Concert Review: Field Trip Day 2 (Sunday)
Day 2 of Field Trip! Check out our Day 1 review and photos over here. Enough chatter – read below to find out how the Sunday events for Field Trip in Toronto went. Spoiler alert: swimmingly.
Gord Downie, the Sadies
The first act of Sunday for me was Gord Downie, The Sadies. Gord was having fun as always, the eternal entertainer. The four-piece that are the Sadies had a bassist, a stand up bass, a guitarist, plus drummer providing the backdrop to Downie’s stage show.
The two are a good fit together. This was underlined in If You Have Ghosts, the best song the Tragically Hip never wrote. Upbeat, vintage Downie vocals, and a driving rhythm made this track a winner.
Downie also sprinkled in his trademark stage antics and rants. I want to be on what he is on. His “Toronto in June” ramblings were sort of cool. So was the stick guy in the crowd again. You shall not pass, amiright?
Things were a little awkward when Downie dedicated a song to Jim Flaherty, recently deceased Finance Minister. Downie commented on the one clap his dedication received, but I think the crowd couldn’t tell if he was being sincere or sarcastic.
The band continued to rip through their in-your-face brand of rock, which suits Downie’s vocal range and strengths more than some mid tempo numbers. The penultimate song was a banging rocker from start to finish, with many in the crowd rocking along.
In a reversal of everything I’ve written, the band closed with a gentle and slow number that was also a treat. A very and somewhat surprisingly good set.
The band have ended their hiatus and showed up to the drizzling rain at Field Trip. They came on to a rapturous applause and were LOUD. The drummer and two other percussionists in the opening song made me feel the music in my chest. The second song kept the thumping rhythms going and continued to whip the crowd into a frenzy.
Unrelated: Thanks to the girl with the clear and yellow Hunter umbrella for blocking my view. I hate you.
The crowd played their part well, chanting back at the band for the call and response parts. The crunching guitar assault continued on the band’s end, and the crowd lapped it up.
A couple of female singers (Tam and Jen) were brought on stage, as the stage was “a little dude heavy”. Their backing vocals brought some balance to the harder rock edge of the tracks.
During Shine a Light, the band stopped playing, and all of them raised their hands in the air for about 30 seconds, and the crowd figured out their part and did the same, with no words spoken. Very cool.
The raw vocals stayed strong throughout the set, including the screeching choruses towards the end of the set. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this set and the love from the crowd definitely proved that. Welcome back!
This was my third time seeing CHVRCHES and they still only have the one album out. Thankfully it’s a good album and they’re a fine live band, or else I would’ve OD’ed on Kanga Australian meat pies instead.
Singer Lauren Mayberry was flanked by Iain Cook to her right, Martin Doherty to her left. The band opened with We Sink, and had their album cover logo behind them AND on their keyboard stands, with some flashing lights augmenting the visuals.
The thumping track Lies followed, with Lauren pumping her mic to the outro to the beat. Lauren addressed the crowd’s prepared state of wearing ponchos due to the rain, before kicking into Gun. Gun was another dancey electronic track that the Scottish band do so well. The chorus has a killer bass beat that all but forced the crowd to dance along.
Night Sky has a catchy as hell chorus, but since I noticed the end of the track sounds like the Jingle Cats, it had forever been ruined for me.
Recover got the crowd to shake their collective booties, while the band did their best to shake their booties, to limited success. Although they’ve come a long in the past 15 months since I’ve seen them, it’s hard for a band with 2/3 of its members behind keyboards and computers to have a huge stage presence. What they lacked in presence, they tried to make up in “witty” banter. They named Canadian bands they liked, which included “Tegan and Sara, Metric, Rush, Bryan Adams”, and a question about Shania Twain being Canadian. Not bad.
Martin came up to sing Under the Tide, injecting some energy to the stage. Maybe Lauren could take some notes. The petite singer returned and mentioned more Canadian bands they enjoy. She also told a story of doing drunken Alanis Morrissette karaoke and did NOT follow it up with a sample, despite Martin badgering her. Pity!
The band closed their highly energetic and entertaining set with The Mother We Share. We’re lucky to have had CHVRCHES grace the Toronto stage so many times since their rise to the near top of the indie pop world.
A picture is worth a 1000 words. Let me present with you 8000 words for Fucked Up – the story pretty much writes itself.
Broken Social Scene
The reunion, part two. For the second year in a row, the Toronto indie collective closed out Field Trip. We knew the stage would be rammed, and we knew there would be guest stars galore. But how did it all unfold?
The band took the stage at 8:30, and fittingly the sun came out a little before they came on. They started with 7 members, which you knew would only swell. And it did, adding 2 backing vocalists before the chorus of the first song.
Handjobs for the Holidays brought out about 8 more people, including Amy Millan, Torq Cambell, and Evan Cranley from Stars. After doing his own set, and joining Fucked Up, Gord Downie completed the hat trick, joining BSS for Texaco Bitches.
A new intro was a part of Cause=Time, with the rhythms of all the members syncing up nicely. Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day) was a grooving tune, with the band temporarily down to 6 members. But wait – here comes a million horn players to blow up our size. And hey, did this segue into a cover of Smashing Pumpkins Today? Yes it did.
Apparently the only reason the sun came out is because the band out Pacific Theme on their set. The summery song does have a certain feel about it, so maybe Kevin Drew was right. The jazzy and instrumental number had a positive vibe to it and pleased the crowd.
Andy Kim (the writer of Sugar, Sugar) was brought out to sing the next tune, which was slow and seemingly not well rehearsed. Classify this in the “Miss” category.
Kevin dared us to put our phones away for Force of Love, so my notes are non-existent for that song. However Jason Collett and Feist joined for the next song, 7/4 Shoreline. And Amy Millan got a lead singing part when she wasn’t crashing and falling into Kevin Drew.
The crowd started to clear out during some admittedly average songs that were drawn out and lost the crowd. The band looked a little lost at times, too, but given the difficulty of rehearsals and pulling it all together, they can be forgiven.
The band won them back with the upbeat Kc Accidental. They finished their set earlier than Kevin Drew planned but just as Brendan Canning predicted. This meant a couple more songs for the masses, to ensure they went home extra happy.
The band are certainly fun to watch, and even more difficult to classify. Are they a indie rock band, a jam band, an improv act, or all of the above? For an event and festival like this, it doesn’t matter – it was a love fest, and hopefully you were able to take part in it. Until next year!
Field Trip is a very well run and organized, boutique festival. The stage set up is no frills, with little in the terms of backdrop, video screen, and more importantly, corporate sponsorship plastered everywhere. We’re so used to it literally everywhere that we likely don’t notice when it’s gone.
The grounds for the festival are unique and intimate. The line ups were nearly non-existent no matter where I went – water (which was triple filtered, and free by the way), toilet, and the ever frequent bar trips. There wasn’t much of a crowd crunch, except at the choke point towards the side stage.
Does the festival merit two days? This is the question I struggle with. Two days meant longer set times and less conflicts. Could the festival have added a third stage and narrowed it down to one day? Possibly.
Overall, a great experience, and a welcome addition to the Toronto festival calendar. Let’s hope they make it an annual thing.