Landmark Events hosted their Edmonton showcase at the Mercury Room on Saturday night, bringing a selection of 10 local bands to perform in front of both a diverse audience and music industry representatives in pursuit of one of Landmark’s music development grants.
Depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty kind of person, the mix of music on stage was either an exciting variety of different artists or a frustrating mix that never settled into a comfortable groove.
I stayed for the first four acts of the night, arriving in time to catch the last half of KCH Kings crown house’s rap and hip hop set. Beyond appreciating the technical skills and artistry necessary in that musical genre, I wasn’t particularly enchanted by his performance because it’s really far from my personal tastes.
The group I attended to see, Black and Bleu, was the second act to perform and their alternative rock/pop set seemed to be wellreceived by both their supporters and the rest of the crowd in the venue. You can never go wrong with a hint of the ’80s, right?
After a quick teardown and setup plus some gems from Broken Social Scene and a few other Canadian favourites over the speakers, Kristen McArthur took the stage to perform three originals and two covers. McArthur has a great voice and a bit of a country influence; I really enjoyed her song “Redneck Reservation.” It was equally a powerful message about her experience growing up on a reserve and musically beautiful. The final group I stayed for was the Northmen, an indie-rock group, and was pleasantly surprised to be walking away from the evening with a new local band to google when I got home.
Overall, it was an interesting event, despite the wide variety of music represented while I was there but it had a decent flow and I enjoyed almost everything I heard! The format of the evening meant that most of the audience was coming and going, ebbing and flowing with the different artists performing, which worked well for the feel of the venue.
There was a bit of an awkward transition between each of the groups to allow time for them to set up after the previous group had done their teardown. The organizers did a good job of filling the space between the acts with a selection of other music but the length of the event – it ran until 1 a.m. – made it hard to foster a desire to stay for the entire event. Caesar came, saw and conquered, leaving us with a catchy Latin phrase; I went, saw, enjoyed and left with a few new bands on my radar.
Danielle S. Fuechtmann