Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada on December 10, 1995 · 42
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Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada · 42

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 10, 1995
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E2 CALGARY HERALD Sunday, December 1 0, 1 995 BEAT THREE-NIGHT FESTIVAL FMl W Clubs rock when Calgary bands take the stage STORIES JAMES MURETICH Calgary Herald PHOTOGRAPHS DAVE OLECKO Calgary Herald rrT TP RICH RAGANY: Guitarist for Red Autumn Fall hree nights. Three clubs. Three packed houses. On that level alone, Panacea, the music festival promoting independent Calgary rock bands, was a huge success. At the Night Gallery Cabaret on Thursday evening, at The Republik on Friday and last night at the Ship & Anchor, acts ranging from Tariq, The Feds and Wag-beard to Tinderbox strutted their stuff to crowds definitely a-buzz over their original tunes. There was everything from the power-punk of Field Day to Glider doing a version of The Beatles' Please Please Me. EvenMuchMusic video veejay Terry David Mulligan breezed through town to interview musicians and film some of Panacea for his Dec. 17 Music West program. "I think the Calgary scene is up and coming. There's a lot of tremendous new talent. I really consider Calgary to be a smaller version of Seattle," said 22-year-old Brigitte Bajalo at The Republik Friday night. "It's funny, a lot of the Canadian music-industry people I talk to don't think bands here can make the long haul," said Sean Myers, music editor for the Calgary alternative music mag Core. "I think they're wrong. Panacea is just another example of Calgary bands having to do it for themselves. They've always had to and they always will until somebody with some record label wakes up. "I mean, Wagbeard went through their first run of a 1,000 CDs really quick, and Field Day has sold something like 13,000 CDs worldwide. Someone like Tariq is going to be huge. If he isn't, there's no God," said Myers. "A guy in (the B.C. band) Red Sugar recently told me that for a smaller band from out of town it's almost impossible to get a gig in Calgary because so many clubs are only booking local bands. That says something." The three-night indie fest (organized by lead singer Simeon Ross of Red Autumn Fall) definitely showcased the buzz about Calgary bands and yielded some truly memorable performances. Singer-songwriter Tariq blazed through his set of rhythmic tjMjij itMlrtTW iiiiiiil -TT Till TiT imWiMilMlW . --v jag HEATHER BOLAND: Lemonjade singer under soft lighting at The Republik folk-rock at the Gallery. Lemonjade's ethereal but meaty pop-rock set was outstanding, as was the jet-powered rock of Wagbeard. And that was but a few of the highlights. "Something like Panacea just gives local bands more confidence, just helps them take their music up another notch," said Lemonjade bassist Paddy Mc-Callion. "I mean, Rich (Ragany, Red Autumn Fall guitarist) is a good buddy of mine, but when it comes to a night like this, we're here to kick their butt. And they're here to kick ours. It's like we're saying, OK, the band to beat tonight is Red Autumn Fall. Let's put on the best damn show we can. When it comes to the stage, no one's your friend. But off stage, well " Not even a three-night festival like Panacea can come close to showcasing all the bands in town. That's why just 10 blocks away from The Republik Friday night, the Kisaten nightspot was holding an anti-Panacea night for some of the bands not chosen to play the local festival. In its basement, Fire Engine Red's blistering guitar-rock was bouncing off the cement walls. Drummer james Hayden had been at The Republik earlier Friday night, even making a stage announcement at one point, but in the wee hours he was doing what he does best: pounding the skins with all the passion he could muster. "I'm not really anti-Panacea or anything like that. I just thought it would be really cool to play a basement show like this. It's the kind of hot, sweaty, rock 'n' roll I love," said Hayden. And there's plenty to love these days when it comes to Calgary's burgeoning, independent rock scene. JOHN BEATTY: Glider guitarist and lead singer in Please Please Me at The Night Gallery Cabaret SIMEON ROSS: Lead singer of Red Autumn Fall organized the three-night indie fest to showcase local talent RESURGENCE OF POP 'A DEFINITE TREND' ' If this weekend's Panacea festival highlighted any one quality about the Calgary music scene, it's the resurgence of pop. There was no shortage of pop-oriented acts at the shows Thursday through Saturday, including the pop-rock of Rhuban Phero, a five-piece combo which just released its debut CD entitled Skip To The Hits. "There seems to be a definite trend toward pop right now, and we certainly wanted to get away from the heavy grunge-rock thing," said Rhuban Phero singer Duncan McDonald. "It wasn't so much a conscious decision as something that just naturally evolved. In fact, I had trouble with the term pop for quite some time because there seemed to be a kind of stigma attached to it, but I'm warming up to the word now. I think the term has become much broader." Rhuban Phero's roots reflect the broad base of contemporary pop-rock. Its members having been with other groups like Sleeping Lorry and Beer Crime ("a parody of Spinal Tap"), Rhuban Phero started out as a cover band. It performed songs by acts ranging from The Beatles to Barenaked Ladies and the Rheostatics. Gradually, over the last two years, the band's own sound began to emerge, centered on infectious, acoustic-based melodies and harmonies. As well, McDonald's lyrics dress up simple reflections on life and love with plenty of wordplay and broad imagery. "I don't like writing things like 'Oh Jesse, I love you; oh Betty, you're my favorite.' I like to say what I'm feeling in general terms so that I could be singing about how much I like my guitar, but somebody could see it as much they like their world or their shoes." Rhuban Phero has certainly been growing musically, as has its fan base. McDonald credits a lot of the band's growth to simply competing in a thriving local music scene. "The amount of bands and activity in Calgary can't help but be positive in that it creates a demand in the market, more places to play and, more importantly, it makes you want to stand out from the crowd." TARIQ: