Westfest, The Cave Singers performing this weekend

Must-see shows include Westfest and a musical performance at the Canada Dance Festival.

Must-see shows include Westfest and a musical performance at the Canada Dance Festival

Seattle band The Cave Singers perform at House of TARG on Friday night. (Kyle Johnson)

Marlaena Moore @ Bar Robo on Thursday, 8 p.m., $10

Marlaena Moore has been writing songs since she was a kid, first gaining recognition around Edmonton as a folk singer. Her vocals are what grab you, initially; they've got the impressive quality of being robust and bold, but with an unpretentious honesty.

Edmonton's Marlaena Moore performs at Bar Robo on Thursday night. (Levi Manchak)

For her latest album, Gaze, Moore got members of Edmonton band Desiderata to back her up. That collaboration lends a grittier feel to the songs, which deal with life in Edmonton through candid love songs and odes to all-night drugstores.

Marlaena Moore joins Cassia J. Hardy's stellar rock project Wares for a show at Bar Robo with local opener Trails.

The Cave Singers @ House of TARG on Friday, 9 p.m., $10

The Cave Singers began out of the ashes of synth-infused post-punk band Pretty Girls Make Graves, but their sound is entirely different. Fundamentally rootsy, their mix of folk instrumentation with a hazy, twangy rock 'n' roll earned them a devoted following early on.

First, the Seattle band signed to Matador Records, then left for another well-known label, Jagjaguwar. However, when it came to their latest record, The Cave Singers opted to take a leap of faith and strike out independently, leaving the recording, manufacturing and promotion of the new album up to crowdfunding.

Fans came through, and Banshee was released earlier this year. They'll play songs from the album at House of Targ on Friday. 9pm, $10.

Frédérick Gravel's "Usually Beauty Fails" @ NAC Theatre on Saturday, 7:30 p.m., $25 

Frédérick Gravel's "Usually Beauty Fails" helps to kick off the Canada Dance Festival at the NAC Theatre on Saturday night. (Francis Ducharme)

Three live musicians and six dancers, working together to explore the concept of beauty. The production is called "Usually Beauty Fails", and it opens the Canada Dance Festival on Saturday night at the NAC.

It's masterminded by Frédérick Gravel — a musician, dancer, choreographer and lighting designer. He created the performance in close collaboration with colleagues in the Montreal-based Gravel Art Group.

There's a reason Gravel has been referred to as "the anti-hero of dance" as "Usually Beauty Fails" blends music, movement and theatre to turn the concept of a dance performance on its head. 7:30pm, $25.

Westfest @ Laroche Park from Friday to Sunday, free

Westfest 2016 takes place a little earlier than usual, and not quite as far west as before. From Friday to Sunday, you'll find it at Laroche Park on Bayview Road. What hasn't changed is the festival's commitment to emerging artists and socially conscious programming — not to mention free admission.

Local hip hop musician Cody Coyote performs at Westfest on Sunday evening. (Dave Croft)

Organizers have called this year's edition of the festival "Homemade Jam," because of its lineup of diverse and exclusively local musicians.

Highlights include Missing Linx, The Split, The Souljazz Orchestra, The John Punch Band, Yaa-Hemaa, and Cody Coyote.

Click here for the full schedule.

About the Author

Jessa Runciman

Associate Producer

Jessa Runciman is an associate producer with CBC Ottawa, and an avid music fan and show-goer. You can follow her on Twitter @jessarunciman.