On this final Kazoo! Podcast episode of 2018 (and final Indie Alarm Clock episode!) Andrea is joined on air by Brad McInerney, Mike Deane, and Dave Lander, AKA Kazoo!’s Programming Committee, to chat all about all the behind-the-scenes work that happens to make a festival like Kazoo! possible. They chat about community festivals vs mega-festivals, Programming Committees vs Artistic Directors, the challenges that smaller festivals face, dream bookings, and of course, what they’re most excited for at Kazoo! Fest 2018!
Look, let’s face it: Bands. Who needs ’em? Mine included. It feels like there’s 3 bands for every 1 person in Canada. People have been playing instruments on a stage for years now. YEARS! Look at how many people have traded their squire jaguar in for 1/8 of the cost of licensing ableton software. Are they right to do it? …mmmaybe?
No, they are wrong. Bands are good. Band are relevant. Faith Healer is the proof.
Faith Healer is one of those bands where the sum of its parts somehow add up to way more than you could ever expect. Their records sound almost timeless, like they could have been made any time in the last 40 years and you’d believe it. (In fact, the dial-tone that opens Try 😉 might make you more inclined to disbelieve that it came out in 2017). These records are things I listen to and I love them and then I get angry because why can’t I make something this good? Who do they think they are? But then I feel fine again when I remember that I get to listen to them again and again and again until I’m even older and crankier than I am now.
The songwriting. Jeeze. There are so many bands (again, mine included) where you hear them and go “oh, they really like this band.” Someone loves This Heat, someone else is into Black Flag, etc etc etc. I have absolutely no idea what records Faith Healer listened to, what music inspired or drove Jessica to write these songs.
They stand between genres in this thin space that allows a listener to just subtly nudge them into whatever category might make them feel most comfortable with enjoying it yet at no time can that audience limitation truly limit the music. I mean, does this sound like AM radio hits or savage Can jams? Doesn’t that solo kind of sound like Boston, or is it Television? What band can I compare them to in my 300 word review if they don’t explicitly spell it out for me?!?
How does this all work? Well, it works because it doesn’t sound like any of those things. It sounds like Faith Healer.
Live, the band is on fire every time I see them, not a hair out of place (except for Renny’s as he hams up his solos) and composed of some of the all-time MVPs of the last decade in Canadian music. It’s ‘tight’, but not in the way you passively say to a band who let you use their drums but you hated their set, nor is it tight in a regimented, bland, over-rehearsed and sterile way– it’s tight because the whole band is playing with each other, knows how to play with each other, and (I’m hoping/assuming) LIKE playing with each other. It’s all I want out of seeing a band these days. It’s great music made by great people. I feel privileged to know them, to share a label with them, and to get to have this music in my life and in my ears and eye line pretty often.
All that being said, scheduling is leaving me unable to see them play at Kazoo! Fest, so someone let me know how it is. I bet it’s pretty good.
Jarrett Samson is the leader singer and guitarist for Tough Age, who will be performing at Kazoo! Fest 2018 on Friday, April 13th at ANAF (32 Gordon St.)
Hope you’re feeling well-rested after the Kazoo! kick-off, cause it’s only day two and there’s so much more to see!
The evening will start out with a bit of a difficult choice – are you up for something more experimental and avant-garde, or are you feeling that a cozy evening of heartwarming folk may be more your jam? If it’s the former, head on over to Kazoo! HQ at 7 PM to catch The Powers, Church, and Cindy Lee, for an evening of experimental electronic, performance art, and dance. If you’re up for something a little more intimate, head to 10C at 7:30 PM to catch a trio of heartfelt performances by Bird City, Jom Comyn, and LUKA.
But regardless of which show you choose to kick off your evening, make your way to the eBar afterwards (doors at 10 PM) for an eclectic collection of performances by the Alpaca Nachos (this year’s Girls Rock Camp Guelph choice for Kazoo! Fest!), Faith Healer, and Elle Barbara’s Black Space.
And don’t forget that the Guelph Night Market will be happening all throughout the evening tonight (7-11pm), so be sure to take some time between your show-hopping to head on over to Mitchell Hall to pick up some Kazoo! Fest souvenirs from the Night Market’s curated selection of vendors.
