Violent Kin

One of Saskatoon’s best kept secrets include a brother and sister team bringing an amazing array of talent. When I first asked people about Violent Kin, they got excited and couldn’t wait to tell me about them. “Great stage show.” “, The cd is on constant play in my car.”, “They’re amazing.” “Such a good show.”

And then came the question that no one could answer, “Who are they like?” No one could answer me on this. Which is quite strange for most local bands, as they take on a distinctive style that most mainstream bands play, which makes them the most identifiable. (Sheepdogs = Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young + The Band + Folk pop of the late 70’s.) That basic template makes it easier for people to go and see. It makes it easily marketable.

Unless they are really good.

There is no equal to this duet team. Maygen and SJ Kardash have put in their hours to the craft, and it shows. Influences on People, (and from what I can relate to) include British pop UB40, Roxette, any John Hughes movie from the 80’s with teen empowerment as a main theme, and so many others. The music itself takes that slice of late 80’s and early 90’s where the majority of People (now currently late 30 somethings) were clinging onto Pop, before the harder edge of grunge rock became the norm. They are that lost summer where you wanted one more year of teased hair, neon shirts, and being radical. It takes quite a bit of talent to take this, and not make it cheezey or false with parody.

The message and lyrics are subtle, working your way into deeper meanings that make you want to relisten again and again. And surprisingly the meaning of the songs really reflect these current times of information consumption and channeling the human spirit through these artificial tools. “We’re losing our instincts and in a state of unconsciousness we’re more machine than man.”
(Ironic? I write this on a hunk of plastic, electronic circuit, WiFi signal, and liquid crystals being anonymous in a cafe, while checking my social feeds as to what everyone is doing. Tell me this isn’t the future.) I keep replaying the cd, as like a good book it listens a little different each time.

The stage show at the 220 grand opening was amazing. I had forgotten about huge light shows. Just huge bright light that seemed to creep into every corner of the room. Maygen Kardash on keyboard, clad in Sgt Pepper uniform jacket, leaving stark Patrick Nagel outlines on my retinas. Her voice, clean and sweet, jumping up and declaring to be paid attention. SJ Kardash becomes that guy. Axe hung low, working the crowd with a taught guitar string and smooth trained voice, reaching for those lower depths, still able to harmonize in the upper range. If you were a teen in the 80’s and wanted to play guitar and become a rock god? Yeah, SJ becomes THAT guy on stage. (And you can tell they are siblings, the banter between them definitely shows. But once it’s done, the show is on.) Talented range between the two of them range from the avant garde stage show to an unrelenting driving beat that will take you back to when mesh, leather ties, and Alf ruled. And still not making it cheezy. And still making it relevant to what’s happening today.

So what are they like? They are a crazy talented band that you will tell your friends about. They bring an evening of amazing sounds and sights. This is Pop, perfected. And I’m not one for listening to much Pop. Go see the shows now. Bring extra cash to buy the albums from them. Check their tour dates.

Yeah, they are that good.

Don’t believe me? Please, see the show and prove me wrong.

All things Violent Kin can be found at their website at

I’m still here,

Saskatoon Artist : Natalie Struck

The first thing that you should know about Natalie Struck is that she maybe short in height, but she is taking giant strides towards becoming bigger talent. The second thing, you should know is that she has no fear. She puts her heart and soul into belting out her music. Her EP release Try Being Yourself brings 7 tracks which cross a year of her life and the emotional turbulence therein.

For a first EP, it shows her determination that she is going to be good at this. No matter what. The music is very pop, reminescent sometimes of a very young Lisa Loeb, playing around the beat and some soulful moments on some tracks. We’ve all been through the moments that she sings. Of desperation against monotony and wanting a change. The empowerment anthems we repeat to ourselves to make sure that no one can stop us. The little anticipation of waiting to see that special someone. Unfortunately the poetry of the lyrics sometimes gets lost in the candy floss of the pop. But given time this artist will grow and take on the industry.

No matter if you like it or not, she’s putting this music out there. Much like Seth Godin’s analogy of the Street Performer, she literally is out there performing her music. Putting her art out for all to listen to, and getting immediate feedback. Not many artists besides musicians can say they can do that.

