The Folsoms
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The Folsoms

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Band Rock Punk




"Under the covers"

There’s going to be plenty of things going on this weekend amidst the frenzy of candy-hoarding children, but if you strongly believe that rock ’n’ roll and Halloween should be intertwined, à la Black Sabbath, then it’s probably in your best interest to attend Tubby Dog’s second annual Halloween covers night on Saturday, October 29. The value is considerable — there are a total of six bands, each of whom will be covering a different band. There’s also an MC, DJ duo Tape Fear, with a cassette-only set, and, of course, the restaurant’s namesake delicacy. Best of all, the show is free. Here’s a little run down of what you can expect to have happen to your ears:


If there’s anyone out there reading this who thinks that only ironic, hipster pseudo-punks would think to cover a band that Blink 182 calls their greatest influence, keep reading because this is for you — you’re full of shit. It’s been over 10 years since the ’90s, so it’s officially safe to whip out your copy of Boogadaboogadaboogada (don’t act like you haven’t got one), and mosh yourself into a neck injury. And if you’ve ever seen Sabertooth whip a crowd into a frenzy with their own brand of raw and wild Weasel-nodding pop-punk, then you’re already in the know. “They’re a band of our youth, our adolescence, teenage years, fucking adulthood,” Sabertooth frontman Ryder Thalheimer says. “We even listened to their new record. I think we’re the only ones that bought that record.”


I needn’t repeat what I said earlier about pop-punk, but Green Day doesn’t even count. For legions of youngsters, Dookie opened doors, closed doors, put blankets under the doors, and made them smoke weed until their moms asked if they were harbouring skunks. It was snotty, catchy and best of all, there were swear words. I dare any bass player working today to pick up their instrument and avoid playing the riff from “Longview.” At last year’s Halloween cover show, equally snotty and doubly gnarly hardcore/pop-punks Grown-Ups played a Blink 182 cover set, and everyone was about to have a nice hearty laugh until the room exploded and the audience stole both microphones to scream along. Expect a reprise.

“We love pop-punk, the songs are fun, and the crowd has fun,” says Grown-Ups drummer Sara Hughes. “Instead of doing some punk band that everyone thinks is cool, but isn’t as fun, we’d rather go the fun route! Maximum fun for everyone involved!”


It was not so long ago that the music press blew their own dam of criticism and flooded the rock world with praise for Is This It, the debut album from Brooklyn cool kids The Strokes. The consensus still holds that it was one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll debuts of all time. Despite being a tad more unhinged and wile than their cover set subjects (okay, a lot more), Wasted Wealth admit that they’re still obsessed with it. “The other guys are in a punk band, and I had come out of being in these kind of hardcore bands, and we realized that we had all been listening to Is This It, so we said we should start a rock band,” says Wasted Wealth frontman Keaton Pridham. “This is kind of an excuse for us to indulge in that.”


In case you need to switch up your dance moves at some point during the night, The Shrapnelles’ selection of songs from straight-faced, British art-punks Wire are likely to have the audience twitching and jerking. Remember, the maximum fun rule applies to all bands, so there is no opting out, even if you haven’t had a chance to hear Wire’s seminal 1978 statement, Pink Flag, or are not used to the twitching and jerking. The Shrapnelles’ all-girl garage-rock elicits similar reactions when they take the stage with their own raucous, noise-laden jams, so if you’ve seen them before, you know, just act like that. “It’s one of those albums that we’ve listened to a thousand times, so it’s not like we’re going to be onstage and forget where the changes are. We just know it,” boasts Shrapnelles guitarist Rizz Jizz.


I have to admit, I don’t really know what to make of power-pop juggernauts The Gooeys doing a Partridge Family cover set. It’s not like the ’70s TV pop stars had a penchant for starting rowdy parties, and you may not need to hold on to your hats. Still, it will be fascinating to see what Craig Storm and co. do with the material. “Some of their stuff is kind of terrible, but there are some gems in there,” Storm says. “I’m pretty sure those are the ones we’re doing.”


