Sled Island 2013

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?

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A Standing Ovation for Yamantaka//Sonic Titan

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan at The Theatre Junction Grand, Sled Island 2012
Photo by Ali Lopez

When YT//ST was released off Psychic Handshake Records in late 2011, there was an immediate and rushed increase in curiosity with “where did these guys come from?” ringing in the air. The Montreal/ Toronto based collective Yamantaka//Sonic Titan had created a buzz for themselves, and just in time for everyones 2011 Top 10 album lists; they certainly ranked high for most DJ’s at CFUV.

They’re performances in the past had been characterized as spectacles, involving theatrics, performance art and artistic stage elements, with all this and the reputable full-length preceding them; their performance at this years Sled Island was one show I was hard set on catching. The packed Theatre Junction Grand  was transported as YT//ST paraded Chinese Dragons, colourful Japanese fan work, and a thrashing, shreded garbage bag, in front of a hypnotic, spiraling screen. They lulled us with chants and operatic vocal harmonies, interwoven into hard, spastic drumming and fuzzy guitar riffs that could make any thrasher proud.

They’re theatrically painted faces bowed stoically as the theatre jumped to their feet to escort the collective off the stage with their praise and cheers. Later in the night many festival goers relayed the praise to those who were not in attendance solidifying Yamantaka//Sonic Titan as a true highlight of this years festival.

JUNE 21st = SHABAZZ & CFCF

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Tendai & Ishmael of Shabazz Palaces
Photo by Christine Comrie

Broken City played host to an energetic and sincere Shabazz Palaces; a venue that played host to Thee Oh Sees at Sled 2011. The intimacy character of the space catered nicely to Shabazz’s bass heavy, intricate soundscapes. Their set included many welcomed instrumental improvisations and free styles. Later a considerably fizzled out crowd booed as the lights came on, cutting off the band , whom only shrugged and pleaded to do one more. With roars of approval we were treated to an encore.

Earlier in the day a Kensington church was full of reverberating, piano and drones as Montreal’s CFCF played his various Exercises from his latest same titled EP. Mike Silver elegantly played his Riyuchi Sakamoto inspired piano over droning textures of pulsating beats and ambient winds; to pews full of attentive ears.

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Calamalka on the Ones & Twos at Sled Islands first annual Block Party

Sled 2012 is Underway!

One half of the CFUV team has arrived in Calgary!

Just in time to get my face melted off by Nu Sensae at the Bamboo Tiki Lounge then race off to The Legion to catch a little slice of home with Freak Heat Waves. It is always interesting to see how another city reacts to a fixture of your home town. Judging by the pack of kids smiling and yelling “That band was sooooo good!”, it seems they were well received.

Later veterans Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet played to a packed, downstairs portion of the Legion; all there to hear The Kids in the Hall theme; “Having an Average Weekend. They filled the Legion with pulsing, surf grooves and left us coming home pleased to sleep off the 3 days in a van.

With that note I would like to thank Babysitter, Bankrobber and part of Slam Dunk for putting up with me in their van for 3 days; it was good times!

MORE SLED ISLAND COVERAGE COMING YOU WAY IN THE UPCOMING DAYS! STAY TUNED!