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Photos by Scott Christensen

Early days of Sled Island rich with local talent

By Scott Christensen, June 28 2017 —

Sled Island kicked off on June 20 at Commonwealth Bar and Stage with an array of grunge, pop, punk and experimental rock. With bands playing on both the main floor and downstairs, the club was buzzing with the tunes all night.

Calgary’s Melted Mirror brought an immense amount of energy to the stage as Melted Mirror lead singer Chris Zajko got lost in the synth vibes of their glossy post-punk. Another local group was Crims and Flow, who brought the weirdness in full force. They were punk in their lo-fi approach to music, which featured almost inaudible lyrics.

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Another notable performance was by psych-rock duo Pinkish Black. They brought a raw and aggressive performance as Daron Beck’s bassy vocals reverberated with Jon Teague’s powerful drumming.

It was far harder to decide where to go the following evening, as bands were playing at over 10 venues — I decided to head to the Palomino. Island Eyes, a dream-pop band from Victoria, took stage first and played music that sent a sense of calm throughout the venue. Derek Janzen’s vocals blended with the synth and guitars to create a serene atmosphere.

Soft Cure, a Calgary experimental pop band, were next. Their music brought a colourful burst of energy complemented by peculiar outfits and props like balloons decorating the stage. Lead singer Seth Cardinal pushed boundaries with his experimental take on performing, making for one of the festival’s most unique sets.

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Down the block at Central United Church, people steadily filed into the pews for Faith Healer. The band was the epitome of psychedelic rock, with Jessica Jalbert’s tantalizing vocals accompanied by a live band, giving life to her trance-inducing lyrics. It was perfect for the first day of summer.

Next up was Weyes Blood, the solo project of Natalie Mering. Her performance was reminiscent of folk music from the ‘60s or ‘70s and her use of cassette tapes to provide instrumental backing while she sang made for an unexpected performance.

Finally, I went to see Citysleep at the Hi-Fi Club. The club wasn’t packed, but those that did show up provided an energy I hadn’t seen anywhere all day. With the crowd screaming enthusiastically at the start of each song, the band effortlessly put on a soulful performance. Their dreamy R&B beats were the perfect conclusion to an eventful first full day of Sled.

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