The Summerlad have put together a massive local showcase to celebrate a year of RAMP
From the beginning, RAMP has encouraged participating artists to stick their necks out, think outside the box and take risks. The first RAMP event in 2006 featured an animation project by Kara Keith with live soundtrack, a 45-minute Summerlad composition entitled “Calm of Cancer, Calm of Capricorn” and Woodpigeon performing a “Rock Operetta” called Redbeard about the fabled pirate, complete with sets and a narrator. Things got stranger from there.
“AA Soundsystem usually does kind of folk-country rock with a bit of an electronic thing going on, but the thing they brought to RAMP was complete, abstract electronic noise. The most far-out experimental sounds you can imagine,” Fisher says with undisguised admiration. On the first Thursday of the last 12 months, Broken City scenesters have been treated to prog, psychedelia, lounge and an intimate evening of Nick Cave covers. Local multi-instrumentalist wunderkind Jay Crocker re-created The Band’s entire second album, nailing all the original instrumentation and multiple vocal arrangements. An offsite event at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer featured the Lads, Azeda Booth and Winnipeg’s Absent Sound while showcasing the venue’s mighty and amazing pipe organ, helmed by Kenna Burima. It also allowed underage RAMPers an early taste of Calgary’s underground.
Fittingly, RAMP will celebrate its anniversary by doing more of what it’s been doing — highlighting the local scene while pushing creative boundaries. For some reason, whenever the proposition of doing something different is presented to bands who usually play their own original music, the first idea that occurs is to do cover tunes. “We try to steer people away from doing covers, because it’s almost too easy,” Fisher qualifies. That said, this Thursday, Woodpigeon, The Ex-Boyfriends, Aaron (no relation to Azeda) Booth, The Consonant C, Gutterawl, Guitarsplat and a bevy of other bands will cover and pay tribute to the fertile local music scene.
Fisher refuses to reveal who’s covering who, providing only rough details. “There are some bands that are covering other bands that are playing,” he says, “and there are a few bands that are dipping back into the past, but most of the bands are doing fairly contemporary stuff.” Pushed for more details, he adds that “Consonant C are doing something with a couple of ukuleles.”
In addition to the unexpected (as the old cliché goes), you can expect a good crowd. “The bands alone are probably almost 40 people. I’ll be managing the stage, trying to get people on and off as quickly as possible,” says Fisher. “I’ve never done anything quite like this before.”
Risk taking aside, it’s a pretty safe bet that Thursday’s soirée will be unlike any other cover night previously seen or heard in any of Calgary’s venues, indie or otherwise.