It would be pretty insane if one man were able to rap an entire set of songs from New York hip-hop crew Wu-Tang Clan’s legendary Enter the 36 Chambers. Then there would be parts where everyone is trying to rap along but they don’t really know the verse, and it gets kind of awkward. That’s why Grown-Ups and Wasted Wealth member Andrew P. Giles is doing condensed versions he recorded himself that only feature the verses he knows and thinks everyone else will be able to rap along to. Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to “eff” with. “I remember one time coming home, I was listening to Wu-Tang, and I really wanted to rap along, so I grabbed the microphone from my drawer,” Giles recalls. “I remember reading the lyrics and getting really into it. I nailed it, I got everything nailed perfectly. I was like ‘This is incredible, it’s four in the morning and I have to work later!’ I felt so alive.”


Garage-punk newcomers The Folsoms are reckless with their rock ’n’ roll. Reckless enough to cover the Mummies, a loose, buzz-heavy garage band from the early ’90s known for their unhinged behaviour. It’s also super convenient, as the band’s Nick Sawchuk admits, “They’re a great Halloween band, ’cause you don’t have to worry about a costume. You pigeonhole yourself from the get-go if you’re gonna play as the Mummies.” - FFWD Calgary

"Drink beer and kill poseurs"

To the uninitiated passerby, Sixth Street S.W. probably seems like just another quiet, unassuming Beltline side street. The dilapidated houses that line it, however, have developed something of a reputation among the city’s more rambunctious youth. Inhabited by a constantly shifting group of youngsters, a sort of mythology has been built up surrounding the street, the people who hang out on it, and the bands that play in its living rooms and basements. Some people even talk, occasionally jokingly, about “the sixth street sound,” which exists not so much as a style of music but as an ideology that centres on camaraderie and resourcefulness. This is best personified in the form of a tight-knit garage-punk band called The Folsoms.

The three members of The Folsoms live and practise on Sixth Street and have known each other for most of their young adult lives. “I’ve known Dylan (Cameron) since Grade 7, and we’ve known Kyle (Buhler) since just a little after that, from going to house parties,” says Nick Sawchuk, who plays guitar and sings in the band. “We would all skateboard together all the time. Then Kyle went on a long vacation, and when he came back we said, ‘We’re starting a band.’”

One of The Folsoms’ first shows was at a party in their neighbour’s living room. Despite having to borrow gear, and having to do without a microphone, the band played a ferocious and captivating set propelled by a wall of feedback and a don’t-give-a-fuck attitude. “All the gear had a crazy amount of drive on it, and we just sounded like a punk band,” recalls Cameron, The Folsoms’ bassist and occasional vocalist.

Shortly afterwards, the band was asked to play the most recent annual Tubby Dog Halloween cover show. Again, despite being the opening band on a six-band bill, they wowed a well-over-capacity audience with a theatrical Mummies cover set that was, arguably, the highlight of the night. “We really didn’t want to blow that one because that’s a band that, if you’re going to cover it, it’s got to be good,” says Sawchuk. “It was a production of sorts, really.”

“What we were kind of striving for,” adds Cameron, “was the raw power of the Mummies.”

The Folsoms are quick to point out, however, that they are not just another blown-out, balls-to-the-wall party punk band. “Someone said we sounded like Black Flag and I was like, ‘That’s weird. When you come again, you’ll be surprised,’” says Sawchuk, referring to the band’s willingness to explore a broader range of sounds. Aiming for “pretty rock ’n’ roll with the odd, tender moment,” Sawchuk says, “If there was a four-way split and it was the Oblivians, Teengenerate, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, and then we were on the fourth side, you’d listen to the other three sides and then you’d hear us and you’d get it. This is in a perfect world.”

The Folsoms are equally deliberate about their recording choices. “I like a raw sound. But when we actually record, we’re going to shoot for good production value and have the primitive, raw aspect come through musically and not using crappy recording gear to make it sound like that,” says Sawchuk. “The best bands that sound like that don’t rely on the studio to make them sound that way.”

As for their thoughts about upcoming performances, the band just seems to want to have fun, hang out with friends and cultivate their DIY aesthetic. “We’ve played Vicious Circle one too many times,” Cameron says with a laugh. “We want to play more house parties. I think that’s a good element for us. You feel right at home!” - FFWD Calgary


Still working on that hot first release.



Formed in 2011, The Folsoms Are a garage punk band hailing From Calgary Alberta.