Riff-Rock Wizards Woodhawk Strikes Back

Calgary’s masters of progressive riff-rock, Woodhawk, are about to embark on their second western Canadian tour at the beginning of September. The tour is in support of their full length album “Beyond the Sun” which was released this past April and was produced by Jesse Gander (Bison, Japandroids). The tour kicks off on September 3rd in Calgary at the Atlantic Trap and Gil but will take them through places like Regina, Vancouver and Kelowna before they close the tour out in Edmonton on Oct. 7th for the Up & Downtown Music Festival.

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Bass Player Mike Badmington had this to say about the upcoming tour:

“There’s a song off of the album and it’s called A New Hope, and of course it’s all about Star Wars, and seemed to be a lot of people’s favorite song off of the album. So we decided to keep to that theme and name the tour Woodhawk Strikes Back. We did a tour through western Canada just after the album came out, so this is part of the strikes back part because we are returning to a lot of these same places and playing again. The biggest thing to keep in mind when planning a tour like this is where and when can we go. This upcoming tour is all weekends because the three of us work during the week so we tried to squeeze this in. The previous tour was two weeks of non-stop shows, basically a show every day. It all comes down to looking at a map and seeing how far we can get one day to the next to play shows. We covered four provinces in four days on the last tour, it’s kind of a challenge to make sure that everything lines up and of course there are always issues that arise. You pretty much just have to bank on those things not happening when it comes to those types of tours. I am really excited about all these shows because we have made some good friends in all these places and I'm really excited to get back and see all these people and play with other bands and these fans again.”  

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The power trio made up of Turner Midzain (Guitar/Vocals), Mike Badmington (Bass/Vocals) and Kevin Nelson (Drums) has been known to electrify audiences with their riff heavy brand of rock n roll. “We usually get labelled as stoner rock,” says bass player Mike, “because that’s kind of what works these days and it’s sort of the happening genre, but we tend to disagree with that. Mostly because we’re not stoners and we don’t find that our music fits that genre all that well. It’s fuzzy and there’s riffs but that’s kind of where the lines drawn, it’s not super doomy, there’s a lot of melodies and stuff in it that you typically wouldn’t find in that type of music. It’s more like rock n roll I guess but almost has some pop sensibilities when it comes to the vocal lines and some of the riffs.”

Woodhawk is able to tap into that classic rock fuzz that leaves them being compared to bands such as Black Sabbath. They then infuse their music with enough progressive riffs and fist pumping breakdowns that leave many thinking of bands such as Mastodon. “We’re all Mastodon fans and there’s some songs that have been more inspired by that, especially some of the songs no one’s heard yet." Says Mike, "That’s kind of the hardest thing though, to try and not copy people you are listening to at the moment. Our sound has definitely evolved since we’ve started. A lot of the stuff we’re writing now is a bit different then the album that was released. When it comes to writing songs usually we’ll start with one idea, let’s say a guitar riff that has been presented, and we’ll just kind of see how we can fit in with that and where it will go and then sometimes there are other parts that will go with it and sometimes we end up writing a song on the spot. So it’s not really directed but it’s not really a full jam either. Sometimes there’s a melody or like a vocal line that comes in before we all get together and sometimes we write a whole song without any vocals, record it and add them in after.”  

The kick off show of the Woodhawk Strikes Back Tour in Calgary, AB sees the band playing to it’s very first all ages crowd. The Silverball Rodeo is a rock n roll show combined with a pinball tournament and promises to be an all-around good time. The show is put on by the Major Minor Music Project which is a group dedicated to bringing more all ages shows to the people of Calgary. “Yea this is the first all-ages show we have ever played. I don’t see that many going on, at least in this genre, and we’ve had a lot of requests for it. Mostly from parents who want to bring their kids along. Some of the kids apparently even know all the words to some of our songs, which is kind of shocking. I think we need to allow kids who are forming bands places to perform as well so it’s great to see things like this going on in the city. I am super curious to see what the event will be like, it’s intriguing, I’m curious to see what kind of crowd it will bring and what kind of things will be going on at this event. It sounds like it’s going to be really cool.”

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