Whew, hope we’ve whet your appetites, cause things are just getting started!
i remember brandon in so many ways but first and foremost it is this way, giving, caring and present. incredible qualities for a percussionista or any kind of music maker. i remember being introduced eagerly by pals when he came thru to hali’s obey convention years ago with notthewindnottheflag. i had the whole afternoon to present all kinds of improvising music and i remember that colin and brandon were there for almost all of the four hours or so. and like the spirit of the true jazz giant, within the hours of meeting, brandon and colin came to play and i felt brandon’s voice through his hands from the drum ~ and this preface is to let you know how prepared and grateful i am to speak on mas aya and brandon and generosity and also how necessarily i must use this public platform to thank brandon. brandon, my pal. thank you.
i’ve haphazardly toured around the country in discomfort and one of the things i remember about brandon is how grateful i am to see him, light one up and share treasures from the crown of music. how many borrowed drum kits and favours and care-taking gestures i personally am indebted to this kind man is many and i know this sentiment is shared by all of his truly numerous illustrious collaborators.
i remember brandon from the stage of the polaris music prize and i was one of few people who could feel the pressure on him when all the monitors turned off and his drum was still deep into the pocket of the electronic sounds echoing around a deep theatre and still if you watch the video i’m sure you would not know unless i told you. i remember brandon’s convicted reassurance that no outcome at an award show would or could influence the speaking to the spirit that is our work. i remember brandon taking care of business and otherwise i remember brandon smiling and pouring another one in the hot tub.
i also remember clearly the first time i put on “nikan” and was again reminded that the collaborative spirit is always alive and well in the servants of music; and i remember feeling often with mas aya the same spirit that lido pimienta furiously reseeds into the musical landscape. as our ears decide it is time to assess our insecurities around our ancientness ~ we have a home in a new generation of popular artists that can see themselves a million years old.
my insider scoop is that mas aya is ultimately this spirit at work. something that is resiliently ancient and drilled with joyful discipline into the present. i don’t know what the yaks who text thru concerts get out of instruments crafted from and resonating thru the earth but i remember the first time i heard brandon touch a drum and i hear it every single time. honestly, i think the world of music is pretty confused about risk taking and spontaneous music and what it is to always be prepared. please do not heap your expectation on mas aya. just understand that someone who is observant and near the explosions of new music can bring you, tenderly, a new perspective. trust mas aya, y’all. please..
We made it! We’re so happy to be starting Kazoo! Fest 2018 and bringing some of the best and most daring artists in Canada to Guelph for 5 days of mindblowing, genre-defying, and all round impressive music, visual art, performance art, dance, and much more! Thanks so much for your support in the lead-up to the festival, and we look forward to seeing you around downtown today until Sunday.
We kick things off at Kazoo! HQ (127 Woolwich Street) at 8PM with two performances that will melt minds and and flip wigs. Guelph’s experimental music demigod Ben Grossman is starting the night by showcasing his sound installation, which stretches across the entire space (which is huge). Is it a hurdy gurdy? Is it a new instrument that the world has not yet even heard of? Be there to find out.
Following Ben Grossman’s performance we will be treated to one of our favourite parts of the festival, the premiere of a performance that was supported by the Kazoo! Fest and Ed Video Look Hear microgrant. Luyos MC (MaryCarl Guiao) dazzled last year with their opening performance at Silence, and this year they are back, having teamed up with visuals master Karl Skene to create a multimedia project entitled “We Who Dare”. Music is played on traditional kulintang gongs from the southern Philippines are combined with poetry, illustrations, video, and traditional dress to create an experience where Indigenous Philipinx identities and truth bearers can be felt and heard.
Following “We Who Dare” head on over to the eBar to catch up-and-coming locals No Boys, who will kick off the music portion of the fest with their endearing and infectious indie rock. Following No Boys, we are pleased to bring one of Canada’s finest (not an exaggeration) to the stage, with Mauno from Halifax ready to bring the house down on a Wednesday night in Guelph.
After that, go to sleep! Rest up! There’s a ton more coming your way.