Metal pundits cue up for heavy music conference

Three years in the forging Noctis III is a unique entity as Canadian music festivals go. Conceived entirely under the auspices of illuminating Calgary’s frequently marginalized heavy metal scene the annual Noctis festivals have steadily gained a reputation for delivering an action-packed ticket that offers a wide spectrum of hardcore acts from exciting up-and-coming local talent to legendary names in heavy metal. This year’s edition dubbed Noctis III: Tritagonist promises to deliver something extra special for lovers of loud music. And as festival organizer and Scarab Productions’ executive concert producer Terese Fleming explains it’s about more than just banging your head. “As far as I know there’s never been anything like this in Alberta or the rest of Canada for that matter” Fleming confirms. “The MacEwan Hall night is going to be very outstanding. The great thing about it is that one ticket will allow you to move freely between two Noctis concert venues Mac Hall and The Den each featuring their own impressive live line-up of bands. [Student’s union program director] Greg Curtis tells us that this will be the first time both facilities have been used simultaneously in this fashion. We tried to focus the showcase in The Den on local and Albertan acts while offering big names like Cynic and Suffocation on the Mac Hall side. Even the most extreme metallers are thrilled to have such venerable acts on the card; the level of respect being shown for their musicianship is totally impressive.” The other remarkable aspect of this year’s Noctis festival is the conference component which will provide a forum for discussion and perhaps debate. A variety of specialists in the fields of music journalism and photography as well as established musicians and record execs will be in attendance to offer their expertise and insight into the business of making and supporting music that typically falls outside the realm of mainstream media. “One of the reasons we’ve stretched the festival over two days is to feature a list of guest speakers who will be presenting talks on topics ranging from how to get signed to a label to the death of print media” Fleming continues mentioning that music writer Martin Popoff will interview Dave Ellefson of Megadeth fame.Popoff will then be interviewed by JP of CJSW’s Megawatt Mayhem with co-host Kevin Woron acting as mediator. “We’ll also be addressing the demise of heavy metal iconography as the magazines we once loved are now being replaced by sources on the web or as we like to call it ‘the fragmentation of opinion centers.’ For many of us ripping posters out of Tiger Beat was part of our musical upbringing. I think metal music culture has lost something along the way.” Tapping into the collective psyche of metal fans and musicians across the continent and beyond Fleming has drawn a few well-considered conclusions about what constitutes a thriving metal scene. Pursuing her own love of the heavy metal genre while nurturing Calgary’s relatively nascent niche for that musical form Fleming postulates that the survival of our city’s metal landscape depends not just on the bands who drive it but more significantly in the hands and heads of our youngest concert-goers. “The thrust is to create a healthy environment that will continue to nurture the growth of the local metal scene so that when these kids hit 18 things won’t be in a state of dying off completely” explains an impassioned Fleming. “We’ve always made a point of supporting the all-ages demographic as well as fledgling underground bands who have only played a couple of gigs. We’re also putting on a club night at The Distillery that’s going to be an intimate event more like the smaller live shows you’d find at a bar in Europe. Thrash grindcore sludge doom or straight-up Satanic black metal — whatever your tastes you’re sure to find something that grabs you.”