2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Ginger Beef// Photo By Daman Singh

Sled Island Day Three: A spotlight on local artists at the Palomino 

By Daman Singh and Ansharah Shakil, June 26 2024—

With a line-up of over 100 artists, Sled Island has plenty of international acts returning to Calgary or coming for the first time, but a vital part of the festival is how it highlights the city’s local music. Day Three of the festival kicked off with a schedule with local legends and favourites that attendees were eager to show up for. The line-up performing at the Palomino Smokehouse on June 21 catered perfectly to the city’s varied tastes and local art scene. 

Kue Varo & The Only Hopes

Local icon Kue Varo took the stage with her backing band of talented musicians, The Only Hopes. Following their 2023 release Cowboy Witchcraft, the group had a lot to offer. Varo has been in the Calgary arts scene for quite some time now. After fronting The Heirlooms she has been away in Montreal. Now that she’s back, she has a group of musicians behind her and a Sled Island performance everyone was looking forward to. 

Kue Varo and the Only Hopes // Photo By Daman Singh

Their sound is a perfect blend of tangy country guitars with groovy pop drums, subverting both genres as the vocals take you on a self exploratory journey with Kue Varo. Their performance at the Palomino was nothing short of beautiful. The venue was packed with people trying their best to get one look at the band. Kue Varo and the Only Hopes isn’t an act you mosh to — they’re one of those bands where you sit back and take in their glory, and the crowd knew that. The audience couldn’t stop cheering as Varo gave an angelic vocal performance and the Only Hopes were showing us what pure artistic collaboration looks like. If you missed her or couldn’t get enough of Kue Varo and the Only Hopes, catch them at the Calgary Folk Music Festival later this summer.

Crowd at Kue Varo and the Only Hopes// Photo By Daman Singh

Ginger Beef

Local pop duo Ginger Beef took the stage on Sled Island’s opening night at the Legion but returned to perform at the Palomino Smokehouse on June 21 for what they cheerfully noted was the third-year anniversary of their first live performance. Since then, Ginger Beef have performed at Sled Island in 2022 and 2023, and they’ve made a welcome return this year.

Ginger Beef// Photo By Daman Singh

Characteristic of Ginger Beef is their excellence in their chosen form, the way that their love for instrumental pop is evident in every musical move they make. There’s something both refined and unpredictable about their music, a quality clearly present in their 2023 self-titled album but only elevated in their animated live performances. Li is a gorgeous flutist, while producer and instrumentalist Tse creates an electric, vibrant backdrop. Hearing Li is enough, but seeing her perform with her flute is an unforgettable experience. The infectious, smiling energy of Li, Tse and the entire band had the crowd, packed into Palomino, swaying or dancing on the spot. Each moment in their set brought a new, unexpected and pleasant surprise with its own kind of momentum. In their Sled Island performances, Ginger Beef have without a doubt set themselves up to be a local act to keep your eye on.

Ginger Beef// Photo By Daman Singh


Later in the day, the second set of acts started playing on the main floor of Palomino and this set stood in stark contrast. One of the most pleasant surprises from the festival was our introduction to the sounds of L4ZR GR1D, which can only be described as a lovechild of screamo and Death Grips, and they were a sight to behold. 

L4ZR GR1D// Photo By Daman Singh

The glitched-out sonic explosion of their sound was matched, if not elevated, by Alix Au’s howling vocals. Au’s distorted screams make the L4ZR GR1D experience a testament to their artistic skill. Their 2023 release CLIENT PLEASURES boasts a journey through their glitchy electronic sound with the main highlight being “EMPTY POCKETS DIRTY SOCKETS”, a  three-minute track that showcases everything you need to know about the duo. Hearing their music in a live setting did not disappoint, it was just as explosive as you would expect. With their smoke machines, performance antiques and experimental soundtrack, L4ZR GR1D is a must watch in the Calgary underground scene right now. 

L4ZR GR1D// Photo By Daman Singh

Radioactive Vampire Teeth

Following up to the highs of L4ZR GR1D, Radioactive Vampire Teeth took on their second performance of the night with their Noise Punk sound. Performing earlier the same night at PinBar, the duo was ready to showcase their magic again. Before their set began, we got an unexpected taste of the distorted intelligible vocals of the drummer, Matthew Springer.

Radioactive Vampire Teeth// Photo By Daman Singh

A couple songs into their set, vocalist Pajama Concrete did an outfit change on stage surprising everyone. Track “Halloween All The Time” was a special highlight of the set, featuring some of the best drumming the night had to offer. Springer’s skill on the drum paired with gritty vocals that sounded like they came straight from radioactive sludge in the best way. Concrete’s technical skill was showcased fully with their full control over their pedal board. As chaotic as the set got, there wasn’t a single moment where you weren’t engaged in what they were doing. Radioactive Vampire Teeth is intense drum workouts with noisy synth punk and are a surprise for sure, but they’re a duo worth checking out.

Radioactive Vampire Teeth// Photo By Daman Singh

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet