MBF — Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

By Allison Drinnan

For a revolution to occur, even a musical one, there needs to be a leader. To ignite the fire of change a community needs to find that special spark. In our city, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald- otherwise known as MBF- is more than just that special spark. He’s a lethal tank of gasoline, igniting the musical and artistic scene and creating completely different experiences for lucky audiences within our city.

In his fourth multi-faceted live music endeavor, entitled Love and Manners, MBF is breaking the mold with over 120 performers- including dancers, an orchestra and various local musicians- collaborating at his June 5 concert in the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

Vibrating with excitement, he shares ideas of explosive visuals, exciting collaborations and venturing into fresh territory for Calgary.

Ever since his last feat at the Grand, MBF has had a self-described bug to make this performance enormous.

“I wanted to make this event epic . . . the most epicist,” he laughs with a puzzled grin. “Is that even a word?”

If it wasn’t before, MBF has created it while looking for a way describe the upcoming performance.

“I just thought, who else is doing something like this,” he says. “No one is.”

The venue is a huge reason why he is excited about the event.

“Playing the Jack Singer has been a dream ever since I was little. I mean, even doing a sound check is amazing, even though it’s to an empty room. I am just starting to get really excited about the show . . . by Thursday I won’t even be able to handle it . . . It will be the best 70 minutes of my life thus far.”

One of the most unique features of the show are the spotlight sets, which feature different Calgary artists performing their own material. Fitzgerald is well known for tirelessly promoting his own work, but not known to many is how much he tries to help other local artists.

“I just wanted to take people I really liked and give them an opportunity to sell their lyrics in the venue,” he says. “Honestly, to play just one song on that stage would be a dream come true for anyone.”

Combining his university theater training with his musical abilities has led to this live event.

“I really like the concept of putting on a play and I really like playing shows,” he states.

Different ideas he has put together for the performance demonstrate how important the visual dynamic is to this artist.

“When you have such intense sound matched with these types of visuals you create something monstrous,” explains Fitzgerald. “I’m trying to make it so you can hear and see something incredible at the same time.”

Although the show is not technically an album release party, he decided to give attendees the opportunity to buy the disc before anyone else. MBF Love LP, to be released on June 16, is described as different.

“The songs on the album fit together, but they don’t really fit into one kind of genre. I recorded a sad song and that usually doesn’t happen . . . but there are still happy ones,” he adds reassuringly with a smile.

There are no limits on what he sees for his future, with more monumental shows, touring and recording as major facets of his plan.

“I want to go bigger. Next time it will be 300 and there will be limos for everyone,” he jokes, “What I would really love to do is to do a tour and condense [the show] to 25 people.”

The title of the show- Love and Manners- demonstrates how MBF got to where he is today: through spreading love and not forgetting his manners. Events like this are what keep the heart of a city beating and Fitzgerald intends to help keep it alive.

“I don’t know who this event is really even for, but I just really wanted to push it,” he says. “Everyone will really enjoy the show and if they don’t, I just hope they don’t tell me.”

This is not something MBF should be concerned with. As long as he keeps spreading the creative love, Calgarians will remember their manners.

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