The main organizers behind two of Edmonton’s newest independent music and arts festivals, Bermuda Festival (Daniel Lenz) and Endless Bummer (David Ferris), have joined forces to bring you a new series concert series: Versus. Each show has its own musical theme. The first show of the instalment will be at the Artery on March 8 and features six bands facing off against each other — Krang versus Shooting Guns; Morals versus The Get Down; Gary Debussy versus Desiderata — performing three sets. The opening show’s theme is “shredding and heaviness,” explains Ferris. The two are in the process of planning punk, electronic/shoegaze and folk editions in coming months. I spoke to the duo about their joint concert series venture.
The idea of the versus show was inspired by Lenz after he saw the film Scott Pilgrim Versus the World. “You know when Michael Cera’s band battles that other band across the stage, going rip for rip? Basically, it came out of that idea and wanting to see bands that are: either friends with each other, that want to rip each other online, or bands who work together really well musically. I wanted to see that song-for-song atmosphere,” says Lenz.
This show is not to be mistaken with a battle of the bands, which can have some negative stigma attached to it. The versus concept features two bands on two stages, alternating their sets, song for song.
Coincidentally, a similar concept for a show occurred at the Endless Bummer Festival this past September. A memorable chiptune versus show between BOOSH! and GreyScreen ensued at Baby Seal Club after Brett from BOOSH! pitched the idea.
“Dave volunteers at my festival and I volunteer at his. And his bands [Dave plays in TAIWAN and Snow] play my festival as well. This speaks to the sense of community here. We are all working together even though we are technically competing festivals,” notes Lenz.
“This is the natural result of there being so many summer festivals that magically appeared in Edmonton last year. Everybody getting the same idea at the same time and just rolling with it,” says Ferris. The versus concept allows for a different way to showcase musical talent: “It is also a unique music situation that wouldn’t happen otherwise that adds to the diversity here,” adds Lenz.
Ferris poses the hypothetical question: “Which band do you think you would win in a real fight?” Well you will have to attend this show and decide for yourself!
Keep your eyes peeled for updates regarding Bermuda Festival and Endless Bummer. Both have been booking out of town acts and initial lineups should be announced in May or June 2014.
The first instalment of Bermuda Versus Endless Bummer takes place on March 8 at ARTery and features Shooting Guns vs. Krang, The Get Down vs. Morals and Desiderata vs. Gary Debussy.
Words and photo by Jenna Lee Williams