Saturday started off with the Sheer Agony at the Palomino, then over to the Weird Canada showcase at the Tubby Dog with an amazing performance by Toronto’s Soup Cans and Crosss from Montreal. Following that, we caught the headlining act Spiritualized outdoors in Olympic Park, then Strange Attractors at the Golden Age and finished the night off with St. Vincent at the enormous Flames Central venue. All in all a good day of music, and a good wrap up to an amazing 5 days of music in Calgary
All goods things come to an end. We had an amazing time at Sled Island this year! So many amazing bands and musicians across so many different venues. I can’t say enough good things about how the festival was organized and the countless hours spent by the volunteer army. Sled Island is a testament to the enthusiasm that Canadian’s share for live music and the support for the musicians who play it; whatever style or genre it may be. I can’t wait to get back next year. Thanks to anyone who followed our coverage of the festival this year.
The first day at Sled was a blast! The CFUV showcase at Tubby Dog was also a ton of fun. Great turnout, super cool venue and good tunes! We finished off the night with an amazing performance by Jerusalem In My Heart; an indescribable mix of modular synthesizers, oud, arabic vocal accompanied by vintage film reels. Despite the rain, the first day was a good taste of things of things to come.
We’re off to the Polaris Prize Announcement this morning and will try to catch the artist talk by Killer Mike, the film I Dream Of Wires, Oneohetrix Point Never, Killer Mike and as many acts that we can squeeze in. It’s gonna be a good day!
After 970 km and 15 hours on a Greyhound some live music can’t hurt. Not too mention 5 days worth. Let the festivities begin! CFUV is stoked to be presenting Basement Demons, Tee-Tahs, Open Relationship and Hag Face at Tubby Dog this evening. If you’re in Calgary check us out, and be sure to check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for weekly updates and festival coverage from the team at CFUV.
CFUV recommends Natasha Kmeto, Onehetrix Point Never, Dan Deacon, Jerusalem In My Heart, Brazilian Money, Jons, Fountain, Maica Mia along with countless other talented musicians. 250 bands with art, comedy and film spread across 38 venues. It should be a good week!
The day started off on a couple of tragic notes. The first was that Mac DeMarco had cancelled all of his sets for personal reasons. The hedonistic lifestyle has finally caught up with him I suppose. The second was that Calgary is under some serious threats of flooding so many areas of downtown have had to be evacuated. The latter only affected me slightly, so after a couple of venue changes and a bike ride downtown that drenched me, I got my Day 2 Sled on.
On the indie garage/punk rock spectrum, Warm Soda fall neatly into the “pop” category. They burned through a bunch of songs off their latest album “Someone For You”. This kind of music must be a fad right? And when a lead singer grows his hair out and and gets a mustache he knows what he’s doing right? I wonder if this kind of fashion will ever become a parody that hipsters play on? That kind of self-reflexivity would be highly amusing. Warm Soda was great though.
Went over to Flames Central and for my first show of Sled where I didn’t have to wait in line! Arrived to what looked like a terrible set by Hooves. From what I saw they sounded like they were trying to be a 2013 version of Bikini Kill, which raises the question why is a band trying to be Bikini Kill in 2013? One important difference was how hyper-sexual they were dressed. *confusion*
Next came locals Roaming Storms. They sounded like an indie rock version of Bruce Springsteen and Arcade Fire. They also had some really interesting things to say in between songs, one of which was “one time I did a lot of mushrooms and puked”. It’s amazing to me how local bands can get so full of themselves before they even have a record deal. Thank God for Portlandia.
The real reason I came here was to see THEESatisfaction. I’m a man who loves a sassy black woman, and here I was getting two! Ironically enough the set was kind of distracted by those proto-feminist band members mentioned earlier. They started having a dance party in the front row that got a little carried away. Sorry ladies, but our focus here is not you but the real music going on. And what a way to be seduced! THEESatisfaction were seducing me with their music and their choreographed dance moves. The highlight had to be my new feminist anthem when they sang: “Tonight I might be bisexual” over and over. Whereas the proto-feminist dance party was exploring their lesbianism in an effort to seduce the patriarchy, THEESatisfaction were using it as a last resort to thwart it. There was a lot more rapping than expected and if you like Shabazz Palaces, think of this as the female version. Very hott. Very feminist. Very sassy.
