I got home from Folk Fest just a few minutes ago. The day was a pretty huge success other than the fact that I managed to bugger up my ankle on the way to the festival site. OW you guys.

Nonetheless I limped my way to the site in time for LeE HaRVEY OsMOND who rocked the stage Mystic Highway-style. As promised Brent Titcomb was a huge highlight taking to centre stage at one point for an ode to “the great provider.” What a great moment!

After that came Bell Orchestre . Other than the odd technical glitch they sounded superb although I’m not sure it was the best venue for their style of music. After their set I sat down with two band members on the shore of the mighty Bow for a quick chat. When I started the tape french horn player Pietro Amato was comparing the Orchestre to his other band Torngat who are equally awesome and played at last year’s fest. Soon afterwards we were joined by the enthusiastic Kaveh Nabatian who plays trumpet for the band. We talked about the pros and cons of playing at festivals like this one the future of the band and their decision to cover Bucephalus Bouncing Ball a high-BPM electronic track from the mid-90s by Aphex Twin . Check it out!

PS: The volume level jumps significantly after the first 10 seconds or so when I realized the recorder was set to “voice memo” mode.

PPS: Also sorry about the mid-interview interruption. Those back-stage Folk Fest volunteers are just too friendly!!

Anyhow those were the two big Friday highlights for me. Unfortunately Chad VanGaalen was actually playing the opening slot on the Twilight stage which is the opposite of what I originally thought so I wasn’t able to catch his set but I think the real exciting thing will be to see some of his workshops tomorrow or on Sunday especially the one with Akron/Family and Jay Crocker. Jam-tastic?

I will say that I stuck around for the Decemberists but I was really disappointed that they spent the vast majority of their set playing the new album ( Hazards of Love ) front to back. Don’t get me wrong it does take some stones to get up in front of a huge crowd and play an ambitious concept record start to finish but for a band with four previous full-lengths to draw upon all of which are full of higher quality material I don’t think it’s a good decision. I realize it was written to be played that way but I think it will just end up alienating potential new fans from their awesome back catalogue.

In any case when they came back on stage for an encore (and an effusive endorsement of later-this-weekend performer Dick Gaughan ) I was really hoping to hear an old-school Decemberists classic like the Chimbley Sweep or July July or the Mariner’s Revenge Song . Instead it was Sons & Daughters the lively but rather limp sing-along closer to their second-worst record 2006’s the Crane Wife. Come on! Play something old for the fans that stuck with you and helped you earn that huge record deal. Dang it.

Anyways I’m off to bed. Hopefully my ankle will heal up well for tomorrow’s festivities! I have a lot more walking to do before this weekend is through…

Tags: