BeatRoute Magazine Alberta print e-edition - September 2016


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

Calgary Theatre Roundup • Animal Collective • Calgary Metal Fest • Charles Bradley • Preoccupations

Editor’s Note/Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Monthly Mouthful 14

Vidiot 21

Edmonton Extra 29

Book of Bridge 38

Sask Tell 31

Letters from Winnipeg 32

Let’s Get Jucy! 36


CIFF 16-19

CITY 8-14

Theatre Roundup, Beakerhead,

100% Skate Club, MRU Concerts,

Torch Motorcycles

FILM 16-21

CIFF, Netflix & Kill, Vidiot



rockpile 23-32

Animal Collective, The Dandy Warhols,

Chinese Indie Rock Night, Belvue,

I Am The Mountain, Knots, Timepoint

Ensemble, Mandible Klaw, Conniving


jucy 35-36

Junior Boys, Pomo, Louis CZA, Odder Otter

roots 39-41

Charles Bradley, Snowblink, Lolita’s,

Todd Maduke, Birds of Bellwood

shrapnel 42-45

Calgary Metal Fest overview


cds 47-54

Preoccupations and much, much more ...

live 56-57



Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Content Coordinator

Masha Scheele

Managing Editor/Web Producer

Shane Flug

Music Editor

Colin Gallant

Section Editors

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


Tel: 403.451.7628 • e-mail:


We distribute our publication in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.

SARGE Distribution in Edmonton – Shane Bennett (780) 953-8423

BeatRoute Magazine

1112A 4th Street SW • Calgary, AB • T24 0X6 • Canada

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Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents is prohibited


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.


TORCH NIGHT: message of love drives fundraiser

Billed as a evening of

celebrating female

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

of Torch.

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

Women’s Centre.

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.




mark your calendars now for the first half of the theatre season


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



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.


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.


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

very end.


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.


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.


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

to tell.


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.


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.


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.


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

“whodunit” genre.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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

and imagination.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Theatre Calgary, Nov. 24 - Dec. 24

Theatre Calgary celebrates 30 years of this annual Christmas tradition.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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

horribly wrong.




by B.Simm

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:

Torch Motorcycles.

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

They’re not a motorcycle “club”, but they take riding seriously.



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

the call.

“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

each other.

“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

launch it?

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 or call 403-440-7770.



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






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.”




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

independent production.”

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 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



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

Show series.

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

relevant today.

SAT. SEPT. 24, 11:15 @ GLOBE




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


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)



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

Philip Clarke

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

sports directing.

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

to drive.

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.


Choice CIFF Cuts




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.



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.


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.


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 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

constructive rehabilitation.


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-


stories from the band members themselves to

paint an honest and in-depth portrait of one of

the most influential bands of all time.



rewind to the future

by Shane Sellar

The Jungle Book


Mother’s Day

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

manservant status.

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

perverse subject-matter.

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

timeless narrative.

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.

Mother’s Day

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

this buddy-comedy.

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…



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




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


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

going on.”

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,”

admits Holmström.

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.”

So Bohemian.

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



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.

• CG

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.

• CG


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



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

Alpine Decline?

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

Shou Wang?

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.



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

warm vocals.

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 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

by love.”

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



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

with Mozart.

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

“classical” scene.

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

rapper Transit.

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

Beats Antique.


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



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.




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

other music.”

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

birthday party.

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

upsetting us.”

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.


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

huge advantages.”

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.




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


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

the country.”

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

entertainment manager.

“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

& Records.”

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.




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

horror movies.

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

have succeeded.

BR: How did the casting call work? Did you have auditions or tap

specific people?

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

so well?

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

obscure reference!


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, 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 (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 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

certain conditions.

“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

live venue.”

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


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,”

Peters explains.

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

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

photo: Jaclyn Campanaro




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,

Jessy Lanza.

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

never change.

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

electronic artists.

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



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

to dictionary*

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!

Happy raving!

• 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

them here.

“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

to contribute to the album’s progress and get in on exclusive merch





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

won’t stop.”

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.















Mabaleka with

bebo GRoove

WoMen In need

Charity Gig

danny vaCon

Residency kick-off

SaRah’S laST day

with JJ ThoMaS

belle aRMoURy,

heRoJIRo and a-boMb

laURa JaCkSon

with STeve PIneo

Winnie the brave

with outlets band

FRI lUCkhoUnd

23 with guests



henRy WhITe with




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

“pop paradox.”

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

farmhouse recording.

“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

by B.Simm

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

drive away.

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.


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


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





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 [1980] 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),

and more.

“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


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[1987]

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

good friends.

“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

driving grime.

“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,”

concludes Ricci.

“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




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 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

reading this…

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 [2011] 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.



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.”

Toxic Holocaust

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

Rob Urbinati.

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

career highlight.

“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

the past.”

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

you guys.’”

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.






Flemish Eye

It’s tough to imagine many other bands that could

bounce back from the year Preoccupations just

had. The group formerly known as Viet Cong

began hearing charges of racial and political insensitivity

with regards to their name shortly after

the release of their 2014 Cassette EP, but with the

release of their critically adored and commercially

successful self-titled LP in 2015, these criticisms

suddenly became much louder.

Suddenly a band that was selling out shows

around the world began being inundated by

protests at many of their shows. Promoters began

pulling dates and others refused to book their

shows. Critics who once championed the band

suddenly began to focus solely on the divisive

nature of their name. Many, including this writer,

felt the band should have been a shoe-in for the

2015 Polaris Prize, but that too felt more like a

referendum on a name and less like what should

have been a victory lap for a band that had created

one of the best albums of the year.

While they claimed there were “zero political

connotations” in regards to the choice of the

name, the attacks and protests only seemed to get

louder citing that a lack of intent is not equivalent

to a lack of effect. After all, the military wing

of Viet Cong were a destructive force that killed

thousands of civilians and ruined lives of thousands

of others. In late 2015 the band, which was

now being.referred to as “four guys from Calgary

who chose a really bad band name,” released a

formal apology to anyone they had offended and

announced they would be changing their name.

Preoccupations feels like a cathartic exercise for

the band on both a psychological and sonic level

and definitely amplifies many of the group’s earlier

works. The album’s production and songwriting

feels much more full than previous efforts, which

are in large part due to the new material being

lathered in layers of synthesizers. The results of

which give the album a more interesting and accessible

sound without sacrificing the ambiance that

helped draw comparisons to acts like Joy Division.

The album opener and first single is the dour

and menacing “Anxiety.” The aptly titled track sets

the tone for the album with singer Matt Flegel’s

lyrics creating a vivid picture of the backlash, abandonment

and humiliation the band members went

through. While the album has many highlights,

the track that will likely stick for many listeners is

the Dan Boeckner guest vocal appearance on the

11-and-a-half-minute opus, “Memory.” Boeckner,

whom many will recognize from his work in Wolf

Parade and Operators, introduced the band at

last year’s Polaris Gala and was one of the few to

stand up for the band in a public forum. The track

explores themes of loss and remorse and builds

and grows until it collapses into several minutes of

distortion and reverb.

While there are not any real missteps on the album,

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

that start off the final third of the album, feel more

like snippets of ideas than fully realized songs.

Neither is unlistenable by any stretch, nor do they

feel out of place in the flow of the album, but they

also don’t leave much of an impact or call out for

repeated listens.

The album closes with its two strongest tracks,

“Stimulation,” which is the most familiar sounding

of all the songs on the record, and the stunning

“Fever.” The latter is a tremendous conclusion

and feels like the band shedding the weight of the

tumultuous past year. The track is a definite showcase

for Daniel Christiansen and Scott (Monty)

Munro who lather the track in roaring synthesizers,

weaving in out of howling guitar riffs into a chaotic

build while Flegel repeats the line “You’re not

scared/You’re not scared/Carry your fever away

from here” until everything fades into a soaring

and therapeutic crescendo.

Preoccupations have made a bold and powerful

statement and the album is a resounding success

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

the band will not be defined by its early missteps

and are here to stay. With any luck this record will

allow them to once again be judged on their art

and not the name that’s on the box.

• Lewis Cohen

illustration: Cody Fennell



Human Energy

Ninja Tune

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

for Stewart.

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

Pirates Blend

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

last year.

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

very best.

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

dance/electronic music.

• Paul Rodgers


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,

speed-addled headspace.

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

winning formula.

• Jamie McNamara

Mykki Blanco


Fishing Blues

Rhymesayers Entertainment

There are those in the music industry who believe

Atmosphere are in the twilight of their career.

Those who feel it would be best if the Minneapolis

duo hung up their proverbial hats. Is it possible to

make good rap music in your middle age? Or does

everything get notably softer? While Atmosphere’s

latest release Fishing Blues does have less fire and

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

honest hip hop, marks that Ant and Slug have worn

since their foundation. Is it as biting and sharp as God

Loves Ugly? No. Is it as insightful and philosophically

poignant as When Life Gives You Lemons? Potentially.

“Besos,” with its delicate flute intro, and snidely

succinct lyrics puts the listener in all types of human

positions without feeling too preachy. “Next to You

(feat. deM atlaS)” gets gloomy as Atmosphere does

best while still coming together oddly sexy. “Seismic

Waves” hits home with musings of the Apocalypse

and the condition of an ailing world. Atmosphere

may have aged, but with these years has come a

storied wisdom that makes them less angry with

the world and more in the role of a disappointed or

critical observer. Perhaps this fatherly disapproval is

just what the world needs.

• Willow Grier

Bad Animal



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


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

Mykki Blanco



“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

Sub Pop

Dystopian sci-fi concept albums have a surprisingly

storied history in hip hop. From Deltron 3030’s

self-titled debut to Die Antwoord predecessor

Constructus Corporation and their two-hour epic

The Ziggurat to Lil Wayne calling himself a Martian

(maybe not that one).

