In The Know...11 Questions w/ Boats

>> Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Boats just might be my favourite local band.


Their latest release, Cannonballs, Cannonballs is home to smart, sophisticated, and enviably inventive pop that runs amok all over its 12 tracks. And each listen reveals something fresh and exciting, making it one of those rare and rewarding efforts I actively seek out.

See the band perform these highly eccentric pop tunes on September 9th at the U of W, then again on October 2nd at the friendly neighbourhood Lo Pub.

The band's touring lineup features a revolving cast of Winnipeg musical characters all built around singer-songwriter Mat Klachefsky. I recently tracked down the band's leader for 11 questions, and below is what he had to say.

1. Where are you right now?

I am in my house that I am about to move out of.  There is no furniture so everything is in piles on the floor.

Let’s talk Winnipeg…

2. Who is the most underrated Winnipeg-based band?

Ian La Rue!  Guy has been putting out records quietly for the last 8 years or so and they are great, especially his new one A History of Layers.  Plus it’s fun to yell his name out in crowds.

3. What is your favourite local venue?

That’s a tough one…  For comfort, I’ll say Lo-Pub, it’s a great little spot but the building is not the best set up for live music.  The West End Cultural Center is the best pure-music venue but it’s more of a theatre.

4. Where do you shop for music?

Music Trader!  Employee discount!!

5. Where is the best place in town to catch a bite?

There’s a million good places but I’ll say Falafel House.  It’s near my house.  They got good breakfast and falafel and sometimes the cook yells at people.

6. What’s the worst bus route in the city?

ALL OF THEM.  Winnipeg has the worst bus system on earth.

And some hodgepodge…

7. What are some albums that completely changed your life?

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over The Sea
Modest Mouse - Lonesome Crowded West
Matador Records - Everything is Nice Compliation

8. Of the albums you own, which has the best cover art?

Without looking at every cover in my collection I’m going to say Grandaddy – Sophtware Slump.  I’m a sucker for rolling hills.

9. What TV shows are you currently following?

I’m on Season 4 of the Wire.

10. What is your current ringtone?

Funny you ask, I just got my first ever cell phone and no one has called me yet so I don’t know.

11. And finally, would you rather have the ability to fly or to turn invisible? 

Flying would make touring way easier.


In The Future...Romi Mayes opens for Danny Michel; Ridley Bent @ The Park Theatre; And More!

>> Friday, 27 August 2010

First up, let’s fill out a few previously announced shows:

  • Add local fave Romi Mayes (above) to the Danny Michel show, going down at the WECC on September 11th.  And if you missed the previous post, I’ve got two tickets up for grabs.
  • Arkells and Meligrove Band are both on September 26th’s Tokyo Police Club bill going down at The Garrick.

Second bits of very cool news: The always welcoming Park Theatre Café is celebrating its 5th year in style. And by that, I mean three festive days of solid tunes courtesy of:
Speaking of the Park Theatre, resident roots star Ridley Bent pops in there on October 9th in support of his rave-review-earning LP, Rabbit on my Wheel.

Whilst on the subject of extolled Peg City talent, the Juno-winnin’, roots lovin’, great songwritin’ Chic Gamine are staging their CD release at the West End Cultural Centre on November 13th.

Over at the Albert Calgarian art-rock outfit Women rock the cavern-like joint on September 25th.

Rae Spoon is touring Canada over the next few months in support of his just-released , surprisingly danceable record, Love is a Hunter. This includes a show at The Rocker (above Mondragon) on October 1st.

And finally, Coheed & Cambria are at the Garrick on October 24th.


In The Know...Interview with Danny Michel

>> Thursday, 26 August 2010

Sometimes you play an album for the first time and it, well, just hits the spot.

Take singer-songwriter Danny Michel's latest offering Sunset Sea, for example. From the first few laid-back notes of album opener "Maybe You Can Find It In Your Heart", it's difficult not to get instantly sucked in by the warm, summery melodies and overall feel-good aesthetic vibe the record offers. And the eight songs are punctuated, as always, by Michel's knack for thoughtful storytelling and his unaffected, slightly raspy delivery.

It's no surprise, then, that Sunset Sea was mostly written and recorded in remote Caribbean hot spot Belize (formerly known as British Honduras), a small tropical nation abounding in cultural diversity (and the only Central American country whose official language is English).

Hear him perform songs off Sunset Sea live on September 11th @ The West End Cultural Centre.

I recently caught up with Michel and asked him about the role Belize played in shaping Sunset Sea, the collaboration with Sarah Harmer, and his thoughts about the optimal crowd size.

