SHOW: CHARLOTTETOWN PUNK – WOMEN TO THE FRONT

Though infamous, it’s undeniable that Charlottetown has always produced some of the Maritimes’ greatest punk and hardcore bands – but let’s be honest, male anger is boring in 2019. This is why I knew I had to make the trip to Baba’s Lounge on April 13 when I saw two femme fronted punk bands on the same bill. Warsh dropped a demo and soon enough it was everywhere. At first listen I knew I couldn’t get enough of this band and had to see them live asap.

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Clay Fraser had already been a band for about a year, and though they joke a lot about the bands existence, when it comes down to playing live it’s the real deal. “All women to the front” Gillian Oakley yells into the mic, already setting the tone for the performance to follow. Clay Fraser’s noise show will take you on a journey (whether you want it to or not) but all eyes are on Gillian as she moves and takes up space. Although recently they’ve disbanded (RIP CLAY FRASER 2019), I’m excited to see what Gillian is going to produce next.

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While this was only Warsh’s second show,it was definitely one to remember. Baba’s was packed with people wanting to see this new band, and they didn’t leave disappointed. The riffs are heavy and fast, but Sophia Tweel brings the lenergy. With a smile on her face, she crashes into the crowd bringing life and movement while making herself heard. Rosanna’s bass riffs keeps you grounded through a heavy noisy tone that you can feel.

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Hardcore isn’t just a boys game. Bands like these are shifting the scene for future generations of femme island punks to come.


Contribution and photography by: Amanda Gaul (she/her)

 

SHOW: CUTIE (RIP) AT RADSTORM

Last night at Radstorm, punk heroes cutie said goodbye to their fans with a final show. It was both awesome and emotional and worthy of a poem so here we go:

Goodbye cutie, it’s been real
I love the way your music makes me feel

Halifax hardcore sure will miss you
I’m crying and I need a tissue

Matty, Johnny, B and Jess
cutie is just the best

Your energy is like no other
when I need a boost I listen to “brother”

In my eardrums you left a path of destruction
and a desire to seize the means of production

Ripping fast with strong aggression
you taught Halifax a lesson

Seeing you live was always fun
thanks so much for all you’ve done

This city won’t forget your name
this scene will never be the same

Thank you cutie!
Love, Stephanie Johns and Chris Murdoch

xoxo

SHOW: SHOULDER SEASON AT RADSTORM

Show review: Shoulder Season at Radstorm
Saturday, March 16 with Yuma County, Lachie MacDonald and Prevailing Winds

It might seem unfair to review a band’s very first show—nerves are more likely to get in the way, levels might need tinkering, songs may change entirely by the next set. If this was any other band, sure, this might be the case, but when the band in question is Shoulder Season, there’s clearly no reason whatsoever to sweat it.

Shoulder Season began in a Dartmouth basement, slowly burning over the past year, working on poppy—darkly poppy—Korg-heavy bops about the shittiness of neoliberalism and capitalism, the oppressive, vague perfectionism of the world of “wellness” and more. For their first time out of the previously mentioned basement they delivered a tight, fun, utterly lovely set.

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Shoulder Season – Photo by Matt Reid

Made up of Karen Foster, Mel Sturk (Darts, Yuma County), Kristina Parlee (Smaller Hearts) and Erica Butler, any first show jitters (imperceptible) were shaken off quickly with friendly onstage banter and songs that seem ideal for blowing off steam: crashing endings, strong back and forth vocals, and lots of speed. Parlee and Butler’s driving and vital pace, Foster’s pleasantly unusual synth riffs and Sturk’s solos (featuring masterful feedback manipulation) add up to an exciting new group that, frankly, Halifax is lucky to have considering the way we’ve all been behaving.

The band seems on the same page as each other, and the easiness shows through in the songs. Onstage, they said that they didn’t know what type of music they played, and welcomed any descriptions. I have one: fun. See this band, be charmed and inspired.


Contribution by: Stephanie Johns (she/her). Stephanie plays guitar in Not You and bass in Moon and has been writing about music for 20 years. She made two cute people that she spends a lot of time with these days.

