Thursday, September 9, 2010

RECAP : Live at Squamish Festival - Day 2

After a night of camping and air mattress-aided sleep, it's time for Day 2!
Read about Live at Squamish Day 1 here.

Brenda: We got to the festival grounds just as the first notes of You Say Party’s “There Is XXXX (Within My Heart)” sailed through the air. Although the sound set up was rocky in the beginning, the crowd soon could hear Becky Ninkovic’s warm, gritty voice alongside her bandmates’ accompaniment.

You Say Party (photo: Brenda Lee)
Alex: This was the start of what proved to be a triumphant return. They sounded great as they broke into old favourites and brought the first dance party of day two. Three new songs were played consecutively in the middle of the set. The one that really stood out to me was named “Flaming,” which had a really strong beat, fast pace and just made moving your feet irresistible.

Brenda: I really liked another one of the new tracks named “Enchantress of the Light.” Which aptly describes Becky Ninkovic’s stage persona; she’s enchanting. As a consummate frontwoman, it’s hard to take your eyes off of her.

Alex: She charmed the crowd as usual with many people shouting their love for her and the band. She came down to the front barricade meet with the crowd and finish their set on a more personal level. If the new songs are any indication I think we’re in store of a fantastic third album from You Say Party.

Brenda: After You Say Party wrapped up their set, I wasn’t paying much attention to the stage until Cape Town’s Civil Twilight stole my attention with their orchestral, operatic rock. Vocalist and pianist Steven McKellar had a phenomenal voice with impressive range (and falsetto). One friend commented that their sound is reminiscent of Radiohead, I said Muse, and another mentioned Massive Attack. Perhaps the latter comparison was the most apt, as Civil Twilight soon burst into a cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop.” If the increasingly larger apt crowd was any indication, I wasn’t the only new fan that Civil Twilight made that day.

Alex: Vancouver favourites Mother Mother then took the stage to a warmed up crowd, playing up their unique synchronized vocals. There was a stronger guitar presence than usual, with Ryan Guldemond featured prominently, especially in the new songs they played. These new tracks sound more straight-up rock than their previous releases.

Mother Mother (photo: Alex Cameron)
Brenda: Can’t forget about the ladies of Mother Mother though. Jasmin Parkin, the newest addition to the band on vocals and keys, has really stepped up to the plate vocally. Her belting voice is a nice complement to Molly Guldemond’s higher, more nasally voice.

Mother Mother’s set was nearly equally split between new material and tracks from their previous two albums Touch Up and O My Heart. A new album is surely not far from being released. For a sample of one of their new-ish songs “Simply Simple,” check out this video from the Olympics in February.

Alex: The crowd on the second day loved what the main stage was offering. It remained packed as Tokyo Police Club started into their set. These guys have gotten a pretty strong following especially after having opened for Weezer. The crowd exploded into cheers and adulations as they started off with single “Your English is Good.”

Kuba Oms with Velvet (photo: Alex Cameron)

Brenda: Over at the Serf stage, Kuba Oms & Velvet were playing a headlining set. We arrived just as fellow Peak Performance Project finalists Adaline and Kyprios were performing an improvisational piece alongside Oms and his very competent band.

Alex: Kuba Oms plays a type of funk-infused rock. Being unfamiliar with both his and Velvet’s music, I couldn’t tell how much of the influence was reciprocal. 

But enough of the laid back vibe. We headed to the clubZone stage to get our blood flowing again. Tom Middleton from the UK was spinning on stage, and although his music sounded a bit repetitive at times, it was still a really strong DJ set.

Brenda: The internationally adored DJ had a surprisingly strong stage presence, often punctuating his tracks with comments about the crowd. We got there just as he announced “random hour” and proceeded to sample “Insane in the Membrane” and Jackson 5, just to name a few.

The Decemberists (photo: Alex Cameron)
Alex: Live at Squamish Fest did a great job including not only the more alternative rock crowd but also the DJ beat-loving crowd. The Decemberists then finished off the night at the main stage after Bad Religion. To me, they sound a lot like a slightly more rocking Weakerthans.

Brenda: Either way, seeing people moshing and crowd surfing to The Decemberists was still a strange sight.

For more photos from Live at Squamish, check out my Flickr.