Who’s ready for football?

The Fringe seems but a distant memory a month and a half later, doesn’t it? Those 10 days of performing nearly every night, sometimes with one or more of us Kows jumping straight into a #YEGprov show, feel like a lifetime ago, and the time since has been a blissful return to normalcy. As much as any of us Kows can call our lives normal, that is, since we are all busy people with a variety of interests. Sometimes these interests overlap, sometimes they don’t. We have three teachers, an IT guy, and a municipal admin guy in our ranks and that pulls us in different directions as well. What unites us is our years of friendship and love of music and performing. Oh, and possibly CFL football.

I’m not claiming to love football, but anyone following my Twitter knows that I was an Edmonton Rush lacrosse fan and am a proud Edmontonian. My love of sports is more patriotic than anything. I like being able to identify with a team and have them represent the city as they fly around the continent to play. I like having a proxy with which to wage good-natured battles of pride against our rival city, Calgary. I even like screaming like a curler during games. But I’m not exactly a follower of football. So I’ll go to a game or two because I love this city and I want our teams to do well, but I don’t follow players, don’t know about rivalries, and don’t care about trades or who’s getting what points.

That might change this Saturday, October 17, as your Boys From Moo Corner take the field at Commonwealth Stadium to sing our national anthem during a real live professional football game! Never mind that performing the anthem at a pro sports event was one of the goals we worked towards this past year. Never mind that we’ll be singing in front of thousands upon thousands of sports fans. We’ll be at Commonwealth Stadium, an Edmonton institution, with the storied Edmonton Eskimos football team! We will be a small part of Edmonton sports history. If you’re going to be at the game, cheer as loud for us as you would for a home team touchdown. If you can’t be there, wish us well in your heart of heart, because we’ll be going out there with all of our fans’ love and support. And support the Edmonton Eskimos. They’ve been really pleasant to deal with.

Go, Esks, go!

Eskimos anthem gig paraphernalia

Kow at Kaleido Fest!

If you’ve been jonesing for your post-Fringe Apocalypse Kow fix, you’re in luck! This weekend, Kow will be performing on Saturday and Sunday at the Kaleido Family Arts Festival! It’ll be our first time at the festival, so we hope to see a lot of our Kow fans in the crowd. It takes over several blocks of 118 avenue, and there is a ton of stuff going on all weekend. There will be storytellers, musicians, dancers, visual artists, workshops, games, and lots more for the entire family! The festival itself is free to attend (though they’d certainly appreciate donations) and you can find your Kows by checking the online schedule. Here’s a summary:

Saturday:  1:30pm – Arts Hub 118 Back Balcony; 3:30pm – Avenue Central Stage; 4:20pm – ReFresh Crosswalk

Sunday:  1:45pm – Avenue Central Stage; 2:30pm – ReFresh Crosswalk; 4:00pm – Paraiso Balcony

We’ll be singing a lot of our new stuff for this brand new audience, so if you missed us at Fringe, (and our Spring Fling) this is a great opportunity to hear new Kow music. We will also have CDs available for sale after each performance. Hope to see you all there!

Post-Fringe wrap-up 2014

Another Fringe has come and gone. The equipment and merchandise have been put away, voices are resting, and we don’t have to look at each other’s mugs for a week and a half! Every year, the lead-up to Fringe is always a stressful time of learning lines, learning music, logistics, volunteer wrangling, set list creation, and supply purchasing. This year, we did two major things differently, and they have made all the difference.

For one thing, we weren’t learning brand new music between our Spring Fling and the Fringe like we did in previous years. We took the music we learned for the Spring Fling and refined them, and only when we were confident they could pass muster did we bring in some of the older songs. The same with some of the jokes we used for the Fringe show: some of it was material we introduced at the Fling, and some of it was new. This made our planning and implementation of the show much MUCH easier than in previous years.

Secondly, we chose to do two setup sessions instead of just one. This was so we could spend one night on just venue and tech setup. Let me tell you, setting up a BYOV venue and not having to sing the whole show after people are tired and stressed from all that work, was great! The second night, we spent almost entirely on singing, and being able to do that without worrying about setup and manual labour was liberating. It’s a whole new paradigm, people. Synergies abound!

So not being stressed by our script, not worrying about our music, and not fretting about setup made for an almost stress-free opening night, which was played to a large, appreciative audience! We love large and appreciative audiences! And then we got our first review: FOUR STARS! Then a three-star review! We had some of our biggest houses this Fringe, and even our small houses were still enthusiastic and appreciative, and that made our jobs that much easier. I’m normally a big ball of stress before Fringe, but this year, I felt surprisingly okay about how everything was going. And I wasn’t my usual cranky self before each performance, either! Heck, I only had two bad walking days all festival, and I’m sure it was due to lack of adequate sleep rather than my usual lower extremity issues.

And the best part about this Fringe? Well, the best part from money-miser Stan’s perspective, anyway? The best thing is that many of our audience members also chose to purchase some of our merchandise. The last time we sold this many t-shirts and CDs was when we were still performing on the outdoor stages! Thank you, large and appreciative audiences, for supporting Apocalypse Kow, hopefully your new favourite Fringe a cappella act!

While I’m on the subject of thank-yous, I would like to thank, first and foremost, our Stage Manager for the last couple of years, Jenica Hagan. Jenica has been with us and around us long enough that she no longer bats an eye when we pretend to fire her. Heck, she sasses us back whenever we attack her with a jaunty quip or sarcastic jape, and that’s one reason we love her. We also love her because he knows music, and she knows how we should sound when we’re up on that stage. She’s not afraid to give us the what-for, and during the Fringe, she’s as responsible for how good we sound as we are. And that’s just the Jenica you see at the booth. That’s not counting how supportive and awesome she’s been during rehearsals, during each night’s setup and sound check, and when she gives us our two-minute warning. She’s always there with a smile and kind words for us sensitive performers, she’s always willing to help out however she can, and we love her to bits. Thank you, Jenica, for being an awesome you!

