My tepid relationship with the Commonwealth (the bar, not the intergovernmental organisation)

Leave a comment

2012/11/21 by Mr. DNA

I have realized that I have developed a love/hate relationship with the Commonwealth.

No, silly. Not THAT Commonwealth.

I am speaking, of course, of the bar on 10th Ave. in downtown Calgary.

Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few things that I like about the place! The “bar snacks” are yummy, it has a kind of rustic, industrial chic, and in just a short amount of time they have been able to bring in some pretty amazing out-of-town talent (like DJ Shadow and James Murphy).

But here’s a rundown (in the form of a rant) on what has caused my feelings to run as tepid as a comfortable lizard:

Coming off a high of seeing Shut Up and Play the Hits down at Commonwealth earlier this year, ordering the blu-ray and recently watching all four hours of concert footage from LCD Soundsystem’s last show, I was pretty pumped when they announced that James Murphy was going to be doing a DJ set in Calgary.

$30 was a little steep to watch a guy spin records, but I figured that this was a rare opportunity, and (expense be damned!) I was going to enjoy myself.

My ticket (and their website) stated that the show started at 7:00. Not “Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 8:00;” just 7:00.
I figured, hey, James Murphy’s gettin’ older, it’s a Sunday night, maybe they just wanna get things going and wrap up early!
Foolishly, I showed up (you guessed it!) at 7:00. Well, frankly, even shortly thereafter.

‘Eyyyyyyy! Fashionably late! Rollin’ in style with the cool kids!

Apparently, I didn’t get the memo.
The show starts at 9:00? Ohhhhhhhh, I’m sorry … I should have known this show was running on HST (Hipster Standard Time)!

The upstairs wasn’t even OPEN until 9:00.

Well! Nothin’ to do but hang around for a couple hours and drink!
The plus+side of this is that the bartender recommended a really great beer. I had never gone out of my for Kronenbourg before, but I was fairly impressed with their wheat beer variety, Kronenbourg Blanc. Crisp, refreshing, fruity and tart. I have since bought a six pack and drank the whole thing. Delicious. Thanks bartender guy!

Once 9:00 rolled around, the upstairs was opened. All of the people (my fellow idiots) who had shown up early were directed to the ticket window to hand in our tickets.
Only problem was that a queue had formed, including people who had JUST shown up. The dumb earlybirds were forced to wait outside (which was bitterly cold), while all the tickets were sorted out.
These things happen. Water under the bridge!

Once finally upstairs, there was a “warm-up” DJ to get things going.
Okay, that’s not too surprising! Why wouldn’t we expect an “opening act?”


By the time James Murphy finally got on stage, it was after 12:30.

“Yr Laptop’s a Sucker!”

I don’t want to complain … okay, yes I do.
By the end of it, James Murphy’s set was an hour and a half at most.

I can’t help feeling just a little ripped off by paying $30 to see an hour and half of James Murphy an three and a half hours of some other guy who, frankly, I don’t really care to see! It’s as if I paid $10 to see James Murphy and $20 for this guy. No offense to the opener, he did a good job and I don’t doubt that he’s a talented individual, but I’m just not in the mood, man. Especially when you play five Talking Heads songs, two Blondie songs and two different versions of “Electric Feel” in one set. Isn’t there some kind of unwritten DJ rule on that?

Look, I don’t wanna bag on this poor guy. Truthfully, my frustration wasn’t with him, it was the organization of the event, the late night and the exhaustion I felt once everything was over and done with.

Either way, James Murphy was great. He is massively talented and his musical taste is impeccable. I only wish it wasn’t so late when he came on.

Murphy bein’ Murphy.

The icing on the Commonwealth cake was that I came back the next night.

Mark Sultan was playing, the show was being put on by Roses Music Press (who do awesome, awesome stuff in the city of Calgary) and it was only $8 … how could I resist?

Scarred from the night before, I hung around home for as long as I could before heading down.

I showed up at about 11:30 …
to see Mark Sultan play his last song.

And there you have it folks! A long-winded diatribe on my mixed feelings with Commonwealth! If you have somehow read this far, I highly recommend you leave your computer, smartphone, what have you, and go do something productive! Go climb a tree! Go skin a cat! Okay, don’t skin a cat. Just go do something!

Some content on this page was disabled on 2016/05/19 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from You can learn more about the DMCA here:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: