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‘Fifty Fest’ free music concert, presented by Clarion
Let’s rock the evening away, as some of Canada’s most exciting musicians put on a free concert in an intimate concert venue — free!
Brandon University’s Homecoming “Fifty Fest” will feature Manitoba band Royal Canoe atop the bill, with special guest Begonia. Both are adding an extra date to the end of their ongoing North American tour for the BU Homecoming.
Royal Canoe and Begonia will be joined at Fifty Fest by an eclectic mix of artists from Brandon to British Columbia who all have BU ties.
Juno-nominated composer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Mario Vaira is flying to BU Homecoming from the west coast in honour of his father, 1970s Bobcat basketball star Mike Vaira, who passed away earlier this year and who was also an accomplished musician.
Vaira will play two sets: one dedicated to his father, and including some of his father’s songs, followed later in the evening by a set that blends funk, R&B and hip hop with electric guitars, beatboxing, looping, saxophone and higher energy that works great for people who want to dance.
Students and faculty from the BU School of Music will also take to the stage, with the Michael Cain Quartet, featuring BU student Lenya Wilks as special guest vocalist. Along with Lenya the band will feature Luke Parnell on saxophone, James Hamilton on bass, and Kieran Wallace on drums.
Lauded Canadian singer-songwriter and BU aumnus Shotgun Jimmie will perform a set of his influential indie-rock. And rounding out the bill are Lorne Lagimodiere and Rick Williamson, BU alumni and former Bobcats who will be playing a shorter set of classics.
Fifty Fest schedule
- Rick Williamson & Lorne Lagimodiere
- Mario Vaira
- Shotgun Jimmie
- Mario Vaira with Alex Maher
- The Michael Cain Quartet, featuring Lenya Wilks
- Royal Canoe
Fifty Fest will take place Saturday, Oct. 13, from late afternoon until late evening on the campus at Brandon University. Look for the tent. The concert is free, thanks in part to sponsorship from the Clarion Hotel & Suites in Brandon.
About Royal Canoe
Royal Canoe doesn’t sound anything like ‘Royal Canoe’. The name elicits thoughts of pine trees, plaid jackets and stomp-clap-whoas. ”We’ve always hoped that once people actually hear us and see all of the synths on stage that the band name can just become an empty vessel to fill with the music we make,” says singer, Matt Peters.
On Waver, their newest collection of songs, Royal Canoe are steering that vessel into new terrain. The sun-flared polaroid life of previous albums is exchanged for a miraged-out, ominous landscape. The band still has their kaleidoscopic, beat-driven heart, but these songs play with the absurdity of modern life. When truth is optional, when the most volatile people have the most power, when reality becomes irrational – what do you anchor to?
Creating the album felt like a reset – an exercise in following the seed of inspiration to its end point before deconstructing and rebuilding. Read More
Begonia’s Alexa Dirks has never been able to fit into the box of being a “conventional woman”. “I’m loud, I’m awkward and I’ve always taken up space. I’ve done things my whole life that some people would tell me weren’t appropriate ‘for a girl’.” That narrative that once tore Dirks down is now what empowers her to take charge of her own story, in her own way.
The Winnipeg-based Dirks is a Juno Award winner with her former group Chic Gamine. While she thrived off of the collaboration, once the band broke up she knew she was ready to go solo. Even though she was terrified to go out on her own, that feeling was a fundamental factor to positively reinforce that the path she was on was the correct one.
As Begonia, Dirks is bold, brazen with her florid, surprising pop that is tempered with sensitivity and wisdom. Read More
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