SHOW: BLEEP IN THE DARK (11/16)

Take a nice deep breath, hold it close to your heart and let it go, quietly, as if it were a whisper. Gently let your eyelids fall over your eyes and with each deep breath shift your intentions and focus to your ears. Listen hard and inquisitively to your surroundings, these noises are a symphony. Or at least a goofy rag-tag jug band.

Listening is an exercise of patience, of discovery, of curiosity, and sometimes we need a special place to listen where there are few distractions and whole soundscapes, worlds, and journeys to hear.

Danielle Jakubiak, an accredited music therapist with Masters degrees in Music Therapy and Ethnomusicology and one of the four organizers of Bleep in the Dark, understands the importance of creating these special spaces to listen intently. not your boys club sat down with Danielle to talk all things noise, darkness, and the importance of uplifting femme+non-binary noisemakers.

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Danielle Jakubiak
Photo by Alex Pearson

Bleep in the Dark is a live experimental music event experienced in darkness that graces the foggy shore of K’jipuktuk but three times a year. This upcoming event, their final event for the year, will be featuring solely femme and non-binary performers. Danielle highlighted why she thinks this is important through anecdote and ambition.

Danielle was a live sound engineer in Montreal where she often experienced men talking down to her and discrediting her vast knowledge and skills on the basis of her gender – going so far as to blame the mistakes of others on her. In response to this, Danielle wants to create and give space to femme+non-binary people to access, learn, and play with electronics, sound, and noise and take a more comfortable step into performing experimental music of all kinds. Empowering new musicians who experience marginalization is one thing Danielle is always keeping on her mind.

~ A space for anyone to test the water ~

And test the water they do! Bleep in the Dark has provided a platform for many people to not only play their experimental noises for a crowd, but a crowd that they do not even need to look at or be seen by. The darkness creates a shroud that lies gently over and eases the worries of being seen when performing and gives a bolstered sense of importance to the sounds and textures created.

The range of sounds at the upcoming Bleep in the Dark features performances from some new, and some returning, musicians all varying in their scope of experimentation; Layia (Alyson Randles) combines personal field recordings with ambient layers of live vocals and instruments; Possible Williams (Jess Talbot) focuses on ethereal synth loops, sad teenage poetry and ASMR lightness smooshed into sound; Multiples (Anne-Sophie Vallée) constructs lyrical disquieting pop soundscapes through saturated cycles of rhythmic vocals; Amy Brandon who has written award winning contemporary choral, chamber, orchestral and acousmatic works; and finally, Hosta (Kayla Stevens), a noise/drone project that uses electronics and samples from the world around her. While the darkness is intimidating to many – worry not! The darkness will be punctuated by Jess Lewis (visuals) and DJ OS who will be providing tunes to snack, mingle, stretch, and decompress to in between the performances.

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This event is held to raise funds for CKDU 88.1 FM, and is supported by Obsolete Records, Bromoc Printing, and Glitter Bean Cafe. Make sure to support these local businesses that are helping to incubate experimental art in K’jipuktuk.


Contribution by: Kelly

FESTIVAL: SAPPYFEST

Before ever visiting the east coast, my partner, who I met in Ontario, repeatedly told me that not only was the east coast the best place in the whole world but Sappyfest was the best weekend of the whole year.

I went to Sappyfest 12, and during my flight home, I felt like I was missing something – why didn’t I feel how my partner told me I would feel? The weekend was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting; I couldn’t keep up with the names and faces I was being introduced to nor were there many moments where I felt at ease.

After graduating from my Master’s program this spring, my partner and I decided that we would spend our summer in Sackville before moving to Halifax mid-August. Although I was apprehensive, it didn’t take much time in Sackville before I felt what they told me I would feel on the east coast. I have seen the landscape, I have gotten to know the faces that I previously (yet briefly) met, and I have been answered when I’ve asked for help or support.

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Sappyfest 13, though still exhausting, was a beautiful and life-giving experience. I felt less like an outsider – or an extension of someone else – and more like a whole person that contributed in some way to the moments that make Sappyfest as special as it truly is.

