Eliot Sumner arriving on the TD Fort York Stage - right after the storm clouds moved past
Eliot Sumner arriving on the TD Fort York Stage at the Live Nation and Arts and Craft’s summer festival Field Trip. Image: Nicholas Castel
The main path connecting the two stages in one of Toronto's few remaining historic sites. Image via Nicholas Castel
The main path connecting the two stages in one of Toronto’s few remaining historic sites. Image via Nicholas Castel

This past weekend festival-goers were treated to the triumph that was Field Trip, kicking off Toronto’s summer of popular music, food and art festivals. Vault writers Spencer Swayze and Nick Castel summed up some of their thoughts from the event that brought together some of the best summer energy this city has to offer.

The environment

 One of the most unique aspects of Field Trip was it’s location at the Fort York National Historic Site in downtown Toronto. As newcomers to Field Trip, it was hard to know exactly how that kind of small space would lend to so many full-blown artists and shows. One entrance, required climbing down fortification walls and through a large courtyard, just to access the main stage. A little deeper in and low profile 18th century buildings become the walls for a community of local vendors reminiscent of Wolfe Island Music Festival or Wayhome. One of Field Trips strongest qualities was it’s overall feeling of intimacy and community, which was definitely aided by it’s small size. Nothing was too far away, and every spot had great views.

 

Who was there

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Jazz Cartier performing during his Saturday night slot. Image: Spencer Swayze

On day one, Toronto native Jazz Cartier put on one the most memorable shows in a long time, without question. Whether it was his DJ’s hilarious exclamations, or the 20+ water bottles Jacuzzi must have brought on stage with him to drench the crowd, Cartier and crew knew just how get an audience off the ground. It was clear to see that a large majority of the crowd were loyal Jazz Cartier fans as every hook and tag line was shouted back at him. The crowd went absolutely mental when Cartier climbed off his stage and on to the literal hands of his audience. For nearly a full song, the Toronto rapper stood straight up on the hands of his loyal fans beneath him, a set-trick not easy to pull off. Jazz’s set was engaging, full of energy and inspiring for other up-and-coming Toronto artists. Hopefully we can look forward to seeing Jazz on the main stage at next year’s festival.

With no album on the way, and not much released in the past few years, Robyn took a different approach with her show on day two, choosing to play a fully remixed set. Buried in the show were some of her biggest hits, “Hang With Me” and “Dancing On My Own” which went over well, even if the crowd sometimes had a hard time knowing when to sing along (where was Call Your Girlfriend??). Her stage presence however was on point, spending time away from the mic passionately dancing with an entourage of backup dancers, mirrors and lights. Unfortunately, no encore which felt a bit like an unfinished end to the weekend of music.

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Robyn closed the festival with the help of her many backup dancers. Image: Nicholas Castel

 

Basia Bulat playing in the wind during her later 8pm set. The venue was evacuated for several hours on Sunday due to inclement weather. © Nicholas Castel
Basia Bulat playing in the wind during her delayed 8pm set. The weather on Sunday unfortunately cut Dear Rouge and Crimson Wave’s set among others. Photo by Nicholas Castel
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Field Trip was an absolute success in all things food, music and attitude. Pic by Nicholas Castel

Unique and worthwhile

For most of Toronto’s inner-city families, a 20-30 minute drive to Fort York for a day filled with music and games was a no brainer for parents. Field Trip encouraged this family-friendly atmosphere by setting up certain performances meant for kids, such as Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, Kevin Drew and Justin Peroff’s performance of songs about bananas and ponies. This was a refreshing scene for a music festival, adding a certain carelessness initiated not by drugs or booze, but rather the laughter and play of kids and their parents. Other notable mentions of the weekend included headliners The National, DIIV, Charlotte Day Wilson, Eliot Sumner and Basia Bulat – a Toronto native who has no trouble showing her true colours with her music.

Beautiful weather on day one had nearly everyone smiling ear to ear, and if it weren’t for the sound of the train or glimpses of the CN tower, it was easy to forget how urban it actually was. Especially with people dancing barefoot in the grass or basking in the sun. Despite a late day two start due to rain, the positive energy was still evident. In the evening, the dramatic weather created some pretty stunning backdrops as the setting sun and towering clouds marched along the horizon. During Ra Ra Riot’s set on the TD Stage, the sun broke through the clouds, creating a golden rain shine for those of us dancing in our Indie 88 poncho’s (good one guys).

