The Sasquatch! organizers significantly stepped up their game in 2014. This year’s festival directly addressed some issues of the past and the new addition of the Super Geek League, a band of performance artists, musicians and circus performances really rounded out the experience.
It’s always nice to see the evolution of a band. Bright Lights Social Hour first popped onto my radar during their performance at Saskatchewan’s Ness Creek music festival in 2012. The Austin, Texas four-piece played on the Bigfoot stage of the Sasquatch! Festival this year to kick off Saturday afternoon music.
Since Ness Creek 2012 the band played a some songs from their recently recorded record. Their new music is more psychedelic, building on the steady bass-driven rock riffs that form the core of their tunes. The band jammed steadily through their old, soul influenced hit “Detroit” from the their album The Bright Light Social Hour. A notable tune from their new record was a song introduced as “Aperture”.
The 1pm show time attracted a relatively small but enthusiastic crowd. Bass player Jack O’Brien welcomed the crowd saying, “Thanks for sharing your breakfast with us.” Then reached in his pocket, throwing a hand full of grapes into the audience. Fans and non-fans alike loved the show. The Bright Lights Social Hour and their fun up-tempo rhythms were part of a Saturday morning Sasquatch! complete breakfast.
The 2014 Sasquatch! Music festival got underway Friday. Breakout performance of the day was Oxford, England’s the Foals on the Sasquatch stage. Their pop hooks and deeply layered sound – reminiscent of The Arctic Monkey’s – combined with their badass attitude made for an incredible performance. Playing mostly songs from their latest record Holy Fire, they charged through hits like “My Number” and “Milk & Black Spiders” to the delight of thousands of cheering fans. Continue reading “Sasquatch 2014 – Day of Discovery”
Exciting day of music at Sasquatch! The Sunday schedule littered with big names. It was a hot day and the crowds were jacked and dense in anticipation of the festival climax. Our day went like this:
Wake Owl @ the Yeti stage at 1:00 pm- Saskatchewan connection alert! Regina’s own Andy Shuaf was at the drum kit for this gig. Wake Owl, from Vancouver, played in the early afternoon, and the crowd came together to sing Shuaf happy birthday too! These guys are delightfully talented and had a blast.
Fans settled into the festival grounds to take in day two at Sasquatch! Another sunny twenty-something degree day carried a distinctly more mellow vibe as the crowds seemed to familiarize with the layout.
A jam packed lineup included highlight performances form Atlas Genius, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bloc Party, The XX and Sigur Ros to close out the evening.
My pick for best show: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. BRMC’s sound is the definition of badass and they delivered with their performance. Their heavy guitar licks and dark lyrics attracted a more diverse crowd with a higher average age than all the previous days performances. Overall BRMC was a major highlight of the festival! – C
Kim’s pick for best show: Sigur Rós! The ambient band hails from Iceland and closed out the mainstage on the second day. Their mystical sound didn’t draw nearly as big of a crowd as Friday’s Macklemore & Ryan, but that’s to be expected from a band that plays with language and layers in music. Lead singer, Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson, played the bowed guitar while the group brought the crowd through a rise and fall of a magical, sometimes dark musical experience. – K
A partly cloudy, cool morning at the Sasquatch! music festival turned into a beautiful sunny warm afternoon just in time for Saskatchewan born Reignwolf, a.k.a. Jordan Cook, to take the Sasquatch stage at the Gorge.
Reignwolf’s blues based shredding was a welcome sight at Sasquatch and big crowd showed for his 5pm set. The trio including, Stitch (Cook’s brother) on bass guitar and Joseph Braley on drums were appreciative of the lively audience.
The show was a flawless reckoning of riff driven rock and soulful crooning as Cook pulled out all the stops on this show, likely in hopes of garnering new fans.
Cook keeps his title as “King of climbing tall things and rocking out” when what appeared to be his tour van was suddenly backed into the middle of the crowd for the finale of the show.
Bouncing off the stage and up onto the roof of the van – guitar, microphone and kick drum in tow, Cook proceeded to finish the show in spectacular fashion playing a few hits and then eventually thrashing, as only he can, while the van slowly pulled away.
The crowd loved it! Reignwolf was a hit at Sasquatch 2013– big time.
Hey there sports fans! In the spirit of sassiness and sweet tunes photographer Kim Jay and I are making the mighty trek to The Gorge, Washington, USA to take in the four-day Sasquatch Music Festival.
Reputably one of the most laid back, accessible music festivals for Canadians to enjoy (Canadian beer brand Kokanee is the major beer sponsor) Sasquatch Music Festival plays home to cool evening temperatures and beautiful scenery. The natural amphitheatre nestled amongst the curves of the Columbia River has potential to make for a most magical four days. Continue reading “Sass-Quatch!”
Ever wonder where your food comes from? Does the current gap between producer and consumer confuse and baffle you? Do you LOVE the Farmer’s Market?
Coming up on Sept. 19 through Sept. 22 is the very first Field 2 Fork Festival. Three University of Regina students have put together a festival of workshops, panel discussions and networking about food issues. With funding from RPIRG, SCIC, Council of Canadians, URSU and Heifer International Kay Niedermayer and her classmates have organized an opportunity for anyone interested in local and international food issues to head down to Victoria Park to learn, laugh and meet like-minded people.
Workshop titles include things like: An Introduction to Permaculture, Composting, Going Organic and many more. The ‘Sunset Sessions’ are a series of outdoor lectures, discussions and films presented on various topics surrounding food production and related issues. The festival is fun for the whole family with daytime workshops scheduled for children.
This is a unique event. For more information on workshop times, schedules and locations check out www.field2forkfestival.ca, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Halena Seiferling at RPIRG: 306.337.2420
This weekend past, the 22nd annual Ness Creek music festival brought together music, nature, and a ton of great people. The festival is a Saskatchewan staple and takes place in the beautiful boreal forest of Northern Saskatchewan, right outside of the town of Big River. Three nights and four days of camping, live music and all around jolly good times attracted about 3,000 people this year and made for one of the funnest festivals yet.
The beautiful beach of Nesslin Lake and the backdrop of dark fir trees overlooking the creek valley set the stage for Indigo Joseph, Whitehorse, Besnard Lakes, The Bright Lights Social Hour and dozens of other acts throughout the weekend. Sunny skies and hot afternoons only gave way to rain once, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the Ness Creek fans.
The community kitchen Iron Chef competition was a highlight this year and the beer gardens remained an ever popular location to ward of the evil sobriety spirits. Those that made it through the daytime festivities could feed their tribal vibes at the night long drum circle.
Kim Jay was on location snapping photos and stealin’ souls so visit her blog for the full photographic experience here.
For the past week or so I’ve been blogging about the Austin City Limits music festival. More famous however, is the original Austin City Limits television show that inspired the festival. ACL the TV program is the longest running music related television show in history, now in its 37th year. The show is broadcast nationally and internationally by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It features a different artist each episode performing to a smaller crowd at the legendary Moody Theatre in Austin.
Almost every famous musician you can possibly think have has performed on the Austin City Limits show. From Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson through to Sheryl Crow, Coldplay (last weekend), Arcade Fire and many, many more. Myself and Kim Jay were lucky enough to be invited to a taping of the show last Monday night.
About 6 months ago the new Moody Theatre opened. The old theatre held about 250 people. The new venue holds up to about 2300, but generally tapings are restricted to about 800 guests or less. It’s a very intimate venue – especially considering the calibre of the artists performing. The taping we attended was of the famous Randy Newman, one of the most prolific song writers in history. The atmosphere was polite (quiet is very necessary to ensure the quality of the recording), but the venue itself is beautiful with a stage background composed of a diorama view of downtown from Zilker park (where the festival is held). The sound is incredible.
It was amazing, getting to view a taping of an historic and iconic music television program like this. It’s part of what makes Austin such a fascinating city and serves of an example of the city’s commitment to sharing the live music experience.
