northey
has enlisted the help of local film producers and
actors to create a venerable world of indie pop
tunes sure to follow you throughout the fall and
winter. As a recording engineer, Northey engaged
his resources to influence the entire album and all
that it encapsulates. “I got into recording in the
first place so that I would have the ability to create
my own albums,” notes Northey, “it obviously has
For True Blue, Northey worked with local
musicians Aidan Lucas Buckland and Aaron
Parker, who performed synth and drums on
the album, respectively. Unlike the previous
Dandelion records, Northey mentions that he
“pushed it a little further with some strings
[recorded by Nathan Wong] on the track,
‘North Star.’” The strings particularly create a
complete different texture on top of the soft,
spooky synth lines. Along with “North Star,”
the intense pop songs of True Blue are sure to
be bangers for your night drives, parties, and
cozy nights in.
Throughout the album emotions fly and the
truth is faced. “My music grapples with some
existential questions I have with myself, but don’t
really know how to talk about,” Northey explains.
“Yet I think the songs are a little less personal on
this album than previous ones and focus more on
broad themes,” hence the fun, warm, cozy feel.
The progression of Jesse and The Dandelions
is going solid and remains steady. Since their
first release in 2012, Northey has recorded and
self-produced three full-length albums. “I think
this album sounds a lot better than the last
one and the songs are definitely a little more
ambitious and adventurous.” Northey says. “If
you are aware of your progress you are able to
understand what choices you need to make in
order to move forward.”
It’s clear that Northey is following his dreams.
So far this year, Jesse has played Sled Island,
Funfest, and Canadian Music Week and will be
playing Breakout West in the fall. The future of
Jesse and The Dandelions is looking brighter than
ever with a two-month tour to promote the
release of True Blue.
Check out Jesse and the Dandelions on September
1st at The Needle in Edmonton, on September 9th
in Lethbridge at the Slice and, on September 10th
in Calgary as part of Circle the Wagons festival.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 29
BOOK OF BRIDGE
LOVE & RECORDS MUSIC FESTIVAL AND RECORD FAIR
the labour of love that’s become a town staple
“It is this astonishing little festival that is,
in my opinion, one of the best festivals
in all of Canada, and I’ve been to a ton of
them,” says Tyler Stewart, guitarist and vocalist
of local poppy garage rock band Sparkle
Blood, who are performing at this years Love &
Records. “It’s a combination of all these great
things: it’s free, it has a huge record fair, which
you don’t really see at any festival, it’s super
inclusive, it’s right downtown, there’s a beer
A kid zone, food trucks, outdoor art gallery, a
disc golf course, a comedy tent, and this year, just
for good measure, there is also a ferris wheel.
“It’s the biggest festival in town, and it’s run by
this tiny little radio station that’s pretty much all
volunteers and it’s mind-blowingly good,” says
Stewart, “It’s a high quality event. It’s amazing.”
“We just wanted to get bands and people into
music culture together,” says Aaron Trozzo, station
manager of CKXU 88.3 FM, Lethbridge’s community/campus
radio station. “We wanted bands and
records and record lovers in one place.”
“It’s been so cool to see it conceptualize and
grow and succeed as it has,” says Ryland Moranz,
local singer-songwriter who will be playing
songs from his debut solo release, ‘Hello New
Old World’, at this year’s festival.
“I’ve been a huge believer in CKXU for over
a decade and really appreciate everything it
OWL ACOUSTIC LOUNGE
meet the music man behind it all
photo: Jayme Javier
Steven William Foord: The man behind the music.
was a specific show, years ago, at the Slice,” says Steven
William Foord, co-owner of the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
“It was Elliott Brood, Sun Parlour Players and The Acorn.
That show blew me away. It just opened a weird part of my brain
that said, “This is amazing,’ and it changed how I viewed live music
and my perception of live music here.”
“It’s like the difference between Sour Puss and a good scotch. I was
Cowpuncher at last year’s Love & Records fest.
does for the community,” says Moranz. “I firmly
believe CKXU has had a big hand in creating the
musical community we have here now.”
“CKXU has totally supported local artists the
whole way through, and vicariously it does that
like, ‘Wow, there’s something different, and it actually tastes good?” This
live show, in the now recently-closed music venue The Slice Bar and Grill,
was the musical scotch to Foord’s ears, and he saw a new life path laid
out before him.
“I was always going to take over the family store,” says Foord. “I
worked with my dad for about two years, and as much as I loved him,
I just felt myself getting really depressed. I didn’t feel like I had done
photo: Jayme Javier
through Love & Records now too,” says Moranz.
“The music has always been very Albertan, or
at least very Canadian. It really supports people
that are great from our country, and our side of
by Courtney Faulkner
“It’s a part of CKXU’s mandate, to showcase
and promote cultural diversity in Southern
Alberta,” says Tseten Drawuu, Love & Records
“It’s community building and community
driven,” says Moranz.
With Love & Records in its sixth year, this free
festival, which is organized completely by volunteers,
offers something for everyone to enjoy.
“I remember there was this old couple sitting
on a park bench and they stopped me because
I had a radio and they said, I just want to thank
you, this is really really nice, it is just so good,”
says Curtis Goodman, Love & Records project
“And that’s why I love when we nail the diversity
of the lineup,” says James Marshalsay, Love
& Records operations manager, “Everybody gets
a piece, and that’s what makes people love Love
Love & Records is proud to present Delhi 2
Dublin, Royal Canoe, Five Alarm Funk, Megan
Nash, Geoff Berner, Kris Demeanor, Boots and
the Hoots, The Lethbridge Symphony’s String
Quartet, Musaeus, Ryland Moranz and his band,
Sparkle Blood, Groove Apostles and Thunder
Chief at this year’s festival.
Love & Records is from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., September
17, for free, in Galt Gardens.
by Courtney Faulkner
anything, it was just like me taking over what he had done. Music was
becoming more of a thing with me, and it was what I was more passionate
about than anything.”
After being asked by a friend the pertinent question, “What are you
doing?” everything clicked. It was music.
Once Foord decided to follow his artistic passion, the opportunity
quickly arose to manage a local music venue, Henotic.
“That’s where I met Mel,” says Foord, speaking of his business partner
Mel Dominguez, the head chef of the Owl, and the master of a gourmet
poutine menu that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. “Mel and I had
talked about, at some point, doing our own thing. Then, a couple weeks
after Henotic closed, the venue where the Owl is now became available.”
“We just made it work, it was crazy,” says Foord. “The first couple years
were very lean and tight and hard, but it was always worth it.”
“My entire day is just about music and art, and of course there is other
stuff that isn’t as glamorous, but I still never am scared to go to work. It’s
the coolest job I’ve ever had,” says Foord.
“Art is such an all-encompassing kind of thing. Food is art, T-shirts
are art, music is art, writing is art...expression in whatever form. It’s what
makes life interesting.”
The Owl Acoustic Lounge celebrated their sixth anniversary this past
June, and plan to continue curating a musical nest in the windy city for
years to come.
“You make it so it so it’s open and welcoming, and understand that
people are coming from different places,” says Foord. “If it can happen to
me, it can happen to anybody. Create those conditions so people can see
how beautiful it all is.”
“There’s so much potential in this area. If you actually stop and appreciate
it, it’s not really like anywhere else, in a good way. It’s something
worth fighting for.”
To see this month’s schedule search Owl Acoustic Lounge on Facebook.
30 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
INSTRUMENTS OF EVIL
a grindhouse extrava-gory-ganza
What do you get when you take a set of demon possessed
instruments, latex make up, a camera crew, and more willing
Saskatoonians than a narcissist themed love-in? The Saskatoon
produced, written, directed, filmed, and acted comedy/horror classic
Instruments of Evil, a movie of vignettes following the exploits of unwilling
saps who come across demonic instruments. From Hip Hop Zombies,
Viking folklore, rock and roll dealings with the Devil, a flabbergasted cop
teaming up with a strong-sensed hooker, and the worst Christmas dinner
ever, Instruments of Evil is a clever contribution to the cannon of independent
Creating a list of questions for writer/director/actor Huw Douglas Evans
to use as a basis to construct a well-worded, thought-provoking article, I
received, using Evans’ own words, answers “like those rambling manifestos
mass murderers and bombers leave behind.” In that vein, after cutting over
3,000 words, is Evans’ own “rambiling manifesto” regarding his non-government
funded, self-produced, written, directed and shot (except for
the one-quarter that was written, directed, and shot by the brilliant Curtis
Anderson) independent film Instruments of Evil. (Spoiler alerts will be
kept to a minimum.)
by The Riz
new edition to the Banff-Canmore live circuit,
a classy barn-burner
by B. Simm
BeatRoute: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. First
off, what were your biggest challenges creating IOE?
Huw Douglas Evans: The effort required to create a feature-length film,
even a low-budget B-movie like Instruments of Evil turned out to be
staggering, and the fact I had to do so many tasks myself compounded
the difficulty, as did my woeful lack of experience. My OCD and inclination
to micromanage didn’t help either, but the experience has at least
partially cured those tendencies! Although I did do most of it myself, it’s
important to mention that Curtis Anderson entirely wrote and directed
the “Gratuitous Violins” segment – essentially one quarter of the movie –
and I also had incredible support from my sons, Dylan and Douglas, who
ran cameras and helped in too many other ways to mention. Douglas also
assisted with some of the writing and Dylan did all our editing. Without
these three guys, my dear wife Brenda a.k.a. “Sugar Momma” bringing in a
real paycheque, and about 150 other people who helped out, I would not
BR: How did the casting call work? Did you have auditions or tap
HDE: Every which way you can imagine. Some people we knew, some
responded to audition calls, some I called, some called me, many are
professional actors but just as many are not.
BR: The main cop character is named, and acted, by Henry Savage, a
great local reference! All the performances seem natural. As a director,
how did you get inexperienced actors to buy into their characters
HDE: We had planned to audition Rich Belhumeur, who plays Sgt. Henry
Savage, before shooting but something came up, so we went into that
two-day shoot in the cop shop location totally cold. I had no idea if Rich
could act or not. Fortunately for me, he was fantastic and he and Anna
Mazurik (who played Nadine the hooker) had excellent chemistry and
really carried the ending of the film. I am grateful to all our actors and crew;
everyone gave much, much more than I could reasonably have expected.
BR: As a side point, I contacted Rich Belhumeur, aka Savage Henry, Saskatoon
shock rock aficionado, and asked how he received the role in IOE.
Savage Henry: I got drunk and BS’d Huw about how good my acting was,
and he ended up giving me a part!
BR: How important was it for you to have local references in your
movie, such as local musician Savage Henry, local noir-punk band
Shockflesh and the iconic 8th Street Books and Comics, with owner
Pat Thompson right in the front row of the rock concert scene?
HDE: I want the film to be entertaining to anyone in the world, but I also
like having some Saskatoon references and jokes. You might have noticed,
for example, that the cop who catches the dildo is called “Dirks,” which is
a reference to “Dirty Dirks,” the sex shop that used to be on 20th Street. I
was oddly thrilled when someone at the test screenings actually got that
BR: Who was in charge of your effects and how difficult was it to pull
HDE: We had excellent makeup people throughout the three years of
shooting. They were often sweet, innocent-looking young ladies who just
happen to love creating gruesome, bloody effects! For that face-pulling
effect, the artist was Amanda Ashdown who was only 15 at the time. In a
classic Saskatchewan story, I reconnected on Facebook with a guy I’d ridden
the school bus with 45 years ago in my hometown, happened to see
some Hallowe’en makeup his daughter Amanda had done, and hired her!
BR: How was IOE received, critically and by fans?
HDE: Astoundingly well! I’m honestly starting to worry about people’s
taste and sanity! Of course “B-movie” or “grindhouse” films represent
a niche market that will never appeal to some people, but we’ve been
amazed at how well that target demographic (weirdos like me, basically)
has received the film. Paul Corupe, who runs Canuxploitation.com, and
who is as knowledgeable about this type of film as anyone in this country,
called it, “An absurdly funny horror anthology that hits all the right notes!”
I can’t ask for more than that! It’s also interesting to see family and friends
who would never normally go to an exploitation movie like this, watching
the show and enjoying it.
BR: Now that IOE is released, what are the audience options for Canadian
made, independent horror flicks?
HDE: If you find out, let me know! I am relying on reviews and articles like
this to spread the word for now before attending trade shows. We have
DVDs for sale through www.eyecat.com (or just contact Instruments of
Evil on Facebook) and the good people at Videonomicon are distributing
limited edition VHS tapes for the retro collector market. We are also looking
at the possibility of more theatrical showings around Saskatchewan. If
it isn’t obvious yet, I am making it up as I go along!
Check out eyecat.com to order Instruments of Evil on DVD.
Geoff Hilhorst: Beauty of a beast booking the Creekside.
Marcus and Carolyn Abrahampson, owners of the Creekside Villa
located on the climb up Benchlands Trail in Canmore, proudly
proclaim their establishment as a boutique hotel. Both born
and bred in the hospitality industry, they were keen to create something
different when they focused on their vision for the hotel. Part of the
unconventional plan was to pull in Geoff Hilhorst to tranform the main
dining room into a live music venue.
Hilhorst, who’s well-known in Western Canada as a session musician,
recording engineering, and formerly the keyboardist for Saskatoon’s
Deep Dark Woods, was willing to take on the task but not without
“I said, ‘Here’s what we got to do.’ We need a high-quality PA system, we
need to build a stage, and we need some lights if we’re going to make a go
of this.” The Abrahampsons agreed, purchased a $9000 sound system that
set Hilhorst in motion.
