The local hip hop presented at Local 510 was a solid reminder that Calgary rap is rising. A.Y.E. and Ayoo Angie both took control of the small ground-level stage in front of a packed crowd. The rhymes were strong as were the performances but both rappers could do with some stronger production and beats to back them up.
I managed to catch just one song of Young Braised before heading out into the rain that seems to mark Sled Island and I wish I could have caught more. If you’ve seen his videos or listened to songs like "Snack City" his presence and his strength is surprising. You expect a goof ball but you get a performer that is all confidence and all show.
Next I ended up at the National Music Centre to catch Postnamers and Jerusalem In My Heart (in the video above).
Postnamers were some twisted dreamy neo-pagan noise. I mean all of that in the best way possible. It didn’t hurt that I received a glass of ceremonial wine that was almost too full (that sentence sounds weird now that I’m home but it all made sense at the time I swear). Screeching guitars pounding drums and ethereal vocals created the perfect rainy day atmosphere on the first day of the fest.
Not to be upstaged Jerusalem In My Heart created something truly special with his combination of Middle Eastern singing digital beats and decidedly analog projections. The incessant flickering of lights and images combined with his tortured songs was engrossing. This is music from the dark alleys of the holy land wails from the crevices filled with beauty hope and pain. If he comes back it’s a performance not to be missed.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TOMORROW:
Kline and Project Pablo both playing the East Village Riverwalk during the afternoon.
Oneohtrix Point Never at Central United Church at 9 p.m.
Killer Mike upstairs at The Palomino at 12 a.m.
— DREW ANDERSON
Day one of Sled Island kicked off at Local 510 where A.Y.E. and Ayoo Angie proved that misconceptions about Calgary were simply misconceptions. The former proved that the promise shown on his fantastic 90 Now mixtape was far from a fluke winning over a half-interested crowd with his verbal wordplay and impressive stage presence while the latter continues to deliver what we expect from her — energetic rap music that somehow exists outside of time or place but also represents Calgary.
By the time Vancouver’s Young Braised hit the stage the room was close to capacity and the rapper delivered. Pairing his out-there cloud-rap samples with his winning onstage persona and rounded out by pre-recorded close-ups of his mouth lipsyncing his songs onscreen the performer born Jaymes Bowman proved that he’s the full package. Witty lyrics carefully curated beats and a truly unique stage presence prove that Young Braised is a true artist not just for Western Canada but for the future of hip-hop itself.
Over at Broken City locals HexRay delivered the feelgood slacker jams while warming up the rain-soaked audience. Halifax’s Quaker Parents took the stage soon after satiating the audience with likeminded pop.
Then it was off to Dickens Pub where heavy metal-dabbling Texans Power Trip proved that hardcore is still the most fascinating spectacular genre. A mess of vintage pinch-harmonics pummeling breakdowns and windmilling circle pits their set will be a hard one to top at this year’s Sled Island.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TOMORROW:
Bratty Vancouver punks B-Lines (who also happen to be my house guests) who will take a break from mooching off of yours truly to deliver an afternoon in-store performance at Sloth followed by a Vancouver-centric night show at Bamboo.
Each Other and U.S. Girls who will offer a one-two punch of sophisticated Canadian garage-pop at Broken City.
Sarah Davachi who’ll likely serve as a worthy opened for Oneohtrix at Central United.
White Lung at Dickens on a blog-buzzy high thanks to the release of their highly anticipated Domino debut Deep Fantasy .
— JOSIAH HUGHES