X92.9 flexes a muscular mix of alternative-rock legends and tomorrow’s darlings as this summer’s outdoor X-FEST Calgary fills historic Fort Calgary with good vibrations. This year’s lineup springs from the earth like a talented series of Whac-a-Mole, featuring Jane’s Addiction. Recharged, regroomed, and sporting their first new album in years, Perry Farrell and the crew rock and rampage like veteran teenagers. Returning to Calgary to thank fans and get their toothbrush back, Weezer take the fest by the scruff of its neck and stroke its chin, eliciting audiences to purr along to their deep bowl of hits. X-FEST also features appearances by warhorse punkers Social Distortion, bounding enthusiasts House of Pain, and throbbing adventurists AWOLNATION. A slew of prime Canadian rockers is also on hand to charm attendees, including The Rural Alberta Advantage and Michael Bernard Fitzgerald.
The House of Comedy's stage plays host to a hilarity-spreading horde of comics drawn from across North America. Jokesters gracing the stage might include David Coulier of Full House fame, Saved by the Bell's Dustin Diamond, and soap-opera star Walt Willey. Simultaneous feasts let guests alternately chortle and tear into succulent chicken and stashing away half-eaten rolls to leave threateningly in wheat fields that haven’t paid their protection money.
The American Hockey League affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, the Hamilton Bulldogs came into the AHL as tiny, puck-hungry puppies back in 1996. Over the next decade, the team quickly established itself as a dominant force, reaching the playoffs in eight of its first ten seasons. And it was during that tenth season that the Bulldogs reached maturity and shed their puppy skins, claiming the Calder Cup for the very first time in 2007.
Today, the team plays all of its home games at Copps Coliseum—known as the Dog Pound to diehard fans. The Coliseum is the home of team mascot Bruiser the Bulldog, who leads legions of red-and-blue-clad supporters to support the team with thunderous howls, menacing growls, and puppy-eyed pleas for food from the concession stand.
Though he was a successful touring comedian, opening for acts such as Tim Allen and Jim Carrey while headlining at nationally known venues and Las Vegas shows for 50 weeks a year, Rob Lederman felt something was missing. When The Pat Sajak Show was cancelled the day he was slated to appear as the guest comedian, Lederman took it as a sign and returned to his native Buffalo to open his own club. Drawing on his experiences in comedy rooms and slipping on banana peels around the nation, he created the Comix Café, which drew in top talent and garnered a mention in USA Today as one of the top standup spots in the country. Now in its second iteration, his club, Rob's Comedy Playhouse, hosts weekly evenings in which top-flight comedians tickle ribs like mischievous barbecue cooks.
Initially conceived as a one-off event in 2010, The Smoker's Club has since expanded, presenting fans with tours that unite skilled rappers and expert beat makers. One of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grammy-winning wordsmith Method Man spouts off dexterous rhymes in a gravely voice obtained by chugging asphalt smoothies everyday for breakfast. Curren$y gently cradles ears with laid-back flow, and frequent Smoker's Club collaborators such as Smoke DZA and Fiend buoy the evening with additional verbal fireworks. The Kool Haus provides a vibrant environment for the musical proceedings, ensconcing guests in a hip nightclub atmosphere with music mixed by Toronto-bred DJ Agile. An enormous dance floor proffers guests with ample space for unabashed rug cutting and wind sprints between marching bands.
Beloved boy bands New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys rev the engines of adoration among droves of fans with their poptastic summer tour. New Kids on the Block has been plucking heartstrings and handcrafting harmonies since 1986, combining a collection of international hits such as "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step" with five-part choreography and fashionable duds. Following in their footsteps, the Backstreet Boys began blowing up charts in the '90s, producing a songbook replete with favorites such as "I Want It That Way," "All I Have to Give," and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." The NKOTBSB Tour brings both acts together for a songful extravaganza, forming the more perfect union prophesied nearly 50 years ago by the Constitution. The May 25 concert also includes the vocal virtuosity of special guest and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, adding to an ear-pleasing stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.