This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Amelia Curran‘s sold-out performance at the Nickelodeon Music Club in Calgary. If you haven’t heard of Amelia before, she is a Juno Award winning Canadian Singer-songwriter from St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Amelia’s music can be described as indie-folk, or alternative-country. She incorporates story telling over finger-picked acoustic guitar. Accompanying her on the accordion and providing vocal harmonies was Catherine Allen, another St. John’s native.
The Nickelodeon Music Club is based out of the Crescent Heights Community hall. It seats 193 people, most of which are season ticket holders. It is run by volunteers and has a true community feel to it. The audience was a welcoming and polite group of true music fans. The stage, albeit small, and room made for an intimate experience. The venue was well organized and the acoustics and sound were excellent.
Edmonton based Scott Cook opened the night with a 40 minute acoustic set. His pleasing baritone voice is well suited to his country-folk crooning. He told stories of camping with his buddies in the prairies, and sang of playing in bars to much less receptive crowds than the Nickelodeon. He will be having his CD release in Calgary at the Ironwood on May 9th.
After a brief intermission, Amelia Curran took to the stage with her acoustic guitar. Her awkward, yet endearing stage presence quickly became charming as the night went on. Between each song, Amelia would tell personal stories to the audience. Her stories were about how her songs were written, her roots as a Newfoundlander, why she doesn’t have an accent, her family, and the battle for a Guinness World Record. Her banter with Catherine Allen, who sang back up vocals, was reminiscent of David Letterman and Paul Shaffer. A couple geeky references to Dr. Who and Monty Python fell short on the audience, but I definitely appreciated them.
The night wrapped up quickly at the end of the set. Amelia had to catch a midnight flight back east so she could present an award.
As a newcomer to the Calgary Music scene, I feel that Calgary folk clubs are a bit of a hidden treasure. If you are a fan of Folk Music, check out http://calfolk.ca/groups/clubs.htm to see if there are any shows in your area. You won’t regret it!
For a taste of Amelia Currans live performace, you can watch her perform the song “The Mistress” on CBC’s QTV.
Listen to her track “Years” from her album Spectators.
You can also check out this live acoustic video of Scott Cook’s “High and Lonesome again“.