From Edmonton With Love

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A quick look at the City of Edmonton's website leads me to believe that it lacks a snappy, pride-swelling civic slogan. Regardless, my first trip to this city is going well. The 2008 Western Canadian Music Awards are well underway and the venues are packed with the usual blend of visiting industry folks (including the international delegates, like five L.A.-based music supervisors), showcasing artists, and music fans alike.

After spending an inordinate amount of time attempting to figure out my alarm clock, it was off to the Velvet Underground on 102nd Street for a fantastic set by Twilight Hotel. I've been watching this duo for years and I can safely say that the pair's relentless tour schedule has paid off: they are flawless. Total American gothic '50s rock 'n' roll show. Brandy (Zdan) and Dave (Quanbury) sat down for all but one of their songs ("Viva la Vinyl"), which could've sucked the energy right out of the room, but they held their crowd and just plain rocked. And also rolled.

Next it was up the stairs to the Starlite Room for a blistering set by blue rockers The Perpetrators. Hard to believe that much rich sound comes from just three guys. Former drummer Scotty Hills was holding the sticks once again. He came out and took up Jason Nowicki's guitar for one of his own originals, which sounded great. Jason and Ryan Menard traded bass and guitar duties periodically. They also got people up and dancing; no small feat at 1am on a Thursday night. Highlight: weird dancing guy doing a cross between (bad) Appalachian clogging, Michael Jackson, testifying, and falling down.

I love the upstairs/downstairs of these two venues. Sure the sound bleeds a bit, but it's a great feel. You instantly feel like you're in a city that loves its music. Which does seem to be true. Nice work, Edmonton. Now get a slogan! I think "One Great City" is up for grabs...

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