Sled Island: Day 3

I think I’m about to dash to a Lou Barlow session at CJSW — tune in at 90.9 FM or stream it at cjsw.com — so this will be brief but the brevity in no way reflects on the quality of the shows. Disclaimers FTW!

  • Started the day with an unofficial Sled house party — pancakes and a chocolate fountain get the day started right. So did sets from Stalwart Sons and an absolute stunner from math-y punks North of America who inspired much thrashing about and a fairly disgusting amount of sweat from the crowd. Fast Forward’s Jesse Locke called it the show of the festival the band called it the best house party they’ve ever played and the rest of the crowd looked blissfully exhausted.
  • Then down to Olympic Plaza for Ted Leo . I missed the first half of the set while waiting for a hot dog vendor but the second half was solid if not mind-blowing. Leo was giving the crowd his all; I think the blame falls on me for being slightly burned out on straightforward rock at the moment.
  • Which is why it seems like a good choice to quiet things down with a trip to the Arrata Opera Centre where I’ve been spending a lot of time this festival. The sound is perfect but the crowds tend to be sparse which is a disappointment when DM Stith plays an immaculate set to fewer than 20 people. His layered vocal harmonies are seriously astounding — I doubt I’ll hear a better vocal performance this year. Inlets helps him out on one song and he returns the favour during that band’s set of equally lovely folk.
  • Then it’s a mad dash to the Legion for Nice Nice . Their latest CD on Warp is noisiy abrasive and quite good but it’s a sound that could get really tiring live. Fortunately the set sounds almost nothing like the CD just a highly energetic blend of looped guitars live drums triggered samples and odd instruments (a bit of thumb piano some bells…). At the starat there’s maybe 12 people but by the end there’s a reasonable crowd and every one of them is dancing.
  • I was going to check out James Husband but some trusted friends tell me his set is easy to skip so it’s back to Arrata for Silje Nes who has improved so much since last time I saw her. She’s still a little sloppy with the loop pedals but the band has tightened considerably and her fragile acoustic songs are really worthwhile… so you should see her in half an hour at Local 510.
  • Then a dash to Dickens for Whomadewho who Pat assures me I’ll really dig — but apparently Calgary is ahead of me on this one because there’s a line and it just isn’t moving. So back to Arrata yet again for Azeda Booth who’ve shrunk down to a two-piece. The projected video backdrop is amazing (I wish the videos at the Planetarium were more like this) but Jordan’s vocals are sounding pretty shaky for the first few songs. He straightens up by the end and a closing number played sans electronics is pretty gorgeous but the band is capable of better on the whole. At least this time the Arrata was packed; it had been pretty sparse throughout the day.

The plan for today:

Run to Lou Barlow then off to 510 for Hard Drugs then some other stuff GZA and who knows what else.