Since mid August, the Creekside has had a handful of artists test drive
the space including Romi Mayes and the John Evans Band, a crack country-swing,
roots-rock outfit from Austin, TX who were playing a festival in
Montana suporting Corb Lund.
Hilhorst is not only pleased with the talent, but also the room’s sound
quality. “It’s got bamboo hardwood floors, 150-year-old barn wood walls,
and two solid wood beams on the ceiling. As a touring musician, it’s the
kind of room you’d want to come back and record a live record in, which
we’re able to do as well. It’s definitely not a barroom, but it’s a very special
Originally from Brantford, ON Hilhorst grew up playing music in a little
bar called Poor Folks Deli. Only 17, Hilhorst was part of a “top-notch jam”
that set up on Saturday afternoons and often featured players from Toronto.
“I learned to play by ear, and it was nerve-racking to sit in with that
caliber of musicianship. If I ever had the opportunity to set up a venue that
gave me the energy that Poor Folks did, I’d jump on it. Because if the music
is good, people will come. They’ll appreciate it.”
SEAN BURNS —Sun. Sept 25
PRETTY ARCHIE —Fri., Sept. 30
— Thurs., Oct. 8
DANIEL WESLEY —Weds., Oct. 6
VALDY —Weds., Oct. 23
— Thurs., Nov. 24
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 31
letters from winnipeg
bask in the beauty of sadness
by Julijana Capone
Dream-popsters Basic Nature will bliss you out and break your hearts.
photo: Eric Roberts
lushly crafted assortment of atmospheric dream-pop bliss, Basic
Nature’s debut EP Circles & Lines was one of the Manitoba releases
in 2015 that resonated with very little promotional effort.
“When we released ‘Gone,’ our first single on Circles & Lines, we didn’t do
anything for it,” says vocalist/guitarist Lizzy Burt. “We just released it on Facebook.
We had zero followers on the page. People kind of caught on to it. It was a
really nice surprise, and really unexpected.”
The strength of that EP led to two Eastern Canadian tours, and an opening
slot with shoegaze giants Swervedriver. Now they’re about to hit the road again
on a jaunt through Canada’s West with a beautiful new single, “Love Won’t
Always Be There,” to their name.
The single, as Burt notes, is a reflection on past relationships, but also a
stark reminder that you can’t always depend on other people for your own
“’Love Won’t Always Be There’ comes from the idea that everything’s going to
be okay as long as you love yourself,” she says.
Given the duo’s affection for floating Slowdive-inspired melodies of the
delightfully melancholic variety, it’s no surprise then that the duo, consisting
of Burt and drummer/vocalist Claire Bones, first came together on one of the
coldest and bleakest winters in Winnipeg’s history.
“Winter can be depressing, and a lot of songs from Circles & Lines stemmed
from the trials and tribulations in my life,” says Burt. “Winter is such an odd
beast and it can bring out the worst in people, but I feel like, for that particular
project, perhaps it brought out the best in our creativity.”
Indeed, it’s the marriage of Burt and Bones’ rhythm, reverb and sweet,
light-as-air vocals that makes their take on nu-gaze—or what they’ve
dubbed “prairiegaze”—a standout that’s altogether devastating and
“We don’t have boundaries. That’s for sure,” Burt explains. “Every time either
of us has an idea, we always try it. No matter how silly or bland it is. We just try
it, because you never know what’s gonna happen.”
keep it weird on sophomore LP
Culling from layers of soulful R&B grooves, rhythmic altpop,
hip hop, and leftfield indie-rock wonkiness, oddball
Winnipeg six-piece Royal Canoe are a band that doesn’t
take a wrong turn without knowing how to get out of it.
“I’d say our music is just a giant list of what not to do,” says member
Matt Schellenberg, joking about their intricate sound.
“On these last two records we’ve been working hard to try to
take something that is innately strange and uncomfortable, but
make it catchy,” says lead vocalist Matt Peters.
When I speak with Schellenberg and Peters in late August at a
pizza joint below their practice space, they’re planning to leave
the following day for a few music festivals in B.C, and readying
for a lengthy tour of North America in support of their highly
anticipated second full-length, Something Got Lost Between
Here and the Orbit, which is set for release on September 16th
via Nevado Music.
“Second records often suck,” says Schellenberg, with a laugh. “A
second record is telling the world whether you’re gonna be like a
Radiohead or a Weezer.”
“It’s not pressure so much as we had internal expectations for
this record to take the next step and try to refine the sound a bit,”
And so they enlisted Ben Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective,
Deerhunter) for co-production and mixing to augment their
alternate universe. “He was really great for making sure that we
were aware of the big picture, and tapping us on the shoulder, figuratively,
every once in a while and saying, ‘Listen guys, what story
are you telling?’” says Peters. “He really challenged us to try to make
better decisions in that regard.”
With the experimentation refined, the magic of Something
Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit lies in the band’s ability to
make infectious tunes without compromising their desire to boldly
tinker. Odd time signatures layered upon DIY samples, Royal Canoe
concoct songs that can be adventurous, sonically complex and still
make your heart swoon and your feet move in the end.
“That’s kind of been our M.O.,” says Peters. “Just to find the
metaphoric harmonics that exist in music, and out of that there’s
something new that maybe you had no idea would even be there.”
Manitoba sound artist Andy Rudolph also worked with the
band to manipulate a synthesizer to incorporate beluga whale
sounds, and convert outdoor lights from an Earls restaurant
Winnipeg alt-pop magicians Royal Canoe return with new LP.
by Julijana Capone
into a giant sampler for their live shows.
“It’s like a little brain is inside these lights,” says Peters. “When
you hit it, it triggers a sound but also a light that flashes…It’s
really exciting that we can push [our live show] to the next level,
push it visually.”
Aside from the experimental leaps made by the band, the crux
of the album—and the inspiration behind the record’s title—is
drawn from the constant state of flux that comes with tour life and
the challenge to maintain relationships.
Performing over 200 shows in the years following the release of
their brilliant 2013 debut, Today We’re Believers, the band has since
gallivanted around the globe with stints at mega-festivals, from
Osheaga to Bonnaroo, and tours with Bombay Bicycle Club and
Alt-J. Along with its rewards, that perpetual cycle of leaving and
returning has come with personal costs.
“This is the theme of the whole record lyrically,” says Peters.
“When you’re living in limbo or a transient life, which is just a necessary
aspect of being in a touring band, you can really try and keep
ahold of everyone with your phone, but it’s so difficult…Year after
year you start to see those relationships and friendships decline…
Then you get back and try and to get it going again, and then you’re
leaving tomorrow suddenly.”
“With the technology that we’re afforded now, you get this hazy
television signal, which is too good to stop watching, but not good
enough to see anything,” says Schellenberg. “That’s my metaphor
for text messaging and Skype when you’re trying to share experiences
with people… It’s just this hazy television signal—you weren’t
there, you don’t know the nuance of what happened.”
As the interview comes to an end, Peters looks down at his
T-shirt and says, “I mean, I’m wearing a shirt that says ‘Vodka’ on it. I
have to do laundry. We leave tomorrow.”
“We leave tomorrow?” Schellenberg asks, sounding surprised.
And so goes the rotation.
Royal Canoe perform at the Burton Cummings Theatre on September
15 (Winnipeg), Love & Records Festival on September 17 (Lethbridge),
the Imperial on September 30 (Vancouver), Lucky Bar on
October 1 (Victoria), Marquee Beer Market on October 5 (Calgary),
Bo’s Bar & Grill on October 6 (Red Deer), UP+DT Festival on October
7 (Edmonton), and Capitol Music Club on October 8 (Saskatoon). To
purchase the new record, head to royalcanoe.com.
Basic Nature perform at Broken City on September 30 (Calgary) and the Buckingham
on October 1 (Edmonton). For more information or to purchase their tunes,
head to basicnatureband.com
photo: Jaclyn Campanaro
32 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
career comeback for Canadian duo
Jeremy Greenspan brings back exuberance from other projects into Junior Boys.
Producer Jeremy Greenspan has a somewhat
complicated relationship to album making; at
least, the way he used to make ‘em.
In 2009, Greenspan and his co-conspirator
Matthew Didemus released their third album as
Junior Boys. That album, Begone Dull Care, found
the synth-pop stalwarts setting their sights on
big-budget, downtempo, disco balladry. Unfortunately,
Begone Dull Care wouldn’t be the reinvention
they were aiming for. The album was leaked
a full two months prior to its official release date,
photo: Tom Weatherill
complete with bootleg artwork, and a negative
review of the album as accompaniment. The leak,
coupled with the somewhat lukewarm critical reception
the album received, left Greenspan feeling
unappreciated and closed off to the idea of ever
working on a traditional album again.
After giving it one more try with 2011’s It’s All
True, the usually-affable producer finally gave up.
Shortly after, he stated his feelings on the album
format in various interviews with European music
blogs saying: “I don’t like the process of them, I
don’t like that they get leaked, and I don’t like
people who are just so thankless.”
When I talk to Greenspan on the phone from
Hamilton, he sounds like a new man.
It’s easy to see why; this past February, Junior
Boys returned after five years of relative silence
with their fifth album, the stunning Big Black Coat.
The LP is a sonically-rich, Detroit techno-influenced
adventure into the throes of a Hamilton
winter. The Ontario city’s post-industrial landscape
serves as the perfect backdrop for Greenspan’s
moody, modular synths and metronomic drum
machines. Big Black Coat is easily one of the strongest
entries in the duo’s discography, a sentiment
shared by the panelists in charge of selecting the
2016 Polaris Prize longlist.
But that wasn’t the only album that got Greenspan
a nomination, second being 2016 shortlister
Oh No, the album he co-wrote and co-produced
with Hyperdub mainstay, and fellow Hamiltonian,
In fact, it’s Lanza who Greenspan credits much
of his newfound success to. The two have been
collaborators since 2013, when Greenspan helped
co-produce Lanza’s debut album, Pull My Hair
Back. “I felt like I was able to do something other
than Junior Boys, and I was able to do something
other than Junior Boys that people liked. It gave me
some more confidence. It allowed me to change my
direction as to what Junior Boys could sound like.
That was really what changed everything for me was
working on the first album with Jessy.”
by Jamie McNamara
The producers clicked immediately, their
relationship and report blossomed quickly and
the music began to flow. The results have been
nothing short of amazing. Greenspan balanced
his time working on Big Black Coat and Lanza’s
sophomore record Oh No at the same time,
something that wouldn’t have happened the way
he used to work creatively. “I kind of wanted the
new Junior Boys to live somewhere in between
what I had done and the rawness of the techno
stuff. I thought the means of doing that was stuff
I learned from Jessy, this new quick approach.
As opposed to taking a lot of time with a small
amount of material, we took much less time with
a much larger amount of material. If we didn’t like
things we threw it out. The stuff that we did like
we got it finished really fast.”
The volume of tracks didn’t slow down after Big
Black Coat was finished either. The surprise release
of the Kiss Me All Night EP in August is another
example of Greenspan embracing immediacy.
Opening track “Yes” is a raw, pulsing electro cut
that is classic Junior Boys brought to the dancefloor
with confidence. As with many Junior Boys
songs, Greenspan’s lithe, vulnerable falsetto anchors
the track. No matter how he makes album’s
in the future, it’s nice to know some things will
Catch Junior Boys Sept. 15 at West End Cultural Centre
in Winnipeg, Sept. 17 at the Starlite Room in Edmonton,
and Sept. 18 at Commonwealth in Calgary.
after JUNO win, David Pimental heads into ‘full writer mode’
While the JUNO Awards tend to highlight Canada’s
most popular and already internationally established
acts, there are always a special few under-the-radar
artists to gain recognition during the proceedings. This year, one
of those artists was Pomo a.k.a. David Pimental, who took home
the Electronic Album of the Year award.
“I guess I just went into it with not that much expectations,”
Pimental says. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to win, so I tried to go in
and just have some fun. It was a great weekend, I was just happy
that when they announced the awards that the electronic album
was pretty early on in the show so I didn’t have to wait around the
whole time waiting to see.”
Originally from Port Moody (Po. Mo.), Pimental relocated to
Montreal seeking a more vibrant music community, but moved
back to Vancouver recently to explore the scene there. However,
when asked if he has been finding that nurturing, inspirational
scene that he sought out, Pimental responded: “You know what,
not really to be honest. I like it here because it’s relaxing, but there
isn’t really much – you can’t really go around and get inspired by
other musicians and other players because there isn’t that much
going on musically here.
“But since I travel a lot and I’m always going to L.A., or going back
to Montreal or different places, I can find inspiration when I travel
and then I come back here and it’s just nice to have a quiet place to
Los Angeles clearly has a big draw for Pimental and he is currently
in the process of sorting out the logistics for a move there.
“It’s just crazy over there. So I really want to go in there and just
live music and do it all day every day.”
With his last album The Other Day receiving so much acclaim,
Pimental only seems to want to up the ante. He has been touring
with Anderson .Paak this past summer and says, “pretty much
every show’s been sold out, so I feel like it’s been good exposure for
me, being able to open up for him.”
He is now slowing down on shows to focus solely on writing
more music. Since his first record, his creative process has changed
in the sense that he strives to incorporate more live instrumentation
into not just his live performances, but his studio work as well.
He says that since his production for the Mac Miller and Anderson
.Paak track “DANG!,” a great deal of “pretty notable” people
have asked him to send beat folders their way.
“A lot of hip-hop producers will have folders of beats just saved
up. I don’t really do that, but some of these opportunities I think
are pretty dope so I’m just trying to get in and just make as many
quality beats as I can and just save them and send out a folder and
try to get places with these people. And then also work on my
album at the same time. So I’m just going into full writer’s mode.
I’m trying to slow down on shows just so I can get in the zone and
crank out a bunch of new music.”
Pimental also spoke about a big desire to one day work on
television or movie soundtracks (the movie Drive came up in
conversation), incorporate MIDI-controlled visual elements to his
shows and surround himself on stage with talented players. He is a
young man of great vision, and truly one of Canada’s most exciting
Pomo performs at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver on September
4th and at Circle the Wagons in Calgary on September 10th.
Pomo explores his options after a big year.
by Paul Rodgers
photo: Viv Imara
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 35
LET’S GET JUCY!
What So Not brings ground-shaking bass to Banff on September 25th.
August is like the Sunday of the months for those of us returning
to school in September, the dreaded Monday of the year. For
the people not in school it only really signifies that the summer
months have drawn to a close, and I’m just hoping that all of you have
seen as many shows as Calgary has seen precipitation this summer. We
still have some time before fall, and with the holidays behind us, it means
promoters are back in full swing. Let’s have a gander at what’s in store for
There are a couple big ones off the bat, including U.K. bass heavyweights
Nero who return to Flames Central Sept. 2. They continue to elevate their
sound and visual components, and are always a good one to see.
On Sept. 3, coming all the way from Argentina is the progressive house
sounds of Hernan Cattaneo. This will be a great night of diverse house music
in the cozy atmosphere of Habitat.
Another great booking on the third is Glasgow’s The Revenge, who
performs at the Hifi Club. Hard to pin this 15-year veteran producer’s sound
down to one particular genre, but expect a wide range of electronic music:
disco, house and much more.
Ramping up the decibel levels are Figure and Protohype, who play at
Marquee Sept. 4 as part of their “Outta this World Tour.” Lots and lots of bass
in store at this one.
One of the U.K.’s finest producers of drum and bass, Bladerunner makes a
stop at Habitat Sept. 8; definitely not one to miss for all the junglists out there.
(God I hate when my computer autocorrects junglists to “jungliest…” *adds
House music superstar Duke Dumont has made countless anthems
over the past few years including 2014’s summery hit “I Got U.” Make sure
to snatch up tickets soon! I would not be surprised if this Sept. 15 show at
Flames Central sells out.
Can’t afford Burning Man, or are perhaps just not really down to spend a
week in the desert? Check out “A Taste of ‘That Thing in the Desert’” which
takes place Sept. 16 at the corner of 4 Ave and 8 Street S.W. Interactive art
displays, workshops and DJ sets will give attendees a glimpse into what takes
place at Black Rock City every year.
Take a quick trip out to the mountains on Sept. 25 and catch festival favourite
What So Not as he plays at the Dancing Sasquatch.
Finally for all you trap gods out there, you can see GTA play at the Marquee
on Sept. 30.
These are but a smattering of the month’s shows; hopefully I’ve named
a few that catch your eye. As always check back next month for more!
• Paul Rodgers
reverse engineering sound and art
Louis CZA and his family first moved to Calgary from Nigeria
in June of 2011, seeking new opportunities and with a
substantial amount of family already established waiting for
“It was pretty cool ‘cause I had that [family] back up,” explains
CZA. “But I also spent a lot of time alone because I’m kind of like an
introvert and I spend time alone with myself a lot, and when I came I
spent a really good time with myself and just like figuring out where I
wanted to be in life and if I really wanted to do music or make who I
was as a person, stuff like that.”
The biggest adjustment and struggle that faced and still faces CZA
was what he refers to as the “cowboy culture” in Calgary.
“The thing is money is kind of like power so the people with
the money are old, oil field people or people who have got rich off
farms and things like that and that’s kind of like what made cowboy
culture, boom was the money.”
When asked if he felt that the current economic recession in Alberta
might help to corrode the “cowboy culture,” CZA responded,
“struggle does make an entity stronger.”
He explained that he feels lucky to have come across various
subcultures that exist in the city; dance, hip hop, indie rock, etc. and
states that he loves Calgary despite its Cowtown brand, and that he
doesn’t want to run away from it.
“I find it’s better to be proud of what you’re building instead of
running into someone else’s establishment and so that’s my own
take on stuff - I like to be a creator, I like to create my own scene.”
He is certainly not one to let a city’s prevailing culture get him
down or to limit himself to one artistic medium. He produces his
beats, which can be heard on his newest album Filthy R.I.C.H. he
recently created a film company with his girlfriend called Chambers
Productions and creates works of art, sometimes inspired by his
neurological condition synesthesia, which allows him to see sounds
in his mind as colours.
As a child he thought he just had a really vibrant imagination, but
what is grown in the garden of hip-hop?
photo: Alexandra Leung
thing I really love about hip hop is that what
defines the genre is pretty loose,” muses Adam Odter
a.k.a. Odder Otter. “It’s speaking rhythmically instead
of singing and the music behind it is whatever you feel like
making it. It’s entirely up to interpretation.” Odder Otter’s own
experience with creative interpretation has led him through seven-going-on-eight
releases, with composition varying from being
entirely self-made to his current forthcoming project, which is
largely a collaboration with The Hidden Garden Collective.
“I have a hard time holding onto things. Once I have a collection
of songs I try to release it as soon as possible,” he explains. And
with this emphatic anxiousness, one can begin to understand the
forthcoming album, titled Garden Party or Aural Distraction For
A Diminished Attention Span. The “diminished attention span” is
multi-instrumentalist Odter. The “garden party” refers to the Collective,
the partnership Odter describes as having “fallen into.”
Blurring the boundaries of art and music.
by Paul Rodgers
as he grew older he found himself being drawn to jazz - African jazz
music in particular.
“Every time I heard stuff like that, my whole mind goes blank,
like completely black, and I don’t see anything but the colours of
the rhythms, it’s just so weird. I just hear a sax and see yellow being
drawn around in this black void, and I hear a snare and I see red
being put on certain places.”
This is where he draws inspiration for his own artwork, and the
process does work in reverse - he can see a painting and start to
form sounds in his mind.
CZA is a dynamic character. Condensing our conversation into a
limited word count is an impossible feat - just make sure you keep
his name on your radar.
You can catch Louis CZA at Festival Hall on September 30, performing
as part of a multifaceted art/fashion/music event.
by Willow Grier
Initially approached by J.Fisher of the Collective, Odter soon
learned that the crew spanned several continents and despite its vast
network, that it seemed to fit perfectly into the Otter’s wheelhouse.
Strangers from across the globe came together to create a complex,
varied, and surprisingly cohesive album. At times, the songs are reminiscent
of Death Grips, with crunchy electronic chaos and glitch, at
times, 8-Bit and mesmeric, and even still, there are more subdued, atmospheric
and cerebral elements. The kaleidoscope of styles fit well
with the challenging depth of Odter’s lyricism. Comparable to word
wizard Aesop Rock for complexity of rhyme schemes, burgeoning
vocabulary, and penchant for speaking about things few else would
think of, Odder Otter songs are a delight to sift through and listen
to time and time again. And you’ll have to, because you might miss
some hilarious cleverness, or low-key philosophy.
“I’ve challenged myself to not turn down beats. If other people
wanna make me beats, I don’t wanna say no, even if it’s not
something I’m super feeling at the beginning,” Odter explains of his
unique style. “I just figure out how to make it work and that’s made
me more versatile in my writing.”
Thankfully, the album will be released alongside a lyric book, embellished
with hand-drawn artwork by longtime friend and former
bandmate Carson Long, so songs like “Baphomet Boogie,” “Mick
and Rorty,” and the spectral and high flying free-verse denouement,
“Tender Bravado Pt 2” will not go amiss.
Odder Otter will release Garden Party or Aural Distractions for a
Diminished Attention Span in the month of September with touring
dates and online content. Check gofundme.com/odterbromtour2016
to contribute to the album’s progress and get in on exclusive merch
36 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE JUCY
seeing the spirit and the soul of America
by Mike Dunn
When Charles Bradley’s spirit opens up onstage, it’s extraordinary.
There’s an energy in Charles Bradley’s voice;
the boisterousness of a young man through
the measured tone of wisdom, of a man
who can only be slowed by forces beyond his
control. After a short health-related layoff in
Europe, Bradley is back at full strength, and itching
to get back out onstage. “Can’t tell me when to
sit down, nature’s gotta knock me down,” Bradley
tells BeatRoute with vigour, “I’m ready to get back
on the road, I’m bad to the bone and I love to give
the people what they want. Maybe that’s why
the Good Lord did what He did, ‘cause He know I
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires have been
vigorously touring the new release Changes, and
Bradley expects to get straight back to work once
he’s able to be home for a bit. “I got to finish what
I’m doin’ out in the world, you know, making people
happy,” says Bradley, “and then when I get some time
to slow down then I’ll start going into the studio and
doin’ another album.” Bradley is also “considering
adding a couple more pieces, making it more dynamic
to [his] taste.”
Soul music in America has always been a vehicle
for social justice, from Sam Cooke through Marvin
Gaye, James Brown through D’Angelo, and Bradley
has carried on that tradition of speaking directly the
challenges facing Black America. Changes cut “God
Bless America” finds Bradley speaking thoughtfully
on his experience in the United States over a mellow
gospel organ, “America, you’ve been real, honest, hurt,
and sweet to me. All the pains that I been through,
it made me strong, to stand strong, to know that
America represents love, for all humanity.”
Bradley believes that soul music needs to be real,
and honest. “Looking back in my history, where I
come from, soul music is the cry of the world; it’s the
cry that’s tellin’ you what is goin’ on, and the pain that
you had lived through.”
Racial tension in America is as high as it’s been
since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and
the anxiety so many African Americans live through
every day is something Bradley is painfully conscious
of: “It scares me, it scares me so much, and that’s why
a lot of times, if I don’t have reasons to be out in the
streets, I’m home, staying around the house to keep
busy or I’m in the studio. ‘Cause when I walk in the
streets, I look into the policeman’s eyes, I look into the
people’s eyes, I see the truth. And it hurts sometimes,
and I think, ‘God, what can I do about it?’ I feel these
things, and sometimes I don’t wanna say something,
I just come in the house and close the door and don’t
photo: Shayan Asgharnia
wanna face the world. But when I get onstage, my
heart opens up, and I see the traces on people’s faces,
and I just let it all out the way I feel it in my heart.”
Bradley continues, “You know what I’m finding out
today? It’s not a racial problem, it’s evil forces, and evil
forces can go in any colour. They can be white, black,
whatever, when a person got an evil force inside them,
it has no colour, and that’s what we gotta realize, all
over the world. You know, we’re all just bodies, but
the evil force is out there in the spirit.”
As a musician, Bradley sees through music, and
the power to open that spirit: “If I’m with the band,
and they know how to take that music and make my
spirit open up, oh man, you got a show. I played with
bands, and they just play the fundamentals of the
music, the album, and then I’m, I’m just like a robot.
But if you got musicians that know how to open their
spirit, and get into the soul of the music, then oh my
God, you got a show. I have no holdback in me, and
my spirit is just gonna open up.”
Charles Bradley performs at the Orpheum Theatre in
Vancouver on September 17th, Winspear Centre in Edmonton
on September 21st, MacEwan Hall in Calgary
on September 22nd and Burton Cummings Theatre in
Winnipeg on September 24th.
WoMen In need
SaRah’S laST day
with JJ ThoMaS
heRoJIRo and a-boMb
with STeve PIneo
Winnie the brave
with outlets band
23 with guests
henRy WhITe with
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 39
new album navigates the waters, in both sunshine and starlight
The antlers that grace Daniela Gesundheit
of Snowblink’s “hand-me down
[Gibson] SG” have been affixed there
for almost a decade. Before her move from the
United States, Gesundheit dreamed that her
guitar had moose antlers, which she credits as
a “premonition” of the band’s eventual relocation
to Canada. But the “clearly impractical”
moose antlers were replaced by caribou antlers,
a bizarre, but apt analog to the band itself,
whose musical commitment is dream-like
manifestations of the subconscious, even when
those manifestations are somehow canted.
The Toronto/Los Angeles electric folk pop duo
return with their newest album Returning Current
on September 9th, their first since 2012’s
vibrant Inner Classics.
Returning Current was a labour of love, which
Gesundheit tells BeatRoute, “took its time to
unfold.” The duo spent a year writing at the Banff
Performing Arts Centre in an artists’ residency,
another year recording, and yet another in
production. The album started as a moodboard
filled with a collection of “images, sounds and
lyric fragments” until slowly a theme emerged.
Gesundheit and Dan Goldman organically incorporated
ideas like Santa Fe, desert landscapes,
calypso disco, flash floods and natural disasters
from the moodboard into their album.
These themes were then used to investigate
different relationships the two have had. Songs
like “Cyclone” “use the idea of a tornado to describe
somebody who comes in and completely
destroys you and turns your world upside down
just by knowing them.” Whereas “Cobalt Clear”
has an “even-tempered, tropical feeling” inspired
by the desert.
Gesundheit and Goldman enjoy a commitment
to experimentation, but not just with
sonic landscapes, the duo also plays with the
iconography of the album format. In a play on
the analog divide between A and B side on a
true LP, Returning Current is divided into both a
“daytime” and a “nighttime” side. Each half offers
the listener a focused lens with which to view the
themes of the record.
