Folk Festival 2019
“This is for the Rheostatics — we are all richer for having seen them tonight.”
That’s how Gord Downie introduced the opening track on the Tragically Hip’s Live Between Us, and it’s a feeling shared by legions of fans of one of Canada’s most beloved cult bands. As adored by critics as they were ignored by the masses, the Rheostatics drew from the distinct voices of Dave Bidini, Tim Vesely, Martin Tielli and Dave Clark to create an impossibly eclectic catalogue. The polished pop rock of “Claire,” their sole chart hit, sat alongside art rock, new wave, progressive rock and other, less easily classified audio explorations.
Their creative restlessness earned the Rheostatics a stream of accolades in their 1990s prime. In 1996, two Rheos albums made the top 20 of Chart Magazine’s 100 best Canadian albums;. In 2000, they landed two albums in the top five. But that eclecticism was anathema to their record labels, who never quite figured out how to market their chaotic creations and after a few lineup shifts, the band eventually called it quits in 2006.
Unsurprisingly, they’ve kept busy in the intervening years. In 2007, Bidini and Tielli joined up with Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit to create Five Hole: Tales of Hockey Erotica. Solo projects and creative offshoots have abounded, from Bidiniband to Vesely’s Velvet Archers and Clark’s The Dinner Is Ruined. But the unforgettable alchemy of the core quartet proved impossible to ignore and in 2016 the announcement that fans were waiting for finally came: long live the Rheostatics. After a decade of waiting, we can see them again and they’re releasing an album of new material. We are all richer for it.
Biography by Peter Hemminger
A solo performance
Friday July 26, 2019
7:40 PM – 8:35 PM · ATB Main Stage