Block Heater: Five Artists to Start Your Engine

The seventh version of the Calgary folk fest’s winter sister, Block Heater, revs up live after last year’s all online event. Outdoor events at Olympic Plaza and socially distanced concerts in Jack Singer should help those of us jonesing for festival-style live music while giving North American artists a chance to shine.

Here are some moments not to miss.

Reuben and the Dark

When hometown heroes Rueben and the Dark return to the Jack Singer, having had their music featured in movies like Doolittle, it should rightfully be standing-room only, but, for now, the crowd will be smaller, as seats are spaced out. Enjoy this while you can – next time around, it might well be at the ’Dome.


Every time I hear this band, anchored by Shane Ghostkeeper, I hear something different. Will my spirit animal finally appear for me, entangled in tape loops and drenched in girl-group harmonies? Or will I wake up in a country bar with indie rock blasting from the jukebox? I know, it’s only rock and roll Jeff Tweedy at a pow wow necking with Ronnie Spector while Merle drinks at a speakeasy across the barbed-wire fence, but I like it, I like it, yes I do!

Cadence Weapon

I doubt they’ll need space heaters when Edmonton’s former poet laureate Rollie Pemberton, a.k.a. Cadence Weapon, brings his shambling, rolling, hip-hop visions to Olympic Plaza. The heat from throwing injustice onto his lyrical bonfires, let alone beats that move your feets, will keep the place sweating, 

Shaye Zadravec

Another treasured Calgary gem who would likely be pleasing her numerous fans in Europe were it not for the times, will also be performing at the Olympic Plaza stage. If you get to hear her caress Son Volt’s Windfall with her clear-as-summer-stars vocals, you’ll be doubly blessed. Catch her while you can.

(Photo courtesy Walter E Neuman.)