Updated: Aug 14
By Scott Roos
Photos by Deanna Roos of Contingent Colours Photography
This past Saturday, July 29th, punk acts Tadoma and 66 Aces tore up the stage at the Spice Trail in Prince Albert in front of a modest but enthusiastic crowd of onlookers. This was the latest in a series of shows staged at this venue produced by Threadbare Productions over the past several months. In general, Threadbare’s commander in chief Clay Cottingham has done a phenomenal job bringing in touring acts to Prince Albert whilst at the same time providing some local to Saskatchewan flavour. Every show has brought something new to the musical palettes of those in attendance.
As a performance space, the Spice Trail is a real trip. It’s a restaurant that serves up authentic Indian cuisine with the “Lounge Trishna” being a separate space from the main dining area where the shows occur. The lounge is “U” shaped with a working bar in the center (Threadbare shows are all ages so don’t worry kiddos. You can go!). To the left of the bar is where Cottingham sets up his makeshift sound booth and it’s also where artists set up merch tables. To the right is a small seating and dining area. Directly in front of the bar is where the bands set up their gear. There’s usually a bit of room in front of the bands so most people prop up chairs so they can sit and watch. The entire room is a cozy and intimate environment that can accommodate around 50 people give or take. The burnt orange walls give off a calming vibe which is a bit of a juxtaposition compared to the loud music that takes place there on the regular. Also worth mentioning - the food is delicious.
*Tadoma photos by Deanna Roos
This was Tadoma’s second time playing The Spice Trail and, like the last time they came out, they did not disappoint. It was clear from the outset that this was not their first Spice Trail rodeo. Witches, magic and talking cats were the subject matter of choice as vocalist Caleb Frey snarled out his Hetfield-esque musing whilst his guitar howled along sympathetically. Guitarist Jason McCord added some blues imbibed leads for that extra flavour. The rhythm section of Jeff McCord on the bass and much beloved Humboldt scenester Corri Barnes on the skins filled out the sound effectively. All in all, Tadoma, with their catchy, hook laden songs, and “off the beaten path” horror punk lyrics are a real treat. If you see they are coming to your town - GO! They put on a great show.
*66 Aces pics by Deanna Roos. L to R: Brent Stadnick, Acey Lonsberry and Corri Barnes
Finally it was time for 66 Aces to take the stage and they were all in from the moment frontman/guitarist Acey Lonsberry strummed the first chord. Swapping out the drum kit for a bass guitar, Corri Barnes held down the bottom end with a potent level of force. Drummer Brent Stadnick pounded his kit without mercy - there was no quarter for his drum skins this night. In short, the musicality of this band was off the chain.
A whirling dervish of enthusiasm, Lonsberry, as he sang into his cordless “Madonna” mic, was a bundle of energy. Prowling the stage like an uncaged animal (the Tasmanian devil comes to mind), and sometimes even running through the venue like a madman, he put his all into every song and that is admirable. Often breathless as he spoke to the onlookers in between songs, gulping water and then going right back into beast mode, Lonsberry was indeed a sight to behold. These guys are the real deal folks and would be a welcome opener to any “big name” touring punk rock act that swings through Saskatchewan, guaranteed.
So, at the end of the day, the shows keep rolling through The Spice Trail. Check the Threadbare Productions facebook page for info on future shows. Stuff is actually happening in PA. Cottingham is working slowly and methodically to reconstruct a much beloved scene. Dedication, love and support in the direction of Threadbare is needed for these things to continue. This is not a vain attempt at guilt tripping you, dear reader. It’s just a simple statement of facts.