Aug 27, 2007

Wolfe Island Music Festival

Wolf Parade at Wolfe Island. This was perfection, but there was more, much more. Firstly, this festival is modest and relaxed, held on a small oval at the Community Centre on Wolfe Island. One small stage hosts the music and for just $20 to say it was value for money would be a massive understatement. Of course the standout was the amazing Wolf Parade. Although it was two weeks ago the memories are still vivid and I doubt I will ever forget this special night. I will discuss their magical performance first before I get to the other acts that I enjoyed. Of course you know by now that Wolf Parade have been on somewhat of a hiatus with Spencer Krug amazing us with his Sunset Rubdown work and this year Dan Boeckner giving us the stunning "Plague Park" by his "other" band Handsome Furs. In fact they hadn't played for 10 months and I was heavily anticipating what new material they would play. It turned out they would play 7 new songs (where do they find the time to write all this material) and to be perfectly honest, they all sounded quite incredible.

They opened with a new Dan song "Language City", a song of great scope and passion and then Spencer answered with "Billy J" which built and built before bursting into life. Spencer also gave us "Chinese Way" which just floored me with its epic heights of passion. "Stevie" is another delectable Spencer creation. However Dan's songs might have been even better (I know, hard to believe). "Fine Young Cannibals" was almost blues like and "Crazy Horse" was introduced as a 12 minute epic and it surely was. I can't wait to hear this in a recorded format. Of course they didn't neglect their back catalogue (although no "Grounds For Divorce"), playing "Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts" and "Shine a Light" back to back which nearly caused my head to explode. Then when they played "I'll Believe In Anything" I just screamed and yelled until I lost my voice. As I caught the ferry back to Kingston I came to the conclusion that this band and all its myriad outlets produce music that fills my heart like no other. They just have it, that monumental combination of pulsating rhythms, heartfelt lyrics and amazing passion. Dan Boeckner is so incredibly cool on stage yet also plays with astounding heart. Spencer Krug is concentrating so hard I wonder whether his heart can take it. Dante DeCaro is possibly the coolest bassist on the planet, driving the rhythms with drummer Arlen Thompson. And Hadji Bakara weaves his magic on keyboards to add yet another edge. Yes, yes, yes this IS the finest and most talented band on earth. End of story.

Set List (some previous titles in brackets)
Language City (Long and Bitter Road)
Billy J (Call it a Ritual)
It's A Curse
Chinese Way (You Will Remember Me Most By My Funeral)
Soldiers (Beds Exploding)
Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
Shine A Light
Stevie (On the Radio)
We Built Another World
Fine Young Cannibals
I'll Believe in Anything
Crazy Horse (I Wish You Wouldn't Cry)

Fancy Claps

Some other reviews-
Chart Attack
Radio Free Canuckistan

Trendwhore has a stack of new MP3s to enjoy.

Apostle of Hustle were interesting and entertaining. Opening with "My Sword Hand's Anger" and "National Anthem of Nowhere" was a great start, although I sometimes felt that some songs meandered after that. Although Andrew Whiteman is a mesmeric guitarist sometimes he goes a bit overboard with the pyrotechnics. But closing with "Haul Away" brought all the loose ends back together nicely.

I was very excited to see Born Ruffians and they didn't disappoint. Although just a 3 piece they manage to keep every song varied with their syncopated rhythms. Their songs are surprisingly complex and the ones they played that are going to be included on their debut album showed that they have certainly developed their songwriting since their first EP (which was pretty damn good anyway). This band is very exciting and I will watch their progress with interest.

I really love "Oh, My Darling" the new album from Basia Bulat. But I have to say that her live performance added even further to my enjoyment of her music. Quite possibly it was the fact she had a veritable army on stage with her. I think I counted 10 at one stage. I saw 2 violas, a violin, cello and even a flute. This added even greater depth and scope to her already impressive blend of folk and pop. Basia has a beautiful voice and it floated across the field, delighting the mid afternoon audience. I think she is a major talent who can only get better.

I also caught Weeping Tile (apparently they are big in Canada, but I don't see what the fuss is, very dull AOR rock), Holy Fuck (very impressive, but like all electronic music repetition sets in very quickly) and Holy Fuck leader Brian Borcherdt (he was extremely impressive, playing a short set of stark and moving slow numbers). Surely a day I will never forget, a day of great music, topped off by the majestic genius of Boeckner, Krug & Co.


  • At August 28, 2007 , Blogger James said...

    Hey Wayne,

    Great photos - both the live performances and the landscape! Glad you enjoyed the Western US, you've seen parts of this country I've never even been close to.

    Glad to have you back with posts too.



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