Blood, Sweat & Gears

The Unvarnished Truth sails uncharted seas! Punch Drunk Cabaret tangles with the fantasmagorical tentacles of steampunk!!

Since the Edmonton Journal declared us "the kings of steampunk swing" last week, it only behooved us to play a "steampunk ball" that just happened to take place on a blizzard-y Saturday in E-town. And faster than you can say "Who's Jules Verne?", we did.


It Is What It Is

Now dear reader, your humble scribe does not profess to be a steampunk aficionado nor has the slightest idea of how the movement works. In fact, none of us on the goodship PDC are experts on this strange but delightful gathering of well-dressed literates.

For the uninitiated, steampunk is, to quote, “…an aesthetic that mixes three features: technofantasy, neo-Victorianism, and Retrofuturism.”

Ha! I knew it!!

Revelers in all their steampunk finery

League Of Extraordinary Ladies & Gentlemen

Upon arriving at the venue (the Ramada Kingsway, in this case), we found adjacent activities to the dance we were performing at. There were vendors where one can purchase books, garments, assorted gears, whirly-gigs and knick-knacks. There were also small rooms where talks and lectures were being given on steampunk culture, sci-fi  & fantasy, cosplay and whatever else gets your geek on. I, personally, know of a few fellows who would surely have a nerdgasm with all the neat stuff going on here. And ladies, they’re single.

A fair maiden humouring ol' Sawbones

Words Worth

The ballroom itself featured a fairly small stage (never bothersome when one is in a pretty confident three-piece band -- all modesty aside) and the type of sound system you’d find at a karaoke bar or children’s birthday party. Not the biggest p.a. in the world but Bandmeister Randy B quelled my fears by saying I could make up for it by projecting strength. (Unwritten Rule Of Rock 'n' Roll #49: Fear no stage.)

Being the cocksure rapscallions we are, it wasn’t difficult to do. Because this is precisely what we do. In fact, Cocksure Rapscallions was almost our band name at one point until the Church decided they didn't like "cock" and "rap". As far as I know, they still don't. But I digress.

Bandmeister & 'Bones.... Cocksure? Rapscallion? Who's who??


Fashion And Accessories

The evening proved to be an interesting contest for attention. Normally, your punch drunk heroes get plenty based solely on how we dress. On this evening, I can tell you with all honesty and humility that nearly every one of the steampunk faithful outdressed us. No small feat, I can assure you! And these were no ordinary outfits. Flesh & blood walking in lace, cuffs and treacle, accessorized with machinations as jewelry. And canes.... lots of canes. It took me a few minutes to figure out that every person in attendance was actually not crippled.

Non-usual accoutrements seen: steam-powered, spring-loaded, sci-fi action guns (facsimiles, of course)… big hats… bustles… ascots… spats… the aforementioned walking sticks… bustiers…. and I’m quite sure I saw a young lady wearing horns a la Disney's Maleficient. And absolutely no one had a problem being photographed. When you look this good, you like getting your picture taken. (Editor's Note: PDC motto... eh, boys??)

Steampunk Riddler and beriddled Sawbones


Mine's Still Bigger Than Yours

Once we hit the tiny ballroom stage and the playing commenced, two things immediately broke: people's sweat and a bass string on the first song. This made it the first time I’ve played an 11-string bass for an entire show… still…. 11 strings… on a bass…. that’s still more strings than most three-piece bands. In fact, at any one time, I possess three G-strings. I know! No doubt you are left speechless.

It's A Trap (Set)!

Rev smashed his pinky on the rim of his snare drum in the second set. This caused him to bleed enough to scrawl legible text onto the snare skin. The Bandmeister and your ol’ Sawbones don’t usually get injured whilst performing (music, that is). The Rev, however, seems to have been marked by the good Lord hisself as the sacrificial lamb regarding bloody and/or vomitous misadventures.

Why is that? Why do percussionists seem to be the most cursed of all instrumentalists? Cases in point: Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham…  The Who’s Keith Moon…  any drummer who ever played in Spinal Tap. Yes, something tells me that either The Man Upstairs doesn’t like rhythm-makers much or He martyrizes them in exchange for boundless musical energy, loveably insane qualities and the gift of charming the fairer sex... none of which seem to inhabit the average bass player. But I digress.

The Rev. Robin Eklund bleeds for his art!!

A well deserved cigarrit after the Rev's bloodworthy performance. 

Feeling Wonted

Songs for the evening ran the gamut of material from our first album to brand new numbers we're road-testing for our second opus to be released in '14. Patrons expecting "steampunk music" were likely surprised to find highly danceable and rip-roarin' numbers in a variety of styles, as is our wont.

When folks of the steampunk community get all gussied up, they want to party like it's 1899!  From the PDC classic "Two Brown Bottles Of Beer" to the latin-flavoured newbie, "Columbian Smokeshow" to the dependable cover of "Stray Cat Strut", they were all "geared" up to shake it to every song we threw at them. And that makes these ol' sawbones feel good.


Thanks Be

To Commodore Melissa and her charges for organizing a truly unique and special event.

Your humble scribe fraternizing with The Commodore herself.

Danielle, Thad & Reuben for security, sound and "humping gear".

To every costumed person that attended.... your spirit of fun, adventure and creativity has inspired us! Enough to rent a copy of Wild, Wild West and watch it with the sound off.

And that's the unvarnished truth.