I had the opportunity to go to Cow-town, AKA Calgary for a long weekend last weekend, as part of a blogger meet-up a friend of mine hosted. It was an awesome time! No one there was a metal head, and no one there had heard of any of the bands I listen to. On the other hand, I'd never heard any of the bands the others listened to, either! This is a group not into mainstream music at all, though, and I found I had a lot of things in common them: we all can't stand main stream crap, we had similar complaints about the music industry, me and another music lover who is a total music geek agreed that nu metal sucks ass, and Nickelback was reguarly mocked with great hilarity. I came away feeling not so out of place as the only metal head there, and validated that I'm not the only one out there who has turned to alternative genres of music because the main stream just isn't cutting it. That all made me very happy.
What also made me happy was the accidental discovery of a t-shirt store in the Kensington area that sold exclusively heavy metal t-shirts and some classic rock t-shirts. This place is called Charisma and if you are ever in Calgary, I highly recommend you seek this place out because it was quite the experience.
As you can see, the owners do not look like anything you'd expect to find in a shop like this. In fact, when I walked in, all I saw near the entrance was Slipknot merchandise so I almost didn't want to go in any further. But I did, and I was completely bowled over. It was floor to ceiling metal t-shirts, and holy shit, if he didn't have shirts from bands like Wintersun, Kiuas, Korpiklani, Eluvetie, Ensiferum, etc. etc. The owner, an East Idian gentleman named Simon, asked if I was looking for something in particular, and I reluctantly said, "Do you have any Nightwish shirts." Without any hesitation whatsoever, he said, "Yes." I thought he was joking.
The joke was on me, over on a rack, there was an admirable selection of NW t-shirts, some of them going back to Oceanborn. I squealed with delight! My friends were then treated to me pretty much going crazy over t-shirts. I tried on several NW shirts, agonizing over the choices. One I really wanted didn't come in my size, and one I didn't like the colours on. Another I really wanted only came in child sizes. The DPP ones were great, but at the very back of the selection, I hit gold: an Oceanborn-era t-shirt, long sleeved, with the lyrics to "Sacrament of Wilderness" on the back and the graphic from the "Stargazers" page of the OB booklet on the front. I also wasn't stoked about these colours, but man, I just HAD to have this shirt! And it fucking fit!
Wicked, eh? But it doesn't end there! After listing off to Simon a bunch of bands (Epica, Leaves' Eyes, Sabaton, Amberian Dawn) only to have him say, no he didn't have any of them in stock, I did spy a bunch of Sonata Arctica t-shirts! Alas, there wasn't as much of a selection, with the the shirts all being from Days of Grays or Unia, but I did find one I liked and, so, I splurged!
The price was outrageous (both shirts cost me $95 total) but as Simon explained, they are both European imports from Germany and the UK. But I gladly counted out my cash to the guy, because, in the case of the NW shirt, this isn't something I'm going to be able to easily find anywhere at all. I have to be careful with them though; as European imports, they are not made from pre-shrunk cotton, so they need to be cold water washed on the gentle cycle and hung to dry. Which is fine. But seriously, I almost want to frame them and put them up in my living room instead of wearing them!