The tenth annual edition of Calgary’s Sled Island music festival kicked off this week. Over five days there will be over 250 bands playing plus comedy, art and film events across over 35 venues. Thursday night had both floors of The Palomino reverberating heavily with the talents from more than ten performing acts. Upstairs at the club/pub alongside the 7th Avenue rail tracks was the Big Fun Festival Presentation featuring The Zorgs, Shattered, Darto, The Avulsions and others. Down in the basement, a crimson lit underground where the Red Witch, from Game of Thrones, would feel at home, had local Calgary band Burro plus Crosss and Duchess Says from Montreal. Shearing Pinx and Blü Shorts were on stage earlier in this Femme Wave presentation.
Three piece Burro played out a set on the noisier, experimental rim of psychedelic rock, filled with urban, reverberated feedback from Whitney Ota, who runs the recording label, USSR (Unit Structure Sound Recordings). Guitar-fretted up and over the edge, strong enough to wake up androids from their dreams of electric sheep (shearing).
Crosss, coming with an X with three s’s, played a heavy metal set with vocals from under the hoodie of songwriter Andy March to get us into the wee hours of a Friday morning marked by the looming news of BREXIT over the pond (the vote in Great Britain to remain or leave the European Union).
To close things out at The Palomino, the rather Euro sounding, electro-punk rhythms of Duchess Says actually got the crowd off its feet and into a sitting-down-on-the-floor reflective, crouching moment. Just a moment mind, as Annie-Claude Deschênes craftily catapulted the crowd back up with her Cabaret-like, facial contortions and into a Moog-mangling mosh-pit at the front of the stage. A very exciting live act with heavy, danceable tunes (with hints of Kraftwerk, Devo and the B-52’s) including Negative Thoughts and Time to Reiterate, which you can see and hear on YouTube.
Hey, the Brits just voted themselves out of the EU……