Reflecting on the weekend, what made Field Trip special was not just it’s lineup, but rather those special moments dancing in the rain or hoisting up your favourite artists. If anything, Field Trip was proof that little sanctuaries are possible in the middle of the urban goliath that is Toronto. For us, we’ll definitely be coming back.

 

// Nick and Spencer

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nick@thevaultkingston.com
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spencer@thevaultkingston.com

 

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Canadian Music Week is one of the most exciting points of my year. There are two components to CMW: the festival and the conference. This year, I was able to snag a sweet festival wristband for week-long access to some amazing shows. The festival is held in bars and venues all throughout downtown Toronto. This year, the festival was held from May 2-8 and featured some Vault friends and favourites: Billy Moon, Blve Hills, Ivory Hours, Royal Canoe, The Kents, Lost Cousins, and Wild Rivers (to name a few).

Tuesday night started out strong with a jam-packed Silver Dollar Room featuring two of Kingston’s favourites, Wild Rivers, and Lost Cousins. These shows never fail to pull a huge Kingston crowd, and everywhere you looked you’d see a familiar face. Both of the bands treated us with a mix of our favourite tunes with some fun covers mixed in. This crew was definitely a great way to kick off an amazing festival.

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Royal Canoe performing at the Mod Club for CMW 05/04/16

When I first saw the CMW lineup, I saw that Royal Canoe was playing on a Wednesday evening at the MOD Club, and I was ecstatic! Hailing from Winnipeg, this band released one of my absolute favourite albums of all time, Today We’re Believers, released in 2013. Their live show was just as amazing as the album because rather than using extensive backing tracks, the band plays every part to every song live every single time. The crowd was lucky to get the chance to hear a set that mixed their older favourites in with a few glimpses of upcoming tracks. The new songs had a heavier vibe but stuck to the electronic weirdness feel that we all know and love. Needless to say, it has been too long and it’s time for some new Royal Canoe. They’re definitely going to deliver.

During Canadian Music Week, the festival had bars open and serving until 4am, with huge showcases guaranteed to make any music lover happy. With such an amazing lineup of artists on CMW’s bill, they needed all the time they could get and it’s not surprising that on a Thursday night at the ungodly hour of 1:30am concert-goers were dancing into the early morning. The sounds of Ivory Hours playing at the Horseshoe Tavern had people enjoying being up way past their bedtimes. After a successful tour across Canada in April these boys still had an amazing energy to put on a great show. Make sure to check out their full-length album Morning Light and maybe grab one of those new new vinyl!

Friday night was a huge night for CMW, with a sold-out show at the Opera House featuring Busty and the Bass. Recently signed with Indica Records, Busty and the Bass were eager to release some new tunes. Their new single titled Miss Judge that was released at the end of April, is a sneak peek of what’s to come with their newest EP at some point in June. I was amazed at the number of people that filled the venue, all with “a passion for good times and great music,” as the band would describe it. They encored with a sweet cover of I Try by Macy Gray, which had the entire crowd singing at the top of their lungs.

Little India showed up on my ‘Discover Weekly’ on Spotify not too long ago and ever since I’ve been hooked. They are a group of four guys from Vancouver, BC performed twice during CMW. The show I went to was on Saturday night at a little place called the 300 College Club that serves all of their drinks in classy red cups. Little India’s creative riffs and harmonies had a nostalgic rock vibe with an 80’s pop feeling. Despite apparently “singing too hard at karaoke” the night before, they still had a huge sound and played an impressive set.

After the Little India show I ran to the Dakota Tavern to see the Vault’s very own, The Kents, play a sold-out show. With a line down the block I almost didn’t think I would get in! Once I got in I caught an amazing Prince tribute and their new single, The Stakes. Make sure to check out their new Waking – EP, that comes out on June 1st!

