January 16, 2020
Category: Blog Posts
Five Must-See Winterruption Acts
It’s understandable that you might want to avoid the cold after the record-breaking frigid blast of January we just experienced, but Edmonton is a winter city so it’s best to embrace this. Consider doing just that with the first Downtown festival of the year, Winterruption, which kicks off Thursday, January 23, at various venues in the core. If you’re feeling tight for time, relax. We’ve gone ahead and put together a list of five must-see acts at the festival, which runs Jan. 23 to Jan. 26. - Tom Murray
The last time indie-rockers Weaves came through town, on the first day of the 2019 edition of Interstellar Rodeo, they riveted a late afternoon crowd primed for soothing sounds with their heady mix of chattery guitar lines, irresistible melodies and ricochet rhythms. The Toronto-based quartet, who organized back in 2012 around the alchemical songwriting between guitarist Morgan Waters and vocalist Jasmyn Burke, have been building as a buzz band both for their two albums (2016’s Weaves and 2017’s Wide Open) but also for their ferocious and unpredictable live show, where it seems like anything can and should happen. Weaves have been slow to follow up on Wide Open, but there are signs that they’re back in the studio; in late November the band released a new track, Internet Tears, and predicted a new album some time in 2020. Weaves, with Eamon McGrath, Girlfriend Material, Shag, and Good Rumour, Starlite Room/Temple, Thursday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.
2. Ezra Furman
If you’ve been following the popular Netflix comedy-drama Sex Education then you might already be familiar with Ezra Furman. The Oakland-based rocker has not only written songs for the show, he’s also appeared in it as well with his band, The Visions, cranking out tunes at the high-school dance attended by main character Otis Milburn. Furman has been something of a critical darling since starting his first band, Ezra Furman and The Harpoons, and ever since going solo the accolades have continued. Something of a musical chameleon, Furman has declared his latest album, 12 Nudes, to be his “punk record,” noting that the two guiding heroes for him on it were deceased garage rocker Jay Reatard and Canadian poet Anne Carson. Whether singing a gorgeous, heart rending ballad, leading his band through some artful chamber pop, or wrenching his guitar into squalling hard rock, Ezra Furman is not to be missed. Ezra Furman, with Wares and Matthew Cardinal, Freemason Hall, Saturday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m.
Hip-hop may still be young when compared to other musical genres, but it’s already given us its share of irrefutably classic records. Old-school heads might disagree on which ones make it into the canon, but you’d have to search far and wide to find anyone who would deny Liquid Swords by Wu Tang Clan rapper and songwriter GZA as one of the early triumphs of the form. Having GZA himself show up to play the record in its entirety on the 25th anniversary of its release is something a coup for Winterruption Edmonton, and easily the hottest show on the weekend. So, grab your tickets as fast as you can and meditate to the hypnotic grooves, kung fu moves, and deeply tangled lyrics in songs like Shadowboxing, 4th Chamber, and Cold World. GZA, with Ntwali, Mouraine, and Tzadeka, Starlite Room/Temple Friday, Jan. 24 at 9:30 p.m.
4. Nuela Charles
We’re hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself next year with Nuela Charles’ latest record, Melt. Oh sure, it’ll be nice for her to get all the usual accolades that the Edmonton-based singer-songwriter deserves for her canny and irresistible blend of pop, soul, R&B, jazz, and hip-hop, but an industry nod would be good as well. She’s picked up two consecutive Juno nominations for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year, and as she’s grown more assured in the studio Charles has proved that it might be time for a solid win in the national musical sweepstakes. That’s bound to happen. For the time being, you can enjoy Charles at a free outdoor family-friendly Winterruption Edmonton show that also includes three warming stations, a tipi raising with an elder, bannock making, and a few children’s activities as well. Nuela Charles, with Raygun Cowboys, The Hearts, Jenesia, and Dylan Ellas, at Abby Glen Park at 12:20 p.m. This event is free.
5. Marlaena Moore
There’s a lot of love in this city’s underground music scene for Marlaena Moore. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter is one of those hidden gems you often hear about but rarely see, gifted with a sinuous and strong voice, deft and daffy lyrics, ear-worm melodies, sassy personality, melding pop, rock, indie, and folk into an effortless whole. She first hit the local radar with Gazed a few years back, and took every lesson she made from that auspicious debut into her latest effort, the Chad Van Gaalen produced Pay Attention, Be Amazed. It’s still a month or two down the road, but you can check out what she’s up to on her recently released video Imposter, where she sashays around West Edmonton Mall in various guises, looking by turns pouty, pert, and perky, with a chorus that will rebound in your head for days. Be prepared to fall in love with your new favourite! Marlaena Moore, with Partner, 36? and Jet Power at Yellowhead Brewery at 8 p.m.