MUSIC PREVIEW: Band together for Fort McMurray

The Who GigCity Edmonton

‘Af an oo is better’n no oo at’all

Given the swift and overwhelming support from all Albertans in the wake of the terrible fire ravaging Fort McMurray, it’s likely a lot of musicians at this weekend’s gigs will be helping, too.

Not by picking up shovels, but by doing what they do: To spread the word to their fans about the No. 1 priority: Cash. The almost 80,000 people driven from their homes, many still stranded, many not knowing if they still have a home, need a lot of help: Food, shelter, fuel, everything. The Red Cross is wrangling massive assistance while a battalion of firefighters battles the blaze that threatens to destroy the entire community. You can text “redcross” to 30333 to make an instant $5 donation.

The Edmonton music community has been busy, meanwhile. Jr. Gone Wild will headline a fund-raiser at the Needle on Wednesday, May 11, also featuring The Hearts (formerly Jeff Stuart and The Hearts), Ayla Brook, Jesse and the Dandelions and more. Sunday at the Buckingham has local rootsmen Fire Next Time leading a bill of more than half a dozen bands. Another concert series is already being organized with the first announced show at DV8 (Mama’s Pizza) on May 20. The Mercury Room is hosting benefits in June, including one with the band called Abandin All Hope, from Fort McMurray. Edmonton’s punk heroes SNFU are even mulling over staging a fund-raising show while they’re in the middle of their European tour. There’s going to be lots. Just wait.

We might even expect The Who to bring it up at Sunday’s concert at Rexall Place. It should be part of the memo that every visiting rock star receives upon arrival: 1. You’re in Edmonton, 2. The Oilers is the sports team, 3. Calgary is the enemy, and 4. when a disaster like Fort McMurray happens, we all need to band together and help any way we can – even a couple of beloved old British rockers from the old school far away. What say you, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey? Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to us. Whoops, wrong band.

There has been criticism that this isn’t the real Who (some say it wasn’t real since drummer Keith Moon died). But for fans of their timeless music, their incredible legacy, their signature hit trumpeting their very name down the halls of history, Who Are You?, half a Who is better than no Who at all. Or, to put it another way, “Af an Oo is better’n no Oo at all.”

Tickets for the postponed show in October 2015 will be honoured for Sunday’s concert, starting at 7:30 pm. Seats are also still available from $55.

Thursday 5

Holy Holy – A Bowie tribute band featuring the guys who actually played with Bowie won’t make up for Bowie being gone, but it’s as close as you’re going to get to the real thing. This show is what they call a MUST SEE – moved from the Jube (due to lack of promotion) to the Starlite Room and featuring drummer Mick “Woody” Woodmansey and bassist Tony Visconte leading a band of ringers we like to think Bowie would’ve approved of. With Jessica Lee Morgan. Show at 7:30 pm, tickets $25 advance

Friday 6

Shredmonton – Are we doing Stonehenge? There shall be 29 heavy metal bands of all predilections featured in this inaugural heavy metal festival and conference. Yes, that’s right, a metal conference. Delegates from the area metal community will hold court to discuss all things metal all day Saturday in the Shaw Conference Centre (all ages event): Power metal, death metal, black metal, metalcore, speed metal, thrash metal, doom metal, grindcore, Viking metal, and Neue Deutsche Härte, which translates to “New German Hardness.” Great name for a band – and some excellently-named metal bands will be playing no-minors shows Friday through Sunday at the Starlite Room and downstairs at Brixx. Headliners include Dying Fetus, Goatwhore and Edmonton’s own Disciples of Power – minus their original lead singer, who turned Christian. Another story. The Shredmonton website has all the details.

READ MORE: What’s up with illegible metal band logos?

Saturday 7

Borys – It isn’t the hardware – it’s what you do with the hardware. Well aware of this truism is local music guru Jason Borys, who promises to fill the stage with a veritable museum of non-digital, non-MIDI-capable synthesizers you have to program with wires, and demonstrate that electronic music need not be be cold and inhuman. Joining him will be one Nik7, aka Nik Kozub of Shout Out Out Out Out (4 Outs, right?), with new music (and sneak peek copies available) from a collaboration they call “Muchias.” 9910, 9 pm, $12 at the door.

Sunday 8

Har Mar Superstar – You look like Ron Jeremy, you sing like a guy from some 1980s pop band. What’s a gifted singer-songwriter to do? Play on it, that’s what. Sean Tillman even called himself Sean Na Na at one point in a career that’s taken many twists. Sex, soul, sleaze and style (and that’s just the S’s) mash up for an entertaining package of eccentric pop perfection, touring on his latest record, Best Summer Ever. Can we expect a Prince cover from this fellow Minnesotan? Shout one out and see what happens at the Needle Vinyl Tavern. With Carter and the Capitals, 8 pm, $12 advance