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'Turn it down!'

Local punk musicians unplug the amps for a rare quiet night out

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/6/2016 (1314 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For the first time, Winnipeg’s punk community is going acoustic.

Volume 1 of the the Unplugged Punk series kicks off June 17 with a roster of performers that includes Chris Sawatzky of the Ripperz, Joanne Rodriguez of Chica BoomBoom, Ryan McConnell of the Proud Sons, Martin LaFreniere of Clipwing and Johannes Lodewyks of the Noble Thiefs, who is also organizing the event.

"This is a concert series I’ve had in my head for a few years now. The Winnipeg punk scene has always been very strong, but it’s always been specifically one thing — loud guitars and drum kits," says Lodewyks. "I think there’s definitely an audience — Winnipeg has such a great singer-songwriter scene but not really much in the punk scene; it doesn’t happen much. I think there’s a lot of people that are craving that aspect of it, really having that intimate vibe between you and the singer for these punk rock bands that you love.

"I want it to be a collective thing that we could all do. It’s something I came up with, but I think it was in the back of a lot of people’s minds."

Ryan McConnell</p>

Ryan McConnell

To enhance that intimacy, the show will take place in the smaller hall (Assiniboine Credit Union Community Hall) just off of the foyer of the West End Cultural Centre. The room has a capacity of around 80.

"The West End jumped on board right away, which is very cool that they would have a show in their ACU hall on a Friday night and opt out of having a show in the big room," says Lodewyks. "That means the world to me."

The point of the event, says Lodewyks, is to introduce Winnipeg punk fans to a different interpretation of the punk aesthetic; to acknowledge not everyone wants to stay out until 2 a.m., getting tossed around a mosh pit and having their ears ring the whole next day. He feels it’s important to have an outlet to enjoy live punk music in an alternative way.

"This is something that’s never happened in Winnipeg before, having these punk rock frontmen and frontwomen that are always just seen with amps and drum kits... and it’s something that’s kinda going on in the global punk community. It’s being received really well — seeing people like Chuck Ragan from (Florida punk act) Hot Water Music go acoustic and do better with his acoustic stuff than he did with his band," he says.

Each musician will perform a set of stripped-down versions of some of their most popular tunes, though it took a bit of talking to get some of them to rejig a collection of songs that were meant to be heard at eardrum-bursting decibels.

"The ones that needed convincing, they thought it was a great idea but had apprehensions because they had never done it," says Lodewyks, adding nudging people out of their comfort zone is an additional benefit to events such as this one.

"The songs that don’t translate (to acoustic), it’s fun to kind of change them up, especially for people who have heard them before, and then they hear it in a different light," he says.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @NireRabel

Joanne Rodriguez</p>

Joanne Rodriguez

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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