By Gabriel Rodrigues
On Feb. 28 to March 2, The Almighty Rhombus, a local band, hosted the first annual Big Basement Show, and according to one of its members, a festival like this creates a “positive impact in the community.”
“We wanted this show to have it all,” said Clayton Drake. “This is a first for the Sudbury music scene, and the basic idea is that we do have awesome bands here and it’s a cool city when you know it and not everyone gets to see it. So we wanted to get these bands to get other contacts and also have bands from out of town meet some of the talent this city has to offer.”
The Big Basement Show took place at the Grace Hall and the Townehouse Tavern from Friday to Sunday, where people from all ages got the chance to enjoy 20 bands from across Canada.
This three-day event included local acts Coast Redwood, Echoes The Lion, Strange Attractor, Pistol George Warren and of course, The Almighty Rhombus.
Some of the out of town bands featured was Public Animal and the Ketamines who are both from Toronto, and Shotgun Jimmie, who was long-listed for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize, which is just a name of few.
Drake and The Almighty Rhombus began planning this event since September, and said many of the bands that performed “were on board right away.”
“We didn’t have to deal with any booking agents,” he said. “It was really nice because this is a grassroots thing where we don’t have much money to play around with. So it was awesome of the bands who showed interest in playing in this show.”
Although the Big Basement Show was to promote different bands around Sudbury and across the nation, Drake said he wanted this show to have interesting activities throughout the three-day festival, which included a neon sliding party, a punk vest workshop and a variety of classic arcade games to choose from.
“We wanted to make it feel comfortable,” said Drake. “It’s always a challenge to think about how you can make your event more than just a show because we’ve all been to shows and sometimes, it’s kind of boring, especially if you are there for six or seven hours. You want it to be something more than just the music.”
Drake said he made the event an all-ages show to bring in a youthful crowd to “inspire the next generation of musicians” in the city.
“Most of these bands are all at that level where they are just about to break into the music scene,” he said. “To see all these cool bands will hopefully interest teenagers to create their own. I’m trying to keep an eye out but I have no clue who the teenage bands are now. There has to be some High school bands jamming in their parents’ basement. So I’m hoping they will come out of the woodwork after this event.”
The Almighty Rhombus began playing together since 2011, and according to Drake, putting on a show like this not only gives a chance for local bands to make connections, but “rallies the community together to create our own music scene.”
“I believe this city has plenty of talent,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to make waves in the larger Canadian music scene. It has been affective in creating a buzz in Toronto and all around the country. So it’s very interesting to see what we did accomplish in our hometown, and we are hoping this is just another stepping stone for us in that progression.”
Steph Duchesne, drummer for local band Pistol George Warren that performed at the Grace Hall on Saturday night, said the Big Basement Show is “definitely a cool way” to promote some of the talent in this city.
“Sudbury needs a couple of more things like this,” said Duchesne. “It’s the first and it’s still trying to get its name out there but in years to come, I could see this festival getting more attention from bigger bands. But, it’s always nice to be somewhere new listening to some music because it brings something out of you as a musician and fan.”
Growing up as an aspiring musician, Duchesne was fortunate to experience many different music festivals when he was a part of Le Groupe 17 when he was going to High school at Macdonald-Cartier in Sudbury.
Duchesne said it’s good to see so many new young faces during the event because it shows “that there’s still kids finding their passion in music.”
“I see myself in them,” he said. “I was that little punk grunge kid going to different shows because I loved it. So, it’s cool that love of music is still kicking around.”