All's Fair (In Love & Nunchucks)

Salutations & Felicitations!

Oh brothers and sisters... it's a-gonna be a busy next few weeks on the ol' Unvarnished Truth. If you kindly peruse the Showtimes link at the top of the page, the semi-hectic schedule for your hatted heroes in PDC becomes apparent.

 

Southern Hospitality

This past weekend we headed due south to the magical, mystical hippie land called Ft. Macleod, Alberta. Well, it only seemed that way because of the downright warm & fuzzy lovefest we encountered at the annual South Country Fair. Verily, I say unto you, dear reader, it was a kaleidoscope of efficiency, hospitality and top notch musical talent. Ol' PDC performed the headlining set on day one of the three day event! And no, it wasn't an accident, smarty britches!

 

The Sights, The Sounds... The Smells

We spent a goodly amount of the day on the festival site checking out the various vendors, poets and happy campers. Organizers Maureen & Trent (two bonafide hippie child lovecats with an obvious passion for music) started this thing over a quarter century ago and this, the 26th SCF, is a well-oiled machine to say the least. With about 2500 attendees witnessing a diverse musical swath, this gathering would prove to be a slobberknocker of fun, y'all!

We'd be remiss in our duties as guests of the southern badlands if we didn't sample the culture of Ft. Macleod proper. So into town we went.... experiencing the wonderful old architecture, friendly indigenous faces and a local gift shop that featured a spunky little room full of rental movies starring massive reproductive equipment. Aaaah... small town charm in a big package!

Another excursion we embarked on was a walk from the campsite through the bush toward the (Gary) Oldman River, where people chilled, children frolicked and your three protagonists protagonized. The Rev. Robin Eklund hisself even dipped his becrocked toes into the water -- a sort of symbolic baptism for playing this festival for the first time. The less symbolic option of peeing in the river was quickly nixed though not unconsidered.

 

My Darling Inclementine

The weather for our timeslot at the mainstage was outstanding. Earlier in the day, however, Mother Nature done did some threatenin'. Around 8 o'clock, a black sky rolled in fast and deluged the area with a mighty thunderous downpour, making a serious statement. That statement might've been "don't pee in the river". But we deciphered it as "break a leg, boys!" The storm blew through quickly and it was full steam ahead for the remainder of the day.

 

Buzz. Word.

During these kinds of festivals, you can count on a backstage beehive of frenetic activity. Bands and crew and volunteers all working in a veritable state of higgledy-piggledy albeit harmoniously to put on a good show. Dear Reader, it brings a tear to ol' Sawbones's jaded eye to see such camaraderie (the trick here is to not let them see you cry until your band's triumphant encore -- Unwritten Rule Of Rock 'n' Roll #58). Scheduled to be onstage around 12:30, we caught a couple of acts that were on before us including a smokin' caravan of old world, Euro -gypsy funk rock and another group who had a strange affinity for Orillia, Ontario.

The bar was set high for your Punch Drunk pals. So with the stage finally set for a nightcap of rockabilly revelry and swingin' steampunk, we rang out the first chord to the congregation, grabbed our hats and preached our version of the Good Word... the gospel according to PDC!

This was a perfect evening for an outdoor concert and the audience was treated not only to ideal weather, but a great soundsystem, crackerjack light show and if I may say, three handsome devils in fancy hats & shoes.

 

Vaudevillains

We busted out an hour's set pf Northern Alberta favorites hoping to convert the Southern Alberta crowd. As always, "The Ghost Of Harry Houdini" and "Two Brown Bottles Of Beer" didn't fail to get the surging throng both vocal and boppin'. The "Rock This Town" morph-o-medley also tends to do the trick.

It's always fun to do something we've never attempted onstage just to see what happens. This night we flexed our vaudeville muscles with a little schtick: a musical throwdown between Ringleader Randy Bailer and your ol' Sawbones... a contest I can't possibly win. But it's something different and interesting that scratched the old school itch. And the ointment is experimentation! The resulting song, our newest, "Long Haul, Short Fuse", wouldn't be out of place in any speakeasy or chicken ranch.

 

Tote Board

- Event Attendance - app. 2500

- Performing Acts - many. Or for the vulgarian - a shitload.

- Hats placed on mic stands causing feedback and soundman stress - 2 (my fault, sorry!)

- Wanton women with Wesson oil and wombats - sadly, none

- Nunchuck wielding chicks - 1

- Ordained drummers nearly injuring themselves trying out said nunchucks - 1

 

Good People

Major kudos go out to the organizers Maureen & Trent as well as assists going to Jana, Scott, Charlie, stage manager James, hosts Wayne & Ry and the countless volunteers who put this thing on. A massive undertaking it is and after 25 years, these good folks have it down to a smooth science.

 

Parting: Sweetness & Sorrow

Overall, the South Country Fair patrons seemed to enjoy us and we made some cool, new friends and would highly recommend this well-run event to anyone. Should you ever decide to take in this wonderful, free-spirited musical love-in, perhaps you'll meet a new Friend Of The Cabaret there and together, metaphorically pee in the river of unity and oneness.

And that there is the unvarnished truth.

 

Sawbones