Steampunk swing at Lake Louise

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LAKE LOUISE – Punch Drunk Cabaret is a steampunk band that shakes fast swing-style rhythms and multi-layered lyrics into a high-octane musical cocktail served to its audience with no ice. 

The band is set to play an upcoming show at the Explorer’s Lounge in Lake Louise on Aug. 17 at 10 p.m. Punch Drunk is fresh off the release of its third album, This is a Disturbance, which features a track inspired by the location, titled “Revenge of Jake the Bear.” 

The song was inspired by a visit to the Lake Louise interpretive center last year, and tells the humorous tale of a bear “wound up like dynamite,” whom wishes to fight and “drink the liquor from your fridge.”

“The story of Jake the Bear was really something that resonated with us and you never know it at the time, but that was about to set the tone and the scene of the whole next record,” said frontman and guitar shredder Randy Bailer.  

“That’s some of that mysterious creative mojo. I’m not sure how creative people always connect the dots other than it was just a story that stayed with us. That story of Jake the Bear really came to the forefront of this pushback in society if you will.”

To that effect, This is a Disturbance lyrically tackles themes about social upheaval, conflict and the changing world, all in a tight, stadium rock style that will make it impossible to leave the dancing shoes at home. 

“It’s a shift for us; there’s some weightier themes on this album than there has been in the past, but the band hasn’t changed. If you come out to a show it’s a full on, old school, high energy, rock and roll show,” said Bailer.  

Punch Drunk Cabaret looks to infuse its audiences with energy and make them part of the show by being dynamic on the stage as well. Their rhythm section is composed of drummer Capt. Sean E. Watts, who plays a standup cocktail drum kit right out of the ’40s, and bassist Twotone Teddy Roy plays both an upright and electric bass.

“We consider the audience the fourth member of the band. We’re a three-piece band, and from the get go we noticed that people wanted to participate in the show. And that really set us on the path of what this band does,” said Bailer. 

“Energy is a very contagious kind of thing, and I think when an audience sees all three members of the band really soaking up the energy of it, they’re inclined to want to get involved.”

To help the audience participate and jam along, Punch Drunk Cabaret plays covers of popular music; such as the Eurythmics’ 1983 song Sweet Dreams in a steampunk swing style.

“For probably 30 per cent of our show we play cover songs in a way people probably have never seen before,” said Bailer. 

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Brandon Wilson