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Photo Recap: SoundOff Festival

By Jarrett Edmund, February 29 2016 —

The third annual SoundOff Festival brought together industry professionals and Calgary’s top musicians for a three-night multi-venue event presented by Music Calgary. The evenings were organized thematically — electronic acts at Commonwealth, country and folk artists at the Ironwood and rock bands at The Gateway. Music fans were joined by delegates from major record labels and treated to three nights of great music featuring 16 local artists.


Recently nominated for the Junos’ Electronic Album of the Year, AM Static blends the soulful vocals of Chris Austman with lush production and sultry synthetics. Drawing from dream pop influences, Austman and bandmates Nils Mikkelson, Charlie Roberts and Matt Doherty were the most polished act at Commonwealth on Thursday night.


Self-proclaimed ‘booty-wave’ artists Beach Season crafted the evening’s vibe with a captivating performance. Sam Avant and Simon Blitzer are garnering international attention with their signature sound, combining aspects of R&B, electropop and trance. Beach Season had the most eclectic collection of instruments on the first night, bringing a unique element of showmanship to the stage.


Local hip-hop mainstays Dragon Fli Empire brought their energy to Commonwealth on Thursday night. Masters of audience participation, Teekay and DJ Cosm electrified the audience with traditional hip-hop beats and local landmark-themed lyricism.


Two weeks after performing at the Block Heater Festival, the Northern Beauties were joined by a full band on Friday Night at the Ironwood. Anchored by the seamless harmonies of Todd Stewart and Craig Aikman, the band blended traditional Americana and contemporary folk. Few bands sound better live than in the studio, but with masterful instrumentation and undeniable charm, the Northern Beauties are a rare treat. They’ll play again soon, with a Broken City date booked for Thursday, March 3.


Winners of the Calgary Folk Fest songwriting contest in 2014, Copperhead battled through an early set-time and highlighted Saturday night at The Gateway. Lead singer Liz Stevens gave a dark and self-reflective vocal performance. Fresh off releasing their debut EP last September, Copperhead seems poised to make an impact on Canada’s music scene for many years to come.


Miles away from the ocean, surf-rockers Port Juvee delivered a sparkling performance. Backed by a stunning band consisting of Logan Juke, Distance Bullock, Jourdan Cunningham and Lauchlin Toms, lead singer Brett Sandford had the crowd bobbing and weaving on Saturday night. Port Juvee set the tone on the final evening of SoundOff. While they’ve been relatively quiet since their last release in 2014, the band will undoubtedly make waves in the near future.


Fresh off the January release of their self-titled album, Calgary’s Windigo were a force to be reckoned with on Saturday night. Blending elements of rock and psychedelia, few bands rivaled the pure sonic force of Windigo’s performance. An integral part of Calgary’s indie rock revival, Windigo were ruthlessly entertaining.

SoundOff was anchored by stunning performances, offering a mere snippet of Calgary’s incredible music scene. With the ‘Year of Music’ already in full swing and the Junos on the horizon, it’s easy to see why Calgary is becoming Canada’s newest musical hotbed.

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