With such a lengthy production cycle,
Returning Current became a process-driven
project, and thus, the band brought in outside
musicians, producers, and engineers. Gesundheit
and Goldman are extremely well-connected
and managed to score some serious heavy
hitters including Feist, Owen Pallet and AroarA
(Andrew Whiteman and Ariel Engle), who then
helped create the sounds with a plethora of
instruments, including acoustic guitars, saxophones,
trombones, synthesizers, four different
drum sets and three different string sections.
“We’ve found the greatest work has come
out of bringing other people in that we trust,” Gesundheit
explains “We wanted to bring in artists
we love and admire in and let them have as much
agency as they wanted in the process.”
The final product is an intimate collection of
stories that walk the listener through different relationships
the duo has had, both with others and
with themselves. A press release describes the
sound as “sensual, not sterile, elegantly imperfect,
wabi sabi,” (wabi sabi being the Japanese worldview
of accepting transience and imperfection).
The first single, “Feel Like A Man,” is Gesundheit’s
way of combating the pressures of having
to “be in drag” or act overtly masculine in order
to succeed. A “masculinity burn-out,” the lyrics
map out strategies to stop “striving in a masculine
way,” but along the way is confronted with the
temptations of the social utility thereof.
Snowblink describes their music as “non-denominational
pop.” By removing overt religious
consciousness while still allowing themselves
into “the deep end of experience” that can be
found in religious music, they have created a
Snowblink’s North American tour stops in
Western Canada through mid- to late September.
Catch them Sept. 18 at Park Theatre (Winnipeg),
Sept. 19 at Bassment (Saskatoon), Sept. 21 at
Broken City (Calgary), and Sept. 23 at China Cloud
by Kennedy Enns
Snowblink’s latest sails us through past relationships.
photo: Danielle Rubi
have mic, will travel
Todd Maduke finds success with the bittersweet soul on his first solo outing.
It’s amazing what a microphone can do. Todd Maduke,
one of the creative sparks in The Ruminants as well as
the head surf honcho in Bigfoot Rocketship, struck out
on his own armed with little more than a single mic to
record an entire album of solo material.
The self-titled record has 13 songs on it. There’s a wide
variation of ballads, some lovesick others love struck,
a couple of juiced-up rockabilly tracks, some barroom
reflections and the existential journey into loss, defiance
and rediscovery. A helluva journey it is. Not only because
the songs hang together so well, but Maduke was able to
capture the rustic, organic clarity of the instruments, the
space and funnel it all into what sounds like the perfect
“The mic is part of it, for sure. I got an Audio-Technica
AT 4050. It’s a big mic that has multi-patterns where I
could capture both the instruments and the room directly,”
explains Maduke. “But I can’t take entire credit for the
sound of it. When it was ninety percent done, I thought I
had better do something with this.”
After receiving an inheritance from his parents who
recently passed away, Maduke remembers his father
questioning when he was going to step up his musical
career. With inheritance in hand, he sought out Steve
Loree who runs Crabapple Downs just outside Nanton,
AB. There Loree twisted a few knobs and made more
than just a little magic happen.
The recording starts off with a sparse, Springsteen
Nebraska-like track about hanging onto the farm called
“On My Land.” It quickly changes gears with a bursting-atthe-seams,
head-over-heels-in-love crooner, “Moonshine,”
that cleverly tweaks a bubbly “you are my sunshine” with
the romantic glow of “you are my moonshine.” And then
there’s the kiss-off to the ex, which flows like whiskey in
the rockabilly swagger of “Here’s To You.”
One of the exceptional talents Maduke possesses is to
personify the characters in his songs giving them emphatic
qualities that rubs you one way or another. “Harvey,
Harvey” focuses on an individual who drives the garbage
truck in a small town where most of the residents offer
him little to no respect.
“That guy was from the town I grew up in. Kind of
a scary character who had one wonky eye. My friends
and I kind of created a back-story for him, although we
knew nothing about him, but we claimed we did. We
said his parents were brother and sister, all this real mean
stuff that kids make up. As an adult I came to see that
differently and wrote a song from his perspective. While
they’re looking down at him, he’s looking down at them
up high in his garbage truck. That’s the main hook. He
also drove the Zamboni.”
The tail out track called “Drive Away” is a deeply
reflective and moving song about a man realizing he’s
at the end of his marriage. The deal is done, and he
takes the fatalistic view that there’s nothing left but to
Yeah, Maduke is right: The mic is only part of it. But it
sure got this project going in the right direction. As Joey
Ramone once said about the Ramones’ music, “There’s
a lotta living in those songs.” With Maduke’s 13 tracks,
there’s a helluva a lot of talent as well. With no less than
ten guest musicians, all of whom are gifted in their own
right, Maduke has turned out a mini-masterpiece. His
father would be pleased.
Todd Maduke performs solo at Wine-Ohs on Sat., Sept. 24.
40 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
Venue Profile: LOLITA’S LOUNGE
jazz jammin’ in Inglewood
Situated on Ninth Avenue S.E. in the
heart of Inglewood, on top of a Mexican
restaurant, Lolita’s Lounge offers a
unique perspective on Calgary’s ever-changing
live music scene.
The 1940s-themed venue is a host to many
events, ranging anywhere from drag shows
to comedy nights. Yet the most unique thing
about the venue might be their dedication
to jazz music. Through a series lovingly titled
Just Jazz, the club hosts a plethora of jazz
jammers every Friday night.
“More mainstream types of music were
taking over and a lot of jazz bars closed,” Alisa
Grosser, Lolita’s manager, tells BeatRoute. “They
wanted to concentrate on that, to just have
something where that older clientele was relating
to the jazz and not let[ting] it go.”
Established in 2011, Lolita’s took over Club
Paradiso, as well as its vintage theme. Just Jazz
however only came about two years ago, when
Lolita’s connected with JazzYYC (one of Calgary’s
biggest jazz presenters). The night might
be dedicated to jazz, but they strive to provide
as much diversity as they can within the genre.
Young, old, local, touring, vocal, instrumental,
you’ll find it all, Friday nights at Lolita’s.
“I relate more to the vocal ones, because
I can sing along and I find it more entertaining
for me.” Grosser explains. “But for other
‘jazzies’ that come in, they will just sit there
and close their eyes and listen to the music,
it’s actually quite interesting to see that.”
Lolita’s also operates differently than
Calgary’s other bar venues. JazzYYC finds the
acts that play Just Jazz, and all the door money
goes directly to the artist. The lounge acts as a
platform for jazz musicians to perform without
sapping money from the artists. Yet like any
bar, lounge, or club, Lolita’s can attest to the
difficulty of keeping the doors open in these
trying economic times. Being one of the only
places that has an evening dedicated to jazz,
trying to diversify but stay consistent with the
music choice can be a balancing act. Grosser
hopes to add blues and swing to the lineup, as
well as adding to the only two nights a week in
which the bar is currently open.
The allure of jazz music is a lot more personal
than popular, Grosser explains. “Discovering
music that you’ve never even heard of [is the
best part]. We have one regular, and we basically
base our opinion on him, because if he
gets up in the middle it means it wasn’t good,
but if he stays until the end and asks for a cab
home, then we know it was a good night.”
But Just Jazz is around for the long haul,
Grosser attests. The venue’s hands-off approach
to booking artists means that they
never know what to expect. Some nights, it’s
packed and on other nights only a few people
show up. In either situation, things tend to
work out for the best.
“Even the less popular ones sometimes are
one of the best bands I’ve ever heard, you
know? It’s interesting, I wish people would
give it a try a bit more, they’d see different
things, but that’s not always the case.”
What does the future of Lolita’s and Just Jazz
look like? “[Just Jazz] is sticking around, for
sure. I think it’s something that we need, and
it’s good. Not a lot of places just have jazz, but
it’s also good to maybe open up to other things
as well. I don’t know, time will tell.”
Lolita’s Lounge is located above Salt & Pepper at
1413 - 9 Ave. S.E., Just Jazz happens every Friday
Where all the jazz happens every Friday.
by Amber McLinden
photo: Amber McLinden
BIRDS OF BELLWOODS
four young men making handsome music
Birds of Bellwoods are one sharp ensemble.
photo: Markian Lozochuk
Take a look at the well-groomed
gentlemen of Birds of Bellwoods.
I bet you’re hearing a traditional
foot-stompin’ bluegrass band, with
mandolin rounding out the double bass,
banjo and guitar. And while they’ll still
get your feet stomping, it might not
manifest in the manner you imagine.
Toronto’s Birds of Bellwoods perform
acoustic music with a sound that belies
the traditional aesthetic of their instrumentation.
You can tell that they grew up together;
these folks are a true ensemble, with songwriting
credit spread liberally between the
four. Stevie Joffe may be the lead vocalist, but
the Birds sharply avoid crediting a bandleader.
“Everyone will bring little guitar riffs and
things they want to do, which becomes the
start of a song,” upright bassist/vocalist Kintaro
Akiyama tells us. Joffe continues, “It’s like
the tip of the spear, yeah there’s fine point at
the end, but it’s nothing without the rest.”
Bellwoods is a reference to the neighbourhood
park in Toronto where the band
often plays together. “It’s piece of the rural
by Kevin Bruch
in an urban centre, a bit of peace in the city,”
says Akiyama. You could say the same of the
Birds, whose songs range from a little of the
folk that so suits the stained woods of their
vintage instruments, with emotional fourpart
harmonies, to a percussive, avant-garde
cover of Radiohead’s iconic “Idioteque.” The
real thoroughfare in their varied tracklist
is the earnest energy that pervades every
element of their performance. The group
brings classical elegance to emotive pop
performances with very little investment in
twine and twang.
And the folkies are taking notice. Their first
trip out west in 2015 to the Jasper Folk Music
Festival earned them an invitation to come
back this year “by popular demand.” Touring
is new for the band, but it’s an environment
they’ve settled well into. Playing to an adoring
crowd in the shadow of the mountain at
Jasper Folk Fest “was like living a dream.”
Birds of Bellwoods play in Calgary on September
8th at the Gateway, and in Edmonton
September 9th at the Kaleido Family Arts
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 41
CALGARY METAL FEST
conjures up four big names of Canadian speed/thrash
for a night of historic mayhem
by Sarah Kittingham
Spawned in our neighboring nation to the south,
Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth are
credited with pioneering thrash metal as it’s
popularly known today; adrift with pounding double
kicks, shredding solos, and growling vocals decrying
war and organized religion. Dig a little deeper, and
you’ll find that several thousand kilometers east, the
European nation of Germany was responsible for the
likes of Tankard, Kreator, Destruction, and Sodom, the
latter of whom expelled a vicious sonic assault that
helped trigger the beginning of black and death metal.
Of course, Canada had its own contributions to the
genre and its affiliated fringes as notable names like
Anvil, Razor, Exciter, Slaughter, Sacrifice, Voivod, Voor,
Soothsayer, Piledriver, DBC and Annihilator emerged
from the country’s most populated provinces. Exciter,
Piledriver, DBC and Anvil emulated their NWOBHM
roots, favoring the cleaner and more intricate dueling
melodies of their forefathers with thrash’s sister genre
of speed metal (the latter with a guitar enhancing
dildo in tow); meanwhile musically Razor and Annihilator
followed thrash’s handbook. Slaughter, Voor,
Soothsayer and Sacrifice swayed in beastly directions,
while Voivod simply ripped the genre to shreds,
reinventing themselves to this day. As was the case in
many nations around the world, the ‘80s was a huge
time for Canadian metal.
Oddly, unlike the Bay Area of the United States,
people don’t seem to consider that there was a localized
thrash scene in Canada. Bands were swelling up from
Eastern Canada, aided by tape trading, crate digging, unscrupulous
and scrupulous record labels alike, and sweat.
Toronto gave way to Slaughter, Anvil, Piledriver, and
Sacrifice; Ottawa, Guelph, Montreal, Beauport and Jonquière
also bore fruit. It is from this geographic location
that the bigger name bands Razor, Exciter, Sacrifice, and
Annihilator came to fruition; formed by teenagers who
felt isolated or bored by their hometown’s glam metal
scenes, who wanted something heavier, uglier, and better.
“Every band was like… they were either a Mötley
Crüe type of band, or Van Halen, and if you didn’t play
stuff like that, you weren’t part of it. I mean, I was friends
with all these local musicians, but we were never part of
that local scene,” begins Exciter guitarist John Ricci, who
formed the project in Ottawa in 1980 from the ashes of
Hell Razor alongside Dan Beehler and Alan Johnson. The
veterans of the Calgary Metal Fest lineup quickly became
the subject of admiration from their peers, releasing their
diabolical full-length debut Heavy Metal Maniac (1983) a
full month before Kill Em’ All hit the shelves. Released via
the prolific Shrapnel Records, home to speed and traditional
metal luminaries like Racer X, Chastain, Griffin, and
Fifth Angel, the release helped transform the heavy metal
landscape, triggering the emergence of extreme metal.
For its follow-up Violence & Force (1984), the band was
scooped up by Megaforce, the emerging label of Jon and
Marsha Zazula. The label specialized in thrash, eventually
releasing classics by Metallica, Anthrax, Stormtroopers of
Death,Overkill, Testament, and Vio-lence.
“It was totally unexpected, Johnny Z starts calling me.
‘I got to sign you guys, I got to sign you guys! This kind of
music man, it’s the way of the future, it’s the way of the
future!’” recalls Ricci with a laugh.
“I think I was coming into high school when Dan Beehler...
was leaving high school, and he had a Judas Priest
British Steel  leather jacket, jean jacket patch thing
on the jacket while he was going through the school hall,
and I thought he was the coolest dude in the world,”
enthuses Annihilator’s mastermind Jeff Waters, who is
the mastermind behind the youngest, yet most prolific,
band on the bill.
“I remember my friend and I would drive down when
we found out they were rehearsing at this house down
at the other end of Ottawa, we would drive down smoke
a joint and half a pack of cigarettes just listening outside
the house to Exciter playing. I remember John Ricci
coming out and looking at us like ‘hey, what are you guys
doing listening?’ and we would just take off in the car.”
Like Exciter, Annihilator formed in the government
town of Ottawa, but Waters ultimately decided to
depart to the greener pastures of Vancouver in 1987
following the release of two demos in an attempt to rev
up his life’s work.
“We started out more of a solo thing with me and a
singer from Ottawa, and his name was John Bates and
he ended up actually [later] co-writing lyrics with me,”
says Waters. Bates is best known for his solo rockabilly
work as Big John Bates; he also shares songwriting credits
from tracks on Annihilator albums like Never, Neverland
(1990), King of the Kill (1994), Refresh the Demon (1996),
“Him and I started the band, I played bass already, I
was playing guitar, I was sort of engineering these little
four-track cassette machines that would record our little
demos so I was taking up a lot of little jobs that I didn’t
realize would come in handy later on, and that I enjoy
doing, but it was more of a like, I wanted to be in a band,
right? So the problem was even after the first year I think
I lost John, the singer, I realized it was just hard to find
people that wanted to do this for like their life. Like who
said ‘screw everything, booze... girls, friends, everything,
forget ‘em all, let’s work really hard for years and years and
develop something and work on your own playing and
start getting good at what you’re doing and learning.’ I
wanted to do this for my life so I actually worked this and
eat, slept and bathed in it, 24 hours a day. Heavy metal
and guitar playing is what I was doing and wanted to do.”
The move to the West Coast quickly paid off: Annihilator’s
1989 debut Alice in Hell is one of the best selling
Canadian metal albums of all time, and resulted in a
career that’s thus far spanned 15 full-lengths, including
2015’s Suicide Society.
Concurs Waters, “Ottawa is a very conservative... Sorry,
but boring, capital. [It’s the] federal capital of Canada,
you know, when I moved to Vancouver, I got out there
and it was just a new world.”
Meanwhile in Toronto, a varied and increasingly
vicious scene was percolating with a
strong support base that only a massive
population can support. Anvil was one of the first
bands to emerge, releasing the blue collar rock album
Hard ‘n’ Heavy in 1981 via Attic Records. The music
was clearly equally inspired by Ted Nugent and sex;
later albums demonstrated faster sensibilities as their
third Forged in Fire was peppered with speed metal
jammers. Live, their guitarist and vocalist Steve “Lips”
Kudlow is famous for soloing with a vibrator.
“I never met the Anvil, the only thing I ever had was
42 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
I was very young in the bar, it was called Roxanne’s,
was Lips did his guitar solo with his dildo right at my
table where I was sitting having a beer underage,”
recalls Jeff Waters, laughing.
“Believe me, it sounds funny but it was the coolest
thing ever and then I look back at it now and go ‘was
that right?’ I was actually sitting there, a guy was up at
me sweating on me, banging his head up and down,
looking half like a woman, with a sweaty dildo, and he
was soloing about two feet away from me and I was
eating it up like it was the hottest chick in the world.”
Anvil’s audacity and musical competency eventually
helped spawn a scene that swayed away from
the pop infused genre of glam, which dominated the
“The ‘metal’ scene was made up of mostly glam
and cover bands,” concurs vocalist and guitarist Rob
Urbinati of Sacrifice, who formed in ‘83 and released
their hallmark debut Torment in Fire two years later
via Toronto’s own Diabolic Force label.
“Recording Torment..., we were very young, like
17-years-old,” he explains.
“Very inexperienced as a band and still learning
our instruments. By the time Forward To Termination
was ready to record, we had come a long
way. Played a lot more shows, did our first small U.S.
tours. We had a few new songs written, went into a
small basement studio and banged it out in a day.”
He continues, “It wasn’t long before we could
headline, but we soon realized it was better to play
with hardcore bands that we liked. Bands like us and
Slaughter were the only ones at the beginning, [but]
Razor would come into town as well. The main venue
was Larry’s Hideaway, a disgusting, filthy place which
was perfect for us. Eventually more bands started
popping up, and the metal and hardcore scenes
started to merge. Basically, all the Toronto bands were
Guitarist Dave Carlo of the long standing speed/
thrash act Razor concurs. Despite the band forming
in the city of Guelph, which sits 100 kilometers west
of Toronto, they’ve considered themselves a Toronto
band since forming in 1983.
“Razor has always been considered a Toronto area
band. We always tried to keep a low profile in Guelph
to be honest,” says Carlo.
“I loved having the total anonymity at home.
Toronto is close,” he says.
“Our scene and the one we felt a part of was the
Toronto scene. Early on we formed friendships with
Toronto area bands, Sacrifice in particular.”
According to Urbinati, Sacrifice and the newly
emerging Slaughter, who released the hugely influential
underground classic Strappado in 1987, were also
“We were together all the time. All of us were from
Scarborough [a district in Toronto], we were friends
before they even formed Slaughter. Looking back on
them now, they kind of invented that Swedish death
metal guitar sound.”
The saturated scranch of the Boss HM-2 Distortion
Guitar Effect pedal is evident in multiple
Swedish death acts like Entombed, Dismember, and
“I’m sure Dismember and Entombed all had a copy
of Strappado,” argues Urbinati.
Slaughter is far from the only Eastern Canadian
band that has been criminally overlooked in the
history of metal. One glance at the eight demo
collection from 2015, the Nuclear War! Now release
No Speed Limit: Essential Québec Metal Demo Tapes,
confirms this. Bands like Voor, Outrage, Treblinka,
Soothsayer, and Oblivion were part of the compilation,
which showcases multiple acts that merged
thrash and death metal, primarily in the latter part
of the ‘80s. The desire for faster, uglier bands was
particularly strong in Quebec, where Razor would
frequently sell out gigs, thanks to their irresistible
“I did note that in Quebec we could do seven
days in a row at the same venue and it would be full
every night,” recalls Carlo. “We probably had a special
appreciation for Quebec at that time (mid 1980’s).”
Razor was influential at home and abroad, releasing
their Armed and Dangerous EP independently
before they were approached and signed by Attic
Records in “early 1985” for the release of their debut
full-length Executioner’s Song.
“Riff wise Dave Carlo from Razor was a big influence
on some of the early Annihilator riffs, on the
first two records we did,” enthuses Jeff Waters.
“I love that band, Stace “Sheepdog” McLaren, the
singer at the time, I remember he was standing on
stage at a little club here and I went to see them, and
he was chain smoking while he was singing and doing
these incredible screams that the world should [have]
known about but never really heard, you know?
Exciter and Razor to me were like the next generation
speed version of Motörhead.”
Today, Eastern Canada is ripe with metal
bands of all persuasions, but thrash and
speed metal continue to thrive. Newer
bands like Droid, Manacle, Occult Burial, Iron
Dogs, Chainbreaker, Skull Fist, Ice War, Sardu,
Warsenal and countless more play(ed) music
within the genres, while Annihilator, Razor,
Exciter and Sacrifice solider on in various forms
(discussed in more depth in the Where Are
They Now? article later in this section). Despite
each band experiencing breaks, lineup drama,
reunions, and more, the spirit of the ‘80s continues
to burn brightly in their songs and performances,
making the upcoming Calgary Metal
Fest lineup particularly historic: it’s Annihilator’s
first performance in Western Canada since 1993;
Exciter’s first show in Western Canada since
1985, and marks the first time ever these four
bands have performed on the same bill. Truly,
Canadians have been historically slow to accept
the brilliance of our homegrown talent. Case in
point: Annihilator has substantial recognition in
Japan and Europe, and continues to tour heavily
abroad, yet hasn’t toured Canada in decades. The
same is true of Sacrifice, Exciter and Razor, who
routinely perform at festivals like Maryland Death
Festival, Metal Threat, Defenders of the True, True
Thrash Festival, and more. If you are among the
uninitiated, take note: If you worship the ‘80s,
want to learn more about music history, or simply
appreciate metal, you’d be wise to attend.
“We are right from the same time, and the same
mold, and you know… the 80s’ had this kind of vibe,”
“Every band had their own unique style, but they
were all going for the same goal. And having these
four bands - we are all totally different, but we have
the same message.”
Watch Annihilator, Exciter, Razor, Sacrifice and
Gatekrashör on Saturday, September 17th at Flames
Central during Calgary Metal Fest. Tickets are
available online at calgarymetalfest.com
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 43
CMFV BAND PICKS
Wherein we wax poetic on the best of the batch
Wednesday, September 14th at
Ship and Anchor
WMD: Every so often stars align and we are gifted a
band that revives the glory of Bay Area thrash that
dominated the ‘80s. Forming in 2014 with four remarkably
skilledmusicians, Calgary’s own W.M.D distances
itself from the commonplace pizza party thrash and
delivers a no bullshit, technically driven meltdown.
THE CADAVOR DOG: If in an alternate universe
Leatherface became musically inclined, it is doubtful
that his seething rage would rival that of The Cadavor
Dog. Hailing from High River, Alberta and festering in
homicidal lust and relentless aggression, the trio have
released two blood spurting full lengths since their
formation in 2010.
Thursday, September 15th at
CRYSTAL MESS: Unmatched in terms of aggression,
the amalgamation of metal and punk undoubtedly
reigns in Calgary’s crossover kings, Crystal Mess. Following
their formation in 2008, the act has produced three
of the harshest full lengths the city has to offer. With an
upcoming EP, their nuclear genocide is sure to punish
the masses .
by Breanna Whipple
PROFITS OF CRIME: Due to the picturesque mountains,
it’s hard to believe that Profits of Crime, a hardcore
band as blasphemous as they come, was birthed
within the hamlet of Priddis, Alberta.Worship, their
2015 debut and sole full length, preaches anti-religious
anthems above pulverizing instrumentals. Their heavy
arsenal packsa blistering punch that will pummel you
to the ground.
Friday, September 16th at Dickens
CONCRETE FUNERAL: Through sweat, determination,
and hardwork, Calgary’s own death/thrash quartet,Concrete
Funeral, has been pounding the pavement
toward completing their debut full length. With an
idiosyncratic fusing of old school death compositions
alongside Randy Blythe-esque vocals, they exemplify
the artistic freedoms of splicing two unlike genres to
produce an intriguing sound.
TOXIC HOLOCAUST: A spark of seduction ignites
when a cobra is poised to strike, the victim falling
hypnotized despite being fully aware of the imminent
neurotoxic peril. Akin to the aforementioned destruction
is the extensive discography of Toxic Holocaust, a
black/thrash project brought to life by sole mastermind
Joel Grind in 1999. Join themelee when they headline at
Dickens on Friday, September 16th.
THE EXALTED PILEDRIVER
“The High Priest Of The Metal Inquisition COMPELS YOU!” by Sarah Kitteringham
Piledriver’s iconic outfit “reeks like a dead buffalo’s rotting duodenum.”
Sweaty, filthy, fist-pumping heavy metal of
the classic persuasion lies at the heart of
Gord Kirchin’s musical output known to
all as The Exalted Piledriver – or its previous
incarnate Piledriver. Hailing from Toronto, the
BDSM- and ample nails-outfitted vocalist has
anchored the two incarnations of his project
since the mid ‘80s, starting off when the band
was “a one-off recording project” created by a
Today, the band consists of four horror
carnival-dressed members, who play occasional
one-offs, inconsistently release albums, and
generally are fighting an uphill battle against the
monolithic music industry. To get more insight
into this seedy underbelly of 80s’ metal history, we
got Ol’Piley to answer our inquiries. His salacious,
extremely shortened responses are as follows.
Seriously, check out the full transcript online, after
BeatRoute: You, the Exalted Piledriver,
have been anchoring Piledriver and The
Exalted Piledriver for your entire life. What
inspires you to endure, pull on your BDSM
costume, and keep singing?
Gord Kirchin: In short… the fans. It is a brutal
skull-crushing and gut-wrenchingly stinky proposition
to don that outfit, and now that it is 32 years
old, it’s held together by gaffer tape, snot, and
other congealed bodily semi-fluids, it reeks like
a dead buffalo’s rotting duodenum! I’ve tried all
manner of saddle soaps n other leather cleaners,
but the stink of fat-sweat and fecal matter simply
won’t come out [laughs].
BeatRoute: I’m curious about the current
status of the band. You guys haven’t
released new music since 2008’s Metal
Manifesto. Will that be occurring any time
GK: I’d undergone a lineup change right after
the release of Metal Manifesto…. [And our new
lineup] did release a live album called Night Of
The Unpolished Turd  since ‘Manifesto.
But, there’s that “but”... all family men, with jobs
and lives, and I was living in Montreal, they are in
Brampton. Being an old dog, I tend not to do well
collaborating online as opposed to face to face, so
writing has been a challenge for us. Now I haven’t
helped matters by moving up to Huntsville any,
but am getting a slightly bit better at this online
collaboration thingy! The guys have supplied me
a shitload of tunes to warble over and edit down,
and demos are starting to finally leach out of
the wash. You can find one called “Allegiance to
None” on the Facebook page, as well as several
live videos. Since the bottom has fallen out of the
business at large, and I never get any respect from
labels who label us a “comedy” band, telling us
we’re hard to sell, I don’t really see ever releasing
another album through a label ever again.
BR: Will the Exalted Piledriver be playing
Piledriver songs at your upcoming Calgary
show? What type of set list are we looking
at for the show? I’m personally gunning
for “Sex with Satan” and “Flowers of Evil,”
along with “Battle Axe” myself...
GK: OF COURSE! Why else would I bother getting
onstage at ALL if I wasn’t serving up what the fans
need to hear... Metal Inquisition and Stay Ugly
See Piledriver on Thursday, September 15th during
Calgary Metalfest at Distortion with Crystal Mess,
Savage Streets, Profits of Crime, and Accostal.
Tickets are $15 in advance.
44 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Annihilator, Sacrifice, Exciter, and Razor weigh in on their current incarnates
by Ian Lemke
The highest hurdle for Canadian bands is cracking
markets outside of the Great White North, but Annihilator
have the opposite dilemma. Since forming in ‘84
and soldiering on under the tutelage of guitarist and
songwriter Jeff Waters, who has commanded a revolving
door of musicians (Metal Archives lists almost 40
past musicians, live and recorded), the underdogs of
Canadian thrash have always felt like foreigners within
their own borders.
As Waters describes it: “It’s not a comeback if we
came back to Canada or the States ‘cause we never
really got big here.”
However, a loyal European and Japanese fan base
have kept Waters and co. in business for their 30-plus
years and 15 full-length albums, the most recent
of which was 2015’s Suicide Society, where Waters
returned to vocal duty once more.
“It’s a blessing, I’m not religious but that word seems
to suit, a blessing (to have) a cult following that is
always going to be there for us. If we don’t screw it up.”
This following has had Annihilator’s back throughout
their haphazard history, though this support differs
slightly with each release. Each of the first four records
has a different vocalist, and each, and every one since
then has had different reception from audiences.
“(The fans) will like one album or one singer or
maybe two in a row, and then they’ll hit one where ‘oh,
Waters made a change’ or ‘this guy left’...or ‘I just don’t
like it,’” observes Waters, laughing.
Regardless, Annihilator are still going strong, and
may be poised to finally breakthrough in their home
“We played Quebec City in 2011 and that wasn’t
even on a big record for Annihilator, and it wasn’t
even released in North America and we sold out in 12
minutes, two thousand tickets.”
Here in Western Canada, the band will be performing
a 75 minute headlining set at Calgary Metal Fest,
their first performance in Western Canada since 1993.
Waters is thrilled to headline a set opened by bands
that influenced him in teenagehood.
“The guys that you mentioned before were bands
that when I was in high school, when I was a teenager,
late teens, I was going to see as a fan! [They] were huge
influences of mine for sure.”
Whenever a classic band reunites, there’s
always an air of scepticism.
“How many original members?”
“Is it going to suck?”
And ultimately, “What’s the point?”
But when Sacrifice reformed in 2006, it was
uniquely genuine. For starters, the entire classic
line-up was involved: the same four guys that
appear on all four pre-breakup albums save
for 1993’s Apocalypse Inside, which features
a different drummer. To boot-- “Right now,
Sacrifice is unsigned,” notes guitarist/vocalist
Clearly not a cash-grab from a label trying to
capitalize on the band’s cult-appeal, Sacrifice’s
authentic motives explain their relatively minimal
output since their reunion. 2009’s well-received
The Ones I Condemn remains the band’s
only original release of the 21st century, though
a gritty rendition of Rush’s “Anthem” made its
way onto a split with Propaghandi in 2010.
“Because we aren’t a touring band, there isn’t
any pressure to release an average bunch of songs.
As a fan, I would prefer to hear nothing than a subpar
album released for the sake of touring.”
And since the band is free to pick their battles,
they keep their gigs to around three per
year, making each performance memorable for
both them and their fans.
“It is never lost on us, how fortunate we are
to still be able to play shows and be able to
perform at a high level.”
Despite making their mark in the ‘80s, Urbinati
describes their 2006 comeback show as a
“I’ll never forget how it felt to be up on stage
again with these guys who I grew up with,
we went through some of the best and worst
times of our lives together. Looking out in the
crowd, seeing so many old friends, new ones,
people that travelled a very long way, everyone
with a smile on their face. That hour and a half
made up for any hardships that we endured in
When Exciter played Calgary for Noctis Fest
in 2013, we were watching an extremely tight
cover band: guitarist John Ricci being the only
original member, Kenny Winter’s stand-alone
vocals a very different stage dynamic than Dan
Bheeler’s shrieking from atop the drum riser
that gave the trio their edge in the ‘80s. But not
long after that performance, differences among
members would drive Ricci out of the band; at
which point the non-original members considered
wearing the Exciter banner anyways.
“The whole world freaked out,” notes Ricci,
who at that point had resigned to take a year
off to clear his head.
“They got emails from other bands we know,
people in the media, promoters, saying ‘you
guys are nuts.’ In the end, they started bickering
amongst each other. Now there’s no band.”
Ricci’s sabbatical didn’t last long before
Bheeler and original bassist Alan Johnson approached
him for a proper reunion.
“I said ‘look, give me a week to think about
this, I’m not really sure.’ After a week… I made
my decision, I called them up, and said ‘okay
Now for Exciter, the ancient balance is restored.
The three share song-writing duties like
before, minus the squabbling that previously
came with young musicians exploding into
“All of a sudden we are getting fan mail
from all over the world,” recalls Ricci of those
formulative early days. “We have other record
companies offering us deals, it’s going to get to
your head, you know what I mean?”
But with age comes maturity, and Exciter’s
cooler heads have allowed them to appreciate
their steady flow of gigs and even start digging
into a new album.
“The first gig we ever did when we got back
together was a South American mini tour. And
we are on the plane, flying to South America,
and I turn to Dan and say ‘something is wrong.’
And he says ‘what?’ And I say ‘I’m actually
Despite officially disbanding in 1992 and reuniting
only for their most recent album in 1997, Razor
have still been making appearances at the odd
festival since then. In the last two years however,
founding guitarist Dave Carlo explains that the
boys are officially back, and kicking things into
high gear once again.
“There is a greatly renewed enthusiasm for performing
live since our new drummer (Rider Johnson)
joined. He has brought back the fun for me in
particular,” says Carlo. This enthusiasm will bring
with it a new album, titled Cycle of Contempt, to
be recorded early 2017.
“The concept artwork is complete and many of
the songs are written, but there is some more work
to be done yet,” says a tight-lipped Carlo.
Those Razor fans unwilling to wait can quell
their hunger with an imminent live album via High
Roller Records and Relapse, set for release in the
coming months. Dubbed Osaka Saikou, or Osaka
Awesome, the recordings are from concerts prior
to Carlo’s oral cancer diagnosis in 2011.
Far from letting his illness hold him back, Carlo
expects Razor’s best years are still ahead of them,
due to an audience rejuvenated by the internet age
and social media in particular.
“If you asked me 10 years ago, I probably would
have said that performing alongside so many great
bands over the years would have been my personal
“Looking back from where I am now, I’d have to
say that we are still working on it.”
In the meantime, Razor are game to play any
and all gigs that meet their “current performance
“We want to play only to well attended events,
it doesn’t matter if they are larger or small. The
important thing is to play in an atmosphere of
enthusiasm and excitement. With the line-up for
Calgary Metalfest, it goes without saying that this
will be a historical event in Canadian metal.”
“For an event like that, Razor has to be there!”
Watch a Historic Night of Canadian Metal with
Exciter, Sacrifice, Annihilator, and Razor, topped off by
a “Last Call” performance by Calgary’s Gatekrashör, on
Saturday, September 17th at Flames Central. Tickets
are $89 in advance.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 45
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
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.
• Lewis Cohen
illustration: Cody Fennell
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 47
One can only imagine what goes on in the mind of Travis
Stewart a.k.a. Machinedrum. Prolifically producing
an absolute cornucopia of different sounds over the
last decade and a half, every album Stewart releases is
as wildly different as the next. However, attentive listeners
(read: superfans) will notice trends and sounds
pulled from albums as early as 2001’s Now You Know
and 2008’s Want To 1 2? dispersed methodically across
an incredibly prolific discography. The sense of consistency
that spans across Stewart’s oeuvre is comforting
and familiar, without stifling innovation.
Human Energy, then, is perhaps Machinedrum’s
most jarring departure from familiarity. After a bold
entrance into the world of footwork with Room(s)
and a swift, passionate follow-up with Vapor City and
Vapor City Archives, Stewart seems eager to distance
himself from the moody, contemplative and sometimes
dismal atmosphere of his finest works yet.
Human Energy is based in a completely different
emotional dimension, fueled by boundless
optimism and a contagious bounciness. Opening
prelude “Lapis” sets the tone early, filtering
the once-sombre tones of Vapor City through
a Rustie-esque sonic palette. The album, in its
entirety, is extremely devil-may-care and in your
face; and while it feels like a bit much sometimes,
it’s an irrefutably fun exploration of new territory
Tracks like “Angel Speak” feature conductorial
vocal hits by Melo-X (fitting, considering his contributions
to Want To 1 2?) nestled amongst a housier
atmosphere; “Do It 4 U” is a more pop-facing swipe at
twerk music, complete with intoxicating siren song;
“White Crown” is party trap distilled into a classic
Machinedrum track. In short, Human Energy isn’t
boundary-pushing – it’s a creative supernova whose
limits are continuously, and explosively, expanding
outward. And at the risk of this author cementing
himself as the ultimate fanboy, it might not be
unreasonable to describe Machinedrum as an entire
metaphorical universe full of such phenomena.
• Max Foley
A Tribe Called Red
We Are the Halluci Nation
We Are The Hulluci Nation represents the third full-length album and a huge
amount of growth from Ottawa’s DJ/producer trio A Tribe Called Red. The group
worked closely with various Indigenous groups, and their traditional singing is
featured heavily throughout the record. The group released a mini-documentary
entitled the Manawan Session that displays their creative process working on the
Manawan reserve while recording the album in 2014.
It begins with title track, a meditation written and read by activist/poet John
Trudell, carried by the drumming of pow wow group Northern Voice. The album
title was derived from a written series that Trudell wrote for ATCR before his death
One of the most eye-catching collaborations on this impressive release comes
on track two, “R.E.D.” featuring Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def. The collaboration
evidences that this group is attracting substantial attention for their work.
Indigenous artists Black Bear also make their first appearance on this track, and
then return on track three.
“Virus” begins with an almost frantic, breathy rhythm and is quickly accompanied
by rap artist and poet Saul Williams’ poignant lyrics, and then bolstered by a
big, trappy bass weight. A quick reprise allows the words to stab through and the
pow wow melodies to emerge into the tune, before the beat drops right back in,
this time with more of a moombahton/dancehall oriented rhythm. Yet another
monstrous, festival-bass worthy line comes crashing in. This tune successfully
merges multiple genres of bass music and is a perfect of example of ATCR at their
Maima Koopi has more of that heavy moombhaton rhythm, inter-spliced with
a serious wobbling dubstep line, and heavily chopped vocals, again backed by pow
wow singing from Indigenous group, the Chippewa Travellers.
Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq lends her incredible throat singing capabilities
on the cuts “Sila” and “ALie Nation.” Canadian rapper Shad also makes an appearance
on the intense beat “How I Feel.”
ATCR manages to maintain a prominent theme, and mission objective
throughout their work, calling attention to issues like the environment, issues
facing First Nations Peoples’ past, present, future and activism, while at the same
time showcasing their ever progressing skills as forward-thinking producers of
• Paul Rodgers
48 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
Thee Oh Sees
A Weird Exits
Thee Oh Sees might just be one of indie rock’s most
criminally underrated bands. It’s an underratedness
that comes with the territory of also being one of the
most prolific bands working today. The shapeshifting
Los Angeles-via-San Francisco group led by mastermind
John Dwyer have released 17 albums since
1998. Since 2010 alone, Thee Oh Sees have broken
up, reunited, and still found time to release eight
full-length albums spanning genres from Krautrock
inspired garage, to Beatles-indebted, ‘60s dayglo
And yet, out of bands that have 17 albums to
their name, Thee Oh Sees might just be the only one
that are hitting their stride with number 17. A Weird
Exits is yet another new look for the band, but it still
remains a tour-de-force trip into Dwyer’s demented,
In one of the few interviews with frontman John
Dwyer available on YouTube, one of the most informative,
more recent ones features Dwyer admitting
to slowing down his speed use. It’s almost immediately
noticeable in the tracks on A Weird Exits. They’re
spacier, and the Krautrock pulse found on hits like
2011’s “The Dream” is only amplified. Often A Weird
Exits sounds like a direct continuation of 2015’s
Mutilator Defeated at Last, an album that found the
troupe embracing a slower, jazzier sound that was no
less psychedelic than previous efforts.
Standouts like “Plastic Plant” immediately
showcase the new lineup of Thee Oh Sees, complete
with tandem drum duo of Dan Rincon and Ryan
Moutinho. The incessant engine is easily the spaceiest
thing Dwyer has ever committed to tape, a sonic mix
of Tago Mago-era Can and garage rock contemporary
Ty Segall at his brattiest. Still, it’s not a complete
departure from the garage freakouts Thee Oh Sees
built their reputation on. Dwyer is still content to
write ripping songs without any semblance of chorus
or traditional song structure. Instead, the frontman
jams the microphone down his windpipe and shrieks
an almost prepubescent, Ric-Flair-on-methamphetamine
“WOOO” often signaling the band to crank
itself from an already delirious 11 to a feverish 12.