Before offering a few of my favourite moments – that maybe you bore witness to as well – I want to make a quick note of something about Sappyfest that I think is notable, though shouldn’t necessarily have to be noted.

Sappyfest promotes diversity, marginalized folx, and Canadian artists. The line-up, of all Canadian artists and musicians, was predominately womxn: queer womxn, womxn of colour, indigenous womxn. I applaud Sappyfest for having a lineup that celebrates music from non-men, and especially non-men with intersecting identities, and encourage other festivals to do the same.

Anyway – here are not your boys club top three Sappy 13 moments:

1/ Witch Prophet (TO) is Ayo Leilani, an independent, queer, Ethiopian/Eritrean mother. She played early on Saturday night as people were just starting to make their way back to the tent after an already full day of music and art. Her layered vocals and harmonies over hip-hop and jazz inspired beats captivated the crowd and had everyone in the tent dancing. What had already felt like a powerful performance, brought me to tears before her last song, Love Shock. Ayo told us how she wrote this song for someone she fell in love with too quickly who didn’t reciprocate these feelings until they heard this song. They asked Ayo if she would perform this song, and confessed they would like to be present every time – and they have been – this person is Ayo’s DJ, Sun Sun, who was on stage with her.

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2/ Rotten Column (TO) played late on Saturday night at the (sweltering hot) Legion after Washing Machine (HFX). Penny, who fronts the band (vocals/tin whistle), kindly asked everyone to be pillows for each other once people started to mosh. A friend of mine, who was enjoying the show from the front, was definitely not enjoying the boy that kept bumping into her despite her obvious irritation. Jarrett (bass) not only recognized this discomfort but also stepped in and placed his body between the mosher and person who didn’t want to be moshed against without missing a single note. Taking care of each other and keeping people safe is as punk as it gets.

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3/ On Sunday night, Julie & the Wrong Guys (TO) closed the main stage. I know it was a great set because I remember recognizing how much fun everyone was having, but I had a difficult time being attentive to Julie’s soft vocals and the Wrong Guys heavy rock music. Earlier that day, I promised my partner that I would crowd surf for the first time with them and the anticipation made me too nervous to focus. I had never crowd surfed before for two reasons, 1) I’ve never trusted a crowd to keep me safe, and 2) I’ve never wanted to put someone in a position where they involuntarily have to keep me safe. I still stand by the latter, but I do trust the crowd at Sappyfest.

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Also – many of you said hi to me and expressed you knew who I am and what I do, visited me at the zine fair, and even bought and wore an nybc shirt or pin. Thank you. Your support and encouragement is so meaningful to me.

See you at Sappyfest 14.

 

SHOW: BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE AT CONCERT OF COLORS

The Concert of Colors – now in it’s 26th year – is a festival that happens in Midtown Detroit. It also happens to be FREE. Yep. Totally and completely free. While the Concert of Colors may have some major sponsors (Meijer, Ford, Comerica) they partner with important local, Detroit-based community organizations as well –  like the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, ACCESS, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and more.

The word community was spoken a lot during the Concert of Colors series community-building was apparent in how accessible they made the festival. Since the festival was of no cost to attend, it was made accessible for folks who might otherwise not have been able to enjoy and participate in the festivities. The assistants at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra made the building accessible to the public by providing door-people to open doors and navigate any questions. Even Grandma Techno could be seen scooting around the Concert of Colors festival inside at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra main stage as well as the outdoor Wolverine Stage where many local Detroit acts showcased their talents.

When I heard Buffy Sainte-Marie was going to be at this festival, I could barely believe it. Buffy has been an Indigenous figure in Canadian politics and history since she was in her early twenties in the 1960s. Today, at 77 years old, Buffy Sainte-Marie is still performing regularly and speaking out as an advocate for Indigenous rights, and on the importance of community.

Buffy Sainte-Marie graced the stage with a huge smile, leather jacket embroidered with roses, and an ienergy that instantly filled the room. Buffy has such a range of sounds: did you know she wrote the track “Up Where We Belong“? It was oddly satisfying to hear this all too familiar track with her unique vocals. Her banter between songs included stories about songwriting, performing on Native reserves, racism and sexism, what it was like to be performing as a woman in her early career, among other things, but always on an end note of uplifting empowerment. Buffy performed other significant anthems like her newer track “The War Racket” with a flat-toned range but a heavy punch. The beat from “You Got To Run” had people up and out of their seats dancing in front of the stage.

“Down, in a hole / You feel like two different people in your soul / Feel like a loser, until you see / That as you bend / You learn to be / Your own best friend”

These powerful songs, about standing up for your beliefs and letting yourself be afraid but acting anyway, obviously resonated with the crowd. The age range was significant; from people in their mid-twenties to over 70 – I spoke with a couple of self-declared hippies who seemed to be among the majority. There were even a few children with the noted earphones bobbing with parents along to the beats of Buffy Sainte-Marie and her trembling vocals. As Buffy mentioned during the performance, we are experiencing the same issues from 20, 30, and 50 years ago: racism, violence, war, capitalism, and greed. The blending of Indigenous folklore and sound with a modern day message is not something to be missed.

“Sometime you gotta take a stand / Just because you know you can / Ah you got to run you got to run”

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Photo by Jann MacIsaac

See Buffy Sainte-Marie live…

August 4th @ Kalso Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival, Kalso BC

August 6th @ Canmore Folk Music Festival, Canmore AB

August 9th @ Edmonton Folk Festival, Edmonton AB

August 11th @ Stillaguamish Festival of the River, Arlington WA, USA

September 9th @ SKOOKUM Festival, Vancouver BC

October 19th @ One Heart Native Arts & Film Festival, Spokane WA, USA

November 16th @ Koemer Hall, Toronto ON


STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Carley Schweitzer

FESTIVAL: OTTAWA EXPLOSION

Last weekend I took the train from Montreal to Ottawa for Ottawa Explosion. For full transparency, my band Blood Beach was playing the Clock Tower parking lot gig Saturday afternoon, but I’ve been meaning to check this festival out for a while. This was my first time in Ottawa, and I’m still trying to process all the warmth I was met with. Here are some personal festival highlights, in some kind of order:

BBQT @ the Clock Tower Parking lot

“This song is about being dumped on Valentine’s day,” lead guitarist Amery Sandford said before playing  OK CUPID from BBQT’s new EP ALL FOR SHOW. When she said that, I felt it, and that’s what BBQT is all about: feeling and sharing. These are more than pop songs, they are vulnerable anthems we can all relate to. The highlight of the show was when they played PEPSI from their first self-titled EP; everyone knew the words, or found it so catchy they pretended to.

Future Girls @ Clock Tower Parking lot

Halifax’s Future Girls started their set with the song Bowing Out from their newest LP Motivation Problems. My favorite lyric of the song “And why does everyone around me always bum me out?” made me feel like Matty Grace has a knack for writing lyrics that come from her heart and can empathize with others’ anxieties. Bassist B even covered their other band, Goldbloom’s song. Future Girls dish out a little bit of everything.

Martha @ Babylon Nightclub

I saw Martha play twice on Saturday; earlier at the Clock Tower Parking lot and later at the Babylon Nightclub. They were electric and energetic both times, playing almost an entirely different setlist for each show. I was eager to hear my favorite track “1967, I miss you, I’m lonely,” which they played at both sets, and each time the crowd sang along to every word. Martha are as sweet as they are political; their lyrics make you feel seen and encouraged.

All ages scene @ The Clock Tower Parking Lot

This is a side note but an important one; Ottawa Explosion put a lot of energy into making the Clock Tower Parking Lot an all ages venue. They even had a daycare downstairs where you could take your little bud for a break or a quick babysit! I can’t tell you how heartwarming it was to see kids rocking out with huge protective ear muffs along to Martha. The inclusion at Ottawa Explosion seems effortless.

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Martha at the Babylon Nightclub

STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Stephanie Muise