One of the best things I learned this year at CMW: getting a wristband and being able to go to multiple shows in one night while avoiding shelling out your life savings on cover is well worth the initial investment. If you don’t want to go to as many shows as I do (I want to go to them all), the cover you pay at the door help support the artists, festival, and the conference. Canadian Music Week is an amazing opportunity for artists to get their name out there and play some shows and for fans to be able to see their favourite bands live.

// Alison

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Toronto’s Moon King put on one of the tightest and most enjoyable performances I have had the pleasure of attending in Kingston, this year. The duo that is Daniel Benjamin and Maddy Wilde electrified the Mansion Thursday night with a powerful blend of electronic and indie-rock. Opening the show with one of the duo’s first songs, Apocalypse, the audience immediately knew they were in for a high-energy, head-banging set. Supported only by a third member on the drums, Moon King left me stunned by the raw-power that 3 individuals could bring to a stage. After walking us through some new material and old favourites off their first LP, Secret Life, Moon King closed off the night with album opener, Roswell. When played in succession, Roswell and Apocalypse seamlessly transition from one another; acting as if they were on long track. When played at opposite ends of Thursday’s set, the two songs truly gave the performance a sense of “wholeness”; as if the performance had come full circle.


I had the chance to sit down with singer/songwriter Daniel Benjamin before the show to talk about the band’s influences, recent signing with Last Gang Records, and upcoming projects.
Check out our little Q&A below:

Q: How did Moon King get started?

A: “Maddy and I have been playing shows together since we were kids. We grew up playing music together and listened to a lot of the same bands in high-school. When we discovered music as something exciting, we discovered it at the same time. Everything we found out about, we found out about together. I had a lot of songs written that I didn’t have an outlet for, I figured Maddy was the best person to perform them with. We ended up doing just that. That was about 4 years ago.”

Q: How has your brother Airick (AKA. Doldrums) been an influence in your music? And vise versa?

A: We influence each other a lot. Airick’s project started a few years before Moon King and I was performing in the live version of his Doldrums set. We were doing a lot of raw, loop-based, free form stuff, which I think got me interested in electronic music. I was writing songs with more melody attachment and started to notice that my brother’s music started to reflect this as we would show each other songs. In the same way, my music started to get more electronic and noisy. Really recently, I think we’ve started to switch a little bit because I’m starting to write songs that are more beat-oriented where he is writing music that is more song-oriented. It’s a lot of back and forth.

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Daniel and Airick performing as ‘Doldrums’ at SXSW 2013

Q: How has signing to Last Gang Records helped Moon King?

A: “Last gang has been a very established label for years so they have a pretty good understanding of how difficult it is to be an artist. They also help us outside of Canada a lot as they have offices in London and LA. For a big label, they’re very relaxed and open to ideas. A lot of labels seem too focused on curating their sound and focusing on the brand. I think Last Gang is very focused on the artist and helping them do what they want to do. They’re very diverse. I’ve been really happy with them so far.”

Q: What have been some of your favourite places to play?  

A: “My favourite thing is to go somewhere “exotic” where you feel a bit like an outsider. If you show up in a very small town like, for example, our show in Oxford Mississipi, it is unusual to have an indie rock show at all. At these kind of shows we feel like we have something new to bring. Shows in Toronto, on the other hand, have a million things happening with lot of bands playing every night. That’s cool, but thinking you’re kind of the only show in town is a special feeling.”

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The artwork for Moon King’s LP, “Secret Life”

Q: Favourite acts to play with?

“In the last year we got to play with a lot of really good bands. We did a European tour with “Tops”. That was great. We did something like 30 shows with “Alvvays“, including Kingston. Actually Kingston We did a de-ja vu show in the same venue with roughly the same lineup, a year later. Very weird – I was like ‘we already did this’, but those guys are awesome. We also played with one of my favourite bands from New York, “Mr. Twin Sister“. We did a U.S. tour with them in the summer. “Fucked up” as well. I think the amount of times we’ve got to play with bands that I actually really like and listen to is great. I love it, I feel very lucky.”

 

Q: What do you think of the Canadian Music Scene right now?