It’s a familiar trope for fans of the band, yet it never
feels stale. On songs like “Gelatinous Cube,” the tactic
actually feels as visceral and fresh as ever.
It’s not until the last song though, that A Weird
Exits cements itself as one of the best albums in
John Dwyer’s long discography (to be so bold, this
statement includes his work in The Coachwhips as
well). Final track “The Axis” is a breakup ballad that
sounds like a belligerent Jimi Hendrix and culminates
with what might be the greatest guitar solo Dwyer
has ever managed to create. It’s a fitting end to a great
album from a band that might just have found a new
• Jamie McNamara
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
With their chimey, riffy guitar pulses and driven
drumbeats, Bad Animal tap into the vein of a throwback
garage attack. It leaves sweat dripping down
the back of your neck as you cruise down Highway
1 waiting for a melodic break to take a breath, and
ease the gas off to a respectable 120 km/hr, which is
allowed sporadically. The tracks “Casino Vino” and
“Faux Filles” are so rattlingly crafted that you can feel
the concrete rumble beneath your feet as you stare
at the sound guy and wonder how that chorus is
slinking out of your buddy’s garage, never thinking
it would spill from that beer soaked PA. “Listen” belongs
in your player like a ‘60s garage track, a crunchy
vinyl, tapes passed from sweaty hand to sweaty hand,
a burned CD you gave to the sort-of-hot girl from
gym class, that playlist you transferred in second
year after scoring with the music that made you feel
50 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
like you felt then. Bad Animal won’t let you forget it
from track to track. once you think you’re done…
you realize your toe hasn’t stopped tapping and your
head just wants to “Listen” some more.
• Matt Mosley
“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
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
Splendor & Misery
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 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 tried-and-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
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
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
The Invention of Breaks/Swim
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 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
Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek
Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek are an unlikely duo,
but the two experimental musicians come alive on
record. Fujita is a renowned Japanese vibraphonist,
Jelinek a German electronic experimentalist with a
taste for small-scale electronics. Together they create
music that sounds unique in its ability to sound
otherworldly, while still remaining distinctly organic.
The duo first worked together on 2010’s Bird, Lake,
Objects, an album that sounded as abstract as its title.
Now the cross-continental partners have returned
with Schaum, a captivating new album that’s title
aptly translates from German to froth or foam.
Schaum is less of a musical project than a sonic
one; tones are often used for texture rather than
melody. “Urub” sounds like the inner workings of a
tape deck, distorted whirring, clicks and pops enter
and exit the track with a proud randomness that only
comes from improvisation. Fujita’s playing is sparse
and reserved, the low end of his vibraphone often
acts as a transcendent drone that Jelinek layers his
eclectic electronics on top of.
Standout “What You Should Know About Me”
opens with a loop that slips around the listeners
headspace in hypnotic fashion. Like much of Schaum,
it deserves to be listened to in a quiet, dark space with
big, isolating headphones. It’s in that kind of setting
that Fujita and Jelinek’s work shows it’s transportive
qualities, easing the listener into a meditative bliss that
culminates with the nine-minute stunner “Parades.”
• Jamie McNamara
Tales of a Nothing Kid
The first songs of Tales of a Nothing Kid begin with
a pretty dance of fingers along a set of five-strings.
It’s definitely folk. But when the pace hastens it’s
easy to tell something big is coming. The tempo
quickens with a cue of the drum-kick, and then
comes the grimy vocals. Blimey! It’s punk. Folk-punk,
to be precise. Intelligent folk-punk! The drumsticks
tick, tick, tick, creating a bed for the initial lick, and
the lyrics wow you. It’s like putting all this jumbled,
pent-up disdain of the mind into strands of words
that actually make sense. As the songs play through,
all you wanna do is dance and all your thoughts do
is dance and Ghost Factory’s Rob Gruszecki’s fingers
keep dancing over the strings. Intricate but oh-so
quick. These melodies make everything sung all
the more raw. Whether his voice gnaws, grazing on
finger-plucked melodies, or croons, clinging to the
compositions flow, the diction he delivers feels so
real. Consisting of substance. Consisting of truth. Not
a decree, more like a massacree. His words are an
honest holler: they’re bitter; they’re jagged. He definitely
flipped through those old lead-sunken journal
pages, taking only his finest excerpts. Then adorned
with a bed of bobbing bass, peculiar percussion, and
rabble-rousing riffs, the truly authentic Tales Of A
Nothing Kid was born.
• Hannah Many Guns
How To Dress Well
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
In theory, Jenny Hval’s newest album is not for
squeamish listeners. As the name suggests, each song
explores our unique relationship with blood: our
aversion to menstruation, our fascination with bloodshed
on the silver screen, and our attachment to the
metaphorical significance of this essence of life.
On “Female Vampire,” she is out for blood, letting
her desire finally take control of her as the song slinks
into the next, “In the Red,” two minutes of heavy
breathing and echoes in a dark hallway; has her
victim died? Is she mourning her actions? Or is she
excited at the thrill of it all?
On “Conceptual Romance,” she takes the listener
to “the original holy origin of the world” over a pulselike
beat that is both calming and disarming.
It’s a slow journey, sometimes quiet and often
spooky, but Hval’s soft, calculated cadence and abstract
narrative makes it all the more alluring.
• Trent Warner
July Talk’s Touch, the follow-up to their highly acclaimed
2012 debut, finds the band moving more
fully toward the hooky dance pop that punctuated
their first record, and eschewing the proto-blues
punk that was a more defining characteristic of
their earlier sound. The chemistry of vocalists Peter
Dreimanis and Leah Fay is as charming and heated
as ever, like Nick Cave and Debbie Harry standing
in traffic sharing a coffee and cigarette.
Kicking off with a sleek, closed hat four beat
and not a ton of cymbals on “Picturing Love,” a
Wurlitzer riff locking in with the rhythm section
emphasizes the low end groove and puts the onus
52 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
on the melodies of Fay and Dreimanis. This, and the
two follow-up cuts, “Beck + Call”and “Now I Know”
are sexy, taut dance floor rock n’ roll for the people
that prefer the beats of a band over club disco pop.
The big twist of Dreimanis’s ominous low-end Tom
Waits carnival grit somehow provides soft landing
for Fay’s brassy, playful hooks. The hurtling, tight
pocket fuzz punk of “Johnny + Mary” comes in fast
and hard, a late night fast drive with its exhorting
hook: “Cheer up, little junkie, cheer up little
fugitive, cheer up, we all know we all know we’re
going down, cheer up, put your camera down.”
Dreimanis’s vocals carry the fervency of a faith
healer, high drama throughout, before “Strange
Habit” finds him showing the vulnerability of an oncoming
waking hangover, over a floating minor key
groove before Fay and the strings come back with a
harmony over a nice drone, a counterpoint to the
movement through the chords. “Not goin’ through
the motions,” croons Dreimanis, a near whisper in a
siren of strings, synth, and steel to the end. The lead
single, “Push + Pull”, and “Lola + Joseph” amp up
the swagger over and over, with the rhythm section
of Josh Warburton and Danny Miles locking down
a snappy disco groove, the guitars of Dreimanis
and Ian Docherty either bursting in the pocket or
playing slinky riffs under the verse lines. “So Sorry”
has a kinetic Bikini Kill feel, with Fay at full throat
throughout, and her lines in “Jesus Said So” are a
gentle narration of some coming apocalypse over
layered harmonies, a close-to-Whitehorse chorus
ending with eerie stories of found bodies in the
snow. The title track closes the record with a hypnotic
repeating guitar riff and bluesy piano chords,
the most plaintive of lines weighing the distance
of emotions, “Touch, I don’t want to give away too
much,” building to an ecstatic release. The song’s
only real drawback is its reference to being onstage,
which, while being the actual experience of the artist,
can be hard for audiences to relate to if they’ve
never done the work themselves.
July Talk have put together a pretty wicked sophomore
record that should see the band expand on
the success of their previous work, while their smart
and distinctive sound remains with its foot firmly
on the accelerator.
• Mike Dunn
James Vincent McMorrow
Despite two successful albums in his home country
of Ireland, multi-instrumentalist James Vincent
McMorrow’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
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
unrecognizable efforts from some of music’s most
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
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
• Jamie McNamara
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 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
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2016 | 53
“Heart Shaped Face,” but arrive with
CORE 12TH YEAR
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
bands condensed that vocals, play but together, its aching sentiment stay together 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
sounds that meander in pitch and speed until
they eventually disappear or transform into
something entirely new. Sunergy often feels indeterminate,
the product of two confident synth
voyagers that relish in randomness.
Son of Dave
Son of Dave plays 13 EXPLOSIVE HITS by other
THE 4TH ANNUAL
CALGARY GUITAR SHOW
SEPTEMBER, 25 2016
Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit
Sexy, shiny, and slimy in one colourful package;
everything about Something Got Lost Between
Here and the Orbit is meticulously tuned and
contoured, but somehow, Winnipeg math-pop
outfit Royal Canoe have managed to squeeze all
of the evidence of their hard work into something
fun and goofy. It’s impossible to give Royal
Canoe enough credit for what they do, Something
is strange, eclectic, and mesmerizing. The
arrangements are extremely dense and almost
entirely live, often what appears to be a glamorously
synthesized production element turns out
to be a theramin or a strangely modulated vocal.
Praise aside, this record, despite its sprightly
pop exterior is certainly not for everyone. On
first listen, it comes off gaudy and awkward.
Some might call them a true musician’s band,
but that doesn’t say a huge amount about who
is actually listening. Some of these tracks are
straight-up indie dance pop, but with rhythms
so complex you might not even dare to dance to
them. It’s hard to recommend this record to anyone
in particular. This record is headphone-listening
dance music, a party record for nerds, and
if you are brave enough to wade into it, you will
undoubtedly be rewarded.
• Liam Prost
The epic bluesman Son of Dave has a new album
for you to feast your ears on – (Son of Dave
plays) 13 Explosive Hits (by other artists).
13 Explosive Hits is a cover album done up
with Son of Dave’s personal style on a handful of
chart toppers, ranging from old classics to new
school jams. The genre variety on this album
is absolutely incredible, ranging from soul and
classic R&B to techno and classic rock and punk.
Son of Dave has a voice naturally made for blues:
raspy but soothing and naturally killing those
baritones. He truly embraces the soul of the song
and the rest he makes look easy, even when he
reaches for those high notes. But who knew that
Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” could get a
bluesy makeover and it would actually work?
SoD strips the original track down to their
bare essentials: mainly just the lyrics and
drumbeats remain. Then with some strange,
diabolical twist of his imagination, he concocts
this knee-slapping, blues-ridden cocktail that
you’ll have to hear to believe. He adds his own
funky, bluesy style, including stellar harmonica
skills and even beatboxing – yes, beatboxing.
These experimentations give beloved classics a
reinvigorating burst of new life, while keeping
the integrity of the song alive.
We’re not sure how he does it, but Son of
Dave has truly mastered the art of the cover
song and we bow to him.
• Sarah Mac
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani
Calgary RVNG Intl. Beer Core, which has been a local
staple in “getting bands out of the basement
Take a trip and onto the the new stage,” Studio as they Bell self-describe in Calgary on and
their you’ll Facebook find a synth page, geek’s is turning wet 12 dream and will come be taking to life
its on three-day the fourth birthday floor. bash There to lies Distortion. the synth We had display, a
quick a graveyard chat with of CBC the founder tools that Mark made Russell. music before
it could be done on a laptop. One of the most
BeatRoute: outdated devices Year 12. on What display makes is it the so Buchla special? Music
Mark Easel, Russell: a relic We of a didn’t synthesizer want to that bring has in any long major been
headliners forgotten this by popular year. We’re music. keeping it strictly underground
Kaitlyn and Aurelia local. Smith is one of today’s most
BR: vocal What advocates are some of of Don the underground Buchla’s work, highlights? using the
MR: Buchla Thursday Music headliners Easel and are it’s Permafrost hypnotic Suspension. randomness
on gonna her sophomore put hooks in album their backs EARS. and KAS yank isn’t on
each the first other. to try and pull the curtain back on the
BR: mysterious How do you synthesizer feel about though, that? and on Sunergy
MR: she’s I love recruited it. I embrace the help that of freak new-age stuff. Not pioneer saying and
I all get around my wife synth to spank wizard me at Suzanne home or Ciani anything to shine like a
that. light But on I the do like brilliance watching of the the dark Buchla. side of the art.
BR: Sunergy You have is a only full lineup three of tracks punk. long, What but does its punk
mean impact to feels you these much days? more immense than that. The
MR: 23-minute Fast, thrash opener and furious, “A New something Day” is classic that I can Ciani get
anger ambience and hostility being pushed out in the gently pit. It’s into a lot the different contemporary.
some The punk slow-moving bands the sounds city. Punk of can the mean Buchla
different 200 E and people. the Buchla I can be Music melodic, Easel where mimic you sing the
along sound and of just the chill ocean out. swelling and lapping against
situations Independent they have to deal with.
