By Mike Dunn
CALGARY — Now in their fourth year throwing a wild and weird rock ‘n’ roll wizard party out in the bush, the Vandits VC have put together their biggest lineup so far, with 18 bands spread out over two nights, near Equity, Alberta.
Initially started as a fine excuse for the Vandits to get out of town for a few days with their buddies and better halves, and have a chill hang while checking out each other’s handiwork on the boogie van customization front, Vantopia has grown from a small gathering of about eight bands and 100 people in 2013, to the aforementioned 18 bands, and an expected attendance of 300+ humans.
In addition to local favourites HighKicks, Woodhawk, and Miesha & The Spanks, and Edmonton’s most loveable weirdoes, The Wet Secrets, the lineup includes the reunion of Temple, Regina math-stoners Black Thunder, Saskatoon’s Von Jumbo, and Denim Machine, who, according to organizer Arlen Smith, “is kind of a side project of Frankie McQueen and Mancub. They write rad songs about vannin’”
The party will be emceed by Vandits associate David “Matchstick” Brooks, who writes and publishes a magazine called Custom Vanner out of California. Matchstick has started a band called SAME/SAME, with Vandits member Corey Martin, formerly of Breathe Knives and Helvis, which Smith describes as, “a weird, dreamy psych/noise project that they developed over Skype, sending song parts back and forth. They’re pals, they talk on the phone all the time. I think they might be in love.” SAME/SAME will play the Thursday night Vantopia pre-party at The Palomino, which also includes Solid Brown and HFT, and again at the shaker on Saturday night. The one act Smith hasn’t yet seen but is pumped to have at the party, is Dead Quiet from Vancouver, “kind of a metal/fuzz rock supergroup,” featuring members of Barn Burner and Ancients.
“I’m really stoked to cut loose. It’s pretty much my one weekend a year to not have to be at the bar and responsible, and we’ve got everything. Punk rock, thrash, stoner rock, garage rock, fuzz rock, straight up rock ‘n’ roll.”
Vantopia 4 goes down June 3rd-5th, near Equity, AB. Tickets are $30, and include camping. There are no onsite liquor sales, BYOB, and no “unfamiliar” dogs. The after party happens Sunday June 5th at The Palomino Smokehouse, featuring Black Pussy, Frankie McQueen, Mammoth Grove and Electric Owl.AB, Alberta, music festivals, Vantopia