MUSIC PREVIEW: Vancouver duo a killer
Imagine taking the best part of your favorite rock radio station, and the best part of your favorite blues station, pushing it through a high-end juicer and then drinking the result. That may be an apt description of Vancouver duo Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer. Sort of reminiscent of The Black Keys, but a little more laid back, a little more infused with the type of blues music you’d hear in a smoky basement club.
The band continues their busy touring lifestyle, playing a show here in Edmonton on Friday night (The Artery, 8 pm, $18). Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers are both exceptional musicians, the former performing vocals and blues harmonica, the latter tearing a fiery trail on his road-worn Telecaster, and simultaneously playing “foot percussion”. The two met while recording a radio jingle back in the mid 2000s, and the pair have continued to grow musically since their initial release “The Blues Can Kill” back in 2007. They’re like a one-man show but with two of them, both so incredible and in sync with each other musically and emotionally that if you close your eyes you’d swear you’re listening to one man with eight to ten limbs.
And in case you’re curious, because frankly who wouldn’t be, the name of the band comes from combining the line “I took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana” from Kris Kristofferson’s legendary “Me and Bobby McGee”, with one of the many slang terms for a guitar.
Madison Violet – This folk duo’s latest album was an emotive, soul-exposing diary of the pair’s personal and musical experiences together. Expect to cry. Expect to cheer. St. Basil’s Cultural Centre, 7 pm, $18.
Heaviside – This quartet would probably sound best in an arena, filling the cavernous venue with hard rock from stem to stern, but they’ll just have to make do this weekend with cranking out the decibels at the Pawn Shop. With Red Cannons, Whale and the Wolf, and Dryland Band. 8 pm, $10.
Thompson Highway – This local sextet infuses the essence of pure soul music into a rock ‘n’ roll infrastructure, and the result is both warm and thought-provoking. Subculture, Front End, and Boy Rambler also perform. Studio Music Foundation, 9 pm, $10.
Two Bears North – The Black Dog’s Hair Of the Dog afternoon series continues with this incredible female duo, who were just nominated by the Edmonton Music Awards in SIX distinct categories, including the coveted Album of the Year award for their release “Comeocean”. The venue is intimate but raucous; the band is sensational; see them now before they get really big and you have to actually save up for a ticket to see them. No cover, 4 pm.
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings – The word “supergroup” is perhaps used a little too often, but this act comes pretty close to meeting any stringent definition you may have. Created by Tom Wilson (of Junkhouse fame), Stephen Fearing, and producer-performer Colin Linden, the project was first conceived as a tribute to the trio’s favorite folk artist, Willie P. Bennett. Since then, of course, the band has gone on to record eight studio albums, including this year’s “South”, and win a number of esteemed awards. Festival Place in Sherwood Park, 8:30 pm, SOLD OUT
Wool On Wolves and Scenic Route To Alaska – These two groups are definitely at the top of the class when it comes to discussions of folk and folk rock bands here in Edmonton. You can’t go wrong combining them on one bill. The Nulls also perform. Bonnie Doon Hall, 8 pm, $12.
Marlaena Moore – With an angelic voice that can dig into your soul, this sensational singer-songwriter is releasing a new album, and if the two singles released to date are any indication, we’re in for a treat. Also performing are Nolan Bossert, Smokey, and pop-metal act Diamond Mind. Wunderbar, 8 pm, $10.
Wilderness Of Manitoba – This Toronto folk act continues to grow and evolve in eclectic directions, as witnessed by their EP from last year, “The Leslieville Sessions”, which was probably their most electrified and percussive release to date. Brilliant, shimmering guitar work by Will Whitwham is accompanied by not only the typical bass and drums, but also piano, organ, synth, ukulele, and violin on various tracks. The Artery, 7:30 pm, $10.
Braden Gates – This local singer-songwriter may be the headliner, but the entire bill is a who’s who of local musicians, featuring 100 Mile House, Alex Vissia, and Jenie Thai. Wunderbar, 7 pm, $10.