Now that the 2012 Polaris Music Prize nominees have been whittled down to a short list of ten, the rampant speculations and musings about the Canadian music scene can begin in earnest. Which album is most deserving? Which artist has been previously overlooked for the big prize? And who puts on the best show, anyway?
One thing that is striking is just how often these critically acclaimed Canadian musicians play Calgary. You know you’ve got a thriving concert scene when the nation’s finest light up your stages on a regular basis. Check these recent performances by 2012 Polaris short-listers in and around downtown Calgary:
Cadence Weapon – Hope In Dirt City
The former Edmonton poet laureate spanned a couple of seasons here last year, playing both the High Performance Rodeo in January and the Calgary Folk Music Festival in July. Guess which performance was held outdoors?
Cold Specks – I Predict A Graceful Expulsion
The doom soul Wunderkind from Toronto provided Great Lake Swimmers with a powerful opening at Central United Church in May. She’ll be back on Prince’s Island this week as one of the Calgary Folk Music Festival artists.
Drake - Take Care
It’s been a few years since R&B singer and Degrassi: The Next Generation alumnus, Drake, strutted his stuff upon a Calgary stage, but perhaps this Polaris nod will reawaken his Calgary mojo.
Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur
The largely underrated Kathleen Edwards has been a favourite at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in both 2006 and 2003.
Feist – Metals
Of course we can claim bragging rights to Feist as a bona fide Cowtown homegirl. Last month Feist single-handedly made spirits soar during a downpour, as the headiner of one of the soggiest Sled Island Olympic Plaza performances in history. She also played a sold-out show at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in November.
Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
Previous Polaris prize winners Fucked Up are getting dangerously close to becoming honourary Calgarians. They won our hearts with their legendary performance and larger-than-life presence at Sled Island in 2008, so much so that they came back in 2010 to guest curate.
Grimes – Visions
The electronic-industrial-ambient-noise rock pioneer may make music that is hard to pinpoint, she was scheduled to headline Sled Island but had to drop out for health reasons caused by intense touring. See if you can come up with a definition for her genre of music.
Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
The husband and wife team rocked Calgary in both 2011 and 2008. Sadly, the band split up – musically at least – earlier this year.
Japandroids – Celebration Rock
The last time Japandroids were scheduled to play Calgary, as the kickoff to their 2009 spring tour, they ended up with a much smaller audience than they anticipated – the emergency surgical team at Foothills Hospital. A perforated ulcer sure sounds nasty, but fortunately our crack surgeons were able to fix Brian King up as good as new. We think it’s time for Japandroids to come back to Calgary to play that cancelled show.
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN – YT//ST
Lucky Sled Islanders were able to experience the highly visual operatics of this psychedelic fusion group during two glorious performances at Theatre Junction Grand last month. Minds all over downtown Calgary are still blown by the experience.
How many Polaris Music Prize short-list nominees have you seen play at one of your favourite downtown Calgary venues? Who gets your vote for the big prize?