Edmonton’s Wunderbar an oasis for touring Saskatoon bands
Call me crazy, a dirtbag purist or a punk rock connoisseur, but the best venues are typically sort of slummy with mouthy staff members who serve beer so strong that two pints will put you on your ass before you even make soundcheck.
Also, using the bathroom in these places is like getting in a staring contest with hepatitis.
Tellingly, Edmonton’s Wunderbar has at least four of these qualities, and has become something of an oasis for touring Saskatoon bands.
Amongst many, many others, locals bands including The Moas, Jeans Boots, Zachary Lucky, Carly Maicher and The Seahags have played there. Aside from a guaranteed audience and drunken good times, Wunderbar also provides bands an opportunity to play Goldeneye on N64, which is kind of really important for some reason.
In fact, one of my favourite tour stories ever occurred there. Ryan Drabble asked about getting a panini and the bartender instantly pulled one from behind the bar, completely made and fresh off the griddle. Weird, no?
On Sunday, May 6th, several local bands, including Saskatoon’s Slow Down Molasses, banded together to celebrate the second anniversary of Wunderbar.
Whiskeyface are instantly awarded the most apt band name of the evening.
We arrive at 6:30 and Frank from Whiskeyface is already passed out in a booth – he makes his way to a couch and sleeps for the next several hours before eventually making it up to the stage to join his band mates mid-set. Whiskeyface are instantly awarded the most apt band name of the evening.
Among many other wonderful performances, Bitterweed Draw from Calgary closed the night with an infectious set of punk-inspired bluegrass, including a stompy cover of Rancid’s “Olympia”.
The best part of the evening, however, was watching bar sheriff Craig Martel stalk the room picking up empty beer bottles, providing expert PA guidance and administering a series of cripplingly awesome high-fives.
Even better, Craig loves Saskatoon bands who like to get down on some dirty rock and a viciously strong pint – you should probably take him up on this.