Helping you navigate your way through the first night of the festival, including Low, Simply Saucer and more.
Faith Healer, 6:30 p.m., Central United Church
Hard to imagine a better way to dip your big toe — or other appendages — into this year’s Sled. The project of Dirt City’s Jessica Jalbert is blissful and gorgeous, shoegaze dream-pop the way it’s meant to be. Her voice is scorching enough to melt the marshmallow melodies that she surrounds it with, but somehow it’s that much fluffier, that much sweeter and stickier of a soufflé. Think a slightly kinder, gentler Wolf Alice, and you’ll understand why this is the perfect Sled starter.
Lonely Parade, 7 p.m., The Palomino (Upstairs)
This Peterborough, ON trio will build nicely off the first suggestion — a little louder, a little noisier, a little gnarlier, a little more lo-fi and rock and roll, but still with a pop side that can punch through it all. Their 2016 release No Shade is, ironically, cool as fuck, sounding at times as if Rae Spoon were fronting a radio-ready Sleater Kinney, but still with exactly zero shits to give.
Low, 8:30 p.m., Central United Church
The first no-brainer of the evening will return you back to this gem of a venue to catch the American indie rock veterans. Around for a quarter century, this Minnesota now-trio are one of those “gets” that Sled prides itself on, an act that many have heard, loved, but few have actually seen. If we’re lucky, maybe they’ll give us some added love and bang out their angrily jangly, pretty ode to we, their neighbours to the north, Canada.
Silver Apples, 10:30 p.m., Dickens Pub
If Faith Healer was the perfect way to ease into the first evening of the fest, this legendary NYC act — now the sole project of synth wizard Simeon — is just as magnificent a way to set things up for how you’ll close it. Proggy electro nuggets that blip, bleep, blorp, confound and compel, it’s another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an artist who’s been making groundbreaking music for the past 50 years.
Simply Saucer, Midnight, The Palomino (Downstairs)
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Sled Island runs from July 21 to 25 at various locations around Calgary. For a complete list of events, tickets and so much more please click here.
Mike Bell has been covering the Calgary music scene for the past 25 years with publications such as VOX, Fast Forward, the Calgary Sun and, most recently, the Calgary Herald. He is currently the music writer and content editor for theYYSCENE.ca. Follow him on Twitter/@mrbell_23 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.