CKXU at Sled Island 2024: Day 4

My Sled has reached the bottom of the hill, and with that the large majority of Sled Island activities are over. Before I do the usual blog post I want to thank a load of people on behalf of CKXU. Thank you to Sled Island’s staff and volunteers, thank you to all the venues and their staff for putting on another fantastic week(end) of shows, thank you to all the artists that performed and special thanks to the few that let me interview them. Extra special thank you to Kort AKA @flamesgrain on Instagram without him tagging along these blogs would have been a lot less interesting and I would not have any one to share Coke’s with between bands, and for that I am grateful. Our last day at Sled we wanted to do right so we caught a few more acts than we normally have been seeing in a night so some of these recaps might be more of a lightning round than usual.

7(ish)PM- Culled

My main goal of saturday was to have enough left in the tank to be able to properly enjoy Show Me the Body for their 12am headlining spot at the legion but that show didn’t start until 9 so I decided to visit my favourite venue in Calgary, Loophole Coffee Bar. I missed Closetalkers at 6:30 but made it for Culled at 7. Upon walking into the Loophole I was immediately drenched in sweat, I’m talking coated, it was so hot in there it felt like we were inside a coffee percolator while getting our ears blasted with some gnarly metal riffs.

Culled were incredibly tight which was all the more impressive given the state of Loophole’s Sahara-esque environment, everyone was feeling the heat though, people were fanning themselves with the merch they had just bought. A bit of heat though was honestly what my night needed, it made everything feel that much more real as it required each movement and note to have another level of intention behind it. This was not the place for flourishes and style. The Loophole brought out the real underbelly of the music, the pain, the effort, the extreme. And Culled matched all of that beat for beat.

Their music featured a healthy dose of hardcore punk stylings as opposed to a more traditional metal sound, most of this can be attributed to the vocalist as he was far more concerned with emoting than hitting any sort of melody. The riffs were chugging as well. Many of the songs seemed like they were built around a main beatdown lick and then adding many metal riffs around that to beef up their compositions. It was a great energy and way to start the night.

We also caught the first few minutes of Liminal Shroud but we had to leave to catch our breath and get to the Legion to find our bearings before the big one kicked off.

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram
Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram


Look Alive are easily one of my favourite Alberta bands at the moment. Their most recent release “Mimic” was phenomenal, finding their branch of metalcore and running with it all the way to a nomination for Best Metal Album by the Western Canadian Music Awards. They kicked off at the Legion with some incredible energy, even while missing their lead guitarist. Yes, the band came together as a four piece beautifully and played many songs off of “Mimic”, including opening with their lead single “Scum”.

It was a perfect way to start the set as each member was able to showcase why their band was something to take notice of if you were not already aware. Obviously, teach individual in the group is very talented but their drummer was on another level last night. There is a different sound that comes off of a kit when a incredible talent sits behind it, with each hit they are able to have perfect flow and control and in Look Alive’s case, a massive amount of power. The drummer was so on top of each tune it was like he was orchestrating the whole set being able to manipulate every resonance and attack the band threw out.

Their set continued with more bangers, what else would you expect? Well maybe not the frontman’s attire. He was dressed in a Spice Girls shirt which kind of made me want to hear a cover of “Wannabe” or maybe be blessed enough to get “2 become 1”. For better or worse there were no covers, just many riffs and sick breakdowns which after sweating my body weight in the Loophole was just what I wanted.

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram
Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram


Kort and I headed upstairs to see another one of my favourite bands, Obroa-Skai. Similar to Look Alive they just had an album release in fall and have been doing shows around the province to support that release. Something I remember being told about Obroa-Skai shows is that there is a large noise component to their live sound, in fact one of their guitarists brought an assortment of modular pedals that were making all sorts of sounds. The music accompanying the noise was just as moving, if not more.

For those unfamiliar with Obroa-Skai they play a deeply emotional and aggressive brand of screamo that reminds me of pioneering screamo bands like Pageninetynine more so than modern contemporaries. One of the X-factors in Obroa-Skai is that both guitar players are both assuming lead and rhythm duties, and due to this it gives both musicians a lot of freedom to start making other noise and add further textures to an already dense sound. Musical depth is something all great screamo acts have and that goes in all areas, whether it be lyrics or sonics, Obroa-Skai has found that depth in their music. They play their songs at such a proficeint level it’s like each snare hit and bit of guitar feedback is recoding your brain to only ever want to hear them play for eternity.

They reached an emotional peak early and never brought it down to earth again. The band was able to conjure so much emotion through their instruments, when vocals came into the fold it was almost too much. Obviously in a good way, but the highs Obroa-Skai reached through their onslaught of screamo was stunning. I hope they keep playing forever because I really believe the sky is the limit for them in screamo. There is just too many amazing songs and performances to deny them of bigger opportunities. They played (probably) my favourite set of the weekend and absolutely floored both Kort and I. We needed our Coke’s badly after that one.

Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram
Photo by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram

12PM- Show Me the Body

After imbibing our sparkling syrup beverages we took a few moments in the corner of the venue. I felt the past days run through me with pride but also deep levels of exhaustion, so we sat for a bit. Until the time came. Banjo time. SMTB took to the stage and with the lead singer wearing a long sleeve fleeced jacket belted out the words to Out of Place, before breaking into the most intense set I may have ever seen.

The crowd I think was the real star of SMTB’s set, that’s not to put down the band, honestly it speaks to the energy and momentum SMTB have if people are sending themselves head first off stage before they even really play a note. They had such an aura around them while playing like the three of them were some kind of monster that needed to be fed with moshpits and stagedives. And they were fed but also were put to work, the venue was packed and hot by when them went on so they were feeling it nearly as much as we all were in the audience.

They played all their bangers, including an electric version of Camp Orchestra where I saw one dude get absolutely rocked with an errant fist and that’s what the night was full of, combined with a killer live mix by the engineer at The Legion. The night went on and on, the bass grew thicker and the screams got more desperate by the very end of the set the pit was noticeably thinner, I think the weekend was getting to everyone but SMTB still showed everyone love and that love was returned to them. It was a gorgeous and extreme end to a very packed weekend, a weekend I will need a few days to recover from. So if you will excuse me I am going to rest.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading these blogs, Kort and I have been trying our best to give you all cool coverage of Sled Island 2024 and we’re thankful to have been given the opportunity to do so by CKXU. Until next time Sled Island!

Photos by Kort Woycheshin, @flamesgrain on Instagram
Words by Jeremy Collier, CKXU’s Music Director