Sunday at Austin City Limits Festival was the best yet and it was all thanks to Arcade Fire setting the crowd ablaze.
Arcade Fire closed the evening with a stunning, hyper-energetic, super-humanly together performance. The extra special connection was made by the band, informing everyone that Win Butler spent a good portion of his childhood in Texas.
Fellow Canadian band Broken Social Scene put on a stellar afternoon show — as did Manu Chao, Death from Above 1979 (on their reunion tour), Empire of the Sun and Fleet Foxes. Empire of the Sun earns the award for craziest stage act of the weekend. We’re talking massive headdresses, outrageous dancers wearing what appeared to be unicorn heads and an abundance of flashing lights. They drew a massive crowd in no time, that’s for sure.
The one notable quirk about this festival was the abundance of flags — or should I say bizarre pseudo flag-like objects on posts. They were thousands of them. You know what they say — “Keep Austin Weird!”.
Leaving Austin City Limits seemed a lot less emotional then I expected it to be. Music festivals are a time for connecting with thousands of other like-minded people and in my experience end with a sense of accomplishment. Although I was sad that Austin City Limits was over, I knew I didn’t have to leave town just yet. It will be a lot harder leaving Austin than it was the festival.
An interesting highlight I finally got to experience at Austin City Limits this year was sign language interpreters working at many of the major acts. I first read about them here, but never actually saw an interpreter at work at a festival. The interpreters are a dandy performance to watch. Communicating the emotion and feeling of music through a combination of sign language, body movements and beat emulation is a monumental task. Good on them.
All kinds of great new artists are at Austin City Limits this year. A highlight from Day 2 was Phosphorescent –– an originally-from-Alabama, now Brooklyn-based Americana-influenced group. Phosphorescent mastermind Matthew Houck and his gang put on a terrific show.
ACL also has a live web feed presenting several live performances of bands playing at ACL. Check it out.
Similar to our Regina Folk Festival, Austin City Limits festival happens inside Austin. Attendees not only get a festival –- they get a whole city to explore. After having a few days to experience Austin here’s what I’ve learned:
Austin’s town motto “Keep Austin Weird” is literal. Austin is nuts and people like it that way. While the rest of the Texas votes red, Austin votes blue.
People are laid back, unbelievably cordial and helpful. It’s like classic coastal laid back hippie attitudes combined with southern gentrification. Austin is an environmentally conscious city. Cycling culture is huge and bikers aggressively rule the road. Both cyclists and motorists know the rules, both parties follow them. Cycling is easily the most convenient way to get around the city.
The nightlife is out of control awesome with music venues, pubs, restaurants and shops lining pretty much every street in downtown. Live music is huge. Austin is not a new city. It’s drenched in years of wear and tear. Think Willie Nelson’s looks, apply that to architecture and that’s much of downtown Austin. It’s unmatched in character charm.
Austin City Limits festival, much like the Regina Folk Festival, adheres to the daytime visitors. In the grounds there are lots of chairs and an unbelievable number of people. Zilker Park is packed worse than O’Hanlon’s on Saturday night. The line between walking to a certain stage and arriving at the stage is blurred. Sometimes you just can’t move anymore which can be claustrophobic at times.
In an afternoon filled with James Blake, the Cold War Kids, Ray Lamontagne, Santigold and a sprinkling of other indie acts, the absolute stand-out act was the Cold War Kids. I listen to the records, read about the hype and after missing the Long Beach based group play several times at other festivals, caught their set. The unique and almost melodic yelling tone of Nathan Willett’s voice is better live.
Kanye West and Coldplay duked it out as headlining acts. Since I attended Coldplay and can’t possible describe, using English words, my distain toward the personification of bullshit that is present day Kanye West, I will not mention him again.
