Big Winter Classic rocking the season
Music festival brings local acts and local weather together into one weekend
By Amber McLinden, Staff Writer
Big Winter Classic is the light in the darkness. The festival, which ran from Jan. 19- 22, pulled acts like Said the Whale and Holy Fuck. The real appeal of the festival wasn’t the names of the musicians, but rather the geography of them. Local acts were the real star of the show, bringing a vibrance to the festival that only they can contribute.
Take, for example, Friday evening at Broken City. The weather was unseasonably warm for Calgary in January, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still chilly. Deluge, a Calgary based indie rock band, took to the patio, with singer and guitarist Dave Drebit exclaiming that he “can’t feel his fingers”. But that didn’t stop the band from rocking the house, playing a set composed mainly of their own songs but including a “Teenage Dirtbag” cover by Wheatus.
“He’s a fire breathing dragon! You got to get a picture of him!” is something that was heard from a (slightly inebriated) man in the crowd, speaking of Drebit. He was referring to the way the cold air and the heat from the singer were colliding, making it look like his head was on fire and he was breathing smoke every time he let out a word. The band emitted an energy that created hype within the crowd, with drummer Anthony Janicki making drumming look more athletic than you could ever expect. Bassist Kurt Kluba fed off that energy constantly, and even had someone else come up and sing a few bars with him (audience member? Another band member? Who can know).
There’s definitely something about Calgary that fosters excellent musicians, and it needs to keep happening. Lunar Wilde is an example of that kind of band. Another alt-indie rock act, the five person band took to the outdoor stage at Last Best on the Friday of the festival. If there is one thing that can be said about Lunar Wilde, it’s that they’re right in describing themselves as having “passionate musicianship”.
The band had an energy that flowed into the audience and motivated a room of people to bounce along to their songs. In a crowded, smoky room (although less cold than the Broken City patio), the band assembled on stage and did what they do best, play music they love. Onlookers could tell they love what they do, and between the five of them, they seamlessly and vibrantly played their set. Singer and guitarist Devin Dunlop incited some hair flipping, Evan Jacobs’ facial expressions are a sight to see, and the band’s general demeanor makes for a stellar show. The band puts in work and can be called anything but “typical”.
Overall, the festival created an excellent escape from the winter season here in Calgary. The general feeling of the festival was friendly and welcoming. It’s a festival that was created carefully for the city and it’s occupants thirsting for a break in their busy, cold winter lives. Besides the two bands above, other amazing local acts that played the festival included Sons of Ray, Sitstill, The Torchettes, All Hands On Jane, and many more. There’s something about a festival that recognizes local talent that makes it special, and the shows that were played over the festival proved that.