Tag Archives: Show

Blades of Steel to release “Frontal Full Nelson & the Boxcar Bolsheviks” EP

When Johnathan Stoddart moved to Calgary in 1999, the hip-hop scene was virtually non-existent in the city. In the fifteen years since he first set foot in the city, the scene has grown, and he has been front and centre for the ride. Stoddart made a name for himself as Ricca Razor Sharp, building a reputation as one of Calgary’s “go to” MC’s.

After building a solo career, Ricca has put his concentration solely on a collaboration between friends he has met along the way. Ricca is now part of a five piece crew, Blades of Steel, that continues to make their marks in a scene they helped cultivate.

Flanked by bassist Pastrami, Ricca Razor Sharp sits inside a bar in McKenzie Towne, crediting his band mates with his individual growth as an artist, and the production of a record every single individual in the band is happy with. With the help of the second MC Soleo, Shoez at drums, Roop at keyboards, guitarist Ru, and bassist Pastrami, Blades of Steel have created a 5-track EP that shows a progression of sound, without a regression in a music that has earned them a loyal following of folks who hit the clubs to have the time of their lives.

Their first EP released last year Like A Calf in a Tube Sock, was according to their new bassist, “a little more rock,” while their new release Frontal Full Nelson and the Boxcar Bolsheviks is defined by Pastrami as ,”a big shift towards the funk.” The minor change in genre is not something Blades of Steel fear, what matters is not the maintenance of a signature sound, it is what the songs do for their loyal fans.

“The energy within the band is why we have our fans; I don’t think our fans are here because we maintain a sound,” claimed Pastrami, whose MC agreed with the sentiment by adding, “I don’t think we are sitting down writing some style we don’t want to play just in order to fit in some niche.”

The stage is a different world; you come to this place of tranquility… as soon as you stare in the crowd, nothing else matters.

What carries the strictest of importance within the group is the fun they have on stage. No matter what personal problems they have in their private lives, or how much they drank the night before, once they hit the stage they express love and an energy that seeps into the soul of the crowd. In return, the audience leaves the show knowing they experienced a performance they will never forget. They went to a show and had the type of fun they often take for granted.

“The stage is a different world; you come to this place of tranquility… as soon as you stare in the crowd, nothing else matters,” said a reflective Pastrami a former fan who has had a front row seat in both worlds. He knows what Blades of Steel creates, and how they create it.

The group has created a diverse collection of songs that draws different personalities and tastes into their group. Blades of Steel favourites like H.E.M.P, and Do You In the 80s have become staples of their shows, but with the release of Frontal Full Nelson, fans will be drawn to new tracks that sound like music created by the love child of George Clinton, and Grandmaster Flash. Tracks like the opener So Fast, and the party track The Mexico Song will soon act as signature Blades of Steel tracks.

On May 31st, fans of Blades of Steel will know what to expect, and those expectations will be matched with a bone shaking energy that has created, and maintain a legend within the local hip-hop scene.

Blades of Steel “Frontal Full Nelson & the Boxcar Bolsheviks” EP Release
May 31 @ Local 522 – Show Details

The Jingles Are Back!

The Christmas themed band, The Jingles, are back for the festive season. Featuring Dean Morrison (Dean Morrison Band and Redhead Mack) on lead vocals and guitar, Michael Valenzuela (Her Motives Are Silent and former Septembryo and The Heart & The Flame) on drums and backing vocals, and Lindsay Rae on vocals and keyboard, these Calgary-based musicians give a shake up to the traditional festive songs you are used to hearing. Catch The Jingles at one of their December dates:

  • December 14 – The Jingles Live at The House Coffee Sanctuary – 7PM – ALL AGES – FREE
  • December 20 – The Jingles Live at Swigs Bar and Grill with Life As A Song – 9PM – 18+ – FREE
  • December 21 – The Jingles Live at Blind Beggar Pub with Life As A Song and Heigh River – 9PM – 18+ – $10

For more information about The Jingles, visit their website and purchase their album.