To be honest, at Coldplay I expected a sea of crying girls ready to scream and reminisce about how good looking Chris Martin is (à la a Backstreet Boys show). It didn’t happen. Instead, it was a professionally executed hit-fest. Old hits like “Yellow” made an appearance as did “The Scientist”, “Clocks” and pretty much every other charting single from the band. The bottom line is Coldplay is a part of your life. Like them or not they’re on the radio, you or your friends have the records and if you’re of a certain age you grew up with them. As an emotional tribute, before breaking out into “Fix You” Coldplay played a few bars of Amy Winehouse’s song “Rehab”. The crowd loved it!
The Austin City Limits music festival is underway in Austin, Texas. For the uninformed, ACL is three magical days of music in Austin’s Zilker Park, a spin-off of the wildly popular public broadcasting program of the same title. About 70,000 people gather in the city of Willie Nelson to take in the festival annually –now in its 10th year. Kim Jay is snapping photos, I’m trying to sneak backstage and we’ll be bringing some news, reviews and outlandish experiences to the dog blog.
The 42nd Regina Folk Festival got underway last night. Here is a list of notable observations:
1. Fred Penner successfully united generations with his cheerful, upbeat antics. Kudos for crawling through the log, Fred!
2. Montreal based Braids are fantastic. A highlight for sure.
3. The “Before I die I want to _______”wall is deadly. Great Idea!
4. No smoking area? Smokers want to see the stage too! I get why you shouldn’t smoke everywhere, but I saw at least a few suitably isolated locations. It’s an alienating policy begging to be disregarded. Besides, cigarette smokers provide cover for friendly pot smokers.
5. Somersaulting is more fun than you remember – especially in combination with beer.
6. Andrew Bird seems to have built a music career out of whistling. Clever fellow.
7. Etran Finatawa rocked the After Dark Carnival!
I heard a rumor of daytime beer gardens! Let’s get down!
It’s St. Patrick’s Day! For a certain age demographic/personality style (age knows no bounds) the true spirit of St. Patrick’s day has relatively little to do with being Irish and a lot to do with drinking copious amounts of alcohol. My question: Why isn’t tomorrow a holiday? When does the March long weekend start already! Call your Member of Parliament today!
And now a moderately comical video of the drunkest people I have ever seen. (Viewer Discretion advised)
Friday night at the beloved Exchange, Luke Doucet and the White Falcon along with opening act the Sunparlour Players performed. Doucet’s reputation preceded him to Regina thanks to extensive radio play on CBC Radio 2. It was a solid performance with Doucet’s raging guitar forging the way through much of the show.
Doucet is a great guitarist. He mixes the best of the blues with poppy, melodic lyrics to create some catchy, yet steady tunes. His band name “The White Falcon” seems fitting thanks to the Gretsch White Falcon hollow body guitar he chose to play for most of the show. Lyrically his songs didn’t really appear to be saying anything exciting, more like Doucet just needed to fill the space in between the awesome guitar solos.
The opening act was an Ontario based threesome called The Sunparlour Players. They have a great quirky rhythm folk sound and their vintage bass drum stage set-up really suits their style. The audience seemed apprehensive at first, but after a few songs toes started tapping.
I didn’t see anything at this show that sets Luke Doucet apart as an exceptional performer or musician, but that’s part of carrying high expectations into a performance one is attending. Don’t let the previous statement fool you – he is definitely a very talented musician and his experience shows in his comfort on stage.
On Monday night at the Exchange, Cuff the Duke rolled into Regina for the first time since their visit, opening for Blue Rodeo. The Oshawa based alt-country experts have been touring for years and never stingy on stopping in our fair city.
A slightly more toned down audience showed up then the hundreds that showed up at their last gig in Regina, but there was still a strong following out to see the band .
Cuff the Duke did their thing – delivering altogether great country inspired tunes at crazy tempos. For appearing so young, this band is so mature on stage. They play with a comfort, style and tight sound that lots of career musicians only dream of achieving. No wonder they’re on the brink of switching gears from folk-indie darlings to Canadian music icons.
Touting their latest record Way down here which was co-produced by Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, the band sounded impressive, as always. Their classic style really shows off their influences. Cuff the Duke is a good bet to keep an eye on in the years to come.