The Manluk Theatre may never be the same again after one of the premier homegrown bands in Wetaskiwin performs in the newly renovated venue Oct. 14.
Punch Drunk Cabaret, featuring vocalist/guitarist Randy Bailer, bassist Terry “Sawbones” Grant and percussionist Capt. Sean E. Watt, with their trademark psychobilly rock/swing/dance sound, will be breaking in the Manluk Theatre following the stage’s recent upgrade of new seating, lighting and more.
PDC was founded six years ago by Bailer, a Wetaskiwin singer/songwriter who, at that time, didn’t see much of a future in music. “Six years ago I didn’t,” said Bailer by phone Oct. 6.
He said he’d been in the Alberta music scene for 20 years, half of that with the same outfit writing and performing music that critics seemed to love but seemed to fall short of the same level of success commercially. Bailer said, facing another line-up change at that time, he simply decided to walk away and delve into solo time. He wrote some music, played some demos for friends and struck gold.
“This is really good,” quoth close friends when hearing that work. “We should build a band around this.” Punch Drunk Cabaret was born and carved out a name in the music scene, released three albums, the most recent being 2016’s “Electrik Steam Show,” a library of music available for download and generated lots of positive buzz.
Why? “The demographic is so wide,” said Bailer. “I think it’s just the way we mix up genres.”
If by “mix up” Bailer means karate-kicking notes, words and attitude into a nuclear-powered blender and blasting the resultant chemical marriage straight at the audience, he knows his job well. Bailer said music has been part of his life since childhood, where his influences included ’57 Chevy rock n roll, swing beats and early Hank Williams country and western combined with the rock explosion of the 80’s that all became part of the peculiar PDC sound.
He calls it “roots music,” something that appeals to music fans. “We play it pretty aggressively,” he added.
The Manluk Theatre show will be the new facility’s unveiling. Bailer said it gives the band a chance to play music off their new album.
He said “Electrik Steam Show,” released last spring, was given the proper genesis, including ample writing time, plus recording sessions close by in Hanna with mixing in Saskatoon. “We’re very, very happy with it,” he said. “We were just able to spend more time with it.”
Bailer feels the third album is their best-sounding yet because it merges their original influences with their trademark sound.
Bailer said he’s looking forward to all their fans packing the Manluk Oct. 14 to break in the theatre’s dance floor to PDC’s up-tempo rockabilly sprinkled with audience participation.
The only challenge at Punch Drunk Cabaret’s show? Trying to have as much fun as the band is having. “It really is this sort of natural reaction,” said Bailer. “You’re just sort of possessed by the music.”
Bailer said he’d love it if music fans checked out PDC’s work before the show, and invites fans to dress up rockabilly, steampunk or similar for the show. “We always want the audience to participate with us. It’s more fun that way.”
The Manluk theatre is located at 5002 55 Ave Wetaskiwin. The Oct. 14 show has doors open at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Tickets are only $20 advance and are available at Warren’s Music, Beans Coffee House and the theatre. Tickets at the door are $25.
Punch Drunk Cabaret’s music is available for download on iTunes and more information is available on the band’s website, www.punchdrunkcabaret.com, including their latest video.