Head in the Sand band Royal Canoe, from top left: Matt Peters, Brendan Berg, Derek Allard, Matt Schellenberg, Bucky Driedger, and Michael Jordan (Valentin Mittelstet)
Royal Canoe...These guys are everything that's great about pop music: catchy hooks, soaring vocals, quirky use of instruments from time to time and music videos set under water. Let's face it: they're local music heroes.
—Sarah Michaelson, SCENE contributor
Whenever the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival rolls around, I'm faced with the task of figuring out which shows to select from the festival lineup. There's always so much to choose from and I'm usually scared I'll miss something.
Here are five acts playing this year that shouldn't be missed.
1. If you haven't seen Winnipeg's own Keith Price Trio yet, now's your time. Keith's original compositions for guitar, bass and drums are complex and beautiful (kind of how I like to think of myself). Like a local Bad Plus, they also reinvent songs from the pop and rock canon, including Kurt Cobain's "Lithium" or Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago."
- Friday, June 22 at Juss Jazz, 10:00 p.m.
2. The Vijay Iyer Trio has such a long list of accomplishments and accolades that you'll wonder what you've been doing with your life. Led by pianist/composer/musical alchemist Vijay Iyer, the group is making powerful, visceral jazz, yet still remains accessible to non-afficionados' ears. If you want to see stunning jazz musicianship, you should make time for this show.
- Saturday, June 23 at Aqua Books, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Also as part of the TD Jazz Lab at 5:30.
3. I've been captivated by Janelle Monáe ever since I saw her video for "Tightrope." She pulls off crazy dance moves in an insane asylum while wearing a sharp tuxedo like no it's no sweat. Her voice soars over music that's inspired by funk and soul and Bowie fused with orchestral arrangements. She's like a female Prince or Michael Jackson on stage and my brain is melting just thinking about how great it'll be to see such an entertainer.
- Wednesday, June 20 at the Burton Cummings Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Janelle Monae Feat. Big Boi - Tightrope from Fred Romano on Vimeo.
4. For anyone looking for a late-night kind of concert in a club setting, check out Ottawa's A Tribe Called Red. They call their blend of pow wow vocals, drums and electronic music "powwowstep." But I call it the future of music. Pow wow is a celebration of life, and these guys are cranking it up for the next generation.
- Tuesday, June 19 at the Pyramid Cabaret, 10:00 p.m.
5. One more local band for you to see: Royal Canoe at the free opening weekend of the Jazz Festival! These guys are everything that's great about pop music: catchy hooks, soaring vocals, quirky use of instruments from time to time and music videos set under water. Let's face it: they're local music heroes.
- Saturday, June 16 at Old Market Square, 11:45 p.m.. Free!