Finally we have something to share from the gator-masked duo that have captivated show-goers around the Hamilton area. What was once arcane is now here to be shared. The second you click play you’re well past the event horizon, caught in a vivid ether of clicks, synths and thumps swirling towards a singularity. When “Funny Way Of Loving You” does inevitably compresses it’s as spooky as it is soothing.
The accompanying video mirrors these feelings exceptionally well. Scenes of cold urban wilderness distort and pixilate as our gator-masked specters bleed in and out of reality. This is a transmission from a sideways world, some odyssey ending dimension where familiarity is eerie and only the unknown is comforting. Allegories are the future and Allegories don’t exist, so what then of the future? I don’t know, but this song should be with you for whatever comes your way.
The first Supercrawl I went to was headlined by Broken Social Scene. I was so stoked to hear that they were going to be playing our free street festival and the entire day was glorious. I still go back and watch videos of the performance that people took from balconies that night. The intersection was packed and I was with some of my best friends dancing away to a dream set from the band. And even though we aren’t getting the whole band this year, I’ve seen Kevin Drew enough to know how much energy he is going to dish out to the crowd and I can’t wait. Kevin plays the Hamilton International Airport Stage at 8:00pm on Saturday.
When Broken Social Scene announced their hiatus a while ago it never seemed like they’d never play music together again. Since then they’ve hosted two festivals (Field Trip) through Arts & Crafts and everyone’s gone on to make their own records. Though they’ve done this before, this time definitely felt like the artists were going off on their own tangents (gone are the Broken Social Scene Presents…intros to both Kevin and Brendan’s recent albums).
Kevin’s latest collection of songs thrive on the passion we’ve come to love from his songwriting, but it’s also an album that harnesses his force in new way. Everything on Darlings moves with a tighter, more aimed energy. Kevin’s old ways of cloaking lyrics of love and existence in ambiguous metaphor have been replaced with words we can not only sing along with but understand.
That’s something all fans look forward to when seeing Kevin live. There’s always been beauty and catharsis in his music, but now more than ever he’s sharing all of those feelings with listeners rather than conveying.
Instead of focusing on a single performer today how bout the entirety of Friday night? Good grief this thing’s loaded. Here’s our plot for the evening, what’s yours?
Illitry - Friday 8:05pm on TD/Arkells Stage
I’ve been following these guys for a few years now. I’ve seen them numerous times, but it doesn’t stop me from catching more sets from them. They’re always developing their live performance, adding new songs and dosing old songs with fresh elements. Troy is a man possessed on stage and Chester’s recent percussive additions add a whole new dimension to the band’s electro-organic sound. Every performance is supported by the band’s complete energy. Other than that, you never know what this band are going to do and that’s what makes them such an exciting band to see over and over again.
I’ve heard from reliable sources that this new project from George Pettit should not be missed. There’s nothing to listen to online, which I actually think is pretty cool. You have to see them live to be on the in. I can’t wait to be on the in.
The Dirty Nil - Friday 9:15pm on Hamilton International Stage
I missed this band’s live performances for years and whenever I told someone that they looked at me like I was a lunatic. Then they opened for Protomartyr this summer and everything about the set was gloriously unbridled and my mistake of missing them before that was fully realized. If you’re reading this you’ve probably already seen them live…I think I was the only one in the city that hadn’t. It’ll be fists and bodies in the air and boring jobs and inhibitions squashed under your shoes in the streets of downtown Hamilton. It’ll be all time.
Arkells blend a powerful rhythm section with a rock sound that is criminally smooth. Lyrically, they’ve never been afraid to dash an album with songs of politics and love. That it comes across so casually is what’s most impressive. On first hearing a song from this band it’s hard not to get caught by their hooks and electricity. Better still is the depth of their songs, full of robust production and themes that beg to be explored. This will be the first time I’m seeing the band live and I’m beyond stoked. I’ve also held off on really diving into the new album so that I can experience them in the best possible way - at an explosive hometown show with all of my friends.
