Written by Hannah Stocker. Photography by Mike Morien
"I spent the night on the couch, sick. It was lovely."- Skot Hamilton
"I accidentally drank all the beer." "Also all the Spandex"- Amber Neal
"You haven't lived until you've heard AK-47 rap with R-Drabs and Colin singing LMFAO. Quote it. "- Brendan Flaherty
'there were a lot of intoxicated musicians playing 'music' for a lot of intoxicated audience members for one of the best shows of the year'- Keltie Kiendy
"I barely remember any of it, so let me know how it was!"- Randi Gola (supremely intoxicated)
Ryan 'Slow Down Molasses'
This year I took a trip of a life time and ventured across the pond to Saskatoon, Canada. Whilst staying with my friend Ryan Drabble from the well known Saskatoon band Slow Down Molasses, I'd had my ears filled with talk of Saskatoon's most marvellous Band Swap and was really looking forward to experiencing the hype for myself.
Jeanette 'Jeans Boots'
Ok, so 35 musicians are randomly assembled into seven bands at a top secret (not really top secret) meeting, where they are assigned four cover songs all chosen by the individual members. Each band then has 24 hours to radically put together their songs – or and I quote from the lovely Chris Morin 'figure out some way to butcher them completely and appropriately.'
In the latest review of this years Band Swap, I read that it was notorious for putting otherwise really confident musicians into a rather uncomfortable situation out of their comfort zones and this is a statement that I whole heartedly agree with. From the moment the first band started you could see the tension on their faces, yet trying not to take themselves too seriously. Each band performed in my eyes, incredibly considering that they only had 24 hours to prepare.
I caught up with Darren Miller 'Band Swap's DJ exstrodinare' on what he thought to the night.
Ivory Faces gets proposed to
'As always seems to be the case, band swap was the best night of the year. Every year I worry that the evening won't live up to my sky-high expectations, and every year I'm thrilled to find out that it does. The crowd was a nice mix of new faces and old friends this time around. Definitely more new blood than in previous years, which is great, because it keeps things from going stale. Seeing an admission lineup forming in both directions (indicating that a large portion of the restaurant patrons were eating at amigos to ensure themselves a spot in the crowd) was completely mind-blowing. The performances were all very solid too, I don't remember anything near that level of consistency in previous years. All around, a really amazing time.'
I can almost guarantee that everyone has their own unique moment and I agree with Chris Morin (Ominocity) writing a step by step review would be far too ridiculous but like him I think the most memorable moment for me was the shock and sheer disgrace on some of the women in the audience as Jeanette Stewart (Jeans Boots) launched chocolate pudding into their faces with out a hint of warning, as she sang GG Allin's- Die When you Die. One of those moments when you had to be there to really and truly appreciate the incrediblness of it all.
Band Swap not only brings friends, lovers and haters together but it has raised around $22,000 in the past 6 years for a wondreful charity, the Saskatoon Crisis Nursery’s Nutrition Program. Not only that but the majority of the people who attended donated a huge amount of non-perishable foods. To all the organisers, performers, promoters, sound and stage staff, Amigos Staff and even to the audience who attended. Pat yourselves on the back as with out you Band Swap would not be the triumph that it is today. Round of applause.
Saskatoon you have been watermarked on my heart...