If you haven’t caught her live yet, Natalie Struck is performing at the Saskatoon Farmers Market on Sundays, 11-Noon busking her clear sweet voice. Dec.11 and 18th. You can also hear her occasionally on open mic night at the Fez. The EP release party is Dec.23 at Mystic Java in Saskatoon.

For all things Natalie fit for the net, please go to

Buy her EP, tell friends, go to her website, support local artists.

I’m still here,

The Two Twenty + YXE Music

Some have the global recession, market slump and large unemployment rates to blame for all of the troubles of the day. Others would say that larger politics and corporations are to blame. I say it’s from a lack of realistic vision.

Saskatoon has always had a liberal arts scene. Sporting an accepting and open minded attitude to the new digital economy and media.

So it is no surprise that the emergence of the Two Twenty has come. So what exactly is it?

The Two Twenty is a community of social entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and creative industries defining Saskatoon’s urban and cultural scene.

Given the time and energy, the major brains of today are finding the need to drive their own entrepreneurial spirit and their peers. The current market for shared workspace, skill sets, and networking opportunities is huge. And those with the passion to succeed, will take steps to take advantage of shared workspaces.

The space itself located on 20th street in Saskatoon, is highly functional and fluid. Open office designs, featured small businesses, artisans, robot makers, technical advisors, yoga space… It is an immense concept that cannot help to succeed. Check out their plans if you are a travelling business and need access to all the necessary office necessities. If you are a student and need that palce to get away to, just to finish off that paper or late night study, there’s a plan for you on it.

The Two Twenty is conveniently located at 220 20th Street West, Saskatoon. Along with a larger emerging arts community front for 20th street. Will have to stop by the aka Gallery and check their community of innovative networked artists. Saskatoon Techworks looks to be the emerging central hub for all you Tinkers, Inventors, Makers and Innovators. HardPressed brings custom apparel (Also featuring local Rogstad) and printing from just about everything.

At one point in time, I thought I was in BarcampYXE the sequel, but soon came to realize that the technical people and artistic go hand in hand. Ryan and Chris of Ominocity and BarcampYXE infamy were in fine form, checking the artists out, be sure to check their videos and info on their site. Hoover of the New Rockstar Philosophy was also in attendance. Chris de Jong also there to sample and bring big cheers.

After getting bodyslammed from Katrina German (also of BarcampYXE infamy) managed to snag some Paddockwood beer, and hung out with the ever elusive and exclusive Natalie Struck, discussed various subjects on music and influences, learning about new music and still one of the best ways for marketing is word of mouth. Tell your friends about her stuff. Also she is slated to do a show at Mystic Java closer to December. Stop by their for your last minute Christmas shopping caffeine fix and some great tunes. Keep an ear out for her, and rumor has it, she is This Close to getting her album out the door.

Great minds think alike. Great minds like to party alike.

And the Two Twenty was definitely opened up. Grand. Performances were scattered between three central areas, kept the crowd flowing. Saskatoon Slam  poetry and smaller duets in the front where the main office space is. Larger band performances in the back, and DJ beats and dance numbers in the downstairs events room.

Vaereo +Sarah Farthing both had qualities of a young Natalie Merchant, also if you were to throw some Lisa Loeb DNA in there. These two young ladies bring soulful and meaningful performances, guitars and violin. Some country influences also ring of east coast folk. A great duet team, follow them, tell your friends, buy their cd’s. Definitely a great collaboration that you won’t want to miss out on.

I was amazed and dumbstruck at the amazing dropped rhymes from EEKWOL. Suddenly I needed to wear neon. Slick transitions, amazing speed rants, sick rhymes, it wasn’t hip hop or rap. It was hip. It was hot. It was beat poetry 80’s style to the old school rhythm. You can find her on FB – Lindsay Eekwol Knight

Make Liars brought guitar rock, poetic lyrics, and a determined spirit to the stage. The guitar pickings were channeled through the roots of early surf rock into brilliant anthems. Close your eyes, don’t think and you are in a time where convertibles, poodle skirts, california coastlines ruled pop culture. Spatterings of influence can be heard from Rockabilly and some Heavier Alternative Rock. I’d like to know if the music comes first, or the lyrics. Or is it some kind of weird simultaneous occurance where one cannot exist without the other. Keep an ear out for them as well. Right now you can find them on Facebook.

