My close friends and one of my favourite bands B-Lines left Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon (one of them couldn’t get work off the lovable goof). Arriving in Banff at 1 a.m. they texted me and said they weren’t sure when they could make it as the highway had been closed. Of course as we all know the highway still hasn’t opened. That first night they slept in a Tim Horton’s. Tonight they sleep in a hostel.

That was the common theme at Sled Island today as the flood presumably set to ravage the city sent things into utter chaos. Shows were cancelled moved around and rearranged and the Sled Island team did a fantastic job of planning on the fly. Many other West Coast acts threw in the towel in trying to get here (including White Lung and from the looks of it Young Braised) but the Sled team worked hand in hand with the city’s promoters to make sure the show went on. And for the most part it did.

My day started at Local 510 where I caught the second half of Vancouver punk trio Slow Learners who improved on their already great recordings with an energetic set. Heavy crushing guitar ripping bass lines (courtesy of Ladyhawk/Baptists four-stringer Sean Hawryluk) and pummeling drums made the band’s melodic Replacements worship come to life. It was the perfect set particularly when paired with the swarms of people evacuating Mission outside.

Up next was Florida’s Cop City / Chill Pillar who’s name had me a little worried that they’d be occupying some sort of FIDLAR zone of party rock. Before they even played however I knew I was in good company as the bassist was sipping his beers with an arm that had a vaguely faded straight edge tattoo on it. A jaded coreman making weirdo garage rock? That’s a dream scenario and it was made all the better when they started playing their off-kilter bizarro punk a sound that’s hard to pin down but also hard to stop thinking about long after the set.

After an early dinner I made my way to the artist lounge where I made some new friends with excellent Vancouver act Crystal Swells. Then it was off to Tubby Dog for the cramped sweaty appearance from Vancouver indie pop threepiece The Courtneys . Looking down at my phone on the walk over I started to think the city was turning into some sort of dystopian Waterworld prequel complete with police helicopters and more evacuations and the like. I’m sure that was true in many neighbourhoods but near Tubby Dog it wasn’t so petrifying.

In fact the most difficult part of the Tubby Dog show was watching the crowd of people outside hassle the staff who were trying to keep things kosher capacity wise. Chalk it up to the fact that two of the three Courtneys are originally from Calgary plus the fact that they’re getting a ton of love for their recent mini-LP. That was a perfect storm (pun semi-intended) which made a lot of wristband holders with entitlement issues angrily showing up ten minutes before their set. The set itself sounded great though it was hard to see much from the front of the restaurant. Still you don’t strictly go to a Tubby Dog show to see a band but to breathe in the atmosphere of which there was plenty.

From there I made my way to Broken City where I played a set with my band Grown-Ups. It’s probably not a good idea to blur these lines and talk about it here. It is worth noting however that we thought it would be funny to close out our set of punk songs with a cover of the Counting Crows’ "Mr. Jones." And it was funny to us and maybe three other people. But jokes that make 99% of a room uncomfortable are my favourite kinds of jokes.

The warnings that Commonwealth would be at capacity all night were a little exaggerated as there was plenty of room when we hit up the Vans party for a set from local garage punk trio Chlorinator . Drummer Nicole Brunel and bassist/Glitter frontman Devon Giancarlo (both occasional Fast Forward Weekly illustrators) used to make snotty sloppy punk as members of Topless Mongos. I’m not exactly sure what happened but Chlorinator (rounded out by grinning guitarist Nick Sawchuk) are an entirely different beast — a ruthlessly tight manic explosive punk combo who can balance snark wit and catchy songwriting with complete ease. They cracked jokes at the expense of Van’s whose corporate presence was a tad over-the-top and inspired the crowd to get rowdy in the best possible way.

Up next was hardcore quartet OFF! featuring the inimitable Black Flag/Circle Jerks veteran Keith Morris on vocals. The band’s set was tight energetic and professional plowing through their short bangers to the delight of the front row most of whom were skatewear adorned photographers vying for that perfect snap. It wasn’t until Glitter bassist Danny Shuman executed a handful of stagedives that the show started to feel more like a punk show than a (pretty damn fun) shoe party. Still it was a great set a great show and a great end to the second night of Sled.

It’s impossible to judge what tomorrow will look like — Nenshi’s Twitter account suggests most of downtown will be closed though Sled Island haven’t made any official announcements just yet. If Sled does miraculously continue I’m going to try to see Jay Arner Walter TV Big Eyes and the standup comedy. If everything is cancelled and I’m forced to stay home I should be okay — I have a mountain of junk food and beer that I bought for B-Lines to consume when they were supposed to stay at my place.


Because I’m responsible for news and political coverage at the paper my day started off with reading policy proposals for the upcoming Conservative Party of Canada convention that’s happening in Calgary next week (spoiler alert: lots of people in the Conservative party seem to want to privatize land on reserves and privatize the CBC).

Once I managed to escape the laptop however it was pretty much all giggles except for all that flooding that wasn’t all that funny except for some parts.

I caught Cop City / Chill Pillars at Broken City just as everyone started freaking out about the rivers. Cops were walking down 17th warning people to evacuate low level dwellings. It didn’t seem to matter though. The trio put on a great show full of peppy head nodding goodness. You can’t really go wrong with their style of music.

From there it was time to check out the bulging Elbow River before heading to The Palomino for sustenance and Kenna Burima . Both filled me up.

Despite rumours the Ship & Anchor was not flooded and proved to be the perfect setting for Highest Order — all soulful and sort of countrified. They were a great way to lead into the Ship shutting down due to rising river levels.

The Palomino however was still kicking and provided the highlight of the night in Suuns . Loud peppy repetitive goodness made you want to rage rage against the rising crest of water. It was fun it was intense and it was unendingly dancebable — perfect.

There was some trepidation about getting home but the obstacles were fairly fluid (pfff tee hee pfft). Parts of downtown near Chinatown were under water bridges were closed and cops were out but getting across the Bow on bikes was fairly easy.

It is worthwhile pointing out two truly wonderful things that did happen while riding through the floodpocalypse. On Stephen Avenue there was a group of people under the cover of tents going to town on rowing machines in front of Earls. That was one of the weirdest and most hilarious things I’ve ever seen. I laughed out loud in their faces and then felt kind of bad. I couldn’t help it it was amongst the most ridiculous things I’ve seen (I hope they weren’t raising money for a worthy cause otherwise I’ll feel like a total asshole).

One of the most hilarious authority figure moments I’ve ever experienced in my life came later on the way home. Heading to Bridgeland after taking photos of the crazy swollen Bow we tried to duck under a police tape to the open pathway one millimeter away. A cop asked "Did you see the tape?" "Yes" we said. "Then you have to go here." "Wait we have to go right there and then go right where we are?" "Yes" he replied.

We actually had to go around the tape to end up one millimetre from where we were standing.

Safety first. Floodpocalypse was terrifying.