The final night of Sled Island is always a sort of bittersweet affair. On the one hand, you are utterly exhausted and all buzzed up on caffeine to make it through to the end, on the other you are completely stoked for a band lineup that god himself couldn't improve upon, and on the third hand (because you can always use an extra hand) you know you are going to be suffering severe Sled Island withdrawal in a matter of hours.
We were actually the first people in line to get into the Warehouse, as I was not taking any chances on missing out on this show. A nice benefit to this was that we were able to score the best of the handful of booths that line one wall. Not only can you sit and have a table to put your drink on, but the corners of the booths have little built-in tables that are perfect for standing on and seeing over everybody's head when the place fills up. A nice couple from Vancouver, who were in town for the Cantos Music Festival, shared the booth with us. Even though it got stinking hot in the place later, the boy half never once took off his wool jacket. Or his tie. Those crazy Vancouverites!
The night started off with the locals, Sub-linguals, playing an utterly frantic set on the floor in front of the actual stage. The frontman, hobbling along with a lime green cast on one leg, had the most incredibly bad bleached hair since Thom Yorke's Pablo Honey days. I was impressed.
Women, the Calgary band who is blowing them away around the world these days, then took to the stage proper, but not before King Khan (of King Khan & the BBQ Show) muscled his way on stage and painted a few faces gold. He had been making his way around the hall, anointing people with gold face paint, taking care to spend a great deal of time lying in wait in the women's washroom. When I ran into K, editor of Kitschykoo! Subcultural Lifestyle Magazine later in the evening, I saw that she too had fallen under his Midas (or something) touch.
Women laid down a solid set of their multi-layered dense but light garagey sound. The few new songs they threw in were pretty incredible, and surprisingly melodic. They sound way better live than on album, and that's saying a mouthful right there. And for those of you who note these sorts of things, Matt Flegel has shaved off his beard and gotten a buzzcut. You won't recognise him.
And then, with a nod to last year's Sled Island, a legend took to the stage. Colin Newman, famously from Wire, who played Sled Island last year, and who is curator of this year's festival, brought his new band, Githead, along. They sound very much like WIre in many ways. We picked up their new cd, and even more importantly, the Resident Offspring later noticed Colin and his wife and bandmate, Malka, standing by our table at the end of the night and managed to speak to him and get an autograph. I also managed to leap off the table and get a scrawl from him before he left. Plus I told Malka how much I had enjoyed their set, because I didn't want her to think I was only interested in the Wire factor.
HEALTH, the noise band from LA, were really fucking loud, probably the loudest band I have ever heard. The Resident Offspring and I both initially thought that the Asian guy with the awesome hair was just the dancer for the band, until about 10 minutes into the set when he finally picked up an instrument. I really liked some of their set at times, and I really wanted it to end at other times. LOUD, really really LOUD.
And then, the band that I had seen the night before, but in a completely different setting, and was most excited to see, hit the stage around 1:15. I had the feeling that seeing Holy Fuck at the Warehouse would be completely different than seeing them in the early evening at Olympic Plaza.
Holy Fuck is one of the most appropriately named bands I can think of. Their high energy electronic show is so exciting to watch, the way they leap around and attack the sound boards like they were a combination of an enemy to be vanquished and a tv dinner to be devoured, is utterly incredible. By this time, of course, I was standing/dancing on the little corner table of the booth, as the Warehouse was packed and hopping. I have never seen a band engage an audience so entirely. I think maybe five people didn't dance. The rest moved as one entity, including yours truly, doing her patented white girl shuffle on the table top.
It's been a while since I danced on a table (completely sober) at 2:30 in the morning. So, thank you, Holy Fuck!
Of course we didn't want to let them leave. But another nice thing about Holy Fuck, is that they have the perfect name to chant out, punctuated by hand claps, when you want an encore. Ho-ly Fuck! Ho-ly Fuck! You get the idea.
Saturday night at the Warehouse was one the sweatiest, danciest, most incredibly fun concerts I have been to in a long while. And for me, it was the perfect way to end Sled Island 3.0.
Now all that's left is the withdrawal pains.