Wyrd Fest: Part 2

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Paul K. LawtonWyrd III is a hugely ambitious, double-stage, multi-city music marathon hosted by Weird Canada. In addition to hosting a massive variety of bands from all across Canada – please check the end of the article for more details – Wyrd-founders Aaron Levin of weirdcanada.com and Paul K. Lawton of Mammoth Cave Records have possibly undertaken one of the most complex traveling festivals that Western Canada has ever seen.

Despite drawing from a deep well of Montreal and Western Canadian talent, the Weird Canada scene is thankfully being infiltrated by some local artists, including Feral Children who will be making an appearance on all three dates of the festival.

The following is an interview conducted with Paul K. Lawton on the appeal of Wyrd.

Ominocity: How exactly did the whole Weird Canada thing blow up the way it did?

Paul K. Lawton: For most of the bands and musicians being written about on the site, Weird Canada is often the first positive reinforcement from a larger entity, Even though a Weird Canada blurb doesn’t always immediately translate into “buzz” or record sales, the reinforcement can be the difference between continuing to work on music or abandoning it for other things. These musicians, often key players in their own respective scenes, wave the WEIRD CANADA flag and a cultural moment is born.

At least how it initially worked for me when Aaron wrote a really positive review about my old band Endangered Ape, a band that was more or less ignored outside Calgary and maybe Vancouver a little. I was ready to quit music, and then I read this really positive thing about my music, my recording style, all things that I had spent the last few years hearing were shit, and the rest is history. I started writing the odd blurb, and Aaron and I became friends.

OM: Was it a wave of bands that had some common thread or was it rock/punk/noise audiences putting it all together in a way they never had before?

PKL: I think in this instance, it was bands recognizing themselves in Weird Canada, and carrying that forward to audiences. It’s exciting to watch it all unfold, and to see musicians embrace the mindset. Audiences are always slower to respond en masse, but we’ve sold-out every WYRD stop we’ve done so far, so there is an audience of open-minded people waiting to get taken on a trip.

OM: While Feral Children are certainly an amazing force to reckon with, will there be any future Saskatoon/prairies involvement in the near future?

PKL: Yes. Actually, we were going to ask Aunty Panty at one point, but time/$$$ stopped that from happening, or something, Mammoth Cave is doing Bloodstains Across the Prairies 7″ this summer, which will likely be Saskatoon heavy (but there are still a few Winnipegers I want on board, so Prairies it is). I grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Brandon and Winnipeg, so the place is dear to me.

The question then, is Saskatoon ready for WYRD?

WYRD III :: Dates & Venues

MAY 20 :: EDMONTON @ Dinwoodie
MAY 21 :: CALGARY @ No. 1 Legion [Sled Island Warm-Up Party!]
MAY 22 :: VANCOUVER @ Waldorf Hotel

Full details: http://weirdcanada.com/wyrd/
For digital tickets: http://wyrdiii.eventbrite.com/
Listening: http://weirdcanada.com/2011/05/wyrd-iii-your-guide-to-wyrd/

Red Mass (Montreal, QC)
Dirty Beaches (Vancouver, BC)
GOBBLE GOBBLE (Edmonton, AB)
Tonstartssbandht (Montreal, QC)
Wyrd Visions (Toronto, ON)
Famines (Edmonton, AB // Montreal, QC)
Long, Long, Long (Halifax, NS)
Hobo Cubes (Montreal, QC)
Femminielli (Montreal, QC)
Velvet Chrome (Montreal, QC)
Feral Children (Saskatoon, SK)
Silver Dapple (Calgary, AB // Montreal, QC)
Ketamines (Lethbridge, AB)
Makeout Videotape (Montreal, QC)
Manic Attracts (Vancouver, BC)
Role Mach (Vancouver, BC)