Venues in town can come in various forms, from cafes to bars to halls and to other miscellaneous places, all of which have a vast diversities of sounds (genres if I must use such a difficult term to work with at times) and atmospheres. As of the past year, the amount all-ages venues have diminished with Avenue Theatre on 118th avenue and the Creative Clubhouse on 105th avenue closing down, and The Artery on Jasper Avenue becoming 18+, thus having Naked Café on 108th street and Cha Island on 81st avenue take over the incoming crowds of spectators, musicians, and promoters alike. Aside from these places, there are bars such as DV8 Underground, the Buckingham, Brixx Bar & Grill, Filthy McNasty’s, and Wunderbar; however, this last venue has been recently put out for sale, and despite of that, I believe it deserves an honourable mention due to its large contribution to the Whyte Avenue arts community and Edmonton’s music scene. Aside from bars and cafes, there is the Do-It-Yourself method of organizing shows which leads me to the next insertion: hall shows. These kind of shows tend to usually be driven by the DIY perspective to bringing about performances and music production, and hall shows can be found more sporadically in any community hall around town. Before progressing forward any further, I must acknowledge that these are not the only places that provide live entertainment of this sort, for these are only examples of some key landmarks in the music scene, as well as some other miscellaneous insertions.
Each venue can provide very different bands playing despite whatever environment a venue tries to portray, and more than often one will realize that bands of all sorts of genres can be found there. Going back to Wunderbar: the place has featured various sorts of acts, like comedy performances, film screenings, acoustic performances, punk shows, rock shows, and whatever specific genre one wishes to indulge oneself with. So, rather than saying which place to go to find what thing, I much rather attempt to give some examples of different musicians in town and associate them with certain broad genres at the best of my ability, for these matters can get absurdly subjective. From there onwards, any could easily find them online through Facebook and Bandcamp to track them down at live performance. Along the lines of what one can call rock music, there are musicians such as The Archaics, The Sweathearts, Woodhouse, Power-Buddies, D A Y D R E A M I N G, Good Nature, Carl for Breakfast, Brazilian Money, and Headcase. Punk and Hardcore, as well as some metal in Edmonton are heavily present scene with bands such as lesser man, Cold Lungs, Disabler, Cryptic, Borrachera, Messiahlator, Detroit, Time’s Tide, Exits, Etown Beatdown, Ringleader, Slumlord, Anna phora, and the masterfully pizza-inspired Master Splinter (just go to one of their shows, wait for pizza, and then you will get me here). Along the softer sound of things, what most people would call folk and indie: Wares, Marlaena Moore from The Sweathearts, Jessica Jalbert, Joe Nolan, Rusty, Old Towns, Between Brothers, Small Victories, and Fire Next Time. Rap and Hip-Hop I can only recommend Philip Solo, and the Nasty Boys at the top of my head, for I am not as familiar with that side of the scene, though I am aware there are pretty active rappers, as well as, hip hop, or just generally electronica, producers in town, most notorious Mac DeMarco.
With all of this being said, it is up to one to venture out into these places to find whatever hidden gems might be within here. One particular reason of why I am trying to give exposure to these acts and places is particularly because I’ve become accustomed to people talking about Edmonton lacking substance or anything of interest, and this is evidently not the case if one dares to look carefully and thoroughly. There are people out there that are giving so much of their time and devotion to make something out of this place and themselves, some way of coping with the lack of something by devoting their creative power to change it, and this can come in so many different ways. In later editions, I will be interviewing musicians, producers, promoters, and venue owners, as well as dealing with issues and concerns within the music scene. Hopefully this topic proves to be of interest to our community as it is to these people and myself.