The blog of Calgary based photographer J. Dirom.

End of an Era: The Republik to Close their Doors

I pulled my Zippo lighter from my pocket, snapped my fingers to pop open the case. I shielded the lighter as sparks flew and the flame ignited. Simeon leaned forward to light his cigarette. It was time for a quick smoke before the show. You could still smoke in clubs back then, heck you still smoke on airplane, but outside was the place to be, the calm before the show in a then packed Republik. A place to grab a little fresh air, a quick escape from the wall to wall people inside the club, for myself Simeon Ross, Rich Ragany, and Robin Black. 

A show I will always remember. My first live show at the Republik. 

I look back at that show with a great deal of nostalgia. I don’t think many people remember the Ballroom Zombies, who were the opener that night. Those who do might remember a silver suit wearing lead singer in Robin Black, or at least remember the tasselled pasties he wore as he progressively stripped down during the set. Red Autumn Fall who headlined the show completely rocked the house with an energetic Simeon Ross. Wall to wall people, completely engrossed in the music. It was a party.

Throughout the years I saw numerous acts there from locals like Chixdiggit, to harcore skate punk band SNFU, and even Hole. 

More recently I had shot photographs there of Finnish folk metal Ensiferum. A concert that reminded me of the days of old as the venue turned into a giant mosh pit. Dangerous for photographers and their equipment, especially with no photo pit, but a hell of a good time for those there to enjoy the show.

I also recently sat down and talked with LA based Milo Greene, as they started off their headlining their tour promoting their new album ‘Control’, in which I picked up a clear vinyl copy of their latest musical offering. A fantastic album by they way.

On the local side of things bands like Cowpuncher, The Wisers, Kingdom of Few, 7’s Wild, Cron Goblin, have put on some fantastic performances there over the past several months.

It is hard to believe that Swervedriver, will be the last show that I ever see at this venue. I only hope that things that were scheduled for the Republik after the end of the month such as Northlane will find alternative venues, rather than the shows completely skipping town.

From my first to the last it has been over 25 years. I can’t help but feel a little lost, as for myself, and likely many others, I will miss the feelings and the memories that I have when I walk through those doors.

I will cherish all that I experienced there. 

The end of an era. 

Sons of Fenrir Invade the Calgary Comic Expo

At this year's Calgary Comic Expo, as many of you know, I was there to display my airbrush and comic artwork on top of my photography. Naturally I had brought my camera, knowing given the chance that I would maybe get some good photos of some of the great cosplay costumes that are always there. What I didn't expect was the Sons of Fenrir.

This Calgary based Scandinavian Warband, was practicing there maneuvers, as I was making my way from my booth in the Big Four to the BMO to find Nat Jones. That in itself is a little serendipitous, as I love Nat's drawings of Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer. The Sons completely drew me in. While the mission was see Nat, and take photos of the many cosplayers that flock to the Comic Expo... I failed in that regard.

What time I did have away from the booth was consumed watching the Sons of Fenrir, and taking some quick photographs. 

All images were taken with the intent that I would be black and white images. Something about the portrayal of Scandinavian people and culture from 800-950 A.D. by the group, that screamed black and white to me. That and the gritty live steel combat.

If you have a chance check this group out. I promise you will not regret it. Beyond the live steel combat and maneuvers, their camp was something to behold. My only wish was that I had more time to spend watching as well as taking photos. 

You can find out more about the Sons of Fenrir and their upcoming "Raids" at

P.S. I did finally catch up with Nat on the final day of the show, so it was wins all the way around!