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Saturday, April 03, 2010

The World's Best Wedding Singer? Maybe

After hearing a lot of buzz about the top notch beer and pub food offered at Calgary's Wild Rose Brewery, I had an opportunity to check it out last week and leaped at the opportunity to cross another much-balleyhooed Western Canadian haunt off my list.  

As I walked through the door of the quonset-like structure that houses the brewery and taproom/pub at the old Calgary Currie Military Base (next to the Calgary Farmers' Market), I was struck by a number of things. First, the crowd was.....well.....let's just say, eclectic.  The young, the old, the blue-collar, the artsy; all had come together to sit together and enjoy Wild Rose's micro-brewed offerings fresh from the taps. Second, the aroma of pub food wafting through the place. In particular, the smell of ribs hung heavy in the air. Last, and perhaps most surprisingly, a band was setting up on some kind of raised platform in the brewery portion of the room. A band? In a brewery? Strange. So I asked one of the many friendly staff who the band was. "I don't know. Some wedding singer who is playing for free to get some exposure. They're supposedly the best wedding band of all-time and claim to play 'everything good'." Hhhhmmmm. Was it possible? That not only was there a decent band in a brewery and a band that could really be in contention for the "best wedding band" around? I decided to order up some beer, ribs, meatballs and wings and to listen to The Ben Rose Wedding Band to decide for myself.

Into about my 3rd rib (which apart from a need to be a little more browned and less soggy were pretty damn good), I heard the band rip into Weezer's "Island In The Sun", one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands.  Great job, and made better by a pint of Wild Rose's "Velvet Fog" (delicious, but the cause of a subsequent Herculean hangover). Then it was Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game", which is really not a number that a lightweight singer would want to quarrel with. Great job again. Could it be? Could this be the best wedding band of all time? A few songs and pints later, I received my confirmation that this was certainly the best wedding band and maybe, one of the best cover bands I had ever heard, when I heard their version of the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love". The Ben Rose version was a mildly rocked up version of the original, not the tripe-wrapped Phil Collins bastardization from a few years back. As the evening went on, song after song exhibited a well-chosen and well-played version of great songs crossing many genres. I should note that the female singer in the band added particular flair to the set, as did Ben's red smoking jacket. Upon further investigation, I see that Ben and the gang have a CD out (Cowtown) that is available through links on their website, or iTunes.  'Ol Knox will be grabbing it shortly.

As for Wild Rose, great beer and decent, yet not earth-shattering food (the "under-crisping" of the items, the wings in particular, was a bit unpalatable to me). Anyway, grab a 6 pack of "Velvet Fog", Ben's CD and order some of those over-baked, soggy wings from one of the pizza chains and you have yourself a pretty good night and something like I experienced last week in Cowtown.

Posted by Knox Harrington on April 3, 2010 in Canadian music, Food and Drink | Permalink


Interesting. This is the first post that I've read about wedding singers. This is really interesting to read. Thanks.

Posted by: Luigi | Poster Printing | 2010-04-23 1:31:26 AM

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