[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns by ex-Calgarian comic, Dan Guiry, in which he’ll explore some of the finer, more twisted sides of being a Calgarian expat in our nation’s gleaming centrepiece.]
It’s barely raining out and people are rushing by, hunkered under their jackets. Nothing like the rain storms the Prairies are used to. We’re sitting under a dank musk huddled round a few pints generously provided by Cody Spence, the synthesizer technician of the electro sex pop project Go Love Yourself by Calgary’s own Mark Mills.
The boys are using my downtown pirate cove as a sort of launching pad to the party, which is NXNE and I’ve ventured out this evening to see — well hear — a familiar voice. It’s been a while since I’ve been back to my homeland and, although it wasn’t my first love, something about Calgary planted itself in my heart without my knowledge — an itch, let’s call it — an itch that can only be satiated by the melancholy fold of the wild west.
I’ve dubbed thee “Alberta Dark”: as spacious as the skies and haunting as the view from the lips of the Rocky Mountains. The melodies move me to what could be called tears, but in my drug-addled heart it can only be described as nostalgia.
We’ve come here tonight to see an old friend, although I don’t know him much more than the handful of times we’ve shared a stage in the far-gone past of my musical journey. But, his eyes register familiarity and he kindly shakes my hand. Tonight, we dine on a feast of music, for the vanguard of “Alberta Dark” is about to hit the stage.
Reuben & the Dark capture sonically what it is to be Albertan. Like cliffs slice through prairies, like an oil man’s poet son says goodbye to the silver spoon. His music is both soft yet dangerous, heartbreakingly joyous. After the show, I stand in the rain and cough.
By Dan Guiry
Reuben & The Dark photos: Sebastian Buzzalino