Sunday, July 20, 2008

Live:: Summersonic Day 1

All right, thanks to the co-operation of the weather yesterday, the Ack and I were able to head downtown and enjoy day 1 of the inaugural Summersonic Festival at the base of Citadel Hill here in Halifax. There were rumours of rain and perhaps a thundershower or two, but we only felt a few drops throughout our time there, and, like the rest of the crowd, we were glad for that.

In fact, the crowd is a good place to start. Simply put, it wasn't very big. Considering the size of the venue, and the quality of the acts, I thought the crowd would easily be double what we saw there. I'm not sure what the deal was, I know there was plenty of other music on (in fact one of the Urban stations here was putting on their annual festival yesterday too, but I'm not sure how much crossover there would be in the audiences), but perhaps they should've done more advertising for the event. But not to dwell on the negative, because the event itself was pretty awesome. It was run smooth and on time, the facilities provided were great, and the all the performers sounded great.

I'll be posting some of our footage and video throughout the day, but if you are able to head down and check out today's bill (I See Rowboats, Hey Rosetta!, The Black Keys, Wintersleep, Stars), I certainly would.

Yesterday started with local girl made good, Rebekah Higgs. Higgs has started to make a splash on the National scene - her video for Parables is getting muchmusic love - but she seemed eager to win over the local crowd. Her set, although only 40 minutes, was jam packed with smiles, energy and echobox fun.

She's a charming performer, and the full band treatment of songs like Parables and Happy real sounded thicker than the quaint electro fused recorded versions I'm so familiar with, but the density really made them stand out. She debuted a new song - Youth and Beauty - and if it's any indicator of what her next release is going to be about, we are all in luck.

Up next was the anthem driven rock songs of In-Flight Safety. The boys had been on a long hiatus, with recording and living the spoils of the Dell conglomerate, but they showed up ready to unveil new songs on the Halifax faithful. All too often bands that write booming arena style anthems are dismissed as U2 or Coldplay wannabees, but some of the new material IFS played is killer. Model House is going to be a smash hit.

My favorite part of the set was the sound the engineer was able to get out of the band. Normally, the keyboard is lost at big shows, but Daniel Ledwell's plastic ivory work was perfect and they certainly got the energy up for heat stroked crowd.

I've always been on the fence about TPC. I can see why people like them - quick, energetic snyth laced crunchers usually hit home with indie rock fans - but I kind of think the band said all I needed to hear on their first EP. I'm not saying the newer stuff isn't good, it's just the same kind of good and not really in my house of wheel.

But the bands played a long set and had kids running from the hill down to the front to bounce around and compare leggings and angular hair. But I have to admit, even this old codger was smiling when they tore through Nature of the Experiment.

And now the reason when Shane and I were stoked to be in attendance. The Weakerthans. John K. Samson is a Canadian icon, or at least he should be. He writes songs that are perfect portrayals of the common man, but crafts super catchy hooks around his well thought out descriptions and the live act that accompanies the songs is worth any price of admission. Plus, special guest Jim Bryson was on the scene to thicken up the sound.

I know their might be more space between the follicles, but these "old timers" showed the young kids how a rock show should go down. Syncro axe moves, jump kicks (thanks Gregor), a huge set of hits followed by a terrific encore (hearing 2000 people scream I hate Winnipeg at the top of their lungs was a great moment) pretty well cemented the first ever Summersonic festival as a success. The new material - like Sun in an Empty Room, Civil Twilight and Night Windows actually held their own nicely amongst the crowd favs, which was great to see.

Finally - City and Colour. What can we say about the headliners? Well, not much because we only stayed for two songs. I know the kiddies love the guitar ditties Dallas Green writes, but after the Weakerthans set and the $6 cans of beer I had my fill. I will say this though, people were still raring to go as we saw people buying tickets for the band despite the lofty price tag even as we left.

So there you go. Day 1 was a banger. Day 2? Well, we will soon see.

Rebekah Higgs
Higgs & Band
Higgs & Bunnies
In-Flight Safety
More IFS
Mullane's White Pants
Tokyo Police Club
TPC's David Monks
TPC dans black & white
The Weakerthans with a meditating Jim Bryson
Jon K. Samson
Weakerthans rock out
City and Colour
C & C Light Factory


Rebekah Higgs - Youth & Beauty (Live @ Summersonic)

Rebekah Higgs - Parables (Live @ Summersonic)

Posted at 11:36 AM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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At 3:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

nice review


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