Painting over Silence: Sunset Sea is your eighth studio record to date. Is this the first album to be conceived all over the place – from Belize to Holland back to Canada – or do you typically write/record whenever and wherever your travels take you? Did the end result match your original vision?

Danny Michel: I've never had a regular pattern of writing. I write when the feeling strikes. So where I am doesn't matter. But I did go to Belize with the intention of sitting down to just write. I rented a small house on stilts by the sea and just wrote songs & swam. The album did turn out how I heard it my head

PoS: How did the varied cultures of these countries ultimately shape the aural aesthetic of Sunset Sea? Were there certain native sounds or local musicians that caught your ear and inspired/influenced your songwriting process?

DM: Oddly enough, I've found very little live music in Belize. The sound is more influenced by the culture, places & energy of the people. I can hear music in the silence of the Mayan ruins or a sailboat cutting through the waves out at sea. All kinds of things added to the songs

PoS: Treasured Canadian songstress Sarah Harmer guests on “Binary Star”, the album’s final track. How did this collaboration come about?

DM: Sarah was actually in Costa Rica at the time & we did it over the internet. I sent a demo and Sarah sang her part into the little microphone built into her laptop....the effect was perfect for the song. I was & always will be so flattered she liked the song.

PoS: Speaking of collaborations, while Sunset Sea is a bona fide Danny Michel release, it’s also the result of musical input and contributions from friends, family, and, most surprisingly, fans. Were you ever overwhelmed by the myriad ideas that surely surfaced?

DM: Yes. It was a real blast to open each one, not knowing what I would hear.

PoS: How many recordings from fans did you receive?

DM: Oh, many. Tons of wonderful snippets. Maybe they'll find there way onto records someday

PoS: On your website there are several video blog posts that offer candid windows into the making of Sunset Sea. Why did you decide to document the behind-the-scenes writing/recording process?

DM: We felt we were making an album that was a little more special than usual. We wanted to let everyone in. We wanted people to be & feel involved.

PoS: Were there any tracks that didn’t make it onto the album? If so, do you have plans to release these songs at a later date, perhaps on a rarities compilation disc (or download)?

DM: There are always tracks that don't make the cut. It's always a horse race....Hard to say where the losers will wind up. Maybe another chance, or maybe off to the glue factory with them!

PoS: And finally, I read somewhere that your favorite crowd size is around 200. What is it about performing in front of around 200 fans that makes it an optimal show?
DM: I like having a connection with the crowd. Visually. I can feel how it's all going by their faces & can adjust if needed. When shows get too big you lose that. Even 200 is a lot. The worst is when its so dark you can't see anyone or anything. That's the worst way to ever have to perform. That's like trying to play in your closet.


Wanna see the show?

Courtesy of those generous, PoS friends the West End Cultural Centre, I've got a pair of tickets to Michel's show to giveaway. If you're interested, flip me an email (on the right) by noon on September 7th with the subject line "Danny Michel Ticket Giveaway" and your name in the body. One entry per person please.


In The Future...The RAA @ WECC; Dan Mangan @ Park Theatre; And More!

>> Monday, 23 August 2010

The fall concert season is in full swing, and here’s another gem of a show to seriously consider: the white-hot Rural Alberta Advantage return to the West End Cultural Centre on October 27th. Their last gig here was amazing. 

Alpha Couple have been added to tonight’s Grimes and Pop Winds bill @ the Lo Pub.

Winnipeg’s mighty fine indie-poppers Boats play the Lo Pub on October 2nd.

Vancouver indie-roots act The Sumner Brothers stop by the Cyrk on September 1st, then Times Changed the night after.

Polaris Prize short list maker / all around fantastic singer-songwriter Dan Mangan performs at the Park Theatre on November 19th w/ The Burning Hell.

Magnum K.I., the After Party, and Sub City are all the WECC on September 10th.

And finally, exCrash Test Dummy Son of Dave (Benjamin Darvill) is at the WECC on October 5th w/ Patrick Keenan.


In The Future...Arcade Fire Ticket Info; Gord Downie @ Garrick; Et Alia!

>> Monday, 16 August 2010

Ok. First up, ticketmaster released info about Arcade Fire's upcoming MTS Centre September 23rd date: no presale (as of yet) with generals up for grabs on Friday. Prices are head-scratchingly reasonable, ranging from $41.75 to $57.75 (including taxes and most fees).

Gord Downie & The Country of Miracles get together at the Garrick on October 7th. Never been a hip fan, but I was sure impressed with his band's loose and jaunty set @ Folk Fest '10.