Rounding out the night Violent Kin brought us the lost (and better) chapter of late 80’s and early 90’s rock. Great show visually, flash neon, high bulbs, and any stage show that has more than 2 mannequin heads is bound to be awesome. S.J. and Maygen Kardash fronted a great show, and easily blended synth with driving guitar riffs- Took me back to my high school days and felt like I found a new band on cassette. (Quiet you, I am that old…) Also got their full length CD entitled People. The live show was definitely more rock and heavier, but the CD does emerge a better portion of well used synth.

It was a brilliant night. The Two Twenty has definitely opened for amazing talent and already established brilliant companies in the heart of Saskatoon.  I’ve done my part, now do yours. Get over there and check them out.

I’m still writing,


(Also working on 3.5 hours sleep, if I missed something, I apologize, need something corrected, let me know, drop me a line. @pearcekilgour on twitter)

We Call Them Food Misdemeanors, Not Food Crime

I know its been a while since I’ve blogged. I have been busy. I know that is no excuse for not writing here. Except for oscar picks… which I lost the bragging rights to.

On with the foood! I had a brainstorm earlier this week, recalling a conversation and making a combination. Apparently the best burger combination includes 80 percent beef, 10 percent pork, and 10 percent lamb. Combinations there of can be tweaked as per recipe and who is cooking it. Personally, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had was ostrich. The beef and pork combination got me thinking about how to apply it with chili. Then it hit me.


I started off with white mushrooms sliced, one green pepper, one large jalapeno pepper, some diced tomatoes and onions, and 10 slices of thick cut back bacon. Add some oil and slow simmer in pan to get things going. I let this combination cook for a couple hours in my ultimate gigante frying pan, cast iron, porcelain coating. Couple of hours on low did the job, then… overnight in the fridge.

Then into the slow cooker first thing the next morning with brown beans and some hamburger. Stirred up every 4 hours, finally finished up after 14 hours for… Ze uber chili.

The jalapeño brought out more of a bold juicy flavor that countered the onion flake that in the herb and spice mix. The beauty of cooking chili longer is that the flavors mellow and blend. I push for 10 hours on slow cooking. Some say that cooking chili that long maybe overdoing it. I say the blending of the flavors makes an extremely different meal each time you cook it.

Plus I was really busy and slow cooking rocks. Put everything in, come back and stir at 6 hours.

Next time, I think I will do the equivalent of a half/half. Beans, hamburger, chili + spices, and chocolate stout cooked up. Then an hour before serving, just stir fry up the bacon, jalapeño, onion and then deglaze with harp ale. Mix it up… now that’s a food misdemeanor.

I’m still

Wait! BONUS! Since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged in a while, might as well do another great post on cooking.

Ultimate French Toast via Nutana Bakery.
Basic recipe for french toast… which isn’t french cooking at all. One of the original recipes calls for stale bread, wine, orange juices and sugar, which is leaning towards an interesting bread pudding in my opinion.

Two different styles of french toast, dessert style with vanilla and regular style for ultimate sandwich making. Dessert style involves sweeter combinations like powdered sugar, favored in the southern states of the US. Or skip the sugars and vanilla, just use bread and egg and then place slices of smoke ham, turkey, and swiss inbetween two slices for a Monte Cristo sandwich.

But my preferred, style of french toast is getting a cinnamon loaf from Nutana bakery. Per slice of bread, one egg, and just enough milk to coat the yolk.

If you are in Saskatoon, do stop by Nutana Bakery and get one of their double chocolate doughnuts. It is truly a brilliant art they perform there, some of the best baking you can find in western Canada.

I’m still here, burp,

Broadway Cafe

The Broadway Cafe in Saskatoon is one of my favorite places to eat. It reminds me of the small town diners that haven’t updated their decor, but still deliver food that satisfies deep hunger. You find a lot of these across the prairies, but in the middle of broadway district amongst specialty shops, you’ll find the place. Great for a quick meal, hot drink, and in the summer the milkshakes are the best. Weekend brunches are a very busy time, recommend the huevos ranchero burrito or the eggs benedict special. Also be on the lookout for Professor Awesome, a gentleman in his 60’s or 70’s with the best goatee a guy could ever achieve in a lifetime.

