By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Ready to notch a decade and a half of being a Calgary landmark into their historic doorframe, The Palomino has become a staple of the local music and food scene. Simultaneously holding the title of familiar watering hole and source of never-ending surprises, the well-worn and much-loved eatery and live music venue has never strayed far from its mandate.
“Two floors of good times,” summarizes general manager and talent buyer Dan Northfield. “Beers, bands and BBQ. We are Calgary’s original barbeque joint! Our Smokey Bourbon Caesar has also cured many a hangover.”
Amen to that tender mercy!
Recharging the city’s batteries after an agonizingly long winter, The Palomino’s annual self-celebratory shindig promises to restore balance to the seasons and one’s bodily humours. The cure for what ails ya? Traditional anniversary gifts of meat and music, of course.
“This is the Palomino’s 14th anniversary. Jared, Arlen and I will be celebrating our seventh here,” confirms Northfield. “I believe the 14th year is ivory? I think it would be frowned upon if we gave away anything made from elephant tusks! At The Palomino we like to think every anniversary is ‘vinyl.'”
That can only mean one thing; the return of The Palomino Smokehouse compilation record!
“This will be our sixth. Only 500 copies are being pressed. The line-up is always ‘Friends of The Palomino.’ Sometimes they offer, sometimes we ask — no real science. It seems to just happen.”
Free with your paid admission, this sought after 33 ⅓ rpm platter is exploding with two hefty sides of country-fried rock, succulent pop, drunken hardcore and blackened metal. Admirers including Crystal Eyes, Allovers, Body Lens, Child Actress, Forbidden Dimension, Whitsundays, and more, have all thrown down a single stand-alone track to grace the hallowed bar and restaurant’s latest party-mix. And, while Northfield perpetually has his ear-to-the-ground when it comes to scouting talent, it is admittedly difficult to play favourites within such a tightly knit scene.
“The Palomino is kind of like your Mum. She is equally ‘stoked’ for all the bands,” he explains.
“Tom Bagley designed this year’s cover and our friends at Big Rock always support us. We would never be able to put it all together without the guidance and help of Todd Harkness. Todd will be so mad I mentioned his name. He is the BEST!”
The next best thing to a Harkness-assisted variety vinyl release is having the opportunity to enjoy some live tunes, especially when they’re performed within the Smokehouse and Social Club’s brisket-scented brick walls.
“We reached out and invited a lot of bands to play our anniversary show and have curated a diverse evening of music. Presently, we have Mark Mills (Vancouver), BRASS (Vancouver), Doug Hoyer Band (Chicago), Hairnet (Calgary), Body Lens (Lethbridge), Red Hot Gospel (Edmonton), Monolith AB (Calgary), Gone Cosmic (Calgary), Old Apartments (Calgary) confirmed and possibly more to come.”
More to come.
That’s exactly what The Palomino has in mind as mid-town Calgary casually strolls into its saloon and blows out the candles on another rafter-raising year.
“We are still open and I think people like coming here…Honestly we just enjoy seeing folks leave with a smile on their face after spending some time at The Palomino,” he continues.
“We just do our thing; good BBQ served in a comfortable environment by friendly peeps, keeping up an exciting live program for interesting people and making sure The Palomino is a venue, with a ‘No Jerk’ policy, that is welcoming for everyone. Is it worth celebrating? Who knows? I guess we will find out on May 12 if it is…”
The Palomino’s Anniversary Party and LP Release with Doug Hoyer Band, Gone Cosmic, Body Lens, BRASS and more goes down May 12 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club (Calgary).Anniversary, Body Lens, BRASS, Doug Hoyer Band, Gone Cosmic, Palomino, Paloversary, The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club