Ready for another mid-week masterpiece, Dickens Pub set the stage for a menagerie of musical treats. Calgary fundamentals Bad Habits Die Hard and The Knifedogs broke in the crowd with a bundle of blood-pumping tracks. A cyclone of alcoholism took form on the floor as a few choice locals began to cluck about like roosters, pulling bodies from the front lines and throwing them into one meek-looking circle pit. This evening was about to get messy.
Straight from Los Angeles, The Wild Roses were next to preach their version of Americana through song. This country-rock army, although tight and put together, seemed to confuse the crowd. Looking around the room, people stood immobile in a semi-circle around the stage, trying to wrap their heads around it. The singer twanged out lyrics with a tonal quality I can only compare to that of Melissa Etheridge. Dickens slowly transformed into Swayze’s Roadhouse as songs like “Jesus Ride Me Sideways” and a Tia Carrere look-a-like bassist gave the room a taste of something solid but unexpected.
The Swingin’ Utters stepped up to the plate, ready to hit yet another night out of the park. Although there was a sense of disappointment towards the lack of old members and a smaller lineup, the audience was all ears. Frontman Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel took to the stage spitting and kicking. His robotic movements unwound as the night carried on. Bonnel battled his mic stand all night long, tossing it around like a soiled dove. Fists were flying as the Utters’ newer song, “I’m Going Home,” bounced off open ears. An assembly of loyal followers called out for more. Eager men cheered as the lights finally popped on to mark the night’s demise.
Review and photos by Lori MeyersAB, Alberta