On Friday July 4th I went to the free in-store performance by alt-country band NQ Arbuckle from Toronto play at Permanent Records here in Edmonton. I had never seen the band before, but had heard of them. They have just released their newest album "The Future Happens" on Six Shooter Records and are on the road promoting it, having just played The Artery the night before here in Edmonton. This the first new material from the band in five years. NQ Arbuckle played for an hour in-store and put on a great performance. Nice to see a good size audience for this show too. Good times!!!
A sad day on the sixteenth of July with the passing of blues guitar legend Johnny Winter. Johnny passed away in a hotel room in Switzerland while on tour. I have always been a big fan of Johnny Winter from my late teens. I got to see Johnny Winter four times in concert, the first time being in 1989 at the Dinwoodie Lounge here in Edmonton. What an amazing show it was too. I instantly hooked on his music after this performance. So fun, that my buddies pushed me home in a shopping cart, ya good times!!!
Flyer from the 1989 show.
I had also seen Johnny Winter play one of the worst concerts I had seen in my life. It was a show in Edmonton back in April of 2001 at a short lived blues club called the R&B Club. This show was a disaster, as Johnny was not in good shape at all. He could barely hold himself up, could barely play and kept wiping and blowing his nose through out the show. Not good. I honestly thought he was going to die on stage that night, and if not that night, I wasn't going to be surprised if I heard about his death in the near future. Really sad to watch actually.
Ticket stub from 2001 show.
Next time I saw him was at Polish Hall in Edmonton with David Gogo opening in 2007, this was a much much better show by the guitar legend. I believe this is about the time that his second guitarist of his band Paul Nelson took over in being Johnny's manager. His old manager Teddy Slatus was keeping him away from everyone that cared for him, including his own brother Edgar Winter. A huge shout out to Paul Nelson for re-invigorating Johnny health and career. Good job Paul.
This show was a great concert with Johnny playing and sounding good and most importantly looking healthier then the disastrous show on 2001.
Few pictures from the 2007 show.
The last time I got to see Johnny Winter perform was in 2011, again at Polish Hall with James Cotton opening. Talk about a blues legend double bill. This show too was excellent as Johnny and his band put on a great hour and a half show with Johnny playing like no one's business and his voice really sounding good. Sadly, this would be the last time I saw him play. Such a shame. Thank god for his music being out there. Rest In Peace Johnny Winter, you will be missed. You put out and performed some amazing music in your seventy years on this earth. Long Live The Blues!!!
A few weeks ago my buddies A-Bomb and Buzzard and I went to the Steve Earle and the Dukes concert here in Edmonton at the Myer Horowitz Theatre, a nice intimate soft cushion venue that holds about 700 people. This was my ninth time seeing Steve Earle in concert.
Opening band of the evening was The Mastersons which is two members from Steve Earle's back up band The Dukes. The two members were guitar player Chris Masterson and wife Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle. There brand of alt country was good, nothing special, or that was my feeling anyways. I enjoyed their set, but have to admit I probably wouldn't go out of my way to see just them perform.
Steve Earle and the Dukes hit the stage, and it was about three songs in to the set, where I got the feeling that Steve was loose and gritty on this night. It wasn't long after that he mentioned he is now a single man again, he must have split with his wife of nine years musician Allison Moorer. Which would mean he has been married I believe it's eight times now. Anyways, he just seemed to have some grit in his performance on this evening.
Steve Earle played a wicked set playing his usual hits "Copperhead Road", "Guitar Town" and "The Devil's Right Hand". But some gems that I have always liked and he doesn't always play, like my favorite Steve Earle song "Ben McCulloch" from his 1995 album "Train A Comin'". Other favorites were played as well such as "My Old Friend The Blues", "Taneytown", and some new one like "Calico County", "After Mardi Gras", "21st Century Blues" and the title song "The Low Highway". And then he also did a couple of covers including The Band song "Rag Mama Rag" and the Troggs song "Wild Thing". Just an unbelievable selection of songs. This twice in a row now that I have seen him put on a great performance, the last time being ten months ago at an outdoor festival here in Edmonton. Two way different setting and two great shows. A great way to spend a Friday evening listening to Steve and his wicked band play for two solid hours. But why is there always a couple of drunken jack-asses that have to comment and make stupid remarks through out the show. Fuck off already, ok, we get it, your drunk, assholes!!! A big thanks to my buddy A-Bomb for picking up tickets. Good times!!!
We bailed the Olympic Plaza after Rocket From The Crypt and went to separate shows. My Bro. was off to see Bob Mould, and I was off to Dickens to see Earthless, The Shrine and Shooting Guns, I missed opener Temple. I would have got there in time to see Temple, had I not had such a good buzz on that I had to sit down and get my shit together. Been a fun day of drinking, maybe a bit too much. Anyways, had a bite to eat, sat in the shade, had some water and got it together.
This was another bill of stoner bands. That kind of day I guess. First band I caught was a band from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan called Shooting Guns. I had heard of this band but had never heard their music before. They were alright, nothing special to me. The crowd were in to them though. A good crowd at the venue already too. People like there metal, I guess.
Next up was The Shrine out of Los Angeles, California. The Shrine are three piece band that played a sludgy up tempo kind of music with a hint of Sabbath and psychedelia, I really liked them. It was fucking loud though, loud enough that I found a napkin and used it as ear plugs, but then I had been out all day listening to loud music, between the shows at the Bamboo, and Olympic Plaza and now Dickens, it was a relief to the ol' ears.
Headliner of the night was San Diego based instrumental band Earthless. Their music is heavy with a hint of psychedelicness. I enjoyed the first twenty minutes of the show, but after that it just started to all blur together, it all started to sound the same like it was one very long song, more like jamming. I guess that's what it was actually, just way to much noodling for me. No doubt the band is talented, but it just got boring to me. Kind of wish I had gone with my Brother to see Bob Mould, oh well, still fun. Good times!!!
All and all this was an awesome weekend, lots of great music, always good to hang with my brother, lots of laughs. This was my first time attending Sled Island Festival, and would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys checking out new bands. I had a great time.
Here is a list of my top five new bands I discovered at Sled Island that I had never heard before.