OUT OF EARSHOT: FIRST WAVE LINEUP ANNOUNCEMENT

Out of Earshot have announced the first wave of artists, musicians, and writers that will be at their second festival this August (22nd-24th) – including not your boys club!

In this beautiful partnership, we aim to facilitate platforms for under-represented emerging musicians, artists, and writers in spaces that are safe, supportive, and affirming.

Jess Barry, a member of Out of Earshot’s Board of Directors, says:

“Out of Earshot is truly a community-driven celebration of music and art. We are constantly learning and are greatly inspired by the thought and care we see demonstrated by other independent festivals in their programming, their support for emerging artists, and their commitment to diversity and to experimentation. Out of Earshot is a change to make lasting friendships, to experience new perspectives, and to come together to celebrate the waysys in which we express ourselves and support each other.”

Similar to last year, not your boys club will be sharing pre-festival coverage highlighting and centering some of the femme, trans, and gender non-conforming folks that are organizing and performing at the festival.

During the festival, nybc will be present and provide media coverage for headlining touring musicians Prime Junk (MTL), Century Egg (HFX), Juice Girls (HFX), Pure Pressure (TO), Hélène Barbier (MTL), and Dregqueen (MTL), local musicians Worst Lay, Gossamer, Kira Sheppard, Weary, Ilia Nicoll and the Hot Toddies, Greta Warner, writers Violet Drake and Carmella Gray Cosgrove, and artists The Rock Vandal and Isha Watson [+ more !!].

Tickets are available online or at Toslow (183A Duckworth Street, St. John’s, NFLD).

OoE 2019 Poster


Contribution by Nik A Basset

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)

 

INTERVIEW: MEAT SUBSTITUTE

Charm, your name is Meat Substitute (HFX). The group of high school musicians (Gertie Matheson, bass and vocals; Edie Ford, drums; Murray Smith, guitar) came together on a whim and deliver on every desired indie punk front. Energetic, quirky and powerful, you can see them this Friday, May 17 at Radstorm for an all-youth line-up — and it is highly recommended that you do so. Here, Gertie Matheson answers a few burning questions about that Meat Substitute life. 

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Q: How long have you been playing together? Can you tell me a brief band history? 

A: We’ve been playing together together since November of 2018. It all started when I blurted out one day in art class, “I want to start a band.“ Edie said she played drums and we just kind of went from there. The original idea was an all female group, so we put an instagram post out there asking if there were any queer ladies who wanted to play guitar in this band, and Murray (who is neither of those things) ended up responding. It was probably one of the greatest feelings when we met up for the first time and just immediately clicked. 

Q: What inspires your songwriting?

A: Writing songs is definitely the hardest part of having a band. We argue a lot while writing songs, and we still haven’t come up with a great system. The best way I’ve found is to just go with the flow and not come in with a set idea. One of my favourite songs we wrote was “chicken fried rice.” We wrote that in two days just because Edie was craving chicken fried rice.

Q: Do you have any advice for people wanting to start a band that you wish you had been told when you started? 

A: Do it! Playing music and the community that comes with that is so magical! We’re a bunch of socially anxious teens who didn’t know each other very well in the beginning. But the bond that you develop is so special, and when you’re preforming in a group you feel unstoppable.

Q: Are you planning any upcoming recordings/other shows? 

A: We are planning planning to record our music very soon after the exam season is over. We have two shows coming up, one May 17th at Radstorm for a high school band night, and we’re playing at Lost & Found on June 29th. 

Q: What’s your dream show? Who would you play with and where? What would your dream backstage snacks be at this fantasy show? 

A: I think we already play our dream shows. We love to play at the Citadel High School’s coffee houses, with the other high school bands. And if there was free Timbits involved that would be a bonus.


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.

PHOTO ESSAY: “OLD SOUL” BY FRANKIE CLIMENHAGE

When I first moved to Montreal, a friend from my hometown told me I’d be a good fit to work at the Wheel Club. This was of course in reference to my appearance as I have been known to dress like a grandpa.

I was immediately fascinated by this place. A 50 year old country music bar located in one of Montreal’s anglophone neighborhoods NDG. They have hosted “Hillbilly Monday” open mic events every week during the bar’s lifespan.

NDG was a ways away from the neighborhood where I lived in East Montreal. My friends and I lived in the city for six months before finally making the hour long transit ride to get to this secret country bar.

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Tucked between high rise apartments and business plazas is the staircase that lead us down to the Wheel Club. I open the door and am immediately struck with the smell of mothballs and urinal pucks. This looks like a dark legion hall, or the recreation room of a retirement home. There are rows of folding tables adorned with gingham tablecloths and fake flowers, mounted deer heads at the bar, wagon wheels, dim Christmas lights, framed photographs of the good ol’ days and a pool table – always occupied. I feel at home. We are welcomed by old ladies with delightful names like Flo and Jeanie. There are polite old men too – many of which are named Bill. The band is setting up onstage and a crew of women are carrying giant tupperware bins of snack food to the back.

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We order drinks at the bar and find a table. Flo leaves her card game with the gals to fix us a snack at their station. She presses a napkin into a woven basket and shovels one equal scoop of BBQ chips to one scoop of plain potato chips to one scoop of cheesies to one scoop of pretzels to one scoop of microwave popcorn. She’s done this a thousand times – I can tell. I hand her a toonie and she goes back to her card game.

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I am captivated by the country band. Jeanie who is not much more than 5’ plays a comically oversized acoustic guitar. She has an incredible voice and a warm yet commanding stage presence. The band cracks inside jokes and the regulars sing along to every song. I feel joyful in this dimly lit basement.

It is after my third caesar that I am faced with a dilemma. Which bathroom should I use so as not to cause a scene in this Western institution?

I analyze how I had dressed that day and play it against the colour of my hair. What voice had I used when introducing myself to these old country singers?

In my day to day life I try to not give a fuck and pee where I want but I wanted to fit in here. I wanted to charm these old people who had so wholeheartedly let us into their home. I wanted to seamlessly integrate into this paradise of cheap drinking and snacking and wholesome entertainment.

I waited, overthinking, until in a panic of indecision I darted to the Pizza Pizza around the corner to use their washroom instead. Crisis averted. I returned to my table at the Wheel Club and let these seniors sit comfortably knowing that I was merely an effeminate young man or an overgrown tomboy. Opinions differ from person to person- they could discuss it later. But for now I would continue to drink and enjoy my snack basket and I would keep them guessing.

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I love old country songs and old R&B songs, I love old cars and old photographs, 1960s architecture, diners, old Hollywood horror movies and fashion from when my Grandparents were in their 20s. I am a sucker for tradition. Passing on stories, recipes, trades, songs, and objects from one generation to the next.

How can I separate these things from the ignorance of habit-set people? Can anyone learn to comprehend and accept queer identities? Can genuine empathy be implored if I sat down and had a heart to heart with one of these ladies? I have made great strides with my own grandparents, but leading this crusade sounds exhausting.

I really just wanted to be able to put on a bolo tie and blue jeans, listen to Johnny Cash covers, and not think about gender for a couple hours.

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The second time I went to the Wheel Club was on an evening advertised as it’s last Hillbilly night. The bar was changing owners and the fate of the Wheel Club was uncertain. Drinks were half off at the bar and the place was packed. People of all ages were crowded side by side at the long folding tables.

The long timers started off the night with their usual numbers and then the stage was opened up to anyone. I saw queer faces in the crowd that night. Youngins’ who had ventured out to NDG out of curiosity just like I had. There is safety in numbers and I felt confident enough to go to the bathroom. I knew someone would stand up for me if anything happened, but nothing did. And I had to pee a lot. I was knocking back $3 whisky sodas steadily.

Between the six of us at my table of friends, we must have eaten a snack basket each. We knew a lot of the old country songs and sang along. The night was bittersweet. I really felt for these old souls who had spent so much of their lives here performing for each other and growing friendships, now with an undetermined end to their home.

And I belonged here too. For I was also a cowboy. Surely they must see that.


Contribution by: Frankie Climenhage (he/they)

They are a musician (member of Lonely Parade and Fleetwood Mac Sauce), writer and photographer who loves to talk about gender identity, architecture and Americana from Souther Ontario and currently living in Montreal.

FLOURISH FEST: DAY 4 – TUNES FOR THE TIRED AND TEXTURE THERAPY

Sunday is bright, grey, and cold. After last night’s abrupt end, I feel tired, and ready to let music wash the bad taste out of my mouth. When I arrive at Wilser’s Room just before one, coffee in hand, the bar is deserted except for a few locals chatting about last night’s shows. I take my coffee for a walk around downtown, taking in the changes the river has undergone between the receding flood and yesterday’s downpour.

