Sled Island 2014 — day two in review

At day two there’s already a bit of blending and bleeding going on with so much music to absorb it’s sometimes difficult to keep it all straight.

The day started with a largely empty East Village Block Party around 4 pm. It looked like things picked up later in the day but it was practically a ghost town for Project Pablo . I admit that I was distracted just letting the music play while I sat by the river watching the water flow. It’s a great way to spend a portion of an afternoon.

From there it was to The Palomino for sustenance and sets by Lab Coast and Fist City . Both put on great shows helping the chicken club go down easy.

The it was time to catch Construction and Deconstruction at Local 510. The show was jarring with their style almost impossible to describe. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t but the transitions between those two states was almost immediate. There would be a catchy rock hook and then the rhythm would be lost and the vocals would screech. I’m still trying to figure out if I enjoyed it or not.

From Local I headed to Central United Church to catch Sarah Davachi . This was the my favourite performance of the night with her long drawn out drone lulling the crowd into individual meditations. It was slow and patient and crisp and I’m pretty sure I lost myself for about 40 minutes. Fantastic noise show.

The start attraction at Central United was Oneohtrix Point Never but I didn’t make it past their second song. The bass was overwhelming rattling my head and my insides so ferociously that I had to leave. I was actually worried the old church would just rattle apart. I didn’t think I had a threshold but I found it tonight. It was too bad. Beneath the punishment was a solid set with mesmerising visuals to accompany.

I found my escape at Broken City for Tigerwing . This is a performer with promise blending weirded out beats and rythms with a potent singing voice.

Of course the big show of the night was over at the Fast Forward Weekly showcase at Republik. I got there early to make sure I got through the door for Killer Mike which allowed me to catch Black Atlass . This isn’t really my scene but there’s no denying his talent. Excellent performance and stellar vocals give credence to all the praise i’ve been hearing about him since his performance on Wednesday.

Finally at midnight Killer Mike took the stage. To say this man has presence is an understatement (and no that’s not a comment on his weight). If you’ve spent enough time in Calgary you know the audiences are well mellow. But Killer Mike managed to hype the crowd refusing to let the momentum die. It was a controlled and energetic performance that had the capacity crowd freaking out.


Crystal Swells at the National Music Centre

The Soft Option and Stôrc at Tubby Dog

Coach Longlegs at the Legion

Mormon Crosses and Mindtroll at Bamboo

La Luz and Shannon & the Clams at the Golden Age Club

Public Animal at The Palomino

Dan Deacon at the Legion


Today truly started at 5 a.m. when my houseguests (and close friends) B-Lines showed up at my house. Apparently 5 p.m. is the hottest time to leave Vancouver in 2014.

After an admittedly rough sleep we joined the group on a trip to Sloth Records for their early afternoon instore performance.

First up it was Edmonton’s Slates who impressed with their aggressive-yet-melodic post-punk. Though they’re clearly operating on a near-professional level what with a proper record deal and big-name producer by way of Steve Albini they had no trouble making the laid-back afternoon Sloth environment feel like home.

Up next was B-Lines . While many music writers apparently have no qualms about writing about their buds with no disclosure it feels weird to hide the fact that B-Lines are some of my oldest friends. They’re even annoying me while I try to write this blog post. That said with a slightly new lineup the band was newly invigorated blasting out the hits from their recently-released Opening Band 12-inch. Search it online and buy it so they have enough money to get home. If they don’t leave my house I’ll die.

From there we pursued afternoon naps and eventually made our way to Central United Church for the droning ambience of Sarah Davachi . Though it was decidedly simple and likely sounded like one long 40-minute organ note to less attentive attendees her set was full of the subtle ebbs and flows that perfectly complimented an exhausted late afternoon.

Up next was Oneohtrix Point Never who exceeded expectations. The truly visionary sound artist filled the church with sound collages colliding truly visionary sonic choices with deep pulsing bass. The visuals which recalled an episode of Reboot reimagined in the depths of hell complimented the sounds perfectly. Chalk this up as one of the fest’s best performances.

Over at Bamboo Vancouver’s Tough Age fed the poppy garage punk to a hungry crowd before B-Lines once again did their thing.

Then it was over to Dickens Pub for White Lung . I’ve seen this band perform everything from house shows to proper bar set-ups but I haven’t seen them since they got "big." Since this week marks the release of their hotly tipped music blog-approved Domino debut Deep Fantasy all eyes were on White Lung this week. Put simply the band delivered a highly professional set at once sleek and highly technical. Every note was as it should be though there was also no shortage of sonic intensity.

That said the band’s recent blog buzz also resulted in some hilarious attendees. There was no shortage of normies engaging in a plaid-clad push-mosh and I even saw a bald bussinessman in a three-piece suit getting down in the pit. The worst moment of the night took place when someone asked Mish Way to "show us your tits" at which point she instead encouraged the sea of goofball dudes to take off their own shirts.

Despite their recent fans however White Lung managed to command the stage without sacrificing any of the intensity that made them house-show staples early on. That sort of versatility proves there’s no stopping White Lung — they’ll likely crush the Saddledome next time they come through town.


The Mint Records day party featuring Jay Arner Tough Age and more at Commonwealth

Coach Longlegs then Dan Deacon at the No. 1 Legion

Woolworm and Strange Attractor at The Palomino

The sweet embrace of sleep at some point in your damned life