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Local bands to headline GEARS benefit

The Graham Brown Band and The Denim Daddies are joining forces for a concert to raise money for the Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS) at the St. Albert Community Hall on Sept. 10.

Two alternative country bands are coming together to play a benefit concert on Sept. 10 to raise money for the Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS).

Headlining the show, taking place at the St. Albert Community Hall, is veteran songwriter Graham Brown and the Graham Brown Band. The opener is a group called The Denim Daddies. 

Brown and The Denim Daddies' front man Rudiger Metsin (stage name) were both raised in St. Albert. In fact, Metsin's father and concert organizer Mark Brostrom has been a friend of Brown's since childhood, and has wanted to bring the bands together for a local show to raise money for GEARS for some time.

"We actually had the hall booked a few years ago now, and then COVID hit so it got cancelled," Brown said. "It was [Brostrom's and Metsin's] idea to have a cross-generational get together for a good cause and have some fun.”

The upcoming GEARS benefit show is the last stop on a two-week string of concerts for the Graham Brown Band, as the four-piece outfit is currently on a tour through British Columbia and Alberta. 

"The band sounds absolutely fantastic, I’m pumped about everything," Brown said. "All the guys are in good spirits and we’re playing some really good [music].

"Nothing to complain about, just smile and enjoy myself every time I plug in my guitar."

For those who haven't heard the band's music before, Brown said, "It’s Tom Petty meets Neil Young at a Blue Rodeo.”

“Tasty songwriting, that’s what’s on the menu."

For the appetizer, The Denim Daddies will provide music for a night of "Drinkin' and 'Thinkin" — the titles of the band's first two EPs. 

With their first full album still on the way, The Denim Daddies recently released a new single on Aug. 23, called Coldzone.

“Our bass player wrote it when he was on tour with another artist — VISSIA. They were travelling through interior B.C. and [he] found it hilarious that in Alberta we call any place with cold beer just a place with cold beer, but in B.C. they only have these things called 'coldzones,' which are basically just refrigerators," Metsin explained.

"We always joke about how the 'coldzone' finally brought cold beer to B.C.”

Metsin, who graduated from Paul Kane High School in 2007, said playing a show in his hometown is always special.

“Playing in St. Albert just brings out a great community of people that I grew up with," he said. "It hits differently when it’s a hometown show.”

“I'm really excited to bring the two generations together of local alt-country bands."

The cause

“We’re expecting it to be a really, really fun time," said Karla Aslop, the vice-president and director of adoptions for GEARS. "There will be a few raffle prizes, a 50/50, and a couple of really good bands that will be playing for the animals.”

The fundraiser is happening at an opportune time for GEARS, as on Aug. 13 the organization announced on Facebook that they were temporarily unable to take in any animals due to being "extremely low on funds and foster homes."

Formed in 2013, GEARS helps abandoned, injured, or unwanted animals, and ensures they receive vaccinations, are spayed or neutered, and micro-chipped before being placed in foster homes to wait for adoption. GEARS works with a network of about 120 foster homes, as the organization does not run a physical shelter, Alsop said.

"We’re entirely foster-home-run, so the more foster homes we have, the more animals we can bring in," she said, adding that GEARS currently has 80 animals in foster care.

“We owe, on average, lately, about $15,000 in vet bills per month," Alsop said. "That’s our biggest crunch right now."

“We had some animals come in recently with diseases ... a couple of parvo pups, which were $10,000 approximately each, which kind of burned through a bit of our bank account."

Parvo, or canine parvovirus, is a contagious viral disease that most often affects puppies.

In 2022 so far, GEARS has coordinated adoptions for about 200 cats and dogs, Alsop said.

Seeing as their concert is raising money for GEARS, The Gazette asked the two songwriters if they had any pets.

“I’m a three-cat man," Brown said. "Love animals.”

“We have two rescue dogs, Django and Ziggy," said Metsin. "The goofiest dogs.”

Metsin's pup Django also happens to star in The Denim Daddies' music video for their song Beer Tastes Better (When the Work's All Done), which can be viewed on YouTube.

Tickets for the concert are $22.23 (fees included) and can be purchased online at EventBrite.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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