When I return to the Capital Complex, local radio station CHSR has fired up a barbecue on the patio for their afternoon fundraiser, and are serving food to a trickle of people who have settled on the patio, bundled in layers against the wind. Inside Wilser’s room, local artist DenMother has started an solo set of experimental electronics, looping her voice through a high-reverb pedal to soar over bass-heavy beats. Her music gently injects some energy into the crowd, and the vibe becomes more lively. As people begin to fill the bar, Esme and the Dishrags take the stage, adding a cheery vibe to the bar’s newfound energy. A relatively new band, their sound is poppy and driven, with songs dedicated to beloved pets, and interludes of relaxed, friendly banter.

Next door at the Shiftwork Studio, Terre Wa is running a pop up sound installation, Synthetic Textures. The band has set up a clothesline across the studio and draped it with various garments and textiles, each of which has contact mics embedded into the fabric. Erin Goodine guides passersby to touch, crumple, and waving each item, thereby adding to an airy soundscape established by Indigo Poirier and Emily Kennedy, who are seated below the clothesline, playing synths and cello respectively. For a while, I wander through the studio and try running my hands through the various scarves and garments on the clothesline, experimenting with the sounds they make–though the installation reminds me of running through suspended laundry as a child, it also feels like a relaxing but unusual kind of sound and texture therapy.

Back at Wilser’s room, St.John’s based band Weary sway a hazy Sunday crowd with intimate, down-tempo rock ballads. Singer and guitarist Kate Lahey is backed by Property, an indie trio also from St. John’s who played Flourish on Thursday night. Lahey’s thoughtful, emotional lyrics are well-matched with the tentatively sunny afternoon, offering a warmly introspective rest after a long weekend of festival outings.

While listening, I find myself distracted, thinking about how many bands and performers I’ve missed over the past few days, including Property, but I have to acknowledge how tired I feel after rushing between venues trying to cram myself with as much art as I can in one weekend. I’m a chronic overachiever, but I need more rest than I want to admit. No matter how much fun it is, this weekend has been taxing–I can only admire the stamina required of the festival’s performers and organizers. For a minute, it feels like cheap irony to admit my weariness while listening to Weary, until I realize that this is what Lahey’s songwriting asks you to do: to listen, to admit your flaws, and to let yourself feel.

After Weary’s set, I walk back to Shiftwork, where Terre Wa’s installation has opened up to become Sunday Music Spa. Described as “an ambient electronic music session open to all women, femme, and non-binary people,” the Music Spa has been hosted on more or less monthly basis by Erin Goodine and Indigo Poirier for just over two years. Having attended a few times and loved the experience, I have chosen to make this my last event for this year’s Flourish festival.

To open the session, textile artist Melissa McMichael, of Mermaid Boyfriend, leads a group meditation, guiding everyone present into a tender memory of her late grandmother. McMichael’s soft-spoken storytelling creates a palpable empathy between its listeners, who begin to laugh and breathe together before emerging back into the present. This feeling of being in tune with one another continues as the music spa proceeds, with Indigo and Erin inviting non-musicians to try out the various instruments, including consoles, keys, and contact mics laid out across the studio.

As the dozen or so people moving through the studio relax into the soundscape, most of the men in the room hang back and listen, leaving room for women, femme, and non-binary folks to step forward and play. It feels fitting for this to be the last Flourish event I attend. More than anything, I think, moments like this this are the festival’s most valuable creations: moments when those who feel underrepresented or unwelcome in conventional music scenes are invited to experiment and create together. As the sound swells around me, I am already hopeful that next year’s Flourish Fest will make more of this.

There is, of course, room to grow: in the future, the festival could work with venues to make shows safer and more accessible, and there is much work to do before BIPOC performers and audiences feel fully welcome, let alone invited. Whatever rough moments I experienced attending this year’s festival, I direct no blame or resentment at Flourish’s organizers and artists, whose work has already made this festival into something integral to the arts community in New Brunswick and beyond. If I can get away with a sappy, but earnest pun: flourishing is not about an end product, anyway–it’s an ongoing beginning.


Contribution by Rebecca Salazar (she/her)

Rebecca Salazar is the author of the knife you need to justify the wound (Rahila’s Ghost) and Guzzle (Anstruther Press). Recent publications include poetry and non-fiction in Briarpatch, Minola Review, and The Puritan. Rebecca is currently a poetry editor for The Fiddlehead and Plenitude magazines, and a PhD candidate at UNB.