MR: No More Moments, another Native band is also
playing. It’s been But, said yeah, that sometimes hearing their sound metal is of dark one
and hand deep. clapping But we’re will supportive leave you of deaf. them The and premise they of
us. is I that think to it’s hear good the that proper they have sound an alternative of one hand to
gang clapping life and is drugs to cup where the they hand can and choose strike music. the ear of
And the there’s listener, a huge creating open arms an air scene pocket here that for them ruptures
to their do so. eardrum. This would have been preferable
BR: to And hearing they embrace New Jersey it? band Wild Americans’
MR: recent Oh yeah, EP, Lighten you see younger Up. If the and title younger refers generations
the amount coming down. of effort They it embrace takes to it, write yet bet. lyrics, One then
hundred good job per all cent. around. They bring Even real the roots nicest to their sounding
music, production unlike a lot and of studio white suburban harmony kids. can’t hide the
BR: Wile Metal, E. Coyote-anvil-slingshot punk, hardcore, freak shows effect and of there’s lines like
even “I know a surf at band times on I the can’t list, help The 427s. myself, You’re try all to remember
the map! the past,” or…”Whoa, my life is in a hole,
MR: whoa, One my of our life sole is in purposes a hole.” of It’s Beer like Core swallowing is not to a
have bottle genres, of brain or put cleaner walls up. and Beer evacuating Core just doesn’t clichés.
do a punk And please, rock show. can We we do set a a punk, cap on thrash, using metal “Whoa”
show, as the then only throw verbal in an idea acoustic in the act. chorus? We also Surely have the we
Full can Grown think Delinquents of more to this say, year. Keanu. The members There are are only in so
their many 60s ways and 70s. to dilute the grandeur of expressing
BR: emotion What then musically is CBC’s with main pained mission? versions of the
MR: word That “oh,” everyone and for had over a place, 80 bars a safe (I place stopped come counting
after build 40), relationships, or for the sake and of play the shows. time Simple I won’t
as get that. back, the last two-and-a-half minutes of the
EP, Wild Americans used three of them. This is the
11-13 at Distortion.
• Mike Dunn
54 18 | AUGUST
2016 • BEATROUTE • BEATROUTE
PICKATHON FESTIVAL 2016
August 5-7, 2016
Thee Oh Sees
Thee Oh Sees aren’t still one of the best live bands
around, they’re now something even better. Madman
ringleader John Dwyer’s infectiously playful snarl still
anchors the allure of the band’s faster than hell performance
style, but the addition of dual drummers
Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon add a considered
oomph to underscore his mania. The breakneck
pace of the set had the often-calm Woods Stage
crowd at full aggression in the pit,to the point where
this reviewer had to hide and subsequently lost his
camera. One welcome surprise was extended stoner
dirge near the end that proved the chemistry of the
band works at speeds slower than 200 miles per hour.
Three Albertans travel to Portland and spend their
time watching Mac DeMarco. It almost sounds like
the premise for a joke, but catching DeMarco in a
return-by-popular-demand context was a rewarding
way to reacquaint ourselves with ‘Berta’s most
popular golden boy. While DeMarco is still touring
the same set he’s had under his belt for a while, seeing
the enthusiasm of the audience raised the stakes
somehow. Plus, that Steely Dan cover never ceases to
be a blast onstage. (Colin Gallant)
We don’t fault Patrick Watson for playing basically
the same set twice. The group was captivating.
During the Friday performance they couldn’t even
fit the whole band on the intimate Woods Stage,
leaving their back up vocalist trapped behind a tree
branch and sending Patrick Watson himself into the
audience for a song to watch a magnificent saw solo.
The sweeping arrangements from new release Love
Songs for Robots were colourful and dynamic, but
the biggest moments were the most familiar. Cuts
like “Adventures in your own Backyard” hit hard, with
a palpable affection for that material from the band
and audience alike. The set closed with a few acoustic
tracks played Bluegrass style through a condenser
microphone, including fan favourite Wooden Arms
cut “Man Like You.” (Liam Prost)
Dan Deacon is a relentless optimist, but his outward,
audience-participation approach to live performance
can be downright awkward if people aren’t willing
to play along. After a full day of music located in the
middle of the woods, a retina-melting array of lights,
and a drummer that managed to keep up with Deacon’s
spastic electronic ecstasy-bombs and it doesn’t
take long for the audience to let their guard down
and submit. Pickathon not only did that, but they
stuffed it all in a sweaty barn, filling the air with a literally
palpable sense of positivity. (Jamie McNamara)
It says something about Tennyson’s career trajectory
that it was the first time any of our BeatRoute
crew had the chance to see the Albertan synth-pop
siblings live. The Edmontonian brother sister duo
of Luke and Tess Pretty are on their first summer of
touring as a duo, and if their set at Pickathon was
any preview of what’s to come, Tegan and Sara might
not be the most famous music siblings in Alberta for
long. (Jamie McNamara)
We didn’t ride the ALVVAYS train as hard as some,
but we wanted to see as many Canadian acts as
possible, and after catching a few tracks off handedly
at the Galaxy Barn, we knew we couldn’t miss their
Woods Stage set. Cuts from their self-titled debut all
sound crisp and polished, with great push and pull
between Molly Rankin and the lead guitarist, letting
differences in tone between her mustang and his
jazzmaster colour and shape the clean leads that typify
their tunes. They had a few new songs to share as
well, and it leads us tantalized for what their second
record might have to offer. (Liam Prost)
This Portland three-piece is already going places, and
apparently one of those things is marriage, sadly to
someone who isn’t us… sigh… Their new Mike Mogis
produced record is dense and lush, but live, they
perform with only three voices and one guitar. It almost
feels like a song circle to watch them take turns
explaining the songs and bantering, lightly making
fun of each other. It felt like the best of a hometown
show, even to the point where was more talking than
performing. What we did get was raw and honest, if a
little raw. (Liam Prost)
See the full web post for more live reviews of
Pickathon acts at BeatRoute.ca.
• Team BeatRoute
photo: Liam Prost
DURAN DURAN AND CHIC
Tuesday, August 30th
More like The Tame Boys. More like Paper Blahs.
More like Duran’t Duran’t.
OK, so this reviewer didn’t think Duran Duran
were particularly good during their kinda-ok-attended
Saddledome show in Calgary. Why? Well, is there
any doubt that shlubby men in their 50s aren’t meant
to wear skintight white pants and lazily attempt boy
band dance moves? That a band with a handful of
good looks and hit singles shouldn’t make out of
touch dance records long after their peak? Duran Duran’s
tepid later material dominated their set in equal
measure to the high school reunion-esque audience’s
desire to simply relive the past. Perhaps I wasn’t the
target audience, but this set was as appalling for me
as it was for those who truly gave a damn about the
band’s ‘80s material.
Nevermind the fact that Chic delivered a perfectly
audience-focused set played by expert musicians
who spared the room a dose of wildly out of touch
ego. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed during
Chic’s performance. If there had been, this would be
a much more fun review to write and would barely
mention the double d-bags.
TL;DR: Duran Duran failed to make a case for
their continued existence while also shafting their
shut-up-and-play-the-hits audience. It was a performance
that served no one.
• Colin Gallant review/photo
56 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
blame it on Pokémon...
I have been seeing sex workers for 30 years, and I shudder to think how
shitty my life would have been without them. Some have become friends,
but I’ve appreciated all of them. Negative stereotypes about guys like me
are not fair, but sex work does have its problems. Some clients (including
females) are difficult—difficult clients aren’t typically violent; more often
they’re inconsiderate and demanding. Clients need to understand that
all people have limits and feelings, and money doesn’t change that. But
what can we clients do to fight stupid, regressive, repressive laws that
harm sex workers?
— Not A John
You can speak up, NAJ. The current line from prohibitionists—people
who want sex work to remain illegal—is that all women who sell sex
are victims and all men who buy sex are monsters. But talk to actual sex
workers and you hear about considerate, regular clients who are kind,
respectful, and sometimes personally helpful in unexpected ways. (A
sex worker friend had a regular client who was a dentist; he did some
expensive dental work for my uninsured friend—and he did it for
free, not for trade.) You also hear about clients who are threatening or
violent—and how laws against sex work make it impossible for them to
go to the police, making them more vulnerable to violence, exploitation,
and abuse, not less.
There is a large and growing sex workers’ rights movement, NAJ,
which Emily Bazelon wrote about in a terrific cover story for the New
York Times Magazine (“Should Prostitution Be a Crime?” May 5, 2016).
Bazelon spoke with scores of sex workers active in the growing and
increasingly effective decriminalization movement. Amnesty International
recently called for the full decriminalization of sex work, joining
Human Rights Watch, the World Health Organization, and other large,
mainstream health and human rights groups.
But there’s something missing from the movement to decriminalize
sex work: clients like you, NAJ.
Maggie McNeill, a sex worker, activist, and writer, wrote a blistering
piece on her blog (“The Honest Courtesan”) about a recent undercover
police operation in Seattle. Scores of men seeking to hire sex workers—
the men ranged from surgeons to bus drivers to journalists—were arrested
and subjected to ritualized public humiliation designed to discourage
other men from paying for sex.
“These crusades do nothing but hurt the most vulnerable individuals
on both sides of the transaction,” McNeill wrote. “The only way to stop
this [is for] all of you clients out there get off of your duffs and fight. Regular
clients outnumber full-time whores by at least 60 to 1; gentlemen, I
suggest you rethink your current silence, unless you want to be the next
one with your name and picture splashed across newspapers, TV screens
The legal risks and social stigma attached to buying sex doubtless
leave some clients feeling like they can’t speak up and join the fight,
and the much-touted “Nordic Model” is upping the legal stakes for
buyers of sex. (The Nordic Model makes buying sex illegal, not selling
it. In theory, only clients are supposed to suffer, but in practice, the
women are punished, too. Bazelon unpacks the harms of the Nordic
Model in her story—please go read it.) But sex workers today, like
gays and lesbians not too long ago, are coming out in ever-greater
numbers to fight for their rights in the face of potentially dire legal
and social consequences.
Clients need to join the fight—or perhaps I should say clients need to
rejoin the fight.
In The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution, which
I read while I was away on vacation, author Faramerz Dabhoiwala writes
about “Societies of Virtue” formed all over England in the late 17th century.
Adulterers, fornicators, and Sabbath-breakers were persecuted by
these groups, NAJ, but their campaigns against prostitutes were particularly
vicious and indiscriminate; women were thrown in jail or publicly
whipped for the crime of having a “lewd” appearance. The persecution
of streetwalkers, brothel owners, and women guilty of “[walking] quietly
about the street” went on for decades.
Then a beautiful thing happened.
“In the spring of 1711, a drive against ‘loose women and their male
followers’ in Covent Garden was foiled when ‘the constables were
dreadfully maimed, and one mortally wounded, by ruffians aided by 40
soldiers of the guards, who entered into a combination to protect the
women,’” writes Dabhoiwala. “On another occasion in the East End, a
crowd of over a thousand seamen mobbed the local magistrates and
forcibly released a group of convicted prostitutes being sent to a house
Male followers of loose women, soldiers of the guard, mobs of
seamen—not altruists, but likely clients of the women they fought to
defend. And thanks to their efforts and the efforts of 18th-century sex
workers who lawyered up, marched into court, and sued the pants off
Society of Virtue members, by the middle of the 18th century, women
could walk the streets without being arrested or harassed—even women
known to be prostitutes.
I’m not suggesting that today’s clients form mobs and attack prohibitionists,
cops, prosecutors, and their enablers in the media. But clients
can and should be out there speaking up in defense of sex workers and
themselves. Sex workers are speaking up and fighting back—on Twitter
and other social-media platforms, sometimes anonymously, but increasingly
under their own names—and they’re staring down the stigma, the
shame, and the law on their own. It’s time for their clients to join them
in the fight.
by Dan Savage
I can’t believe this is why I’m finally writing you. My husband is using
Pokémon GO as an excuse to stay out until 5:00 a.m. with another woman.
She is beautiful and about a decade younger than him, and he won’t hear
me out on why this is bothersome. Our work schedules don’t match up,
and he always wants me to meet him in the wee hours of the morning after
I’ve worked a full day shift and done all the work looking after our pets.
I can give him the benefit of the doubt and be totally fine with him wanting
to stay out after work for a few drinks with friends, even though I’m too
tired to join them, but Pokémon GO until 5:00 a.m. alone with a twentysomething
for four straight weeks?! It’s driving me crazy. I told him how I
feel, and he says it’s my fault for “never wanting to do anything.” (I don’t
consider walking around staring at a phone “doing something.”) I told him
I feel like he doesn’t even like me anymore, and he didn’t even acknowledge
my feelings with a response. With the craze this has become, we can’t be
the only couple with this problem. I don’t think me enabling his actions by
joining the game is the answer, but I’d be absolutely gutted if this game was
the straw that broke up our 10-year relationship. Please help.
— Pokémon GO Means No
Second Life, SimCity, Quake, Counter-Strike, World of Warcraft,
Minecraft—it’s always something.
By which I mean to say, PGMN, Pokémon GO isn’t destroying your
marriage now, just as SimCity wasn’t destroying marriages 15 years ago.
Your husband is destroying your marriage. He’s being selfish and inconsiderate
and cruel. He doesn’t care enough about you to prioritize your
feelings—or even acknowledge them, it seems.
When a partner’s actions are clearly saying, “I’m choosing this thing—
this video game, this bowling league, this whatever—over you,” they’re
almost always saying this, as well: “I don’t want to be with you anymore,
but I don’t have the courage or the decency to leave so I’m going to
neglect you until you get fed up and leave me.”
Let him have his ridiculous obsessions—with this game, with this
girl—and when he comes to his senses and abandons Pokémon GO, just
like people came to their senses and walked away from Second Life a
decade ago, you’ll be in a better position to decide whether you want to
Listen to Dan at
Email Dan at
@fakedansavage on Twitter
58 | SEPTEMBER 2016 • BEATROUTE