Last night was a big night here in Calgary. The Royal Canadian Legion #1, one of Western Canada's absolute best venues, saw a slew of major talent including Anvil, Andrew W.K. and King Khan and the BBQ Show.
Personally, I stuck around the downstairs to catch some Earth shattering rock n roll courtesy of New York's Japanther, Vancouver's Japandroids, the always partying Andrew W.K. and Canada's own Anvil - who haven't hit Calgary since 1981.
Japanther sufficiently warmed up the crowd with their usual Telephone-microphones and a couple of Ramones covers that maintained the energy of Joey, DeeDee, Johnny and Tommy while not losing any of the vibe that Japanther fans have grown accustomed to and, no doubt, expected from their show. Solid. Four stars.
Up next were Japandroids who served as a good "palate cleanse" before the two "Surprise Guests" hit the stage. Hint: they weren't exactly surprises by the time Thursday rolled around...it was Andrew W.K. and Anvil. Three stars for Japandroids.
Is there really much you can say about Andrew W.K.? This dude knows how to party and knows how to put on a wicked live show. With a five minute keyboard intro the crowd's energy was nearing complete explosion and, after his trademark "inspirational" speech, he got straight to business - mashing the keyboard, wearing on an understandably ecstatic girl's denim jacket, surfin' the crowd and pretty much giving everyone in the crowd exactly what they wanted: a night to party with Andrew W.K. Five stars!
Welcome home guys! Drummer Robb Reiner is too much awesome to get a photograph. Which is totally a good excuse...right? His mega solo near the end of the set (which was at 2:30 by the way...long show!!) was absolutely magical...impeccable...one of those "life-complete" kind of things. Steve "Lips" is on top of his game and seemed somewhat surprised at the amount of people who still give a shit about Anvil. The crowd had thinned out quite a bit by the time they hit the stage...sort of understandable considering it was that late on a Thursday. Five stars!!
All in all...Thursday at the Legion downstairs for Sled Island was the perfect kick-off for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday that is sure to be packed with more rock and more roll.