Arts & Life, Music

Partying at the end of the world

For thousands of years, doomsday merchants have peddled visions of the greatest mortal fear. “This is how the world will end,” they whisper, not with a whimper but with the greatest bang: supernatural or nuclear, or maybe just a big ol’ rock streaking toward us from the sky.

None of it makes sense, ever. Still, as the end of the Mayan calendar looms, let us pause to wonder: what if the prophets and the authors, the survivalists and sensationalist TV producers are right, and we’re all doomed?

If they are, then the world all ends on Friday night.

With only three days to prepare, we still don’t know exactly why. Through all the suspicion, superstition and pockets of despair, the actual machinery of destruction remains more or less unknown. Is it asteroids, aliens and hellfire, or is it earthquakes, lava and Jon Cusack? Does death come from above, or below?

“My guess is it’s going to come from the ground up,” says Carter Hanke, also known as Chivas Brother, also known as a 32-year-old punk-rock kid from Dauphin who grew up, played in some bands, and now raps to hip-hop beats instead. “Just like the bubbling of my smoke machines, Chivas Christ will rise.”

Hold onto your drinks, ‘cause the end of the world is going to be a messed-up ride.

Not that we’re complaining — at least someone’s looking to bring it down. Because here’s something a little strange: handed an excuse to throw a party worthy of apocalypse, most Winnipeg promoters missed the boat. The entertainment calendar for Friday, Dec. 21st is mostly notable for how many End of the World-themed gigs there aren’t.

But Chivas Brother and his crew know how to take full advantage of the chance to make a scene, so on Friday, they’re going to blow it out at the Rose’n’Bee.

The show is part Christmas party for Deafwish, part the fact that Chivas Brother has a brand-new album to release — his first full-length, called 5 a.m., a cheeky slab of greasy beats and gratuitously gonzo rhymes. (You can listen to the whole thing, if you’re so inclined.)

That the album was ready in time for the Rapture (or whatever) wasn’t just clever timing. Damnit folks, it was almost fate, the perfect theme to bring ’em all together: Chivas Brother, his cohort Employee of the Month, and other rappers, friends and punks. “For what we do, we couldn’t write this any better,” Hanke says.

By “what we do,” of course, he means straight shenanigans.

After all, when else but the end of human time can you rise up on stage carrying shotglasses concealed inside a Bible? And drop the mic on a filthy mattress hauled out of a shed? And now that we think about it, why is he hauling said filthy mattress to the Sherbrook Street pub? “It’s pretty much going to be the focal point of the show,” Hanke says. “There may or may not be two or three girls up there with me. It’s going to be epic, in a really ghetto aesthetic.”

Well, every good story starts (or ends) with a mattress, we suppose.

Clearly this won’t be the prettiest show. Consider the fact of this video:


No way to break that down: either you get it or you don’t.

If you do get it, then there’s some more good news: if we make it out of this Friday alive, Chivas Brother already has another album getting ready to go. That’s the benefit of the form, you see, especially in a music industry sometimes paralyzed by protocol and production values.

“Hip-hop is the new punk rock,” Hanke says – and for the record, he did the punk band thing, for years. “You don’t need $10,000 in your pocket to be taken seriously as an artist. When I rap, I have a $100 mic I stick in my closet.”

And it’s a little more than that. Obviously, the Chivas Brother alter-ego is more than a little tongue-in-cheek. The evolution of a punk-rock kid from Dauphin into a trashed-out hip-hop star isn’t supposed to be a statement; still, it gets a little deep. “To me, where kids are at now, they’re more into the single, they’re into the hook,” Hanke muses. “I think the way music’s gone, and life, the lives we live are so disposable.”

On Friday, we’ll find out just how disposable we are. If the merchants of apocalypse are right, we throw up arms and dance the night until it all just goes away; if they’re wrong, we wake up with heads all pounding like a Chivas Brother beat.

Either way, we go out with no regrets, yeah?




End of the World Party / Chivas Brother CD Release

Friday, Dec. 21 – Rose’n’Bee Pub

Feat. Greg Rekus, Employee of the Month, and Up’n’Atom (who are also opening for Choke next month, the lucky ducks).



 If you feel like getting drunk (or not) without being regularly reminded of impending doom for you and everything you know and love, here’s some other Friday fetes centered around more uplifting themes:

The Last Quinzmas

Friday, Dec. 21 – Burton Cummings Theatre

With House of Doc, a choir and fun things of all kinds

Since 2004, Quinzy has gathered all their friends together every holiday for an absolutely magical Christmas show. Well, we’re sorry to say this is the last time they’re doing it. Before they go, they’ve gifted us with two last Quinzmas songs. Tickets for the show itself are available at Ticketmaster.

Mas Headspace EP Release

Friday, Dec. 21 – Park Theatre

Funk-rock phenomenon Mas Headspace is getting ready to drop their latest, Clever Magnet, and if the first single doesn’t get you going then we’re sorry to tell you, you were born without a dance gene.

Element Sircus

Friday, Dec. 21 – Pulse Nightclub

Feat. HAM, Dust Adam Dust, Little House, Pop Crimes, The Bokononists, DJ Co-op, 6, Chorus of Thieves, Hellencia, Origins and Kieran West and his Buffalo Band.

Winnipeg’s favourite cabaret show returns with a chorus of interesting characters and colourful sounds — including a one-night-only reunion of eclectic former Winnipeg band HAM.


Melissa Martin is the entertainment editor at Spectator Tribune, and secretly believes an astral apocalypse will come true. Tweet her @doubleemmartin, email her at, or just read along quietly. Provided we survive.