Did you guys know that the Calgary Stampede turned 100 this year? I haven’t read that anywhere, have you? Just kidding... thanks to the cowboy clusterfuck, the entire city is turning to shit, quite literally, with the pungent aroma of horse turds clogging up bike paths and getting caught in the stilettos of drunken cowgirls as they stumble home.
Thankfully, there’s a ton of awesome stuff happening this week that has nothing to do with Paul Brandt. On Thursday, July 12, American sludge masters Melvins make their triumphant return, though this time they’ll be playing weird jazz rearrangements of their tracks under the name Melvins Lite. Post-Locust spazz-core group Retox will join the bill at Republik, and you can read about them in this very issue.
Thursday night offers a really tough choice, however, as explosive post-punk monsters White Lung make their return with a free show at Bamboo. Not only will they be playing cuts from their mind-numbingly fast new album, Sorry, but they’ll be joined by a stacked bill of locals. Plus, you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t get to see guitarist Kenny in his shiny basketball shorts and Wal-Mart dress shoes.
Undoubtedly, Vern’s is one of the surliest and scariest venues in the city, which also happens to make it a great place to check out some scuzzy metal. On Sunday, July 15, bands with awesome names like Excruciating Pain, Slagduster, Burning Effigy and Blackest Sin will take the stage. I want an Excruciating Pain T-shirt.
Actually, it’s a pretty good week to be a skid. After the hesh-fest at Vern’s, you’ve only gotta sip some Jack Daniel’s at home for two days before former G’N’fuckin’R guitarist Slash hits the Jubilee on Tuesday, July 17. Does he have a new album out or will he be playing the classics? Honestly, who cares? As long as he’s wailing on an axe with his iconic top hat and sunglasses, consider me there! (I mean that as a turn of phrase. There are literally thousands of places I’d rather be than watching Slash at the Jubilee.)
Then, the polar opposite of Slash: Neil Diamond is taking the stage at the Saddledome on Wednesday, July 18. The 71-year-old panty moistener is surely going to make a mint off his Calgary appearance — I just looked up the show on Ticketmaster and was offered a floor seat for $164.25. Still, middle-aged moms and their moms need to party too, and they’ll likely shell out the dough to hear “Sweet Caroline” over stadium loudspeakers. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see that? (Again, me. I most definitely do not want to see that.)
Dicking around aside, there are a pair of shows I’m genuinely excited about this week. It’s not often that a bona fide American indie rock hero comes to town, but that’s exactly what’s happening with K Records and Beat Happening founder Calvin Johnson, who will perform at a secret location on Tuesday, July 17 (meet at the River Walk in the East Village at 8 p.m.) and at the Good Life Bike Shop on Wednesday, July 18.