Monday, June 29, 2009

crawling through a festival: Sled crash at the Warehouse

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.


Blasé said...

Had no idea of what you were blogging about until the part about-"..were really fucking loud.."

Found you via "The Shining"


Blasé said...

..p.s.- your pic reminds me of the woman in 'Fatal Attraction'

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Blase and welcome. "Really fucking loud" sums it up pretty unequivocally, doesn't it?
I'm not quite as bat-shit crazy as that Fatal Attraction woman, expect perhaps in the hair department.

Sean Wraight said...


Phenomenal job on the "play by play" that was Sled Island 2009. I am very grateful to you for sharing your observations on the festival. Now if we could somehow infuse your blog with sweat, gold paint and dischordant music notes the effect would be complete.

I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself as much as you did Barb, it really does lend itself to life-long musical memories. And those just can not be beat.

Bring on the Folk Fest!


Wandering Coyote said...

Wow. I am totally imagining you table dancing right now!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am completely at your service, Sean, when it comes to providing colour commentary on music festivals.
Your suggestions for a multisensory presentation are spot on, really should have thought of that myself. The discordant notes I've got under control (some would say I excel at them), but I could use some help setting up an online sweat and gold paint generator. You must know some people?
I'd like to get that in place for folk fest, maybe add a curry generator as well.

It's a pretty scary thought, innit, Wandering Coyote? And yet, no one died.

Wandering Coyote said...

No, no, not scary at all...Just risque...

Allison said...

When I grow up, I hope my concert goings are like yours. ;)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You are too kind, Wandering Coyote. Seriously.

You sure don't have to grow up to go concerting like (or with) me, Al. God knows I never did.


I want pictures of the table top dancing so I can submit your resume to the French Maid. You want a new job don't you? ;)

And Blase made me ROFL. I think he's right, I better start keeping track of the neighbourhood bunnies.

When I finally saw my DD on late Sunday she was minus the gold face but she had a grin you couldn't wash off. She said Sled Island was fantastic! Great review!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hold off on the resume submission for a bit, Urban Blonde, I'm still working on my stripper name.
The DD was correct! Sled Island was pretty amazing. It was great to see her having a lot of fun at the Warehouse.