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Everything to expect from the Sled Island x Gauntlet Saturday showcase 

By Ansharah Shakil, June 22 2024—

Amidst the extensive showcases offered by Sled Island this year, The Gauntlet will be co-presenting with the festival on June 22. The showcase will include Canadian artists Thomas Thomas, cistern, Pearly Moon and Sea of Lettuce.

Arriving near the end of the festival, this is the second the Gauntlet will be co-presenting this year after a first spectacular showcase to start off the festival on June 19 at Commonwealth with Tea Fannie & The Collective, Gremlyn, Tanajah, Boy Wonder, Banggz, Maky Lavender and Planet Giza. The multifaceted aspects of Sled Island mean there’s always going to be something for everyone genre-wise. There are experimental presented showcases that dip in and out of different styles of music, and showcases that have a well-curated selection of artists in harmony with each other. The indie rock based Saturday Gauntlet x Sled Island showcase is an example of the latter category.  

Two out of the four artists are local to Calgary, with the non-local artists sandwiched in between Thomas Thomas and Sea of Lettuce. Pearly Moon and Cistern started the festival off by having Wednesday performances, but Thomas Thomas and Sea of Lettuce will only be performing at Pin Bar. The showcase is an opportunity to see these artists before Sled Island comes to a close this year, and even if you’ve never heard of them, you’ll fall for their music in a heartbeat.

The night begins with local band Thomas Thomas, the brain project of singer-songwriter Shannon Thomas and Thomas Englund. They’ve taken the stage playing in Wales, opening for Shannon and the Clams and performing with Japanese Breakfast. From their lively band name to their sunny, sincere sound, Thomas Thomas is a guaranteed good time. Newcomers can look to their recent single “Right Place Wrong Time” for the perfect entrypoint to their music, but their 2019 EP is equally worthy of a listen. In particular, “Gracious Host” takes you on an utterly transformative journey and “If I Was A Ghost” is a delicate balance between heartfelt lyrics and a beat you can move to and can’t help but pay attention to. 

After Thomas Thomas, cistern, an indie rock group hailing from Squamish, BC, will take the stage. A more recent band made up of former members from Loam, Painted Fruit and N0V3L, they released their album Head Full of Questions in January and the New Standard EP this last May. Tracks like “Glandílis” are standouts among a series of soothing, swaying songs, and the end of cistern’s set will move seamlessly into Pearly Moon’s. 

Pearly Moon, based in Edmonton, also released their 2024 album Tragicomedy in January. It’s the one album they’ve released so far, but it sets a firm stance on what the band seeks to do and opens up possibilities for what their sound might become. More melodic and influenced by psychedelia, this is an entry for anyone curious to explore an experimental side to indie rock, one which embraces mesmerizing, enticing songs like “In the Autumn.”

Closing the showcase are Sea of Lettuce, longtime local veterans who are an ideal way to explore the indie scene in Calgary. Since their formation in 2016, they’ve released four albums and two EPs. Listening anywhere in their discography is a gateway drug that will lead you into an appreciation for the band’s take on their chosen genres, which is anything but typical. Albums like 2018’s Photos are still standouts, but so is their latest album Any Day Now, released June 7. The down-to-earth confidence in their sound is unmistakable, especially in “Easy Loving” and “Better Off Dead”, and it makes for a strong, cohesive album that shows the band at their best.  

With this dreamy, balanced selection of artists that all complement each other, the Gauntlet x Sled Island showcase is a must-see for indie rock fans and anyone else interested in Calgary’s music scene. More details about these bands and the rest of Sled Island’s events can be found on the Sled Island website. To buy tickets to the Gauntlet x Sled Island showcase, click here.

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