City and Colour and Mark Farina wrap up LIVE at Squamish nicely
At Logger Sports Ground and Hendrickson Fields on Sunday, August 26
The sun shone hard on LIVE at Squamish’s Saturday edition, but a cool breeze dominated Sunday’s festivities. It was just as well: the bulk of the lineup on the final day of the festival was folk-tinged, and offered up some bittersweet sounds that fit the almost autumn-like weather.
Up first was Yes Nice, an Edmonton-Vancouver combo that played the geek-chic card plenty hard over at the minuscule Meadow stage. Singer Nathaniel Wong donned a chunky pair of sunglasses for the band’s entire set, and crumbled to his knees for the ABBA-like disco sheen of “White Washed Walls”.
The Stawamus stage, the biggest on the festival grounds, kicked off with an all-star performance from Kathleen Edwards. While melancholia was injected into tunes like “Mint” and the truly tear-jerking “Comedian/Chameleon”, the ginger-haired singer left a few dudes blushing with her blue humour. She singled out one muscled-up guy for having the audacity to put his clothes back on as he approached the stage.
“I haven’t had sex in a long time, you can take your shirt off,” Edwards scolded, before self-deprecatingly adding she’s prone to having more whiskey than steamy one-offs while on the road.
Wake Owl’s performance on the Garibaldi stage kept to the rustic vibe of the day, the band adding southern accents and bowed violins to the mix, while local duo the Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer dealt out some bobo-honkin’ 12-bar blues back over at the Meadow.
The sonics shifted significantly, however, once A Motown Tribute to Nickelback mounted its first-ever live performance back over at Garibaldi. The New York band removed all the testosterone from Chad Kroeger’s rock-radio songs, channelling no less than the Supremes on tracks like “Photograph”. Singer Andrew Baron Roland offered up earnest and soulful vocals on “Rockstar”, but it was smiling tambourine man Tim Kubart who got the biggest cheers, no doubt in part to the penis-shaped sunglasses he put on mid-set.
Plants & Animals didn’t crank out as much energy as the covers act, relying instead on jam-band grooves for the Grateful Dead–like “Good Friend”. Interestingly, despite rocking an acoustic six-string for half of the set, vocalist-guitarist Warren Spicer opted to run his capoed instrument through a wash of guitar effects.
Rural Alberta Advantage played a mixture of indie rock and electro-pop, with the latter being represented by the rote relationship number “Don’t Haunt This Place”. From there, the mid-afternoon blahs rolled in during the Airborne Toxic Event’s seemingly unending set over at the Stawamus stage. The group pleased plenty out fans with its anthemic swagger, but endless solos—on guitar, bass, and drum— accounted for at least 20 percent of its almost hourlong slot.
Barely anyone was watching local blues punk unit the Pack a.d. when it first started its early-evening song cycle, but a throng eventually gathered for a high-energy performance. Guitarist-vocalist Becky Black kick-stomped her way around the stage as she unfurled amber waves of distortion on “Cobra Matte”. For her part, skin-pounder Maya Miller walloped out each tune while grimacing and sticking her tongue out like a Notre Dame gargoyle.
Mother Mother vocalist-guitarist Ryan Guldemond cut a quirky figure over at Stawamus, occasionally delivering corny, over-the-top rock solos atop his troupe’s trumped-up, odd-pop sound. While nervous-tick numbers like “Hayloft” and “The Stand” got big cheers, it was a straightforward cover of the Pixies “Gouge Away” that stole the show. A rustic, ragtag cover of Wintersleep’s “Weighty Ghost”—performed on the same stage the night before by the band that wrote it—was a bit of a head-scratcher, though.
It’s been a long, strange journey for former Alexisonfire guitarist Dallas Green’s City and Colour project. What was once a tender acoustic solo endeavour has blossomed into an even more heart-rending Canadiana ensemble, and the group shone spectacularly bright this night. Decked out in a jean-on-jean Canadian-tuxedo-and-straw-hat combo, Green let loose some velvety vocals on the molasses-paced, pedal steel–assisted country number “We Found Each Other in the Dark”. A bluesy revamp of “As Much as I Ever Could”, with its chorus of “Bring me your love tonight”, oddly conjured Colin James, while early-career crowd-pleaser “Save Your Scissors” found the singer ragging on someone disturbing the peace up front. “Everybody block that guy on Facebook,” he quipped.
Over on the other side of the field, Mark Farina dropped some wriggly West Coast hip-hop synths atop his pumped-up house beats, while Mat the Alien delivered deep bass drops and sci-fi dub wobbles for a handful of devoted dancers at a hidden electronic-music stage tucked behind some merchant booths. It just went to show that whether you were easing into the end of the night with some laid-back folk or sweating it out for one last electronic number, LIVE at Squamish truly had something for everyone.