A: “I think everybody is listening to everything. It’s the way it should be I, think. It is very possible for a purely electronic or purely rock band to have the same audience. When you talk about music after a show or something, it’s surprising how much people care about it. That’s what keeps you going, because shit is hard. If it wasn’t for that, having someone to talk to that really cares about what you’re doing, it would be very easy to give up. I think the most important thing about music is that people stay supportive and keep showing artists that they care about what they’re doing.”

Q: What would be your dream collaboration? 

A: “There is a composer named Harold Budd that I listen to all the time. Mostly ambient piano stuff, but also electronic “dream like” music. I’ve been very inspired by his stuff for a few years now. I would love to do something with him. He’s like, VERY old, but he’s still putting out stuff every year or two. I think it would be so cool to go in with a few songs or something and just listen to what he could do on top of it.

 

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Taken from Moon King’s music video for “Roswell”

Q: Anything big coming up? 

A: ” We just finished another record a couple weeks ago. I don’t think the record will come out for a while, probably not until the end of the year. These things take a while. I think the plan is to play these Canadian shows for now, then as things start to ramp up near the end of the year, we’ll probably start getting busy again. Last year was crazy, we played I think 100-110 shows. This kind of off-and-on thing works better for everyone.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the band’s LP, Secret Life, here.

Apocalypse

Impossible

 

// Spencer

 

 

 

 

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Members (from left to right) Justin, Jordan, Justin and Keith (in the back) from WALRUS playing their sold out March 1st show with WINTERSLEEP at the Grad Club

Kingston was in good hand’s this past Tuesday, after music goers were treated to another sold out Grad Club show packed with new faces and boasting the young band of east coast rockers – Walrus. I caught up with the band before they hit the stage, effectively starting their 17+ show bender promoting their new EP – Goodbye Something.

Online, the gents describe their music as a myriad of psychedelic pop, grunge, shoegaze and alternative rock. It’s an evolving genre, finding it’s way into music across the board with bands like Real Estate, Alvvays, Elsa and Tame Impala. It’s a genre that can be difficult to perfect for broad audiences accustomed to more polished studio-crafted sounds. Most psychedelic bands rely heavily on high amounts of vocal reverb, heavily distorted guitar effects and long jams which when executed poorly can create a muddled sound.

For Walrus however, it seems like they’ve struck a perfect balance. On describing how their sound has changed over time, lead guitarist Jordan remarked it “used to be a mish-mash of a lot of parts. Not a lot of it was really worked out. We would get in each others way. So I think it would’ve sounded a little more in your face”. Now, “it’s gotten fuller, a little more controlled. We’ve played so many shows that you want to make it that way” said Justin, the bands drummer.

Whatever their recipe, they were doing something right on the blisteringly cold winter night at the club – the place was a total jam. Their set really highlighted their ability to pull you through every song. Many tunes feature laid back glam rock guitar melodies from guitarist Jordan, which pairs nicely with the dynamic drumming and strong pop-y bass lines. But it’s their lead singer Justin, writer for most of their songs, who ties it all together – boasting an impressive vocal range, which through his FX pedal, securely brings together their ultra-dreamy sound.

As a band, they always seem very genuine on stage. Justin, wearing a brightly colour USA jacket (ironically on the night of Super Tuesday) remarked on their bassist Keith’s fresh haircut before the tour, “give a round of applause for Keith’s hair – looks great” with cheers from the crowd followed by “…you’re too kind” and laughs. They rocked out to some of their past hits from their EP Glam Returns like my personal favourite “Banger” as well as unreleased tunes like “In Timely Fashion”. Check out the rollercoaster ride, It’s No Myth To Me for a good embodiment of their sound:

 

Hometown Halifax

Backstage, I spoke to the team about the music scene in Halifax. As a southern Ontario kid, I admittedly am only familiar with a few recent indie Halifax bands, notably the dream pop ladies from Vulva Culture. The band remarked how Halifax’s intimate, isolated environment can give way to a lot of collaboration between music communities both large and small, “there are a lot of open ears” Keith recalls. “East coast spots are very isolated from what’s going on in Toronto and Montreal so everyone is playing together and doing their own thing. We have punk bands playing with electric bands” said vocalist Justin.