But for a biting cold January evening, there was a small crowd inside, slight frost on the windows and entrance doors. Valentines decorations are already up around the retro cafe. Neon and chrome along the long counter in the back. Kitch decorations of Elvis, Marilyn, James Dean adorn the walls. Music playing 50’s from satellite radio, waitress with tie-dyed hair wrap is singing along under her breath,’Put your hands up and Shout’. Memories of the Blues Brothers movie bring a smirk to my face, it’s been a good day.

I’ve already devoured my breakfast burger (slices of ham, fried egg, swiss cheese) and delicious cubed fried spuds. Tempted to get a coffee for an after meal drink, but caffeine this late does not help my insomnia. Tempted to get one of the famous milkshakes, I’m good with my mint tea and water. My daughter being a slower eater is thoroughly enjoying all of her food, including the bacon which she was craving earlier. I should learn from her habits, but old ones are hard to break. She does have a method of peeling off the top layer of a pancake which may sound gruesome, but is definitely tasty.

Usually when we are out, people are surprised to find that she is my daughter, she looks more mature for her age. All I see is my kiddo. Preparing her brown toast, she stares intently at a small package of peanut butter and one of jam, almost manic look on her face. Holding them up to her eyes she looks back and forth between the two plastic packages.

Me, soap opera voice : Doctor, what have you found?
Kid : One is deeper than the other… weird.
Me : Fascinating, did you use… the science?
Kid : Ba-Hoo-wha?

Both of us crack up at the sound of the mixed up words. When we finally get it togther, I go on to explain that in B movies sometimes would actually skip over the explanation of how things work, by calling it ‘The Science’. Or just satisfy a question like how the raygun is going to stop the lava… and it will because the main hero is a SCIENTIST.

I nudge her again with the line…

Me, soap opera voice : Doctor, did you use the science?
Kid : Uh-HUHHAA!

More silliness and laughter ensue. We both get looks from our outburst of obvious silly fun, but we don’t care. It’s not what we’re doing, but how we’re doing it. By having fun. And Broadway Cafe is a great place to make memories.

I’m still here,

It’s Library Week! Bring on the Burlesque! Wait… What?

It’s Saskatchewan Library Week! Hooray! Bring on the Burlesque! Wait… What… back that up again…

Let me explain.

This evening at Lydia’s Pub on broadway, the Saskatoon Public Library brought us an evening of story tellers. The annual event Stories in the Bar brought us all story tellers for all ages, and tastes.

Yes, yes, the burlesque, it is a form of story telling… I’ll get to that.

The gracious and charming Jenny Ryan hosted and with some great improv comedy (I’m on rollerskates!) introduced the acts and had give aways. Guess which famous movie librarian and get a romance novel. Titles with the words, forbidden, desire, Ramone, billionaire, brides on the run… Lots of fun. Anyways, onto the acts!

Lori Tkachuck from the librarys children department brought the slightly turned fairy tale of Sleeping Ugly. A winding tale with many parables and as all good fairy tales go, come with a good morale.

Shannon Swekla, former children librarian, (as described as Mother Goose meets Captain Morgan) brought out finger puppets. (Okay, the burlesque, just wait, I’ll get to it.) Suddenly I’m drinking a pint of Alexander Keiths Red, and the entire bar is doing kindergarten singalongs. I can almost feel the glaring stare of Mrs. Yaworski from beyond the grave giving me a stern look. Not because I was drinking beer, but I was making notes and not singing along. Needless to say, it was fun.

Then there was another act, and then a quick break.

Curtis Peeteetuce brought us some heartfelt and very personable stories from his life. Great guitar playing, and brought the story of his ‘Great-Great-Great Grand Uncle Allmighty Voice’. Even he had problems figuring out the connection. A great song inspired by the man and the story of freedom.

One of the virutal reference librarians, Joe Geary brought us a fairy tale. Not the cheerful Disney everything is sparkly, and songs about happiness. This was Grimm’s Fairy tales material. He calls himself the Story teller to the Broken-Hearted. At first, I thought, wow, Saskatoon Public Library cloned Garrison Keillor! But no, Joe is a great story teller, and left me a little chilled. You couldn’t hear the crowd breathing, he was that good of a story teller. Cheers.

Don’t worry, I’ll get to the burlesque, just wait for it. Sheesh! It was really good, but just wait for it!