Noise rap group Clipping has decided to take

their own swing at the concept with their fourth

release, Splendor & Misery. The group is fronted by

Tony Award-winning rapper Daveed Diggs, whose

rapid-fire flow fits as intimidatingly over the near

acapella-like sparse arrangements as it does on the

frequent ultra harsh blasts of feedback, provided by

producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson.

Clipping has always played with the idea of genre

friction with their signature mish-mash of harsh

noise and hip hop. Splendor & Misery takes that

dynamic a step further, jumping back and forth between

styles at will. From industrial, to post-rock, to

hymn-like Barbershop quartet sing-songs, the group

varies their style drastically from track to track. The

group maintains cohesion through this sonic chaos

by following the journey of an escaped man from

a slave colony and the ship that he commandeers.

The lyricism subverts mainstream hip-hop conventions

by repurposing their meaning and using them

in their sci-fi setting. Diggs’ lines employ frequent

references to hip-hop culture (Kendrick’s “Control”

verse) and science fiction (The Dispossessed, Clay’s

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

This exploration of sonic and narrative space makes

Clipping’s Splendor & Misery an interesting and

compelling blend of genres.

• Cole Parker

Crystal Castles

Amnesty (I)

Casablanca Records

Crystal Castles has had a tumultuous few years since

the release of III back in 2012. Vocalist Alice Glass and

producer Ethan Kath have had a creative falling out

of sorts, a dramatic breakup-esque change of heart.

It’s a little ironic, considering the somber, contemplative

and cruelly beautiful themes this iconic duo deals

with. Since Glass’ departure, Kath has joined forces

with vocalist Edith Frances to take another swing at

the 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

DJ Khaled

Major Key

Epic Records/We the Best Music Group

In addition to the Snapchat motivational speeches,

DJ Khaled gave us “anotha one” of his studio albums.

Khaled’s ninth album, Major Key, was released in July

of this year, and I unabashedly enjoy this LP. Collaborating

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

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

hate the lyricism and production of this album. If you

ignore DJ Khaled’s famous phrases like “major key,”

“anotha one,” and my personal favourite, “they don’t

want you to [insert dumb thing they apparently

don’t want you to have here]” and just focus on the

production, it’s not bad at all.

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

album. Khaled had a part in writing every song on his

ninth album and produced some. The tracks on this

album adopt the modern trends hip-hop is moving

towards, and has something for every rap enthusiast

on the music spectrum, even the Top 40 fans we all

know and love. I was almost 100 per cent sold on this

album until the ever-so-vanilla Meghan Trainor and

hip hop’s hangnails, Wiz Khalifa and Wale, made an

appearance. Besides that, Major Key is the perfect

album to bump to in your whip or local club. I guess

DJ Khaled was right; I didn’t want him to have a good

album, but he did it again. Major key alert. Bless up.

• Maria Dardano


The Invention of Breaks/Swim

Kingfisher Bluez

While BeatRoute already spilled some words on the

fertile Fraser Valley soil that spawned Blessed and

their offspring, less has been written about Mission,

B.C.’s Dodgers. The two bands have 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

Ghost Factory

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

Jenny Hval

Blood Bitch

Sacred Bones

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


Sleepless Records/Universal

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


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

We Move

Dine Alone

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

Frank Ocean



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

visionary talents.

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

a Frank that is working to live up to the expectations

he made for himself on Channel Orange, the

former and latter being just about the only songs

the even remotely resemble a traditional single.

That’s not to say that an album needs singles to be

enjoyable. In 2016 alone, artists have been releasing

amazing, hookless albums with willful disregard

for radio play, but when Kanye, Kendrick, or

even James Blake do it, there is payoff. On Blonde,

payoff is rare, and like much else on the album,

it often comes obfuscated by haze from an artist

trying his hardest to keep fans at an arm’s length.

It’s especially telling that the best moment on

the album doesn’t even come from Frank Ocean

himself. Andre 3000’s stunning surprise verse on

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

album, leaving the listener with a new question to

ask unrelentingly: “Forget Frank, where is Andre

3000’s album?”

• Jamie McNamara

Angel Olsen



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



“Heart Shaped Face,” but arrive with




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.

• Jamie

by B.



Son of Dave

Son of Dave plays 13 EXPLOSIVE HITS by other


Goddamn Records




SEPTEMBER, 25 2016




Royal Canoe

Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit

Nevado Records

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


















like KAS’s

on the


bill. I


think Native






the most



they fade














Wild Americans

Lighten Up

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

to easing

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


dim, dull,

Beer Core’s



‘n’ pop






indie rock.


11-13 at Distortion.

• Mike Dunn

54 18 | AUGUST







August 5-7, 2016

Portland, OR

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.

(Colin Gallant)

Mac DeMarco

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)

Patrick Watson

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

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

• Team BeatRoute

photo: Liam Prost



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



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

and websites.”

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

of correction.”

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

leave him.

Listen to Dan at

Email Dan at

Follow Dan

@fakedansavage on Twitter


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