As we gear up for X-Fest Calgary (Just 6 weeks away) I want to take time to showcase a few of the bands playing Labour Day Long Weekend by sharing a few rad tracks, fun factoids about the band, and a bit of a backstory on where they came from! So let’s start things off with you Saturday, September 3rd Headliner:
The Lumineers are based out of Denver, but originally Jeremiah and Wesley are from New York. They’d been working on music together and writing for years. But they couldn’t really cut it New York, so figured, maybe Colorado was the place to be. They linked up with Neyla in a way you probably shouldn’t. Ever. By meeting the guys through Craigslist. But it worked out, they started jamming, and performing, and eventually found themselves all over the radio, touring the world, and scoring a Grammy nomination for Ho Hey, and their self-titled debut album.
The kind of connection Jeremiah, and Wesley have really shows with the fact they developed a lot of songs for their first album while living in 2 completely different countries. Jer was in London, while Wes was in China and they would send each other chords, or lyrics through email.
Cleopatra was an album written with the band holed up in a house in Denver, working 9 to 5, coming in every day really plugging away. And while Ophelia, and the title track Cleopatra, are incredible songs, one of the great standouts from the album is Gun Song which was written after Wesley’s father passed away. He needed socks for work, so he went into his Dad’s drawer…and found a gun. Which sparked this idea that A) He couldn’t ask his father about the gun, and B) that there’s so many things he didn’t know about his father. And the whole song is purposefully meant to throw curve ball at you. If you haven’t heard it yet, listen to it, then get excited to hear it live at X-Fest at Fort Calgary
Another artist play Saturday, September 3rd will be the gentleman known as:
Born Michael Joseph Nelson (The name Banners comes from, partly the idea of Football Banners that people carry for their teams, and the idea that you want to carry a banner for someone you love, and care about) His reason for coming to Toronto, from the U.K. stemmed from the love of wanting to travel somewhere exciting, but also the chance to work with his producer Stephen Kozmeniuk, who he would write every day with. They would just collaborate on ideas, even if Banners wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. Which paid off, Banners has been played on radio stations all over the world, he is touring all over, and even got Start A Riot on the Billboard charts!
What I found interesting was the comparisons he had between the Toronto music scene and Liverpool. Back home, people are just really supportive regardless of if you’re good or bad. If you have passion, they’ll support you. But Toronto is very competitive, so if you want to stand out, you have to be really good.
You have heard Shine A Light, and Start A Riot on X92.9 getting you excited enough to see Banners play at X-Fest, but he has another song that I really dig that you should check out called Back When We Had Nothing which once again gives the allusion to love, and life being a war.
Check back next week for a showcase on a few more X-Fest artists and make sure you get your hands on tickets through XFestCalgary.com or by winning them! Good Luck 😀 -Matt Berry