I would also like to thank our front-of-house volunteers, who tirelessly sold candy, pop, water, and tickets for us, all for the dubious reward of being able to attend a show for free: our stalwart cohort, Glenn; new volunteers, Shannon and Teresa; friend of Kow and #YEGprov, Edmonton Playwright Rick Kiebich; and frequent #YEGprov volunteer, Kat, who stepped in at the last minute to save the day!

Thank you also to our friends who took the time to record video statements for the show: Ed the Sock and Liana K, Scott C. Bourgeois, former Kow member Gil “The Barber” Barber, Mark Meer (yes, that Mark Meer), Diego Ibarra (yes, that Diego Ibarra), and Mike McGuire. Our show would have been way less impressive without all y’all.

Thanks to Knox-Metropolitan United Church and administrator Jaclyn for making this year’s venue negotiation so quick and painless. We’ve greatly enjoyed performing in your facility! And thanks to Bridget Ryan and Murray Utas, without whom this year’s Kow Fringe show might not have happened, and that would have broken a 13-year streak for Kow (we’ve actually been at Fringe for one year of busking, 7 years on the outdoor stage, and 4 years indoors) and a 21-year streak for me, Stan. I’ve been doing the Fringe every year since 1994 and breaking that streak would have been sad.

Finally, thank you to all of the Kow boys and Kow girls, not to mention some adorable Apocalypse Kalves, who came out this year to celebrate our “10th” year at Fringe. I hope you had a good time at the show, because we definitely had a good time singing for y’all. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@apocalypsekow) and visit our website (apocalypsekow.com) where these updates are primarily updated.

Look for us in September at the Kaleido Festival, and in December at the Apocalypse Kow Kristmas Kabaret! And if you would like to book us for an event, conference, dinner, or other celebration, please email us! Thank you, friends!

Fringe 2014

It’s been a pretty busy week here at Moo Corner. Even though none of us are working this week, we’ve been doing Fringe shows every night (except Tuesday, our one night off). Some of us are even doing two  Fringe shows–Devin and Jago are also either performing, hosting, or doing tech for #YEGprov, and Stan is #YEGprov’s designated tweeter and professional audience member. This year marked Apocalypse Kow’s very first four-star reviewcourtesy of the Edmonton Sun. Add that to the three-star review from VUE Weekly and the 4+ stars we’re getting from readers of edmontonfringe.ca, and you have Kow’s best-reviewed Fringe show to date!

It’s not too late to see us, of course. We have one more regular show tonight (Saturday, August 23rd) and our Concert Extravaganza tomorrow night (Sunday, August 24th). As always, tickets are available at the Fringe Box Office in the ATB Financial Arts Barns, online through fringetheatre.ca, or at the door of BYOV 33: Knox-Metropolitan United Church (8307 109 street). Note that it’s Knox-Metropolitan Church on 109th street, and not Knox Evangelical Free Church on the Fringe grounds (104th street). Both shows start at 7pm sharp, so please don’t be late. Due to long-standing Fringe policy, latecomers are not admitted and we cannot provide refunds on tickets.

So come on down to see one or both of our remaining Fringe shows, pick up a Kow t-shirt or CD while you’re there, and enjoy this 10th Fringe celebration of your favourite a cappella ninjas and ours, Apocalypse Kow!

Fringe prep, part 3

It’s two days til our first show of Fringe, the first of 9 classic Apocalypse Kow shows of silliness and song. Opening ceremonies are tomorrow, the first of one classic Fringe opening ceremony of… openness… I guess? Today’s rehearsal consists of loading up all our equipment, merch, and concession materials and trucking them all to the venue. Oh, why don’t any of us work at a job that requires a truck? And why aren’t any of us rural or manly enough to own a truck? Three teachers, an IT guy, and a gimpy ninja, and not a half-ton, flatbed, HEMI engine, or manly towing capacity between them. And we dare to call ourselves Albertans?!

Tomorrow will be our final dress rehearsal before we go up in front of an audience. As usual, I’m freaking out about the show but it’s much less severe and panic-inducing than previous years. I consider this progress, however little. Perhaps in another 20 years I won’t be nervous at all before a show, and won’t the other guys be pleased about that? We have all but one of the planned video bits ready to go, and I think audiences will be pleased by all the special celebrities we got to make these videos for us. Jago informs me that this might actually be our 11th year at the Fringe and not the 10th after all. I told him to shut his face because all of our advertisement and, indeed, the very premise of this show is that this year–THIS. YEAR.–is our tenth year. Then we went to that new Mexican BBQ restaurant, Rostizado, for dinner and we forgot everything but roast pork shoulder and churros.

Remember, Kow boys and Kow girls, that Apocalypse Kow Presents A Musical Tribute to Apocalypse Kow is a family-friendly show, so bring your Apocalypse Kalfs. Kidlets aged 8 and up require their own ticket. And keep your ticket stub, because our final show on Sunday, August 24, is a concert extravaganza! Anyone presenting a ticket stub from this Fringe will get $2 off admission to this show, where we throw away our scripts and focus on the moo-sic! Check out our Facebook event and share it with friends and family. We are @apocalypsekow on the Twitters, so follow us there too.

We’re gonna have a good time over the next week and a half, folks, and we’d like you to join us! Tickets are available at the door, or in advance and online from the Fringe.