Pierce and I hit up Field Trip this weekend and saw some great music. Here is my wrap up of day one at the festival.
We began the day with the always solid act of Shad. It was good to see this hard working rapper still going in Toronto with his tried and true sound of clever raps mixed with catchy background beats and a positive, non-violent message. He brought his signature live performance of playing a guitar while rapping again to create a refreshing blend of styles that you don’t see too often.
HALF MOON RUN
Half Moon Run have been getting a lot of buzz lately so I was eager to catch them live, especially after hearing they put on a good performance. Although there were some slow, dare I say almost boring parts of the performance with mostly ambient sounds to get lost in, Half Moon Run hit their stride in the more upbeat energetic songs. I especially liked the sound of their drumming, which was intricate and had depth, and seeing singer Devon Portielje do some drumming of his own. With his lanky arms making wide, fluid movements, it was like a physical manifestation of the music and was a pleasure to see and hear. Half Moon Run aren’t doing anything especially different, but are still playing a tried and true indie formula well, which is sometimes all you can ask for.
Vance Joy, aka the Riptide guy. I should of paid more attention to his set and treated him equally to all the other artists, but deep down I just wanted to hear Riptide. His other songs all had the easy going, beachy style of Riptide expected from the Australian artist, however, we couldn’t help but refer to them as “not-Riptide”. When Riptide came on as the last song it was a satisfying end to our wait, and Vance Joy played it flawlessly. Oh the (Vance) joys of a one-hit wonder.
Kevin Drew came on like a rockstar and put on a solid set. His music has similar style to Broken Social Scene but with more of a straight-forward indie rock formula with more vocals and less instrumentals, and has already created some memorable hits such as “Good Sex” and “Mexican Aftershow Party”. The one thing though that really stood out for me about Kevin Drew is how he embodies the spirit of Toronto, or at least the indie scene in Toronto. With his denim jacket, long hair, and easy going nature, you could easily picture him hanging about in Kensington market, or seeing a low key show at the Cameron House. He is a rock star but still has an everyman feel about him, so it’s nice seeing him on stage promoting that all-accepting Toronto spirit.
A TRIBE CALLED RED
I was a newcomer to A Tribe Called Red but quickly became a fan. It is three native American men DJing, often mixing in Native American traditional songs and chants into their songs to create a unique sound. They also had a Native American dancer come in at different times doing interesting things with hoola hoops to complete the Native American feel. The Native American culture is so rich and different in its ideals that I was very pleased to see it put on stage and given more awareness. With the three men looking like they could have just come from an Idle No More protest, complete with red bandanas, it was a refreshing aesthetic that I’d like to see more of.
This was a big one, with a lot of people excited for this show. I was very impressed, the band had a texture heavy sound that was easy to get lost in, coupled with impressively intricate drumming that was always right and intense. I especially liked the physical arrangement of the band on stage. They were spaced evenly apart so when looking straight on they were all equally emphasized and incorporated, as opposed to the spotlight typically put on the singer. They were all doing their own thing but at the same time contributing to the overarching sound.
Stay tuned for Day Two coverage from Pierce!