Speak Easy, Play Hard

'Tis The Unvarnished Truth! The tell-all blog that doesn't mince words but occasionally finely chops them.

Well my little Punch Drunkards, this is a very busy week for your behatted buddies -- back-to-back gigs last weekend plus the Tuesday press conference announcement of PDC kicking off the 5th Annual Edmonton Rock Festival in August.





The whirling dervish of band activity took place April 11th in Red Deer. A new venue for us, Fratter's, seemed like it was built for us! This intimate club had a speakeasy style complete with flapperesque female staff and piano-playing dinner entertainment. In fact, over supper, the pianist regaled the house not with appropriately classical or ragtime tunes, but surprising covers from REO Speedwagon and Styx's "Mr. Roboto" (the best live version yours truly has ever heard, btw).

Flapperesque artwork above, Styx music chart below.


Upon arrival, we'd heard tell that they'd sold out the evening's performance! Let me tell you that this does wonders for a man's ego. Since mine is ample, I certainly didn't need any help in this area. But it does show you that the good denizens of Red Deer are either morbidly curious at the spectacle they were about to behold or they have excellent taste. I choose the latter (remember --  ego).


Poster boys in Red Deer


Now the pressure was on. Sold out show? At one of the top clubs in central Alberta? Have to follow "Mr. Roboto"? Yes, dear reader, the onus was now on us to deliver a show worthy of our chapeau'd reputations. Some of our pre-show rituals include vocal exercises, finger warmups and stretching. And you'd be surprised at how hard it is to move around in several layers of fashionable apparel (Editor's Note: Foreshadowing?).


 Backstage: actual "green" room                  Bandmeister: bathroom rockin'



Mack Daddies and Saccharin Mamms


As is standard for a room full of mostly new patrons to the Punch Drunk experience, we usually get two reactions: gobsmacked stares followed by imbibed inspiration to dance. Naturally, we provided the fodder for both. The PDC three trotted out in our usual classy tatters in front of a wall of as much racket as a three-piece band can make in an enclosed space. Paid customers then proceeded to cut a rug to irresistible numbers like "Hail The Kings Of Steampunk Swing" and "Long Haul, Short Fuse" while enjoying newer covers like "Goody Two Shoes" and an impromptu version of "Wooly Bully"(!).


Snapshots of satisfied customers


Such a great time was had! People got their money's worth (we hope!) and new friends were made as well as old ones reunited. This included special guest appearances by expert lensman Dave Flewelling, old band buddy Rob Ducharme and a local lady known by her friends as, ahem, "Sugartits".  


     Capt. Watts & Bandmeister workin' the crowd   More happy patrons incl. the mysterious, red-shirted "Sugartits"


Beloved buddies of the band: Rob and Dave



Thanks Y'all


.... go to soundman Carl and the crackerjack, period-costumed staff of Fratter's. Also to Duresa, who was our first "Cigarette Girl" ever. She kindly volunteered to walk around the room with a case of PDC merch hung around her neck like the pretty cigarette girls of olden days gone by. In this instance, her wares are good for you!!

New friend Bianca and "Cigarette Girl" Duresa with the PDC Three



Casualties of Worn


As is the norm, there are victims in any battle. This day will go down in the annals of time as the Battle Of The Bulge II. Late in the show, Bandmeister Randy B's trousers became uncooperative and crotchety as the area surrounding a man's naughty bits was blown out, as it were. He bravely carried on, perineumly speaking.

Thank you, Red Deer! We will be back.... but not before Bandmeister Randy B gets a new pair of pants.



The Morning After


After the show, around 2 or 3 in the morning, we thought it'd be fun to go to a local Denny's and see if there was any Marilyn Manson-style celebrity violence in progress. For the record, there actually was, but it did not involve any celebrities, even wannabe ones like us! Next day, we couldn't dilly-dally as a date at Edmonton's legendary Blues On Whyte was nigh.

The occasion, though auspicious as it was, did not afford me a great opportunity to capture many photographic moments of musical mayhem. Suffice it to say, we did well, the staff liked us and hope for a longer engagement is now in the hands of (deity of your choice).








After Words


Your ol' PDC pals are making more in-roads into the big city market and that makes us squeal like a young Sawbones with his first pair of spats! As mentioned earlier, you can check us out at the Edmonton Rock Music Festival in August, but also at the Edmonton Craft Beer Fest in June, too! If you're a Southern Alberta fan o' the band, the Calgary Craft Beer Fest in May is where we'll be drinking.... I mean, playing


And that's the unvarnished truth.