Probiotic Alberta Culture

Hello, Coveted Reader... and welcome to The Unvarnished Truth as I see it.

This is the blog that answers the burning question, "Why do I have to wait entire days after a show for this dumb thing?" That answer is plainly apparent within the fine quality paragraphs ahead. So read on and let the magical words flowing from the quill of ol' Sawbones mesmerize or lull you as your attention span warrants.


Bargain Blues

We finished the unseasonably warm month of September on the 28th with a hot show at the historic Bailey Theatre in our favorite little city, Camrose, Alberta, Canada. On the bill with us this evening: our new friends The Wiremen and our not-as-new friends, The Bloozhounds.

One of many celebratory musical events as part of Alberta Culture Days, this triple bill was a free admission show and a wonderful opportunity to check out high calibre music at a low, low price!


Minstrel Cycle

By golly, that Bailey Theatre is a jewel! The one hundred year old building has seen the best and worst of times -- from glorious, pre-war splendour to crumbling inactivity and back. Since they renovated the old gal a couple years ago, it's been restored to it's former grand self. A band of traveling minstrels such as ourselves feel right at home there with all the showbiz ghosts of yore. In fact, I kept hearing of an elderly woman that had been known to haunt the dressing room halls, perhaps in search of another evening in the footlights, another performance, another encore. Or might've just been the cleaning lady. Either way, sorry grandma! It's time to let the whippersnappers have their moment in the sun (this will be the only time I refer to a bunch of forty somethings as "whippersnappers").


The Ol' One Eye

However, before any of the mirth & music could happen, I was volunteered to be interviewed by the local community cable TV channel during soundcheck. Now, being one of the newer-fangled technologies, television is not a natural forum to display ol' Sawbones's many talents. I prefer the carnival atmosphere of the big top, the mobile charm of a rolling sideshow moving from town to town or, despite it's sad & pathetic inactivity of late, my bedchamber.

During the interview (which, upon retrospect, I hope none of you see), I answered the nervous young broadcaster's questions with the requisite aplomb and panache whilst sporting my latest acoutrement.... a brand new, shiny monocle. Suffice it to say that it works great in a one-on-one environ and not so much during a live concert (personal note: try it in the bedchamber). Oh, well. Fashion - 1. Practicality - 0.

Post-interview, I and the dapper Punch Drunk fellows sequestered ourselves down below into the bowels of the Bailey to our dressing room, replete with fancy makeup table lights, stage television monitors and meat & cheese tray (you know you've made it when....).



The opening acts, musically speaking, were blues-based albeit different eras. The Wisemen (fronted by the lovechild of Fee Waybill and pro wrestling's Honky Tonk Man) represented Texas-style swing blues. The Bloozehounds were more modern and soulful in their delivery. A-a-a-and then we come on with our cross-bred, unapologetic bastardization of roots music. Something for everyone!



Musical highlights included in the non-stop, 90-minute set of Punch Drunk pummeling: the ol' guitar switcheroo during "Long Haul, Short Fuse", an impromptu audience sing-along that nearly caught us with our pants down during "Hymn #5" and, finally, the mysterious technical glitches during the encore, "Sweet Dreams". The latter we shall blame on those damned, disrespectful showbiz Bailey ghosts trying to steal our spotlight (who HAD their shot, btw).


No Fags Allowed

It behooves me to say that the PDC experience is custom-made for this venue! Our schtick is a wink & a nod to vaudeville, burlesque and that Ziegfeldian charm that was the rage back in "the day". One thing not in common with that era is the fact that Rev. Eklund was forbidden to smoke his trademark cigarettes on stage. Evidently, alarms would threaten to bring the curtain down literally and figuratively as well as sully our reputation for being easy going, avuncular chaps who rock everything but the boat. The good Rev yielded, but personally, I don't think he's as entertaining without a dart hanging out of his mouth.

Ringmaster Randy had a wee bout of Italian wedding soup poisoning before the show but soldiered on, making any poisoned Italian groom proud.



The real FAIL of the evening, though, came after the show when your fave PDC players went back to the merch table to sign the things good patrons have purchased, chat with the aforementioned and so on. A middle-aged but comely lass had just asked yours truly to autograph her freshly paid-for compact disc, of which I did, happily. I then asked of her, in as innocent a tone and completely devoid of cheek or salaciousness I could muster, if there was anything else she'd like me to sign. The woman (again, well beyond the age of consent, I'll have you know) then pointed to her prominent cleavage with a naughty giggle and verbal affirmation. I then accepted her offer as gracious and stylish as befittng a man of my experience.... not to mention gladly. Very, very, very gladly. Suddenly, she retracts the offer! The deal was agreed upon and she got the proverbial cold feet and reneged!! Now, in my day, if a lady offers you her bosom (with a few dubious exceptions), as a gentleman, you accept. To cruelly yank the dangling melon, as it were, from the horse's mouth, as it were, is a flaw of character and should not be treated so casually! There's a word in today's vernacular that describes a temptress who teases a man with her feminine wiles thusly but good manners prevent me from repeating it here. But it does rhyme with "rock cheese".



The other social faux pas of the day fell on me, admittedly. Perhaps, again, my old school sensibilities and proclivity toward pleasing patrons got in the way but you have to understand that things are moving fast and folks want to say hello and have their picture taken with you and it's a hasty predicament giving everyone the proper attention and sometimes you make a quick decision in protocol and realize too late that you've made a small verbal error in identification and.... <sigh>.

Let's just say that you shouldn't ever presume the gender of the person you're talking to (Unwritten Rule Of Rock 'n' Roll #40). 

There. Let us never speak of it again.


Curtain Calls 

I Told You I Would's - Hello! to the wonderful trio of Cookie, Darlene & Gladys

The Men With Mighty Monikers - Barclay. Farley. And Pete.

Thanks Jane for promotin', Al for live soundin', Simon for organizin'. You for readin' and toleratin'!


The Mask

This show was a bit of a warm-up for the big, BIG shindig in October! Your pals in PDC are returning to this very same hallowed hall on Hallowe'en! Saturday, October 27th to be precise. It's the Bailey Theatre's Masquerade Ball and should prove to be one of the top events of the year. Dress up as you like and party with not only the venue's famous ghosts but with us and our special guests, Camrose cover band legends, The Criminals and Edmonton's The Naughty Divas, who are reforming for this one-time only performance! Be there or be a rhombus.

And that, sir or madam, is the unvarnished truth.