Music happenings have already started for BreakOut West, the music festival taking over a majority of downtown and downtown-adjacent venues this weekend. I was a little late to the party, but I caught the last half of Rah Rah’s set at the City Plaza. From the sounds of it, the material off their killer new album, The Poet’s Dead, was all played earlier on. But! The old stuff is sounding better than ever with Jeff Romanyk in the band to help with drumming and such.

There are still a lot of shows to come. Here are three artists to watch out for.

THE RAMBLIN’ AMBASSADORS Getting to see these guys at the Gaslight Saloon tonight will be perfect. There are plenty of other places in Regina that could house this Calgary instrumental trio, but few that would be quite the same fit.

SAID THE WHALE My favourite connection between these Vancouver folks and Regina: Rah Rah’s Erin Passmore, who guested on their 2009 album, Islands Disappear. Since then, they released another full-length, Little Mountain, which got them into the Cineplex Pre-Show at your local movie theatre, so you know they’ve made it.

JEFFERY STRAKER I chatted with the man yesterday about his new album, Vagabond. He was a touch late for the interview because his car wouldn’t go in reverse, but even with a potential repair bill on the horizon, he was chipper and gregarious. Maybe it’s the album; he worked with producer Danny Michel on the record and it sounds great.

To see when everyone’s playing, go to the BreakOut West website.