Sled Island Day 1 – Thursday, June 23
Our first day at Sled Island was actually the second official day of festivities, with a full evening of great shows already come and gone. CFCR Music Director Arnold Van Lambalgen (AVL) and I were riding out to Calgary with most of the members of Saskatoon band Slow Down, Molasses, as well as folks from local music blog Ominocity.
Our scheduled departure time was oh-nine-hundred, so at the crack of 10:30, we were on our way out of town.
Upon arrival in Calgary, we dropped off Slow Down’s gear at The Gateway on SAIT campus, as they had a show to play that evening. Once we made it to the regal Palliser Hotel downtown, a small group of us immediately headed to The Palomino for their (in)famous pulled pork poutine, which probably could have satiated our hunger for the remainder of the weekend.
The first musical stop on our Sled Island tour was at the Royal Canadian Legion #1, a beautiful brick building on 7th Avenue SE that is increasingly being surrounded by towering skyscrapers. The venue features two stages, one up and one down, so the music never really stops throughout the night. We were there for one reason: Crocodiles. The San Diego band is known for its raucous live show, and on this night, they certainly didn’t disappoint. They blistered through a set of songs from their two releases Summer of Hate and Sleep Forever, and even threw in a spirited cover of The Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat.” Dum Dum Girls frontwoman (and wife of Crocodiles frontman Brendan Welchez) Dee Dee Penny even got up for a quick vocal cameo.
After Crocodiles, I was left with my first in a long line of difficult decisions to make. Do I go to The Ship and Anchor to check out Moon Duo, or do I head to The Distillery for Man Man, or even stay at The Legion for Dum Dum Girls?
I decided on Moon Duo, so we trekked over to The Ship via The Republik, where we stepped in to catch a couple tunes by Wild Nothing. Influenced heavily by the C86 compilation put out by NME records in 1986, Wild Nothing play blissful pop music that has gotten a lot of attention since the release of their excellent 2010 album Gemini. And with Blond Redhead as a headlining act that night, it was a perfect fit.
We next moved on to The Ship and Anchor to catch San Francisco two-piece Moon Duo, featuring Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips. The band put on a great set of crunchy, groovy psych-rock/pop. I couldn’t help but think they’d do well with an extra member or two to fill out the sound in a live environment, and I think I’m still regretting not seeing Man Man, but it was really enjoyable nonetheless.
On the way back home, we stopped in back at the Republik to check out the end of Blonde Redhead’s set, but I was way to burnt out to fight my way through the crowd to get photos. Still, the music sounded great.
That’s it for my first day at Sled, stay tuned for more from myself and other CFCR contributors!
CFCR Program Director
All photos (c) 2011 Jason Allen