One of the best things I heard this weekend was after a picture was posted on instagram of a friend passed out in the bathroom and the comment was “someone couldn’t handle the hipster stampede?” Sled Island is now the Hipster Stampede, with good reason. The city is alive with shows, some are great, some are so and so, but the bottom line is Sled Island is a great music festival for this city. My weekend was full of wet shoes, face rash from a 3am bike ride home from downtown to Coach Hill, music, comedy acts, lots of tight jeans, and thick rimmed glasses.
Wednesday The Antlers played at 12am at Republik, now I might sound like a 85 years old, but as much as I love the Republik, arriving there at 9:30pm to stay 1:30am is a little bit too long for me. Hunter-Gather open, a lo-fi 90s ghost that maintained the audiences with their unique upbeats hints of pop songs. They would have fit right in on that DGC’s Raties Vol 1. The Antlers make beautifully haunting music, but as much as I love the bands a 12:15am setlist is pretty ridiculous for a group that you put on before you go to bed.
Thursday was going to be tricky. With offensive funny guy, Gavin McInnis going on at the Auburn at 9:15pm, and Willis Earl Beal hitting the stage on 10:15pm at The Ironwood. Early in the day I had called Sloth Record to see if they still had tickets for Willis they had sold 3 tickets. I had drove down there 30 minutes after the call, where they refused to sell me tickets to the show, as they were squaring up with the Sled Island folks. Fair enough, I was reassured that Willis Earl Beal wouldn’t sell out because “Hot Snakes! are playing, and that’s where most the audience would go.” All I could think was ‘who the shit is Hot Snake.’ (No offense Hot Snakes!)
Stand-up is just as nerve racking watch, as it is to perform or at least their a couple people I’ve spoken with that think this. You tense up for the comedian when the audience doesn’t get their humour. McInnis didn’t fail to have the audience busting. You were almost more worried that someone might toss a cheap shot in the parking lot after the show. Making the statement that handicap people are cunts, don’t worry he knows some autistic people, so it’s fine he make generalizations like these. As much as he may offend some, I was cracking up the entire time. I had invited my brother to McInnis, and he refused the offer, letting me know that “Danni, once you have seen 1 comedian, you have seen them all. They are all racist, sex and offensive humour.” Generally I would agree but McInnis doesn’t take himself too seriously, which reminds you that you probably shouldn’t either.
After, we high tailed it to the Ironwood upon arrival the line was down the block and no longer letting people in. I know, ‘I thought everyone would be at Hot Snakes!’ Well they weren’t Sloth Record guy, but I can’t blame you we weren’t getting in even if you did sell me those tickets. Sadly, this under the radar gem from Chicago was missed by us. My brother was in there and his text messaged I got at 11:10pm said enough “Your missing out! WTF! Danni, you got to see this guy he is amazing.”
Friday, Wake Owl opened for Timber Timber and Feist. Wake Owl has been one of the best groups of my 2012. These Vancouver boys are folky goodness that will melt your heart. This would mark my third time seeing them in the last 4 months, with a random patio run in when I was in Edmonton for Bon Iver in May. Touring their 5 song Ep “Wild Country,” along with performs a couple new tracks. Colin Cameron (lead vocals/guitarist), Dave Meszaros (bassist) and Aiden Brandt-Briscall (Violin) played as a three piece (usually a 5 piece) to the soggy crowd.
The band that made the biggest splash in the rain puddles for me was a band called Slam Dunk from Vancouver. The played Saturday at the Ship ‘N’ Anchor for one of Sled Island’s freebies shows. I had walked down there to meet some friends to see Samantha Savage Smith, who is always wonderful to watch. A bunch of us were supposed to head to the Legion to catch Andrew WK. Once you started to paying attention to Slam Dunk, you weren’t going anywhere until they were done with you. The sound was a bit like Mogwai, or Moneen. This band is a fucking blast of energy; I hadn’t watched a punk rock show that got me going in sometime. Slam Dunk is playing punk the way it’s supposed to be played. Andrew WK was shut down after 4 songs at the Legion with Andrew WK inviting people on stage to be a part of show.
Now the Hipster Stampede is done what the shit I am going to do? Thanks Sled Island, Calgary is starting to get on the map for music, it’s about time, and you guys have a lot to do with it.
See you next year.
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