Singersongwriter blazes through his set NEW RELEASES Various Artists: Decadence (Nettwerk). This is a hers and his-tory of Canada's amazing little indie label that blew and blew until the doors to the music world opened and it entered, proud and erect, committed to the vive-la-differ-ence that makes music enticing, splicing rock, pop, industrial, rap and jazz to create something mostly bold and cool with the occasional fool's gold hidden among the gems. This is the first decade of Vancouver's Nettwerk label on five CDs, and each CD, keeping with its ground-breaking attitude, holds a multimedia CD-ROM track that allows you to explore bios, videos, info and images a-go-go that lay the bed of roses down for the music that follows. A decade of what some may call decadence but what music lovers call daily nourishment, life-sustaining power and passion, the bread needed to break before paying tribute to the gods at war within. It is here in this box set of what has been and what will be from the only Canadian label to rival fine British exports such as Factory and 4AD. Some of it has become known to the masses. Sarah McLachlan, Ginger, born of Grapes Of Wrath. Some now knock on the door, like Wild Strawberries. Most, though, reside firmly in the underground, and Nettwerk's best has aged in a way that many from the synth-industrial breeding ground of the mid- to late '80s haven't, from the heaviosity of Skinny Puppy to the industrial-ethereal qualities of Severed Heads, from the angelic pop of Bel Canto to the early pounding-passionate riddims of MC 900 Foot Jesus and the guitar musings of Mystery Machine, from the classic pop of Australia's Falling Joys to the jazz-industrial of Brainbox and the brilliant feminist oral sex ode You Suck by Consolidated with the Yeastie Girls. It's a fascinating trip, musical and visual, and one that exceeds even one's memories until you are forced to tip your brain-hat to this Vancouver collective. May it survive and prosper a decade hence. After all, we all need more Decadence. Record Track 1301 (J.M.) Rating: 12 out of five Carole Pope: Radiate (International Music Distribution). Carole Pope is still plying her brand of rough trade more than a decade after her band of the same name sank into the mists of Canadian music, a victim of fashion, of too many Juno Awards taking her and Kevin Staples out of the realm of the leather-clad underground and into the realm of mainstream acceptance. Their electro-pop, sexually-charged songs lost their edge. Wham, bam, game over. Well, the Pope is back and this five song EP finds her opting for guitars rather than keyboards on four of the five tracks while she proceeds to lay her sexual politics on the line. It's definitely more edgy but her style remains very much in the vein of ye olde Rough Trade. Radiate is better than expected it also sadly sounds more dated than current. Pope still radiates, just not as intensely as she once did. Record Track 1302 (J.M.) Rating: out of five Ted Hawkins: Songs From Venice Beach (Evidence). The first time you hear Ted Hawkins he stops you dead in your tracks. There's that voice. Soul personified. It echoes qualities not heard since Sam Cooke and Otis Redding passed from this mortal coil. His was a life on the road, in prison, of singing for change on Venice Beach. And a life of song, especially his sparse 1985 Venice Beach recordings where Hawkins just strummed his guitar and sang mostly cover tunes that ranged from soul and country to popular classics. And before he died earlier this year of a stroke, he was finally getting the worldwide recognition he deserved. As sad as his passing may be, his music truly lives on and Songs From Venice Beach is a haunting collection of 14 tunes taken from the two albums that originally came from his Venice sessions. The supreme soulful- I I -Ted, Hawkins J i ' &tmfd jwK Umk& mack 1 i ." 7"'; ... ' i. Is HAWKINS: His music deserves to live on ness of Hawkins versions of everything from There Stands The Glass and Cooke's Good Times to Curtis Mayfield's Gypsy Woman and Brook Benton's I Got What I Wanted will bring tears of joy to your eyes. Hawkins' voice and songs were, and always will be, a thing of beauty. R.I.P. Record Track 1303 (J.M.) Rating: out of five Eazy E: Eternal E (Priority-Virgin). It's one of life's bitter ironies that the man who brought gangsta rap to the world by founding a record label with money made as a drug dealer, the man who bragged about all his "bitches," died of AIDS this year. This reverential rap retro is meant to reassert his ground-breaking hipness-hopness in the face of his passing. On that count, it's a mixed farewell. Whether solo or with the controversial N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude) Eazy E's plus was tough, hard-hitting raps that pulled no punches, just told it as it was on the street. It was the truth, maybe not the whole truth but definitely the ugly truth. And yet once he had made his mark, Eazy E's downfall was that he also took it nowhere, extending only his ego rather than his horizons. Eternal E proves that Eazy E was a black man with attitude who was in the right place at the right rap time but whose hedonism-nihilism eventually became his prison, personally and musically. Record Track 1304 (J.M.) Rating: 12 out of five The Who: Who's Next (MCA). Yes, it's another re-tread of a classic album with bonus tracks tacked on to entice you to buy it. The pros to shelling out coin for Who's Next again: (1) It was a masterpiece even without the seven extra tracks. (2) Four of the new tracks are previously unre-leased. (3) Who guru Pete Townshend had a nervous breakdown while recording these songs, most of which were intended for the aborted hip-pie-trippy Lifehouse project. However, the cons to being fooled again: (1) If the unreleased tracks couldn't elbow out a space on last year's four-CD box set of The Who, how worthy are they? (2) Remember the recent "anything's more interesting with music" campaign to get baby boomers to buy more music? Well, if they ain't gonna buy Rancid or Art Bergmann, you're not gonna entice them to re-purchase something they already own on vinyl, cassette or CD. So, Who's Next, what's next? (M.L.M.) Rating: out of five (Reviews by James Muretich, Mary-Lynn McEwen.) fj- tiTimW 1 To hear musical sample, press the four-digit code after each review. tf

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