Photography by Me!
We got one more Sled Island report for ya! Our last full day in Calgary was filled with absolute laziness from a long and epic vacation, 2 days in Vancouver, 2 days on a train exploring western Canada, 2 days in Banff & Lake Louise, and now these few days venturing around checking out band after band, while still exploring Calgary (yay zoo & Recordland!) we were just done! We made it out for breakfast but instead of bands or the museum, it was back to the hotel for a bit more lazy morningness…. Mmmm….
Eventually we went to 17th ave, Calgary’s “Uptown”, for the sole purpose of catching a band tagged as a rock opera in Hard Drugs.
Oh my indeed! We cozied in the Local 511 or 512 or 5-something (really, just looked like a bar by any other account), got us a sweet spot and waited for “Hard Drugs” to begin!
First song kicked in, no drums, no bass, and the volume set to high-pitched tinniness filled with electric guitar, a harmonica set to dog-whistle pitch, and some country-fried vocals. I looked at Baby and wondered how much longer we’d stay. But, they recognized the volume was set to “wtf” in a place the size of my living room, turned it down a smidgen and settled in to what Baby & I both agreed was the best set the whole weekend!
NOTE TO BANDS: Don’t fall into the record label “loudness war” seen by the over compressed super-loud CDs/mp3s going on out there in your live sets. If you turn it down, just a smidgen, we’ll actually hear the subtle additions you work so hard to include in your set, you know, like that harmonica or that drum buddy… Just saying.
I grabbed a bit of vid, though the SLR didn’t get the best sound, you at least get a moment of Hard Drugs, eh?
Just wonderful rock music, the end! Baby & I kept looking at each other throughout the set, smiling, bobbing our heads, sharing through the wonderful sound a moment of joy for getting our asses up and over to this little section of town… After the set, I picked up the album:
Wow. Okay, where to start? It’s a concept album, so already my love-tendencies were super high. It’s the story of Lloyd, a drug dealer, and the love of this life, Aline, a prostitute. I’m not going to give the story away, you really need to let Hard Drugs tell it, but I’ll say Lloyd & Aline are tired of the life they are living, wanting to just be together, and conspire to kill Aline’s pimp Slim and escape Terminal City.
That’s all I’ll give you.
Sound-wise, it’s basically Cracker meets Rocky Horror Picture show! Roots rock, some theatrics (especially side 4), male/female vocals, and just brilliant!
Fun facts? Apparently Hard Drugs (really, how is it I never heard of these guys til now?) are built from members of East Vancouver’s Blood Meridian and the album includes collaborations with folks from Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, Pink Mountaintops, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, among a shit ton more! Seriously, I need an app or something that announces periodically announces potentially tsururific bands, because this “discovering” older bands is getting old!
Oh well & c’est la vie! Here we are and we have them now, so let’s rejoice in the tale of Lloyd & Aline, a tale of true love, the hardest drug of them all.
1. Lloyd And Aline
2. Terminal City
3. Bad Ideas (Don’t Give Up)
4. The Proposal
5. No Choice
6. Every Step
7. Some Things
8. To Get Drunk And Picked Up By Cops
10. When It’s Dark Out And It’s Raining
12. Savlation Blues
13. Lloyd And Aline (Reprise)
Ah, and some video via their myspacers!