What's in Edmonton's drinking water these days? Dropping by the Lo Pub on September 24th is another highly inventive indie-pop act from Alberta's capital: Hot Panda. If only my Oilers could get some of that top quality H20...

And finally, seasoned shock-rockers GWAR are embarking on their annual pilgrimage to the city this December 4th at the Garrick.


In The Future...Arcade Fire @ MTS Centre

>> Friday, 13 August 2010

This just in: adjust those September music budgets (which, if you're me, you already spent a pretty penny on the Flaming Lips): Montreal's favourite orchestral-pop rockers Arcade Fire are bringing the Suburbs to downtown Winnipeg! They'll be at the MTS Centre on the autumnal equinox (September 23rd, to those who don't watch Cash Cab regularly).

No word yet on ticket prices. Nor when they're up for grabs. In the meantime, check out their killer performance on the Daily Show last night.

Wait a sec. A musical guest on the Daily Show?


In The Future...Caribou @ The WECC; Hannah Georgas and Royal Wood there, too; And More!

>> Thursday, 12 August 2010

Making his second Peg City appearance in just four months, tireless electro-indie / mathematics wunderkind Caribou stops by the West End Cultural Centre on September 28th. Cleveland prog-electronic trio Emeralds get the party started.

Trying to remember if Caribou (nee Manitoba) ever played there before…

Speaking of the WECC, solid double bill there on October 16th: singer-songwriters Royal Wood and Hannah Georgas.

Pearly Gate Music open for Blitzen Trapper, September 27th @ the WECC.

Whilst on the subject of openers, indie-rockers Zeus warm up the crowd for Jamie Lidell, October 7th @ the Pyramid.

Vancouver's The Pack A.D. rock the Lo Pub on September 14th.

Former Jurassic 5 member Chali 2na performs at the Pyramid on September 15th w/ The Lytics.

And finally, synth-popper Lights’ fanbase is growing exponentially: she’s now the headliner at the Burton Cummings Theatre on October 15th. That’s a lot of headband wearers under one roof.


In Local Music News...WCMA nominees; The Perms' new vid; The River Barge Festival Lineup

>> Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be an ongoing weekly post dedicated entirely to acts of a local flavour – any exciting bits of news needing of a mention (such as award noms!), festival schedules, new videos, mp3s available for download, etc.

First up…

The Western Canadian Music Awards nominees dropped the other day and Winnipeg talent is well, well represented throughout the numerous categories. Some noms of note:

  • Pop Recording of the Year – Quinzy for Self-Defense
  • Rap/Hip Hop Record of the Year – Grand Analog for Metropolis is Burning
  • Rap/Hip Hop Record of the Year – Magnum K.I. for Magnum K.I.
  • Rock Recording of the Year – The Weakerthans for Live at the Burt
  • Songwriter of the Year – The Weakerthans (John K Samson)
  • Engineer of the Year – Mike Petkau
  • Independent Record Label of the Year – Arbor Records
  • Live Music Venue of the Year – The West End Cultural Centre

Above is merely a taste of the many, many talented artists from MB up for their respective statutes. For the full list, click here. Good luck to all.


Pop/Rock trio The Perms have just released an official music video (in HD!) for the mighty contagious “Running Away” off their newest offering, KYUWYD. The video is definitely SFW and features happy, loose-limbed folks dancing unabashedly, like it was just invented. Playful stuff.


Here’s most of the lineup for the first ever River Barge Festival going down at the forks from August 25th to the 29th involving a whole fleet of luminous, worthy-of-your-ears local musicians. See you on the 28th for sure. We’ll have a beer.

Wednesday, August 25 - Roots on the River

12:00       The Crooked Brothers
1:00         Jessee Havey and the Quirks
2:00         The D. Rangers
3:00         Kelly Hughes Live!
4:00         J.C. Campbell & Tracy Bone
5:00         Johnny Cajun
6:00         The Romi Mayes Band

Thursday, August  26  -  New Sounds / Old Friends

1:00        Matthew Contois
2:00        Christine Fellows
3:00        Kelly Hughes Live!
4:00        Flying Fox & the Hunter-Gatherers
5:00        Greg Lowe & Jack Semple
6:00        Trio Bembe

Friday, August 27 -  Gala Evening
Hosted by Marcy Markusa and Janet Stewart

6:00        Opening ceremonies / remarks
6:30        Papa Mambo
7:45        Chic Gamine
9:15        The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra & Sierra Noble

Saturday, August 28 - Red River Gumbo

12:00      Manitoba Theatre Centre presents: The History of Manitoba from the Beginning of Time to the Present in 45 Minutes
1:30        Darrelyne Bickel
2:30        The Scarlet Union
3:30        Les Surveillantes
4:30        Greg MacPherson
5:30        Magnum K.I.
6:30        Imaginary Cities
8:00        Digging Roots
9:30        Luke Doucet and the White Falcon


Note: If you’re in a Winnipeg-based band with some news/videos/mp3s/etc. you’d love relayed, please feel free to shoot me an email (on the right), and I’ll include it in next week’s post.


