Calgary Beer Core celebrates 15 years of building community in the city’s underground punk and metal scene

The snotty, bratty upstart is all grown up.

But thankfully that doesn’t mean it’s matured or lost any of that spit and snarl, youthful energy and sense of fun.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, local punk and metal production company the Calgary Beer Core will celebrate 15 years — or as the poster says, “15 fuckin’ years” — of giving a platform to the city’s underground music scene with a show at Dickens featuring a handful of acts such as Black Pestilence, Bogue Brigade, and a CD release by hardcore act Oh Shit.

The brainchild of musicians and music-lovers Mark Russell and Jim Martin, the Beer Core was born from the DIY ethos and has, over time, grown into something larger, a way to help those new to the scene find their footing, find a place to connect and belong.

“It’s become this nice little community where everybody can come and see old friends, meet new ones, watch amazing, talented local and Alberta musicians — any musicians — and just do it together,” Russell says.

From their annual Calgary Beer Core awards to various charity events throughout the year, the company continues to do good things while making memories for all those involved.

With that in mind, here are Russell’s five favourite moments of Calgary Beer Core’s 15-year history and what it means to him:

1. My first all-time Beer Core memory is the first time we ever did a Dayglo (Abortions) show. It was our first big band, that was back in 2008. It was Dry Fisted, Dayglo Abortions, BDFM — it was my band’s first time playing with our heroes — and The Dabblers. And that show was the big first contract I ever settled into. It wasn’t very big, it was $2,500 but it was Dayglo. At the time they were piquing and they demanded quite a bit out of promoters because they’d been screwed around so much. The fanbase in (The Stetson) drank all of the beer and all of the booze … It was a riot. I’m pretty sure once the booze was done (the bartenders) hopped in the pit and started partying all night. There was broken bones, broken fingers, broken ankles, broken arms, stitches — it was a crazy night.

2. The very first Rock For Tits and Ass was amazing. Inspired by BDFM’s guitar player’s mother who passed away from cancer, we had the show at the Underground and nobody knew how it would go, but we ended up raising a bunch of cash that night for the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. I’m pretty sure The Turrettes, BDFM the Dabblers played. This show started our passion for local charity work — from helping organizations to helping friends and family get through hard times.

3. The very first Calgary Beer Core awards party. This was held at The first Distillery back in 2006-07. It was the very first awards kinda thing for underground punk and metal artists. We had no real sitting arrangement and stuffed way too many people in there that night. It started out nice and award-like and ended with the entire room smashed and moshing together.

4. Being able to host both D.O.A. and Dayglo Abortions 40-year anniversary dates was pretty rad. Both shows were off the wall — Dayglos was held at the Brass Monkey (RIP) and D.O.A.’s was at The Border Crossing. We have been doing shows with Dayglo and D.O.A. for for over 12 years now. Dayglo and DOA are Calgary Beer Core family among many other amazing Canadian bands.

5. Being A sponsor for multiple Punk Rock Bowling events in Las Vegas was pretty sweet as well. Turns out Canadians drinking until 4 a.m. and then having to be at the festival grounds at 10 a.m. in 40-plus weather didn’t work out the way we wanted. We thought we died and went to hot asphalt hell. But all in all we met some amazing people, got to be on stage for D.R.I. and met tons of our heroes.

My favourite thing about CBC is building something with friends and family that we can all stand behind. Calgary Beer Core was born on the notion that all local Calgary Bands deserve the right to be on a stage. I love this city and everything it has to offer, I am thankful for the amazing community in which we are allowed to host these shows in. I’ve met my closest friends and family through Calgary music and lost a bunch through it as well. I wouldn’t change a thing and I will continue to support local underground music until I am dead. Here’s to a few …

(Photo courtesy Llisa Bastard Photography.)

The Calgary Beer Core’s 15th anniversary show featuring Oh Shit, Blackest Sin, No More Moments, Amigo Fantasma and others takes place Saturday, Aug. 9 at Dickens.