Prairie boys rock harder 

Despistado’s sound puts Canada’s planet Hoth on the map

Who: Despistado with Black Rice and the Doers

What: Punk Night

Where: Boot Pub

When: Sunday, Oct. 5

Tickets : $5

Picture a land where winter lasts for eight months, if you’re lucky. A land where people wear snowmobile suits to stay warm walking to and from their cars and the wind-chill makes an average day feel like absolute zero. The prairies are pretty much Canada’s equivalent of Planet Hoth, the iconic frozen wasteland from the Star Wars film series, and those that live there are hard core by mere geographic association.

Because of the weather, prairie bands spend a lot of time cooped up indoors, but instead of breaking their spirit, it seems to make them rock harder, a la the legendary Smalls. Since the Taber, Alta. group’s retirement last year, music fans have been waiting and anticipating another hard-rocking prairie band to love and shower with their undying loyalty.

An excellent candidate would be Despistado. Well established in their insular home scene in Regina, the foursome has recently released The Emergency Response , a six song EP of blasting post-punk laced with Jane’s Addiction-style vocals. They’ve currently embarked on a tour of familiar ground out west before they’ll do a 180 degree turn and take things as far as Quebec City.

It’s a chance for the hardworking band to get some much-deserved exposure. Though their hometown scene is highly regarded by guitarist Leif Thorseth, he admits Regina is often overlooked. However, he adds, the isolation and subsequent struggles to record and promote an independent band can make the group, and its music stronger.

"The way that I see it is that a lot of the musicians here are quite honest in what they’re doing," says Thorseth. "Because we’re isolated, the music here is more real. In a bigger city there are labels everywhere and a lot of bands make their demo without even touring because they have to do it. That’s the way it works. It’s an industry. Here, people just play the best music. They’ll have a set and a half and they haven’t even recorded yet."

For a band that takes its name from a Chilean term that loosely translates to mean a state of being anchorless, unfocused and confused the foursome appear to have the desire and the sound that will put Regina on the map.

Despistado comes through Whistler this Sunday to play Punk Night at the Boot. They’ll be bringing along Vancouver indie rockers Black Rice, who hit the anti-club crowd with a great set when they opened for 3 Inches of Blood here in September. It won’t be the first time the two bands have played together. According to Thorseth the bands are rock ’n’ roll soulmates, the kind that make for great energy at a show.

"We played with them in Vancouver, and we had a great time. We really connected as people," he says. "Then when they were touring through the prairies we played with them in Regina, and we had one of the best shows, so much fun. There’s a connection. We’re good friends now."

Catch Despistado with Black Rice and the Doers at the Boot Pub this Sunday night. Tickets $5 at the door.


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