Last up was rock band Torche. I got so used to using the word uplifting to describe this band’s music that I started to think they were a Christian rock group, lol. This show might actually take the prize for the show of Sled. When they kicked into the chorus of “Snakes Are Charmed” I could’ve sworn we were in the airship from that Thomas Pynchon novel travelling at 120mph and cavorting with the angels. I could’ve sworn! But yeah, this set was relentless and it was nice to just let go and rock the frock OUT! I’m still having trouble hearing out of my right ear.
Colin Stetson was a great way to kick off the festival. From the opening notes of his first song I knew this was going to be something special. Stetson alternated between his big and small saxophones, playing material mostly off his new album. The highlight of the set had to be when he told the audience the story of a whale whose communication signals are a few pitches too high so he wanders the Atlantic ocean all alone waiting for someone to answer his calls. Then he played the song and you could hear the hopelessness in those cries. Shit like that’s gonna make a guy cry.
And another thing, how can Colin Stetson make all of those noises with just one instrument? He’s like a beat-boxer or something. I liked the T-rex-like Dinosaur calls of his second to last song. But all the while he was doing stuff like that he was able to maintain his intricate melodies. Obviously this guy is intimately involved with his instruments and knows how to constantly push things to the edge of what’s possible with them.
Once that was done I headed over to Swans. Huge line-up waiting for me there. I really wanted to get in so I waited for close to two hours. Damn, these guys are old! I guess they started back in 1982 though. This show was an onslaught of noise and intensity. I haven’t really seen many shows like this, where every song ends in a crescendo of noise.
Surprisingly, Swans didn’t play much off their new album. At least not once I got in. But it turns out that all the music they’ve been making up to that album sounds very similar to it. Die hard fans of the band would’ve had their minds blown I’m sure. It was good, but I’d need to be more of a fan before I’d go again.
Unh! Yea! Who’s ready for Sled Island 2013?!? I said who’s ready for SLED…ISLAND…THIR-TEE-EEEEN?!?! Yea!
Pitchfork media would definitely approve of this line-up, and that ain’t no bad thing. Avant-garde brass instrumentalist Colin Stetson and a 2.5 hour set by Swans on Wednesday! Can’t say no to that.
And what would a hipster rock festival be without an obligatory onslaught of indie garage/punk rock? So on Thursday we’re gonna be checking out Thee Oh Sees-approved Warm Soda followed by indie hedonist Mac DeMarco. The sassy TheeSatisfaction‘s hip-hop set should be stellar, as will be the uplifting heavy metal act Torche. Maybe, if I’m feeling it, I’ll even check out punk rockers White Lung.
Friday’s gonna be busy. Unh! The Beets early in the afternoon. Then Tim Hecker-approved Rene Hell. One of my favourite albums of last year, Clear Moon by Mount Eerie, gonna be blasting at me next. Then things get tricky. Jerusalem In My Heart, Thee Oh Sees, Tim Hecker, Joel Plaskett Emergency, and The Blind Shake all gonna be vying for my attention. Who’s it gonna be? I don’t know. But I’ll definitely be making it to Metz to rock out with some early Nirvana-sounding punk/grunge. Yea!
Saturday’s gonna be mad tight. Indie garage rock weirdos Brazilian Money playing in the evening. Preceded by Akron/Family (yo, are these bros gonna be doing a collab with Swans on Wednesday?). And then indie rock super-duo Divine Fits to conclude the festival. Yea! Crazy carpets…knowhatimean?
So Calgary’s ever expanding, independent music festival Sled Island has come to an end for this year. However our coverage still has some gas left! Stay tune for some wrap-up show reviews and an interview with Calgary locals Grown-Ups.