Despite this being their first time on stage at The Grad Club, these musicians have managed to hit Kingston before on previous tours, notably when they played at the art-fusion studio space The Artell. With a lot of ground to cover and many shows on the roadmap, the realities of finding venues outside of Halifax to play at are clear: lots of driving, lots of gear – make the most out of every tour, this one being the bands 4th major. Laughing, Justin recalls their luxurious 10 passenger 1980 Chevy that among other vans died during the tour, this one on the way to Pop Montreal.  After their show he remarks they “still sweating, tore down and immediately went to play another show”. True rocker spirit.

With over 200+ shows as a group under their belt, you can tell the band is clearly still in their element. They begin their tour with 5 dates alongside Canadian hero’s Wintersleep who they shared the stage with on Tuesday. They are excited, Wintersleep has some serious pull and will no doubt bring them some fresh ears and packed venues. Whether you enjoy some laid back surf sounding guitar rifts paired with dreamy vocals, or rather get your feet moving during their intense jams, there is something for everyone in Walrus. Give them a listen, toss them in a playlist and get ready to hear the name come up again and again. In the words of Justin on drums, “there will be more”.

Here’s a wild video highlighting there upcoming tour dates:

Tour video teaser, by the wonderful Jeff Miller

Posted by Walrus on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

 

// Nick

WILD RIVERS 2

Queen’s very own Devan & Khalid have recently announced the exciting news that they will now be performing as Wild Rivers​! They have expanded the band to 4 members, adding drummer Ben Labenski and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Oliver. Over the years, we have all learned to fall in love with Devan & Khalid and I’m sure many of us have been to at least one of their shows. They recently made this announcement and followed it up with a high energy outdoor performance at Queen’s Homecoming. Their set was absolutely amazing, as they kept the huge crowd singing and dancing the whole time.

I recently checked out their debut single “Wandering Child” and was blown away. It is everything I imagined and more! Their music is still anchored in the folk roots that we are familiar with, but now, with a full band, it has evolved to a more expansive and full-bodied sound that layers beautifully to compliment Devan & Khalid’s harmonies. The lyrics are honest, insightful and vulnerable in a way that really allows us to connect to the artists. And yes, the chorus is infectiously catchy, just as we have come to expect from Devan & Khalid!

I have always loved their music and of course, they are incredibly talented musicians with so much potential. But now, with Wild Rivers, 2 new band members and a renewed commitment to their art, I truly believe that they will fully reach that potential. When I first heard that Devan & Khalid would continue pursuing music as Wild Rivers I couldn’t help but feel like they were doing something so refreshing, especially in this day and age, where so many young people are worried about what job they will get or how they are going to fit into the “real world”. I think that Devan, Khalid, Ben and Andrew are showing that maybe it isn’t so much about how your are going to fit into the “real world”, but more about how you are going to be happy in your own world. I really hope that this serves as an inspiration, and an encouraging nudge to any musician out there who is on the fence about whether or not to follow their passion.

 

“We felt like we owed it to ourselves to follow our dreams and pursue something we truly loved. We haven’t looked back.”

– Devan & Khalid

 

This is part 1 of many, and I can’t wait to continue to cover their progress as they embrace their new identity, as Wild Rivers!

Stay tuned friends.

 

-Eric

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Long lines, cheap wine and a fantastic time. This past weekend QPOP was back with its 2nd annual festival. With just over 500 wristbands sold this promised us a weekend of music we wouldn’t forget.

Friday started off with a bang. Born Ruffians, one of the biggest names to attend QPOP played an unbelievable set. The four piece Midland Natives hit us with bangers such as Oh Cecilia and Needle as well as blew us away with a ton of new material from their newly released album RUFF. Luke Lalonde dropped panties in the front and even had the boys in the back singing along. Being known for their especially energetic sets, Born Ruffians really captured the Kingston music vibe with an intimate but intoxicating show.

