Hank + Lily / Meatdraw / Secretaries Econolodge, Edmonton AB August 2

Imagine the nightmare: stuck on the highway in the middle of Alberta, night creeping in. That’s especially scary for Eastern readers what with the cannibal rednecks that leave their engines idling, and so on. Anyway, your van just died, cramped with a load of musicians making nervous jokes, the gig in Edmonton just two hours away, so, so far from your BC homes. Cue the creepy guy rustling in the bushes, watching you, licking his lips. But fortune is kind — he’s only a cab driver. And how much is a 150 km trip going to run, sir? Back in Edmonton, the local Secretaries were already starting up, broadcast on college radio. Stakes were not high — they’re sizzling. Everyone was nervously wondering if the other bands were actually coming. Since the Great Venue Purge of 2007, the gig was back at the weird Econolodge, unfortunately redecorated to look like a cappuccino. Thankfully, legal gambling in VLTs still persisted there, the calculatingly hypnotic lights matching the mad gels. It looked like Halloween. As the three ladies plunged through their living homage to Heart, womanhood and limp-dicked boyfriends, drummer Tash Fryzuk — the show’s organiser — visibly eyed the door several thousand times. Thus, as Lily and Hank, and Meatdraw finally crashed through it the relief was as massive as the rescue effort that got them here. A cab ride of several hundred dollars, one of Meatdraw’s fathers-in-law driving all the way down and up again to get the gear (though band members are left behind); no wonder everyone got drunk so fast. It’s all worth it as Lily and Hank — behind his bizarre gasmask and chomped cowboy hat — sang the tale of how all men secretly need a finger up their "patootie.” Lily drummed standing up; she also had deer horns and sang in the dirtiest little girl voice ever heard. The show was really great. As bands oozed together, the night wore on, and Meatdraw Merek Tyler’s maracas joined Amy Van Keeken’s star tambourine. Web designers and local theatre folk erased the line between stage and crowd, freaky pop music all quite silly despite being seriously played. Next time you get married, this should be the line-up. Just save a little extra for cab fare.