Do fun names equal great performances? There’s one way to find out

by Carey Rutherford

How can you resist a performer named ‘Big Dan and the Country Boogie Band’? to be honest, I know nothing more than that about the musicians, but like Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, I’d want to see them just because of their name. Hopefully Big Dan can stand up to such a comparison.

Does that seem like an invalid reason to go to a performance? Why? Many of my favourite musical pleasures came from as fleeting pursuits as that. Who the heck were Twenty Feet when they came onstage at MacEwan Hall Ballroom hundreds of years ago? Nobody really, but when they started playing “Hot, Hot, Hot” near the very end of their set, there was a synergistic ecstasy which I’d never felt before in a performance. Frivolous, perhaps, but what the heck.

Here’s another sample: ‘Boogie Patrol’. Don’t you just want to go see someone who’s called Boogie Patrol because they MUST have a sense of humour? Again, I haven’t a clue what they’re like, but let’s have some perspective, here. We’re not traveling to a foreign country for a week to volunteer in disaster relief. We’re talking about going out for a few and dancing, aren’t we? Isn’t a sense of adventure important in musical appreciation? What about The James T. Kirks playing at Broken city?

The James T. Kirks play at Broken city. Image by John Huh.

Definitely.

As a comparison, there’s Project Mayhem, which is also an interesting name, but for the purposes of this article, it has an air of intention or seriousness which pushes it off stage. Nothing personal: they could be the best musicians by far in this listing, but WHO has the time to hear every single performer in the city; and whose opinion doesn’t change regarding musical taste?

I did say let’s be honest here, didn’t I?

Okay, maybe I’ve got ‘boogie’ on the brain: what about ‘Jesus Murphy’? The words immediately sounded in my brother’s voice, or some woman in a Maritime accent, that’s just the way it is. It makes me look twice, and want to listen. Is it celtic? Is it folk or alt-rock? heck, if I was a younger man I’d just drive out to Strathmore to see, but then I’m a bit of an obsessive-compulsive when it comes to trying out new musics. Just seems like the thing to do, and historically band-names tend to indicate something about the people playing the music under that label. It’s just the way it tends to be.

And what about ‘The Ex-Boyfriends’? Did they name themselves, or were they named by, well, you know, their ex-girlfriends (not to be confused with ‘The Ex-Girlfriends’)? It just begs the question, and perhaps it’s better not to know; that’s part of what makes the names so endearing. Look forward to seeing the Ex-boyfriends play in the same event as the Ex-Girlfriends, which they will next year.

Hmmm. Ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends. Okay, that one might not be so much fun. You’ve got to use SOME discretion: ever been in a room with ex-boyfriends and girlfriends?

The Ex-Boyfriends (and Young Ones, Hurricane Felix and the Southern Twisters and The Naughty Prowlers) – Ship & Anchor Pub, 534 17 Ave SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-245-3333
December 16

Jesus Murphy – Strathmore Hotel, 135 3 Ave, Strathmore
Phone: 403-934-3155
December 12

Project Mayhem – Studio 82, 510 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary
Phone: 403-351-1800
December 12

Boogie Patrol – Shamrock Hotel, 101 11 St SE, Calgary
Phone: 403-290-0084
December 12

Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans They were just through Calgary, and there’s no immediate plans to return to our fair city. They’ll be in Edmonton early next year, though.

Big Dan and the Country Boogie Band – Country Roads, 2120 16 Ave NE, Calgary
Phone: 403-291-4666
December 12