SubCity Dwellers are getting back together for one weekend only

Guitarist Johannes Lodewyks talks reunion shows

Photo by Joey Senft

Johannes Lodewyks always knew SubCity Dwellers would find themselves back together — it was simply a question of when.

“When we broke up eight years ago, we were all still really good friends, and we kind of kept those friendships going for the past eight years,” he said.

“The reason why we kind of disbanded at that point was, you know, when a band goes for a decade, people’s lives just grow in different ways.”

After a decade of playing their high-energy blend of swirling ska, punk and reggae across Canada, SubCity called it quits. Lodewyks said the band members felt as if they were going out on top.

“We all decided, ‘It’s probably the time, we’re going to call it,’” he said.

“We’ve accomplished what we wanted to accomplish with the band way back when.”

However, SubCity was gone but not forgotten. Lodewyks said fans were vocal about their desire for a reunion, and 2020 felt like the right time to bring the band’s freewheeling dynamism back to the stage.

“It certainly is a bit of fan service,” he said.

“We’ve been asked lots over the last five years if we were going to do a reunion, and so we knew that the demand was there.”

Lodewyks said SubCity always seemed to have the power to bring people together — fans have recounted meeting partners and friends at shows, the music’s unruly rhythm becoming a bonding force.

Perhaps even more importantly the music also brought SubCity together, way back in 2002 and again in 2020.

“There’s certain types of music that just speak to certain people,” Lodewyks said, “and that was the one that spoke to all of us and so we all kind of came together under one umbrella and decided we were going to do it for real and went for 10 years, so, pretty good run.”

“We’ve all played in different bands before, and we’ve all played in different bands afterwards, but there was always something special about SubCity.”

The band’s two reunion shows will feature an eclectic mix of Winnipeg bands that Lodewyks said encapsulate the SubCity worldview — strange, energetic and inclusive.

“We wanted to make sure that there was the kind of bands that represented kind of the ethos of SubCity,” he said.

“You know, in 2020, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s very important to have different demographics represented on stage. We wanted to make sure that we had women on stage each night, because that’s very important to us. We want to make sure we share the stage with everybody.”

It’s this spirit of connection, of shared experience, that’s bringing SubCity back to the stage, though Lodewyks stressed that it’s a one-time event — a celebration of what was, not the start of something new. It’s a chance for fans, and the band, to bask in what they accomplished all those years ago.

“We’re stoked to bring that kind of energy to the stage and do what we do best.”


After this article was published, SubCity Dwellers postponed their two reunion shows because of coronavirus concerns. This story will be updated when the shows are rescheduled.