Ominocity’s Guide to Attending BreakOut West 2013

Western Canadian Music Alliance to add Metal category to this year’s awards event

From October 3 to 6, the BreakOut West Festival will take over the venues and streets of Calgary.

Bringing in musicians from across Western Canada, the festival features more than 60 artists, including several from Saskatchewan including Castle River, Jeans Boots, Jess Moskaluke, Indigo Joseph, The Spoils, Shawn Jobin and Slow Down Molasses.

Check out the BreakOut West festival scheduler app HERE.

BreakOut West also runs a series of industry-type workshops as well as the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards Gala.

But while the awards tend to run the gamut of genres, things are looking better for metal fans, says Rick Fenton, executive director of the Western Canadian Music Alliance.

“We have a new metal and hard music category for the awards this year,” says Fenton. “We’ve been looking at that category for a few years now and opening up to that community – they have certainly been asking for it. And they were right – there was certainly enough people.

“It’s a very large and thriving community who work hard at promoting shows and getting the music on the radio. And there is a lot of live support.”

Several Saskatchewan artists have been nominated at this year’s WCMAs, including Rah Rah and The Sheepdogs for Rock Recording of the Year, and Alexis Normand for Francophone Recording of the Year.

Check out the full list of nominees HERE.

“We are very excited to be in Calgary,” says Fenton. “We found a small geography within the downtown part of the city, centered around the Hotel Arts and all the clubs that are nearby.”

Tyler Stewart of the National Music Centre is similarly thrilled to bring BreakOut West to Calgary. Located in the downtown area, the NMC fell victim to the floods that occurred during the city’s Sled Island Festival – Stewart says while the Centre was forced to shut down for over a month volunteers rushed to evacuate the storage spaces, moving over 140 pianos in the process.

Now that the Centre has reopened it’s doors as a museum, it also doubles as a venue throughout the festival, says Stewart.

“The main event during taking place at the National Music Centre is Mini BreakOut West,” he says. “It’s a chance for families to participate in the music festival experience. There will be a variety of musicians and performers here at the National Music Centre and parents can bring kids out to see the festival in a non-bar environment.

“It’s also a good opportunity for us to highlight the instruments in our collection. We have over 2000 pieces in that collection. So it’s a good chance to see some of the acts at BreakOut West while checking out the National Music Centre.”

Beard Out West – what the?


In addition to the festival and awards gala, the event will also be unveiling the First Annual Beard Out West Party & Fundraiser.

So there.

Benefiting the Unison Benevolent Fund, the hirsute participants, including local promoter and indie socialite Spencer Brown, will be judged on their beard’s girth, length and it’s ability to house a family of birds.

The event takes place on Saturday at 6pm at The Palomino.

Five bands to watch for at BreakOut West 2013


This Hisses

Hailing from Winnipeg, This Hisses consistently bring one of Western Canada’s most unique live performances. Combining slithery guitar lines that could almost be considered surf-y, This Hisses are rounded out with operatic post punk vocals and the dance rock party of drummer JP Perron’s impetuous backbeat.

– Friday – 9:00 pm – The Royal Canadian Legion #1, Downstairs
– Saturday – 12:00 am – The Palomino Smokehouse, Downstairs


With BreakOut West finally adding a metal category to their awards, it’s nice to have more heavy bands like Napalmpom being added to the line-up. They aren’t exactly metal, although the five-piece do tend to indulge in some wicked sludge-dredged guitar riffs along with plenty of stoner-isms. Plus if you were looking for a soundtrack for hair whips and fist pumps I don’t think you would be out of place while stage front at a Napalmpom show. Plus all the photos of members crowdsurfing at a house party are pretty fucking awesome.

– Friday – 12:00 am – Broken City
– Saturday – 11:00 pm – The Palomino Smokehouse, Downstairs

Jesse & The Dandelions

Based out of Lethbridge/Calgary, indie folk band Jesse & The Dandelions are about to release their latest full-length album A Mutual Understanding. And Ominocity got the pleasure of listening to an advance copy – it’s good. Taking the energy from their live performances, the band mesh pure pop vocal harmonies with upbeat rhythms and a zealous love of offbeat instrumental flourishes. Expect Jesse & The Dandelions to become the next buzz group to emerge from the prairies.

– Friday – 1:00 am – The Palomino Smokehouse, Upstairs
– Saturday – 9:00 pm – Festival Hall

The Sumner Brothers

An alt-folk, country band from Vancouver, Bob Sumner of The Sumner Brothers was nominated for a WCMA for Best Songwriter for a track off their most recent record, I’ll Be There Tomorrow. Having played in Saskatoon for FM-Phasis, the Sumner Brothers will be returning in November to open for local heroes The Deep Dark Woods.

– Friday – 11:00 pm – The Palomino Smokehouse, Upstairs
– Saturday – 8:00 pm – Festival Hall

Mise en Scene

This one is for everyone who misses, or missed, the Endearing Records scene from back in the day. Winnipeg’s Mise en Scene craft whipsmart pop songs with vague punk undertones and dance-heavy rhythms without sacrificing the all-important one-two punch of their guitar ‘n’ drums-only line-up.

– Friday – 9:00 pm – Broken City
– Saturday – 9:00 pm – The Palomino Smokehouse, Upstairs

Check back in October for more coverage as Ominocity dives in wrist deep to bring you concert reviews, photos and more nonsense.