WORDS: BRETT FILLMORE
Sled Island is renowned for bringing bands from afar that typically wouldn’t otherwise tour or play in Calgary. This year is no exception, with guest curators Deer Hoof and a full slate of amazing bands from New York to Los Angeles. But, Sled Island is also a time for local bands to trot their stuff. With a genre-stretching lineup and venues that span the city, who should you see if you’re from out of town and want the flavor of Calgary’s best and brightest indie acts? Fear not. Here is the Betty and Kora abridged guide to hometown artists at Sled Island 2018, ranked from chillest to rowdiest:
Because of the distortion that frequently sweeps over her harp, Hermitess’ songs aren’t necessarily quiet, but they are certainly austere and subdued. The layers are folky and woodsy, evoking something distant and ancient.
Sunday at 2:00 p.m., Central Memorial Park
Samantha Savage Smith
Smith’s clean electric guitar, precise (and rangy) voice, and probing lyrics are everything you want in a singer-songwriter.
Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Palomino
Lab Coast’s sturdy reputation in the city is built on a steady stream of tight, crisp indie-pop songs that sometimes jangle and sometimes swirl, but always feel warm.
Wednesday at 10:00 p.m., #1 Legion
Their synthesis of electronica, house, and hip hop isn’t affronting, but doesn’t put you at ease either. Instead of bombastic bass drops, there are grooves that hint at something dark, heavy, and visceral hiding underneath.
Wednesday at 12:00 midnight, HiFi Club
Their sound has all the tropes of a neon pink 80s electro throwback act, but don’t be lulled. Their live show is an intense, dancefloor-bumping affair, led by swelling synths and brooding front man Chris Zajko’s hypnotic herky jerky moves.
Thursday at 10:30 p.m., #1 Legion
Miesha and The Spanks
The band’s garage-rock jams have guitar riffs and vocal hooks with so much sass and swagger that you might not notice there are only two people on stage.
Sunday at 6:00 p.m., Palomino
A lot of the buzz around hip hop act Cartel Madras centres on the fact that: (1) they are sisters, and (2) they are brown. What the buzz should be about is how hard they bring the party: (1) with the smoothest of flows, and (2) with the snarliest of DGAF attitudes.
Saturday at 12:00 midnight, #1 Legion
Here’s a big helping of beer-soaked, rollicking alt-rock that’s two parts chant-along and one part keep-you-guessing.
Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Broken City
Friday at 9:30 p.m., #1 Legion
Okay, so these guys are from Edmonton, but close enough. They bring the noise with fuzz-caked guitar riffs searing through drums that sound like they’re on the verge of exploding with every song.
Friday at 4:00 p.m., Sloth Records
Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Palomino
It’s raw punk rock, and it’s pointed—their first album is called Stephen Harper, Suck My Dick, and their most recent is Dead Men Can’t Cat Call.
Thursday at 9:30 p.m., Palomino
This is the head banger’s choice. Their live show high octane, and Chron Goblin’s brand of stoner metal licks are nothing if not big.
Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Dickens
Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Tubby Dog
Straight from the garage, the Ex-Boyfriends’ grainy, loud, and abrasive live show might the city’s most frenzied—and most fearless.
Friday at 9:30 p.m., Dickens