Saache Heinrich (pronounced Sage… I think) another librarian, the Childrens Librarian for the Wheatland Regional Library. A new piece from her, as she brought out her fiddle and played and told the tale of the young girl learning music. I hear the tones, and I’m six years old, my Nana (great grandmother right from Scotland) is telling me a story of fiddles, and how the song can entrance and captivate people. The song itself is a story. Great blend of music and story.

Then there was the Karpinka Brothers, great sounds. First impression was very influenced from Barenaked ladies and from other great canadian acts. Also reflected how they plan to tour libraries. Great songs, catch their next show if you can.

Oh yes, what was I forgetting… Nothing. The Rosebud Burlesque had three numbers, and as always, just like my hints throughout this blog… It’s the tease that pleases. You may think burlesque is about sex, but it’s not. It’s everything but. The Queen of Tarts amazed us, as she did find her tarts. (Decalled pasties for the win.) As well, Miss Manners had a nice day in the park. And there was the beat poetry of a turtle, who had problems getting out of his shell. That’s right, his. Something for the ladies. Which was the most crowd pleasing as the majority of the crowd were women. The beauty of burlesque is that it is story telling. It’s tongue in cheek, it’s teasing, it’s comedy. It’s local artists, and there isn’t enough support for them in these days of instant download entertainment. Get outside, take in a talk or music show.

A lot of librarians and friends thereof and it was not the usual crowd at Lydias, but it does indicate a new push in the right direction for libraries. They are now going beyond the stereotype. They are high tech with free wifi. They have an impressive dvd collection. Want audiobooks for your ipod? They have downloadable versions that expire! It’s these little events that help bring exposure to what the public library system has become. Modern. Fun. A little bit of Librarians Gone Wild tonight? Maybe, maybe not, but if anything, I had a great time.

I’m still here,

P.S. By the way, ran into the ever funny Dave aka @mmmerf afterwards. Great guy, really funny, did a bang up job at Barcamp Saskatoon 2010. Check his stuff at his Blog in Progress at Our Story So Far…

P.P.S. This makes my 750words for today. for all your instant get your journalling done for the day website.

P.P.S. If any of the librarians or speakers want their websites featured here, please drop me a note! Real artists fear obscurity!

Wait for it…

Geocaching on 10/10/10

Geocaching 10/10/10

A great event brought a good majority of the saskatoon geocachers (and a few from out of town) to Gabriel Dumount Park. A riverside park that has some excellent walkways, a kids playground, and some really good caches. Check this view. Homemade by C at GC2C70M, was a nice change of pace, as so many other Geocachers in Saskatoon have mentioned – It’s nice to find something larger than a nano or micro. I have to agree. The park is an excellent place to go, it goes from groomed to the wild grasses that a lot of the dog parks have. There are little high spots on the riverbank that you can see the construction on the new south bridge as well. Like this spot.

Geocachers on the trail

Geocachers on the trail

The event put on by Houlagans also had a great game that showed how much your gps can actually lie to you. For most GPS units, you can actually get the zero point where the cache should be hidden. But it’s nowhere near the actual cache. So how does that work? The accuracy and calculations of the GPS units are dependent upon several factors, including how many of them can actually get information to your unit. So don’t always depend on your GPS, use your brain, think like a cacher. Check your accuracy and overhead. Trees, overhead high power lines, buildings can block the signal.

The 10/10/10 date marks the 10 year anniversary that geocaching and groundspeak got off the ground… so to speak. The request for everyone to log 1 cache was to see if they could set a new record. After everyone was done entering and updating their finds, the total number of accounts logging one cache was 78,313. It’s a fun hobby… er sport. It’s a weird mix of the two. Gets me out on the trail and occasionally I get to take a really good photo.

Geocaching on 10/10/10

A Boy and his Dog

I’m hoping it will be a slightly milder winter, at least on the weekends. I’m going to try and get some winter gear together, see if I can get some caches done in the winter. I tried a couple last year, but wasn’t really prepared for it. Either way, it gets me out of the house, and as the infamous BennyKidd has on his signature for his geocaches…

‘You Never Know When You Will Find Your Last Cache SO Enjoy Today And Cache On”

I’m still here,

P.S. This was supposed to be posted on Oct.11… curse you fingers for not scheduling right.