Program Director’s Report
Sled Island Festival Day 3
Friday, July 2, 2010

Since Friday wasn’t technically a holiday, the Sled Island schedule didn’t begin until later in the afternoon on Day 3. Friday was record-shopping day for me, so I didn’t get my music on until Built to Spill’s set at the Olympic Plaza, but since I arrived after they were already three songs into their set, I wasn’t allowed to shoot any photos. This is where having a good quality point-and-shoot camera would be really handy. Audience members were snap-snapping away with their pocket cams, but if I were to raise my camera to my eye, someone would spot me and disallow my photographing.

Built to Spill put on a good show, though there was something understated about it. As I’ve said before, maybe it was just me. I don’t like the big, outdoor festival venues, with the rented fencing, sponsor tents and high-security. Give me a dingy pub with pints of beer and french fries any day of the week. Luckily, Sled Island provides the dinginess in abundance, so after enjoying a few choice numbers by Built to Spill, it was off to The Republik for an epic night of rock and roll.

Unfortunately, I missed the first set by former Iggy Pop collaborator/guitarist Whitey Kirst, but was there in time to catch another charged set by Toronto’s C’mon. Ian Blurton and crew kicked out a bunch of their signature melodic rock n’ roll tunes, complete with Blurton bursting into the crowd mid-song to give his left-handed guitar to some random audience member to make noise on.


Following C’mon’s set was a band I’ve been meaning to check out for some time, but have for one reason or another, never crossed paths with. The band is Seattle/Los Angeles duo/trio Big Business. They put on a great set of low-end (as in bass-heavy) rock for the increasingly excited and packed crowd at The Republik.

Big Business

The excitement of the crowd was brought on by the anticipation of the final band of the night: The Melvins. These legends of punk and grunge were slated to play the outdoor main stage the following day, but that’s not where you want to see The Melvins. You want to see them in a noisy club, filled to capacity.

I parked myself in the direct centre of the stage, camera in hand, strap wrapped around my wrist, feet at just wider than shoulder-width apart. In short, I was bracing for a storm. As soon as The Melvins hit the stage, the crowd erupted like a wild animal, bodies churning and swaying, pushing forth to get a closer look at the band. I tried to steady myself to get some photos, and succeeded somewhat, and what blur there is in the photos only helps describe the mayhem. After a song or two, I escaped the suffocating crowd and made it to higher ground to enjoy The Melvins’ set of strange and wonderful heavy rock music.

The Melvins

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