FULL FORCE - Punch Drunk Cabaret are gearing up for a show at The Vat on March 17th.

Punch Drunk Cabaret plays The Vat for St. Paddy’s Day

Band includes Red Deer as show stop

Popular band Punch Drunk Cabaret will be hitting the stage on St. Paddy’s Day at The Vat.

The show comes on the heels of a newly-released live video of the guys’ re-imagined version of Sweet Dreams/Love Cats.

Director/editor Mark Remple of Point of View Media wasted no time completing the eight-camera shoot, according to the band’s web site.

Although the audience and the show were beyond expectation, 50% of the crew was lost to separate and unrelated health issues days before the shoot. But never fear – the guys – and the jubilant audience, came through in spades and the final result is a polished, energetic and superb showcase of what the band is all about.

To date, they hadn’t done a ‘live’ type of video.

“The goal was to get across what we do live, and capture that relationships between the band and the audience,” explained frontman Randy Bailer, adding it was a fun experience to simply do a ‘live’ video. “People like the conceptual videos – it’s kind of a fictional production. So finally we said okay – this is what we’ve got to do.”

The next step was getting folks to attend and enjoy the production process. With videos of this type, the song has to be shot a few times and then a single video is edited from the various shoots, showcasing the best moments.

“It can be a concern going in – what’s your turnout going to be? Is that going to be the night we have a blizzard and nobody can make it. Are they going to be intimidated that there are going to be cameras around?”

Ultimately, there was no need to worry.

“They were just beyond expectation. They couldn’t have reacted better – they’re just a big part of the success of that video,” he said. “And that’s really our story – when the audience embraces these things, it all goes so well.

“There’s sure a lot more to it then meets the eye – and it’s one of the reasons we keep using (director) Mark Remple over and over again – he’s so intuitive to these kinds of things and he has such a good sense of rhythm.

“When a guy has a sense of rhythm, your cuts are landing on the downbeats – it’s a whole different experience,” he said. “We worked really hard to capture and maintain the authenticity of it. Some of it, it’s like you are onstage with the band and some of it, it feel like you are right in there with the crowd.”

Meanwhile, the band continues to be in demand, already having shows lined up at seven festivals this summer across Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.

“Another sign of growth for us is that the summer is filling up like no summer before,” he said. “That’s really exciting and the sort of thing that really gives you hope this time of year,” he added with a laugh, referring to what can be pretty bleak weather through March. “Through the winter that never ends, you just keep thinking about those summer gigs. It’s the life-blood for a band like us.

“They are typically so well attended that you expand your fan base exponentially by playing them. They are just so important.”

That’s especially true in tough economic times like Alberta is going through right now. Bailer said, for example, it was something of a challenge to maintain the same number of gigs in 2016 as it was the year prior.

Meanwhile, their superb latest release, Electrik Steam Show, was released last spring. The project was also the first to feature drummer Capt. Sean E. Watts as well as Bailer’s newly-found baritone guitar. Rounding out the group is bassist Terry Sawbones Grant.

The band mixes rockabilly, roots, and swing into a high energy cocktail of rousing, sing-a-long choruses and dance floor packing rhythms. Bailer noted that it’s hard to believe that seven years have already gone by since the band’s inception. “It makes my head spin because it seemed like just yesterday the band was just two years old.”

And no matter the challenges of being indie musicians, Bailer can’t imagine a more fulfilling path to take.

A small part of being in the biz focuses on the blast that the guys have onstage performing and the joys of hitting the road.

“But even that 10 per cent is usually so great – there is nothing like that exchange of energy between a band and an audience. When you play a show and people tell you afterwards how much the music means to them – they may not even have known you were on the bill – but afterwards they are so compelled to tell you what you did for them that evening.

“There is nothing quite like that. There’s the cathartic experience of playing and then the flip-side of that when you get to hang out with people afterwards and they are grateful for the service you provide,” he said.

“I don’t think any of us take it for granted.”

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com