In The Flesh...The National @ First Avenue

>> Monday, 9 August 2010

Have you ever left a show thinking, "that's it! I'm for sure starting a band!" then spent the rest of the evening fantasizing about performing in front of a thousand adoring fans who sing along to every word while togged out in your ultra-chic merch?

Such was my inspired headspace Friday night as I shuffled out of First Avenue alongside 1500 plumb pleased concert goers. For over two hours, Brooklyn-via-Ohio's the National tirelessly soared through a lengthy 22-song set of their awe-inspiring, venerated indie-rock.

Three nights later and my blood is still buzzing.

Joined on stage by a three-member horn section and occasionally, as noted below, can't-miss singer-songwriter Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver fame), the dynamic sextet proved why their haunting, brooding tones are so widely cherished: the emotional response was instantly undeniable and near-palpable.

Opening with stately "Runaway", off May's High Violet, the band quickly won over the forest-thick, bristling crowd (including yours truly), constructing a setlist that paid tribute to at least four of their albums. This included a five-song encore, a finale to this amazing show that left me slightly confused: I got the distinct impression the band wanted to keep playing and playing (according to forms, this was one of their longer performances). But in the end, I suppose the reality behind touring reared its ugly head and they had to go.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go blow the dust off my electric guitar.


Set List


  1. Runaway
  2. Mistaken For Strangers
  3. Anyone’s Ghost
  4. Bloodbuzz Ohio
  5. Baby We’ll Be Fine
  6. Slow Show
  7. Squalor Victoria
  8. Afraid of Everyone (with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver)
  9. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (with JV)
  10. Available/Cardinal Song
  11. Conversation 16
  12. Apartment Story
  13. Lemonworld
  14. Abel
  15. Daughter of the Soho Riots
  16. England
  17. Fake Empire
  1. 90-Mile Water Wall (with JV)*
  2. You Were a Kindness (with JV)
  3. Mr. November
  4. Terrible Love (with JV)
  5. About Today (with JV)

*about this song, singer Matt Beringer stated, “I don’t think we’ve ever played that song live before.” It was that kinda night. 


In The Future...Basia Bulat opens for Josh Ritter! And More!

>> Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Basia Bulat - The Shore - A Take Away Show

This just in...

For anyone still to pick sides in the whole Josh Ritter playing the WECC the same night as Owen Pallett performs at the Garrick conflict (October 28th), I've got a strong opening move from the Ritter camp to report: the lovely folk songstress Basia Bulat is opening! It is, admittedly, a dazzling deed by Mr. Ritter that should sway wallets and, most importantly, hearts.

Your move, Mr. Pallett.

Speaking of mighty fine opening acts, up-and-coming songsmith Leif Vollebekk starts off the Acorn show, October 27th @ the Park Theatre.

Final bit of shows news...the F-Holes are at the Pyramid on August 27th w/ Rob Vilar


In The Future...The First Annual River Barge Festival; Justin Rutledge and Jenn Grant @ The WECC; and more!

>> Monday, 2 August 2010

The first annual River Barge Festival is going down this year at the Forks.

The concept: over 30 local/national musicians and performers will do their respective things from a floating stage (a barge!) on the Red River.

The dates: August 25 - 29.

The cost: free!

The musicians featured (to name a few): Greg MacPherson, Christine Fellows, Chic Gamine, Romy Mayes, Sierra Noble, and Magnum KI.

For the full line-up and schedule check this link out. Here's to hoping the barge doesn't get stuck on a sand bar...


Six Shooter Records labelmates Justin Rutledge and erstwhile 11 questions participant Jenn Grant play the West End Cultural Centre on October 14th.

Speaking of the West End, local rockers Inward Eye are there on September 17th w/ Sons of York and the Bokononists.

The banjo wieldin’ Jayme Stone stops by there on October 10th.

And finally, promising indie-rockers Yukon Blonde open for the Wooden Sky on October 6th (also @ the WECC).


In Photos...The Alternative Folk Festival @ Islendingadagurinn

Alternative Folk Festival
Gimli, MB
Sunday, August 1st, 2010

The Mountains and the Trees

The Provincial Archive

The Wilderness of Manitoba

(Note: Didn't stay for Ohbijou nor Said the Whale)


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