Uprise! Festival Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall, Calgary AB - April 14 to 15, 2006

Regular displacement of the Calgary all-ages scene motivated a group of older alumni to start saving for a permanent all-ages venue. To be run in the same socially conscious and punk spirit as its philanthropic namesake, the Joe Strummer Memorial Hall is modelled after Berkeley’s 924 Gilman Street Project. The Uprise! Festival was the first fundraiser for the hall. Tightly organised, there was barely one second of silence between the bands performing on two side-by-side stages. Understanding the urgency of having a permanent all-ages hall, all the bands played for free. Expectedly, a smattering of punk rock was lovingly provided by the Failure, Fallout Frequency, Madcowboys, Rum Runner, Lions and Tigers and Bears, the Skitzos, Bogart, Billy and the Lost Boys, the Falling Pianos and Your Bleeding Heart. Sheglank’d Shoulders drew smiles with big rock guitars and 90-second anthems like "Paradise is an Empty Skate Park.” Dressed in Betty Crocker ’50s housewife attire, the Trophy Wives offered up a charming rockabilly spin on the Muffs and Bikini Kill. The ska/funk of Five Star Affair and the gal/guy fronted political punk rock of the Martyr Index proved to be ultimate crowd pleasers. The latter released dozens of balloons made in an Argentinean factory reclaimed by liberated workers. Bands whose songs could have left listeners with two black eyes and a bloody nose were represented by Kilbourne, As Astraea Falls, the Suicideboys, Alivia, Far From Skinny and the Ghost Cried Murder. One of the more imaginative purveyors of noise, the Incandescence ended their set and career by dropping to the floor while sawing away at down-tuned guitars with shredded drumsticks. Incredible surprises came from the eerie, epic and wildly innovative experimental rock outfit Beija Flor and the industrial two-man team behind Hydraulic Empire. Sudden Infant Dance Syndrome (SIDS) lived up to their hype by trotting out frenetic new wave covers and originals to the mass approval of the crowd and their trio of "interpretive” dancers. Indie rock was charismatically represented by the Pants Situation, Facing Defeat, the Silent Auction and the Rocky Fortune. Legendary Calgary bands such as Chixdiggit, Forbidden Dimension, Von Zippers, Knucklehead, Hot Little Rocket, Vailhalen and the Ramblin’ Ambassadors impressed with spot-on performances. The all-ages audience proved to be up for the lengthy weekend event; they created their own percussive section by spontaneously clapping in time, leapt on stage to dance beside bands and sang along without flubbing lyrics. It's easy to see why everyone wants a permanent hall for this loyal and intensely attentive audience.