Little Birdie – Show Review

When Orit Shimoni, the face of Little Birdie, first grazed the stage at Inglewood’s Ironwood family day evening, she shared stories of adventure and laughter with jokes which ranged from her childhood to missionaries. There was an immediate atmosphere of comfort, as if she and the crowd were simply old friends sharing on a cold prairie evening. A small, intimate crowd gathered for the witty humor and acoustic ballads of Little Birdie. She kicked off the night with some light-hearted, warm tunes for some easy listening, though as the night progressed the depth and complexity of her music escalated. A few of her ballads included: “let’s get persecuted”, “sadder music”, and “farmer’s daughter”. The amusing highlight of the evening was “happy song” which sailed the crowd into an imaginative world of aliens and ships. The lyrics of the music she sung were fascinatingly relatable. The audience had a taste of a near-Johnny Cash experience. A friend of Shimoni’s once accurately described her music as; existential blue grass, a perfect fit. Since the rest of her band were unable to join this tour, it turned out to be a solo gig. Regardless she fostered an environment of warmth, ease and swaying melodies all on her own, like any talented musician would. Her tales of her Berlin and via rail adventures were reflected in her chosen songs of the evening. Her deep, melodic voice and finger-picking drew the crowd in nearly instantly and kept them there until the very end. She not only mastered the art of storytelling that evening though also sublime entertainment, which left the crowd left to only wait for another visit from the memorable Little Birdie.

Xprime – “Here We Are”

One of the great things about Canada is our diversity. We’re all different, and every area of Canada is a cornucopia of backgrounds, language and opinions, appreciating and acknowledging all types of people and tastes. An excellent example of this diversity is Here We Are, the new EP from Niagara-based band Xprime. With a mix of pop, rock, funk and country, no song sounds alike and the band represents all areas of our diverse musical landscape. And yes, they even speak some French.

Xprime has come a long way in only a short amount of time. Formed in 2009, the four-piece has won over fans across Southern Ontario with both their live show and their EP, finding success among reviewers and radio stations alike. Listen to the album and you’ll see where this success comes from: their musical fusion creates catchy, radio-friendly songs that will appeal to everyone while also finding a home in specific genres.

Each of the album’s five tracks is different. Kicking off the album is the upbeat “Tell Me Why”, a poppy rock track that sounds somewhat like a quasi-French version of The Arkells. This is the album’s first bilingual surprise, splicing together French and English lyrics to create an interesting mix of language. Those of us with limited French vocabulary may be able to pick out a few words, and this is actually a bit exciting. The band is careful about their use of language, embracing their Francophone roots while appealing to both French- and English-speaking fans. They’re a lot like Arcade Fire in how they do this, but with a slightly more rocky and distorted sound.

Moving through the album we hear more diversity, with bits of Weezer (“Please Come Home”), funky ’70s groove (“Foxy Lady”), and finally a combo of Cake and The Killers in the album-closing “Jane’s Modern Waltz”. These songs are all different and unique, making the album impossible to describe but easy to love.

The band itself shows a lot of talent and some super high chemistry. Unlike other bands, Xprime shares vocals between all members and harmonizes exceptionally well as they do so. Their chemistry shines throughout the tracks and it’s clear they have a tight-knit group with some solid individual skills. It’s also clear they’d be a wicked band to hear live, with songs that would sound great on a stage and in front of a huge crowd.

You can hear and buy the album (only $5!) online, on iTunes or in person at one of their weekly shows. It’s definitely worth checking out, and as they work on their next album and release more tracks, like Xprime on Facebook to get the full scoop. Here they are, and they’re here to stay.

Xprime - "Here We Are"

Throne of Vengeance at Lord Nelson’s – Show Review

Throne of Vengeance has a killer reputation for their live shows, and having been to my fair share of them I can say that their reputation is completely deserved. It is the winning trifecta of tunes, talk and tattoos that makes TOV a band to watch. Their sound is awesome (we’ll get to that later) but their presence on stage and explosive personalities are the real kicker. Lead vocalist Tommy “Shakes” Holt is simply nuts: he says things that make you question even your own sanity, a mix of randomness and hilarity that may make you piss yourself with laughter when you remember it later. And I mean that in the best way: Tommy is a stage man, and it is the live show that pushes TOV from a mere band to a FULL-OUT COMBO OF ROCK AWESOMENESS.