The dance party did not stop there, with bands like Moon King and Kassador leading the way for some of summer’s biggest Canadian indie names. Kingston also got a fresh look at some incredible talent from across the sea. Tora, an Australian band in the midst of their North American tour, stopped by for a tasty set rich with satisfying chillwave-crosses-indie-rock tunes from their EP “Eat The Sun”. Their exotic flair didn’t end with their entrancing set, these gentleman were by far the most hip dressed dudes at the festival, and their stage setup was a marvel for us gear lovers. For those of you who were lucky enjoy to have seen Alvvays on their festival circuit this summer Friday’s set was as good if not better than anything we’ve seen by them before. The Grad Club was the absolute perfect venue for their dreamlike jingle-jangle to erupt. For those of you wanted a more upbeat atmosphere the electro-pop sibling duo, Brave Shores had us singing along even when we didn’t know the words. Their hit “Never Come Down” made us never want to come down from the euphoria that was Friday of QPOP.

With our dancing shoes laced up and our G&T’s in hand we were ready take Saturday night by storm. With the hardest schedule decision of QPOP in our midst we split up to conquer more sound. The Vault’s very own Attic Kids put on a legendary show for an intimate crowd. The four-piece Queen’s birthed band hit us with their classics such as Where We Belong, crowd and personal favourite Chloroform / Thinking Bout You as well as some new material. Rural Alberta Advantage, or RAA if you’re cool enough to know the acronym, brought us back to summer festival mode, flower crowns and all. Their whimsical set list didn’t disappoint with the perfect blend of old and new, giving the fans exactly what we wanted. Next up were big time summer contest winners, Ivory Hours. Where the fuck do we even begin? These up and comers obviously did not let their combined total of 50K in winnings get to their head. This band truly embodies Canadian indie sound. Their upbeat and colourful tune is enough to keep The Grad Club on its feet; while each song is undercut lyrically with themes of love, loss and simply the struggle of being a young adult – something we can all relate to.

The closer of a festival has the responsibility of bringing an amazing weekend to an unforgettable close. The Elwin’s did just that. Their quirky indie-pop sound had us belting Beyonce and getting so down low. Matt, Feurd, Travis and Frankie are a band to watch as they start a forty-stop tour across North America ending in the beginning of December. The Elwin’s did not disappoint your inner hipster as they played more than just their newest LP, which has been blowing up since released in February of this year. Lead singer Matt Sweeney has a way with getting the crowd even more into the show, if that’s even possible, by starting chants like “Friggin fire it up!” between songs. These guys are a must see live act.

Besides a few minor hiccups QPOP has established themselves in the Kingston community with room to grow. After two evenings of non-stop shows, shots and sing-a-longs our converse have worn thin. With a rough recovery period in our dust we can’t wait to see what QPOP 2016 will bring!

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– Mel // honorable mention to Nicole, Nick and Sophie for her dope photos.

With the NXNE season coming to a close in Toronto, I was fortunate enough to catch Dreamers and Grounders- no, these are not abstract Ted-talk concepts- on Thursday night at Sneaky Dees. Hailing from Brooklyn, Dreamers’ frontman Nick Wold quipped that his band was playing in Canada for the first time, and evidently they had little trouble bringing their onslaught of guitars and soaring choruses through customs. Wold sometimes enlisted a loop pedal to reproduce his serrated, often single string guitar riffs, but other than that Dreamers are a punk-via-indie (or indie-via-punk?) three piece that sees all members sharing vocal duties.

Next on the bill was Grounders, who enjoyed a crowd that had been thickening since midway through Dreamers’ set. Grounders are part of a group of indie-leaning Toronto stalwarts that make up the bread and butter of NXNE, bringing a democratic, layered sound to the midnight hour upstairs at Sneaky Dees. The omnipresent, sustained guitar blasts courtesy of Evan Lewis may impress a sense of aimlessness into their songs, but it becomes apparent that frontman Andrew Davis maintains a handle on the reins. Tame Impala comparisons are perhaps warranted; they often privilege atmosphere over lyrics in the mix and establish thick grooves to play off of over the course of the song. And that isn’t to detract from the Toronto band at all; they are right at home in this year’s crop of compelling Canadian acts. Judging by the NXNE crowd’s response to Secret Friend, the band known as Grounders can also hit singles on a major league diamond.

Check them out!

-Ben Swan

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Instant Need

Waiting ft. Madelyn Grant

Greetings from Vancouver! I saw Parisian producer FKJ (French Kiwi Juice) play a live set at Fortune on Saturday night and it was equally groovy as it was sweaty! (Seriously I was pouring water on my head ten minutes in). For those of you who wish to enjoy some sophisticated electronofunk, I strongly suggest you give a listen to his 2014 EP, Time For a Change. It’s real good stuff.

