author: jael bartnik & nathan mccarville | multimedia editor & sports writer
Musicians make the world go round / multimedia editor & sports writer
Benjamin Hillis the hero for cougars
The Mercury is a curious venue. Diner by day and music venue by night there’s no shortage of interesting bands and musicians from many different genres.
The line-up on Nov. 24 was pretty unique. Two hardcore bands and two acoustic acts. It’s interesting to see the overlap of heavy music and slow jams which you don’t always see in a concert setting. I personally think the drastic contrast between Marisa Burwell’s set and other bands on the bill like Phrozen is a great way to do shows. It draws a bigger audience and exposes people to new and interesting music.
Marissa Burwell’s performance was fantastic. I really enjoyed how chill her music was and the accompanying band also added to her performance, taking it from more than being just her and her acoustic. Another nice thing about that is that people tend not to talk over a band versus an acoustic set. In a big bar setting its loud with lots of people constantly talking and sometimes acoustic sets tend to get drowned out in an atmosphere like that.
A lot of the tunes were on the slower side and emulated a day-dream-like atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re intentionally getting lost. Now in contrast to the other bands that played well prepare yourself for something fast, heavy, and all business. Phrozen, new queen city hardcore brings the noise.
Their band is comprised of members of Stepping Stone, Spirit of Vengeance, and Scythra all noteworthy heavy bands that if you have not seen then you must go and see. Combination of great hardcore riffs and vicious vocals that make you want to thrash, stomp, break things, lift heavy stuff, or summon Satan (if that’s your thing). Definitely a band worth checking out if you want some of that in your life.
Another fresh band with some sick licks that played was Dead Bent also with a conglomerate of members from local bands like Surf Dads, Failed States, Anemone, and Invasion among others. Honestly If you’re a fan of fast, heavy tunes, you missed a great show. It’s a really positive thing to see in Regina, how regardless of genres, artists can put together great shows or produce great music. In Regina, it’s for sure difficult to see this city-like artistic Meccas like Toronto or Vancouver. However, we don’t give the hard-working artists the credit they deserve not only for making great music, but also for the DIY ethic it takes to put on shows, records your own albums, and create album/ poster artwork.
It does Saskatchewan’s music scene good to see more folks recording and performing, especially music that is a nice break from whatever the hell you hear on Z99 or Big Dog or whatever mainstream radio that is blared in public spaces. Honestly, my point of view isn’t really that much of a hot take. I genuinely think that all the artists last night were fucking great and when people say there’s nothing going on in this town I honestly think they’re pretty dang wrong.
The day after Jael’s coverage of bands such as Phrozen Marissa Burwell came Surf Dads on Nov. 25! Coming straight from Iceland after their most recent tour, Surf Dads is back to play another show in Regina. With hits like “All My Friends” and “Fall Apart,” it was bound to be a great show. When all was said and done with the Saskatchewan Music Awards held the same night five minutes away at the Exchange, the Surf Dads headed over to the Revival Music Room where they proceeded to put on a heck of a show at the Saskatchewan Music Awards after party. Preceding the Dads, as their fans like to call them, were rappers from Saskatoon, EEKWOL and T-RHYME, ganging up for a fantastic start, as well as Megan Nash who played alongside Bears of Hazenmore, making for a fantastic middle, and of course, a fantastic finish with Surf Dads finishing off the venue.
Coming out with a blend of beach rock and older influences, Surf Dads had a floor full of fans in front of the stage as they played the good sounds and noises that have made them a notable group among Regina’s music scene. Though, this time, there was markedly less of the characteristic moshing usually present at their Regina shows due to the nature of the venue. On stage we saw Chris Dimas on drums, Gage McGuire on vocals and guitar, as well as Nolan Grad on guitar and Daegan Harper on bass.
Chris Dimas, who plays in various other bands in Regina, previously playing Anemone’s most recent show in October, said, “It was very cool experience. To be able to even be a part of the first Sask Music Awards was incredible. I love the community of Saskatchewan music, and I am glad and proud that we were a part of it.”
In other Surf Dads related news, Chris Dimas talked about Surf Dads tour of Iceland in the land of old churches and black-sand beaches.
“Touring out to Iceland was such a great experience. The crowd at our show seemed very excited to see an international act. The festival itself is a huge tourist attraction for the country, so there was people from all over Europe which I thought was awesome.”
Surf Dads’ last EP dropped in June earlier this year as their long weekend EP.
Describing the sounds of the most recent content of the Dads, Chris said, “The most recent EP might be our favourite release to date. Some of the most fun songs to play live are on that EP, like hold onto me or all my friends. We recorded it ourselves at my house and I think that was a huge part of the vibe. Keeping it a homely feeling, and being able to just make quick decisions was really nice on this one. Our friend Michael Dawson did our cover art, and our friend Andrew Parry filmed our music videos for the record.”
But the five-month hiatus on releasing new sounds for their growing audience hasn’t slowed them down in the slightest. Regarding the near future of Surf Dads, Chris Dimas said, “The plan for Surf Dads now is to write another record and hopefully go on tour again soon. We have a bunch of songs that we are going to demo and finish up and hopefully get another full length or maybe a few EP’s on the way. Hopefully more trips like Iceland will come up. Those are fun.”
Chris and Gage are the founders of the Regina record label, Grind Central Records. Chris spoke on the recent goings on of the label.
“Grind Central is a label that Gage and myself started, and our friend Daegan Harper is now a part of it. We have a few artists putting out records soon, Marissa Burwell, Dead Bent for example. Marissa Burwell played her first show with a full band the other night, which was awesome. A lot more of that will be happening. Grind Central was also excited to have a few nominations at the Sask Music Awards, with Blue Youth’s ‘Dead Forever’ and Dagan Harding Band’s ‘I Learned How’ being on the long list for album of the year. Blue Youth was also nominated for Metal/Loud artist of the year. So that was very cool for us. Lots to come with Grind Central Records.”
Aside from the SMAs, a plethora of bands will be playing at the First Annual Harvest Prince X-Mas Party held at the Exchange on Dec. 29. Bands include Surf Dads, Marissa Burwell, Grovner, and Stepping Stone.