Berner, Mark, Demeanor
(Vancouver, BC/Victoria, BC/Calgary, AB)
The Berner, Mark, Demeanor tour began in Vancouver as a drunken dare at one of Geoff Berner’s endless poker games back in ’14. Carolyn Mark had missed the last ferry and Kris Demeanor was in town promoting his latest self-help chap book The Asshole of Calgary - Dig It! Geoff’s wife Karina had been upstairs for most of the evening making her traditional late-night pierogis but when she came down to the den for a smoke, you could tell she was digging the sounds she was hearing by the look of love in her eyes as she uttered the now-historic phrase: "You guys should get out of here!"
Thus a touring trio of rag-tag musicians set off to make their fame and fortune around the world. Calgary proved to be especially welcoming and with its velvet bags of oil-soaked coins and soft hotel beds. Kris, Carolyn and Geoff even all recorded new albums (available in the merch tent!) in anticipation of their Folk Fest debut.
Here’s what the critics have had to say:
"It’s like Frank, Dino and Sammy but more obscure."
"If you guys need to go to a meeting, there’s one at 3."
"Boo! Freebird! More cowbell!"
Is Geoff Berner attempting to demolish traditional notions of klezmer music or is he giving punk a jolt of creativity from somewhere beyond left field? Only Berner knows for sure, but listening to him wail away on his accordion through songs that blend and merge these seemingly unconnected poles is well worth the effort. Berner’s klezmer is infused with raw energy, smatterings of hip-hop, touches of electronica and a sly sense of humour. His repertoire includes a Yiddish cover of David Bowie’s “Always Crashing in the Same Car” and songs that encourage swinging chickens (for good luck) and keeping it light enough to travel. In short, he’s not to be missed.
Alt-country singer-songwriter Carolyn Mark, the Queen of Vancouver Island, is all rockabilly style, infectious laughter and genuine warmth. She makes you feel like you’re hanging out with one of your best pals as you prepare for shenanigans.
She has the ability to break your heart and put it back together again with her sweet, funny, smart and searing lyrics. Her straight-forward, take-no-guff songs often balance on the knife’s edge between painful and comedic, finding humour in everyday disappointments. But the West Coast chanteuse will allow you only so long to wallow before she demands you get up and dance with her and laugh until you cry.
Calgary’s first official poet laureate, Kris Demeanor, emerged as a striking talent with his solo album in the late 90s. From the start, his gift for nailing down truths was obvious. So, too, was his penchant for singing the unspeakable: Gary Glitter’s girl, Saskatoon police “starlight tours” and the horror of designated bike lanes. Demeanor fearlessly experiments with sounds, genres, people and mediums. He’s co-written with Ian Tyson, played Cal Cavendish on stage, and was recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award as Best Supporting Actor for TheValley Below. So you can understand why there is not enough barbed wire, concrete, and irony to fence this astounding songwriter in.