At his show, FKJ proved to be diverse talent, playing the keys, guitar and bass over his pre-looped tracks. One of my favourite songs, “Waiting” features the smooth vocals of Madelyn Grant, and reminds me a little of Odesza with a hip hop feel.

His show was a real kick off to the summer, and I know I’ll be listening to FKJ as I drive to and fro my silly  job for the next couple months. How about you? Check that EP!

-brebz

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Trainwreck 1979 – DFA 1979

Pull Out – DFA 1979

2012 – PS I Love You

Going to this show felt like a blast from the past in several ways. The first being of course the fact that DFA reunited a few years ago so its always a trip to hear music that you hadn’t truly vibed to since high school (for me, at least). The second flashback was that this concert was very similar to their concert at Ale House (also with PS I Love You opening) only a couple years ago soon after they reunited.

PS I Love You started off the show with a solid opening. Their drummer playing with intensity and their guitarist singer nonchalantly playing behind his back and the like. Humourously stating that every one of the songs was about Kingston, they otherwise had a pretty mild-mannered stage presence and the audience mostly looked on. Which was a nice juxtaposition to the next set by Metz. These dudes played HARD and fast and the crowd reacted accordingly. It was after this set that my ears started ringing.

Then came DFA. Dudes look nearly the exact same as they would have 10 years ago; shaggy hair, eccentric yet subdued clothes (Sebastian Grainger was only wearing white overalls), and of course they’re massive light set of the Elephant Face Logo. They played a solid mix of old and new tracks. I’ll admit they looked like they were having more fun the last time they came to Kingston, granted perhaps it was because it was their first tour together in a super long time. Nonetheless the show was awesome and the crowd was definitely enjoying, there was so much crowd surfing that it got to the point where I thought (should there be a crowdsurfing cap? Where after a certain number its like “ok we’re good for tonight, we’ve maximized our potential crowdsurfing pleasure everyone can just go back to enjoying the show regularly). Also the mosh pit was pretty fierce.

After playing for a good half hour or so they finished with an encore of about 4 tracks including Pull Out (after much deliberation from the crowd), Romantic Rights, and a couple other classics. Needless to say its good to see a legendary Canadian duo like these guys do a comeback that doesn’t feel contrived or overdone.

-Cam

Bahamas seriously proved his musical talent last night at the Grand Theatre. His voice on stage was nothing short of – and perhaps even more magical – than that soft, sultry voice you hear on his albums, and not that his instrumental abilities were ever doubted, his proficiency on guitar was nonetheless impressive. Three other musicians did a wonderful job of complimenting frontman Afie Jurvanen, the force behind Bahamas. The light and airy voice of Felicity Williams, featured on the group’s newest album Bahamas is Afie, provided some incredibly strong back-up vocals that often were very cleverly replacing the missing elements the audience knows from the album. In addition to Williams were Christine Bougie on guitar, bass and lap guitar, as well as Jason Tait, the same drummer that had apparently accompanied Bahamas at the Grad Club 7 years ago.

 

Bahamas was at one point left alone on stage, and it was at this point in time that he presented the audience with a solo version of his hit “Stronger than That” and many to his first album Pink Strat (named after his pink Fender Stratocaster that he was playing throughout the performance). Since last night, I’ve had the opportunity to check out Pink Strat, and although it isn’t necessarily as polished or produced as his two later albums, the listener is still spoiled with Jurvanen’s sweet, effortless voice, as well as his folky, beachy, and often bluesy guitar parts.

 

Overall, it was an incredibly engaging show with everyone sitting at the edges of their seats and more often than not, bobbing their heads. There was an incredible amount of audience interaction that included a just-bought copy of his Bahamas is Afie being passed forward through the audience to be autographed on stage mid-performance.

 

To finish things off are songs from each of his albums. “Lonely Loves” from his first, Pink Strat; “Okay, Alright, I’m Alive” from Barchords; and “Waves” from Bahamas is Afie.

-Maddy and Tim

Lonely Loves

Okay, Alright, I’m Alive

Waves