Sled Island 2010: Sledding on Canada Day
By Kelsey Hipkin
While Canada was celebrating it’s 143 birthday yesterday I was checking out the sights and sounds of my very first Sled Island Festival.
I’d heard about Sled and knew it was a music festival of quite epic proportions for Cowtown and thought that it had a pretty sweet ad campaign, but aside from organizing coverage for the Reflector, hadn’t actually experienced it for myself. I’m using the next few days to expand my musical horizons with the many bands featured for Sled….expanding my musical bubble if you will.
As you may have read, Selina Renfrow was out on the town Wednesday, June 30 bouncing around town hanging out with some of the featured bands…she’ll be doing so for the next few days so be sure to check out her blog Sledding with Selina.It isn’t an easy task to try and cover over 200 bands in four days but between the two of us and a couple photographers we’re going to see what we can do! Last night I managed to hit up three venues and check out four different gigs of Sled Island mania.
Ship and Anchor
Hailing from Montreal, Que. what better way to start off some Canada Day Sled coverage than with a Canadian band. When I first saw the trio that was HellShovel I thought that Jeff Clarke, Dale Totello and Chotico Xextecesx looked like Kirk Cobain, George Harrison and Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash…while that would make for an interesting band to be sure, HellShovel has a signature and individual sound. A crowd of about a dozen had gathered around the stage to nod their heads and sway with the music as the guys did their thing with more folks trickling in as I left for my next stop. HellShovel plays next July 2, at the Local 522 at 11 p.m.
Quintron and Miss Pussycat
By the time I got to Broken City quite a crowd had gathered in anticipation of Quintron and Miss Pussycat with some folks still wearing the creepy masks provided by previous act, FOONYAP and the Roar. I’m pretty sure I even saw Jesus, he was wearing tight white pants and red loafers, as I popped a squat on the lips couch to wait for the music to begin. More people crammed into Broken City so I heard Quintron before I saw him. It sounded like the Mother Ship was about to land and take us all to a happy Oz-like place…Quintron has a fascinating mix of organ music and synthesized sound like some techno Phantom of the Opera. That kind of sound isn’t usually my thing but Quintron and Miss Pussycat are true show people. Dressed to the nines with smoke shows and pretty lights Quintron (of New Orleans) tickled the ivories and sang while Miss Pussycat provided vocals and kept time with her maracas. The duo next hits up Tubby Dog July 3 at 11:30 p.m.
Why? and Ted Leo and The Pharmacists
10:30 – Midnight
Sound check, check, check. So was the first half an hour of my time at Dickens getting set for Why? to take the stage. There seemed to be some technical sound issues so I was glad that a friend of mine was at the pub to chat with while we waited. The boys of Why? hail from Cinncinati, Ohio and have a unique sound with catchy and intriguing lyrics. (I personally don’t want to hear about kissing certain parts of one’s anatomy…but to each his own.) Lead singer Yoni Wolf even crowd-surfed to the delight of the packed crowd, which given Dickens lower ceiling, was quite entertaining. “You guys feel good on my ass,” he said after finding his feet again…nothing shows fan appreciation like inappropriate touching. Why? plays next at the Olympic Plaza, July 2 at 5:15 p.m.
I was feeling a bit tired at this point but my friend encouraged me to wait and check out Ted Leo and The Pharmacists and I’m glad I did. The New Yorker has some very strong vocals and catchy upbeat tunes that were probably my favorite of the night (Quintron still wins for showmanship); In their Sled Island write up the band has even been compared to The Clash. Leo is the gig of the night whose albums I would buy instead of just downloading one or two or none of his songs; plus he gets extra brownie points for wishing the crowd a Happy Canada Day. The band is up next at Olympic Plaza, July 2 at 6:15 p.m.