Apr 16

Singing in the Crumpled Dark: the Palomino Smokehouse and John K Samson

by Barbara Bruederlin · 0 comments

John K Samson at the Palomino Calgary

I have been known to gush on occasion that there are no bad seats at certain downtown Calgary music venues.  The venue downstairs at the Palomino Smokehouse (109 7th Ave SW) is the antithesis of that; there are no good seats.  Strangely, that’s one of its charms.

There are only about a dozen tables downstairs at the Palomino, varying vintages of mismatched kitchen tables with chairs rescued from family cottages.  None of the tables really have a sightline to the stage.  But it wouldn’t really matter if they did because once the open area in front of the stage fills up with 8 foot guys, as it will inevitably do at any concert worth its salt, you aren’t going to see anything on the stage anyway.  So relax.

After filling our bellies with pulled pork and garlic fries (and trying not to breathe on anyone) in the smokehouse restaurant on the ground floor of the Palomino, we headed downstairs and pulled some chairs up to a wobbly 1970’s kitchen table tucked in beside a bank of speakers.  The split-log walls, plastered with posters, the dated furnishings, exposed ceiling ducts, and big round bar opposite the stage give the place a comfortably retro rec room vibe.  A rec room with a really great sound system.

It’s the sort of room that is perfectly suited to a performance by a musician like John K Samson.  The Weakerthans frontman who is currently touring his solo album, Provincial, with a band of the same name, is renowned for mixing sweetly reflective songs with insanely catchy fist-pumping anthems.  Long-time Weakerthans fans and recent JKS converts alike packed the dance floor of the Palomino, singing along with every word. The poetic lyrics of Samson’s songs may seem unwieldy for a Friday night bar audience, but you’ve got to love a crowd who will gustily belt out songs containing words like Gestetner, cartography and ampersand.

I’ll be back to the Palomino for more concerts.  And I will definitely make sure I arrive early and hungry and fill up on smokehouse fare before the show.  If we all have the garlic fries, we should all be okay.

Related Posts

  • Swimming in Sound: Great Lake Swimmers pack Central United ChurchSwimming in Sound: Great Lake Swimmers pack Central United Church When Great Lake Swimmers bring their swooningly gorgeous brand of indie folk to town, as they did on May 7, nobody waits for two hours after eating before diving into the water.  The […]
  • Mount Eerie at Central United ChurchMount Eerie at Central United Church Formerly known as The Microphones, and more personally known as Phil Elverum; Mount Eerie is a musical project that expertly combines lo-fi folk with the sprawling, atmospheric […]
  • New West Fest 2012New West Fest 2012 Two blocks of country & rock is what you can expect this afternoon (and leading in to the evening) on Stephen Avenue. CJSW has wrangled some great bands, DJs, buskers and even the […]
  • Plaid to Plaid: Making the Transition from Sled Island to StampedePlaid to Plaid: Making the Transition from Sled Island to Stampede   Now that the final notes of Sled Island have faded away into sweaty soggy memories, it's time to start planning your musical transition.  Stampede is just around the corner. […]
  • Steam Whistle Unsigned at the PalominoSteam Whistle Unsigned at the Palomino The Palomino (109 7 Ave SW) will be host to three of Western Canada's best unsigned metal bands on Saturday, Oct 27th at 9pm. The Steam Whistle Unsigned Indie Music Series is a […]

Previous post:

Next post: