This was our first foray into the Aviary, which is owned and operated by Philip and Mark Muz. It is a small club, probably not many over 100 at capacity, which was standing room only for tonight’s shows. The standing part is not an option since there were no chairs to be seen, but there were some interesting works of art on the walls that one had to be careful not to bump or lean on as the club filled. The Aviary is a clean and charming venue.
There was a merch table at the entrance which we planned on hitting on our way out after the show. Once we arrived inside, the club itself is very minimalist. There is a bar which had a steady clientele, a few tall drinks tables and a soundboard way at the back. The stage occupies one corner of the room in a triangular shape with a sequined curtain over the back wall that leads to the green room. There was house music being pumped out as one would expect, with an eclectic mix of styles and languages.
The first act, Aladean Kheroufi, started an hour after the doors opened and were all local lads that we had seen around town, at other venues, and in other bands. Aladean Kheroufi, the lead singer also played the keyboard. He was backed by Trevor McNeely on electric and lap steel guitar who did an admirable job. On drums, we had Connor Ellinger, who kept a steady beat and kept the groove going. Bravo and a tip of the hat to The Aviary for supporting local musicians.
After a short set turnover, Daniel Romano opened with a rush of adrenaline. All night I kept trying to compare Daniel Romano to other artists or groups, just to establish a point of reference. This was a fruitless task so I focused on the music, which was great. We had seen Daniel Romano previously at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium where he opened for Corb Lund. At that show, he was solo and it sounded like he was channeling Bob Dylan, his voice has an uncanny resemblance and he tells stories through his songs. Tonight was a different story altogether.
Tonight Daniel Romano was punked up and Iggy Pop was pushing Bob Dylan aside. Tonight The Jazz Police were on patrol and they left no stone unturned in their quest for adrenaline pumping music. They screamed, they roared and they put on one of the best small club shows I have ever seen. The Jazz Police are a tight band that enhanced and supported Daniel as he tore through his catalog. The bass was amazing, the drums were rock solid and the keys were played on a vintage Yamaha that sounded insanely good.
First impression of The Aviary? I would return, no problem there. Second impression of Daniel Romano? Better and better all the time. First impression of the Jazz Police? I can’t wait to hear them again. We did stop at the merch table on our way out and dropped some coin to support musicians like these and to personally thank them for what they gave us tonight, the gift of great music.