Music Writing about Images

Sledding at Pin-Bar

Sawlung at Pin-Bar, June 19, 2019. © J. Ashley Nixon

With no Sled Island festival this year, I am looking back at previous events over the last four years. During that time, I photographed 66 bands, solo musicians and stand-up comedians at ten venues across the city. My book Sledding: Sled Island Music & Arts Festival 2016-19 was published on June 23, 2020. Here is an excerpt from the gig I covered at Pin-Bar on Wednesday, June 19, 2019:

Calgary’s Sawlung got the gig going in Pin-Bar’s front room as the late spring light continued to pour in from the street. Their post-metal blasts pulled in a good crowd to get their ears rung by vocalist Alexi, guitarist Jesse and Connor on drums as the trio rendered through their set including Nothing Left, Vile +Base, and Hollowing Hate from their 2016 album, S/T.

The two psyching-syncing guitars of Denimachine’s Brady Side and Trenton Bullard geared through Tornado, Mountains, and other heaviness in their rock/stoner set with overdrive coming from bass player/vocalist Scott Charles and drummer, Kevin Ross.

Third up was Taro, a trio from Medicine Hat whose new album Arcana (Wasted Wax Records) was up for grabs at the back between the pinball tables. Connor Day grabbed the audience by the trachea with his energetic, pedal-switching guitar and voice, while Connor Thompson pounded the bass while permanently hidden under a stream of hair, and Zach Doble was loving it to pieces under his hat on the drums.

Sci-fi rock from Calgary’s Woodhawk closed out the gig as Wednesday time-shifted into Thursday. There was riffing, rocking wizardry in Turner Midzain’s guitar and Mike Madmington’s bass. The drums were driving with some nice pausing and acrobatic stick movements from Kevin Nelson. The vocal harmonies displayed on their 2017 album Beyond the Sun were, frankly, hard to pick up in their heavily-mortared wall of sound so I am still left wondering if Living in the Sand is referencing Planet Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi saga that began with Dune in 1965 or The Martian by Andy Weir? The beautiful Mars-red graphics on the front cover might support Dune since, make no mistake, the dead astronaut lying there looks nothing like Matt Damon.

View or purchase Sledding

You can view (virtual flip page) and/or purchase a print copy or Instant PDF version (viewable on any device) of Sledding: Sled Island Music & Arts Festival 2016-19 via this link.


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