But don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a comedy show or the super fun happy hour. TOV is a metal band, and a super-talented metal band at that. Thursday’s show at Lord Nelson’s was the Calgary kick-off for Throne of Vengeance’s Flesh Injection Tour, and they definitely kicked it off in high gear. Opening for Throne were heavier bands BDFM and Stab.Twist.Pull, who set the tone for the night by pumping up the crowd and moving bodies around. Lord Nelson’s is a cool venue: with a stage that’s hidden around the corner from the main doors and a dropped-down floor that makes a perfect pit for moshing and dancing, it’s a great place to watch and listen to music, and we lucked out on Thursday night by having a sound tech who actually knew what he was doing. By the time TOV came on stage at 11:30, we were pumped and ready.

On stage, the boys show amazing chemistry. They are so in sync with each other that they seem to communicate without words, and every sound and movement seems completely effortless. This is something that has developed over time and has made them so cool to watch — even the hair puts on a show. Bassist Riley Cobb looks like he should be on the cover of a romance novel, and the screams of “Riley is sexy!” from the crowd (usually from the men, disturbingly) just add to the image. The other boys aren’t bad either: with Brad Weidlich on guitar, Trevor Cobb on drums, and Tommy singing and playing additional guitar, even the eyes get a treat when TOV is onstage.

But enough of my girlish fawning. Throne of Vengeance deserves to be recognized for their music and the sound that they’re known for. The classic and raw metal sound that comes from these guys is on a completely different level than most of the other bands out there, and each song is so flawless that their talent seems almost unnatural. Tommy’s voice is incredible: he has one of those gravelly, growly rock voices that you can feel right down in your gut, and the screams he occasionally throws in are like the mating call of a wolverine. Simply delicious (albeit a little scary). Guitars are smooth and crisp, and on explosive drums, Trevor shows why he’s nicknamed ‘Animal’. From start to finish, Throne’s performance is stellar and just gets better and better.

As a whole, Tommy summed it up best: “It’s fuckin’ rowdy for a Thursday!” Definitely true, and thank you, TOV, for making it so! They’re now off performing a solid series of shows from Winnipeg Beach to Montreal and back again. Check out their tour schedule here, get to a show, and then follow TOV around like a groupie, because, really, you need to.

Set list:
Undertow
Big D
White Widow
Flesh Engine
Devil’s Captain
Blunt Force Trauma (Damageplan cover)
Hooligan Hunter
Perfect Plan
World War Everything

Encore:
Outlaw

Million Dollar Fix at Tipperary’s Pub – Show Review

Walking into Tipperary’s Pub is like stepping into the belly of an old ship: dark, slightly claustrophobic, and surrounded by wood. On Saturday night, much of this wood was due in part to the burlesque dancers and lingerie-clad waitresses who were there in support of the Alberta Cancer Society’s Underwear Affair. With all proceeds going to a good cause, admission was well worth the $10 ticket. An equally good reason to drop in on this show was to see rocking local band Million Dollar Fix.

Hailing from Calgary, the energetic group performed the middle set of the night, the juicy meat of a delicious rock burger. These three – Logan on guitar and vocals, Keegan on bass and vocals, and Jeff on drums – jumped on stage in a fit of energy. Looking like they stepped out of the sweet denim- and bandana-wearing days of the late ’80s and early ’90s, these guys looked and acted the part of true rockers.

They launched into their set with the explosive “Look Through Fire”. With heavy bass and loud drumming, the song was easy to follow and immediately got bodies moving. Fans of ’90s grunge will love Million Dollar Fix’s sound – they sounded like early Nirvana with a modern edge, sometimes adding in a bit of punk, metal, and their own sexyfunrock sound.

Although there were a few minor glitches – some mic feedback after the third song and a small cord malfunction – the band’s energy and enthusiasm made up for it. The venue wasn’t great for a show of this size, but Million Dollar Fix gave a fun, energetic, and amazing performance that kept the place jumping. If anything, these guys love to perform and were born to be on stage. If you get the chance to see Million Dollar Fix live, do it! They are definitely a band worth checking out.

Setlist:
Look Through Fire
The Condition Is Permanent
Wild Ladies
Painkillers
Surrender
Become a God
You’re Part Of This Now
Countdown to Midnight
The Rich