Saturday, May 11, 5 p.m.
Blind Beggar Pub (106 5211 Macleod Tr. S.W.)
Admission: $10 plus a non-perishable food donation
It all comes down to Paul Anka. (Doesn’t it always?) The appeal of the Canadian music icon and one-time teen idol was a key reason Calgary musician Matt Moya’s grandmother brought the family to Canada when fleeing strife-torn Chile.
“She chose Canada over Australia due to a hidden love of Paul Anka,” Moya says with a laugh.
But there’s a serious side to the backstory: during that time, Moya’s grandfather, Juan Rojas, was a prisoner of war in Chile’s Atacama Desert. After two years he was released and joined his family in Canada, and ended up being a role model for Moya – and inspiring the name of his band, Atacama Republic.
The rock trio, which includes bassist Dylan Johns and drummer Dan Olafson, will play Saturday night at the Blind Beggar Pub as part of the inaugural Billapalooza fundraiser for the Calgary Food Bank. The event is named for Bill Laplante, whose Big Bill’s Indie Underground webcast is closely linked to the original music scene at the Blind Beggar.
“It’ll be a fun party with a great cause,” Moya says. “I’m stoked.”
The night of original Calgary music begins at 5 p.m., with 10 bands slated to perform. Atacama Republic will be one of the anchor acts for the latter part of the night.
The band’s music could be described as melodic hard rock, with hints of Silverchair and Big Wreck – or Pearl Jam and Soundgarden at their most accessible. To these ears, Moya’s clear, midrange-y vocals stand up favourably next to any and all comparisons.
Billapalooza is a great chance to hear some of our city’s original bands, and at $10 plus a non-perishable food donation, it’s hard to argue with the value.