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Pouzza Fest 2013: Day Three

Posted by Christine / May 20, 2013

20130519-ArlissNancyUSE.JPG At 11:45 p.m. last night, I positioned myself by the stage to watch Fire Next Time's energetic Pouzza Fest set at Pub St. Ciboire.

Fire Next Time boasts five members and an interesting array of instruments including: the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, bass, drums, harmonica, accordion, and vocals. These multi-talented Albertans played a unique mish-mash of punk, folk, stoner-rock, and metal.

As I watched their set, I was reminded of Mark Twain's quote: "Write what you know." Fire Next Time's songs explore a litany of themes, but all are deeply personal and often reference the people, places, and happenings of Edmonton.

"This is a song about a bar in Alberta called Wunderbar," said James Renton, lead singer, guitarist and harmonica player. "It's the greatest fucking bar ever."

While some of Fire Next Time's songs feature light-hearted content, like drinking and partying, others tackle heavier issues including racism, and crime.

"This song is called Rosewood Jesus," said James. "It's about one of the fucking ugliest things, and that's racism."

The crowd moved along to the music with great zeal. They hugged each other, swayed, and leaned into the stage with reckless abandon. Some of them approached the mics and sang along to the lyrics, their faces just inches apart from those of the band members. One audience-member casually picked up a drumstick and rhythmically beat along with the drummer.

During the set, a lovely young woman wearing a garland in her hair pointed a LED beam of light at my shirt. Initially confused, I looked closer and realized the pen had been fashioned to resemble a sonic screwdriver. Of course, I had decided to wear my Dr. Who T-shirt that night. I promptly responded with an enthusiastic smile and thumbs up. This is just one example of my being approached by a friendly stranger over the weekend, which speaks to the kind, open nature of the punk community.

Arliss Nancy took the stage at 1:45 a.m. This group crossed a border to play Pouzza Fest, coming all the way from Colorado. They are signed to Death to False Hope Records.

With a couple of EPs and full-length albums under their belt, Arliss Nancy has secured a loyal fan-base as well as the attention of industry taste-makers and media outlets like ThePunkSite.com and The Westword.

According to the band's Myspace page, "We all write, we all pour our hearts into what we do. It is, and has always been, about the music and the people who came to dance."

This five-piece ensemble breathes new life into the country, rock, and punk genres they borrow from. They use the guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, and vocals to tell stories rich in a classic Middle America aesthetic. Think open roads and the possibilities they present. But, within this familiar backdrop are less idealistic narratives about struggle and regret. Confession booths are old-hat, the mea culpa of the modern man is done on-stage for all to see. How glorious it is.

Photograph of Arliss Nancy by yours truly.

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