Yesterday we spoke a bit about Charles Bradley, a funk and soul revival singer with a fascinating voice shaped by tragedies and hardships of years gone by. It only seems fitting, then, to counter that by exploring an artist that creates deep pop by pulling from a vast pool of ideas and influences, while applying questions and observations rooted in the most basic of human emotions and experiences.
Today I’m listening to How To Dress Well on repeat. As How To Dress Well, Tom Krell will perform on the Hamilton International Airport Stage at 6:15pm on Saturday. He crafts some of the most exciting and brave pop music. To call it contemporary would be to fence it too thoroughly in the present. Instead, Krell’s music is a bridge to the near future as he searches for authenticity and feeling in a seemingly cold and detached reality.
Like his music, his persona is simultaneously identifiable and subtly mysterious. In recent interviews and features his intelligence and ambition for further knowledge and connection are intense without coming across as off-putting. That makes sense for an artist so focused on ,and deftly capable of, exploring the frustrating and awe inspiring subject of love and its place in the human condition.
His latest album, What Is This Heart?, is a logical, yet still impressive, step forward. All of the elements that made his previous two albums so intriguing are present, but bold new concepts and details are masterfully added. Perhaps the most absorbing modification to How To Dress Well is Krell’s voice, now shining above the sonic sea as opposed to testing the surface. It’s that fearless addition that drives in after the impact of the songs’s ideas, lending immediacy to each note and word.
In a live setting, Krell has said that he must let go to share these songs and I believe it. Beyond personality lies to inner workings of an individual and these are the things tethered to Krell’s performances. And if you let your own shields down I can’t imagine the experience being anything short of transcendent.
In anticipation of the excellent Supercrawl line-up and activities coming up this weekend, we’ll be doing a feature on a different artist every day this week. Tonight on SUPERCONNECTED hour 1 is dedicated to Supercrawl artists so tune in to 101.5 at 9:04pm to hear tunes from Kevin Drew, Spoon, How To Dress Well, Arkells, Charles Bradley, WTCHS, The Dirty Nil and more.
Word has it there’s a media pass coming this way also so be sure to follow up on the blog next week for a heap of photos, written thoughts and probably an interview or two. Also, the bottom of each feature has a collection of links to stay up to date with Supercrawl on facebook and twitter as they update the good people on what’s happening as far as services and schedules go. See you at the crawl!
Today I’m listening to Charles Bradley to get ready for his closing set at 5:00pm on Sunday at the Hamilton International Airport Stage. There’s an excellent read about Charles Bradley’s rise to one of the best known names of the funk and soul revival on the Supercrawl artists’ page through these red letters.
Funk and soul are genres that have always fascinated me. They are also genres that I’ve only experienced through friends and surroundings. For whatever reason, I’ve never gone out and purchased an Otis Redding or Al Green record. That’s definitely going to change now and Charles Bradley is the bridge I’m using.
I first heard about Charles during an interview I did with Brendan Canning back in November of 2013. He had just be DJing for an after party for Lee Fields and he found out that I had never heard of Sharon Jones or the Dap-Kings or the revival that was going on with Daptone Records so he recommended I start with Charles Bradley.
For a week or so I was listening to him steady and then again it kind of faded. Then, when Supercrawl announced Charles Bradley would be playing on Sunday evening I went back to his two records and have been listening to them on repeat. This time, they led me to extend my soul collection and I made a conscious effort to go and scoop up some records.
Bradley’s voice fits in perfectly in the realm of James Brown (who he impersonated for a time in Brooklyn clubs) and Otis Redding and Al Green. Bradley’s painful past is etched in his voice surely, but it’s also a voice that sings as if it is the only thing it knows how to do to deal with the heartbreaking ordeals and experiences Bradley has had.
Bradley’s recorded material is also of the perfect amount to dive into before his performance. There’s just enough to become familiar with yet not too much to feel overwhelmed by. And though Charles Bradley seems tentative to embrace fame, he also has a bit of a wide-eyed gleam that I can’t wait to see in person. I just can’t imagine how a crowd wouldn’t have the best possible time, rain or shine, listening to Charles Bradley in concert.