The Dudes highlight Alberta Culture Days
Samantha Savage Smith also provides a spark
It has become increasingly apparent that the only people who assume Calgary has no culture are the ones who aren’t living here to enjoy it. That can sometimes includes our grand culture broadcaster, CBC.
The “I Love Culture” concert, hosted by CBC, was a celebration on Sept. 29 of of what this city has to offer that ended with a free show at Olympic Plaza. Hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos, there were performances from local artists High Valley, Samantha Savage Smith and The Dudes.
The event was a little awkward when there wasn’t music playing and it felt that CBC wanted strongly to remind the crowd that Calgary does, in fact, have culture here in good ol’ YYC.
“People always think of the Calgary Stampede when they think of Calgary, but there’s so much more,” said CBC news anchor Nirmala Naidoo in one of many repeated sentiments throughout the night.
Calgary is the 2012 Culture Capital of Canada, and the artists chosen did a fantastic job of demonstrating the depth and breadth of culture that our city and province plays host to.
High Valley, a country band from La Crete, Alta. opened the show with their brand of country music. Made up of brothers Brad, Bryan and Curtis Rempel, they are touted as one of the most impressive Canadian country music acts in the business right now.
While High Valley gave a good performance, their energy was understandably low, having been saddled with warming up the contrived atmosphere.
George Stroumboulopoulos, described by Dan Vacon of The Dudes as, “a perfect mix of Rick Mercer, Larry King and Tony Danza,” handled the audience in between each set with great skill, reminding everyone that CBC can be fun and fresh when it wants to be.
Samantha Savage Smith played next and successfully lured the audience in with her charming smile and honest stage presence.
Her powerfully fragile voice and beautiful lyrics combined wonderfully to create a performance that was far too short. Her immense talent would have been enough to fill a set twice the length.
One of Calgary’s great, if not greatest, musical treasures, The Dudes, played next. They love Calgary just as much as Calgary loves them, and proved yet again exactly why.
We love them because of the incredible music they play and the fun the crowd has when they take the stage, but it’s Vacon and his legendary beard that steals our hearts.
The Dudes started the set with Tear It Up, a track off their latest album, and they did tear it up, with some of their older material like Dropkick Queen of the Weekend and Mr. Someone Else, and some of their newer cuts like American Girl and Good Times.
“I’ve never said I want to party and not meant it,” said Vacon. “I want to party.” The fun the group has on stage translates directly into the crowd and the party was shared by all in attendance.
It felt a little like the end of a junior high school dance when Nirmala Naidoo walked out on the stage and asked, “Wasn’t that fun?” as The Dudes made their exit, but the music had made me completely forget that I was supposed to be appreciating Albertan culture and actually made me appreciate the exciting culture of Alberta.