By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – Cold brews and CanCon jams go hand in hand at Craig Evans’ Solid Gold Beaver, a Canada Day tradition. It’s an off-the-cuff affair where local musicians come together and pull out their best – or worst – versions of Canadian classics. Everything from Céline Dion to The Tragically Hip, to Broken Social Scene and Shania Twain, is tackled.
“Some people just knock it out of the park with jaw dropping takes on stuff, or it’s a completely unrehearsed shit show,” says event orchestrator and MC Craig Evans, laughing. “But both are entertaining for the reasons you would expect.”
With eight to 12 bands (some preexisting and others under-rehearsed) playing a minimum of three songs each, you never quite know what to expect. It’s an event that Evans has been running for five or six years to great fanfare.
“It’s bands, or people put bands together to celebrate Canadian music. Celebrate or mock, I guess, it depends on how you want to look at it.”
Notably, this year’s afternoon gig takes place a day earlier, on Saturday, June 30 at The Palomino Smokehouse with some quintessentially Canuck brews courtesy of Victoria, B.C.’s Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. providing some liquid encouragement.
According to Evans, the fete’s whimsical name was spawned by the jests he shared with his buddies back when he played in local horror-rock outfit Forbidden Dimension.
“I think there was double entendre around Canada Day and we just added our juvenile humour to it,” Evans explains. “Like most things, it’s usually bad jokes that motivate me to get stuff going.”
Gags aside, there actually was a practical reason for staging the annual gig back when Evans worked at Calgary’s legendary defunct rock club The Night Gallery.
“It was also kind of loosely based on a thing I used to do a long time ago at The Night Gallery called Moustache Rock. It was on the May long weekend of every year and that always seemed to be the time of year that there would be a mass exodus of people leaving town to go camping. Shows were always poorly attended that weekend so, rather than try to book anything, I just decided to throw a charity show and get every band that wasn’t going camping to come play. And we’d have a full bar!”
Who needs glamping? Whether you love or loathe the state of popular Canadian music, Solid Gold Beaver is one historic hometown hootenanny you won’t want to miss out on.
“It’s all very casual for the most part. It’s a good reason to get together and have fun.”
Celebrate Craig Evans’ Solid Gold Beaver, A Canada Day Tradition featuring various performers on June 30 at The Palomino Smokehouse [Calgary]Canada Day, CanCon, Céline Dion to The Tragically Hip, Cold brews, Craig Evans’ Solid Gold Beaver, Shania Twain, Solid Gold Beaver, The Palomino Smokehouse, to Broken Social Scene