Day 3 began with the event Universal Dawn in the Sackville community garden. This mostly consisted of prose and poetry readings, but it also featured Rose Melberg (Softies, Tiger Trap, million other bands). Admittedly, I didn’t pay too much attention to the readings, I was writing while they were going on and was more interested in Rose Melberg‘s set. She played solo electric and it was pretty much exactly what you’d expect from Rose Melberg: simple, sweet, charming.
I missed the Asphalt Watches screening, but grabbed a coffee (which I never drink, but I needed something to keep me energized for the last day of the fest) and sat down to watch Banded Stilts‘ set. The East coast band played a solid set of very ‘clean’ Canadian indie-folk. I don’t find the genre the most interesting of all genres, but I don’t have anything against it, and Banded Stilts ably performed a well-written setfull of songs. I would say the exact same thing about the not-dissimilar music and performances of Olympic Symphonium and Baby Eagle, who both played later that day.
Rae Spoon – now based in Montreal – followed them and, as with Banded Stilts, I also find Spoon’s music a little too clean, too ‘Indie 88‘, but, even taking this into consideration, clearly Spoon is a songwriter of incredible skill and craft, both lyrically and musically. Her performance was likewise very tight.
Skipping forward a couple hours, Mike Feuerstack (Snailhouse, The Wooden Stars) performed the best set I’ve ever seen him play. I think it was the fourth time I’ve seen him, but only the second time with a full band. And this band had their shit down. Though Feuerstack’s songs work just fine when played solo, a great backing band blows them up into epic widescreen. They also picked picked a phenomenal bunch of Feuerstack’s songs to play, not that he’s lacking in great songs from numerous albums.
Following him, Basia Bulat was another performer of the fest who just seemed too ‘clean’-sounding to me, so I didn’t pay much attention to her set. Sorry… :/
Sackville locals Shotgun and Jaybird followed her. I’d never heard any of their stuff before their set, but I loved their lazy East coast indie-rock tunes, and their performance was great. Contrasting with Spoon and Feuerstack’s sets they kept things very loose, taking turns alternating between guitar and drums. I had heard a lot of talk of love for the underdog band and I’m beginning to see why – looking forward to checking out their albums.
And then… it was the Constantines turn. Shit got crazy. The Cons are an amazing live band to begin with, and they met a hugely enthusiastic audience at Sappyfest. People were moshing hard at the front from start to finish and the crowdsurfing got so out of control that surfers were getting stacked on top of eachother because there were so many. The end of their set didn’t feature as hugely classic songs as the first two thirds, but that’s the most minor complaint on Earth. Not every song can be “Shine A Light” and “I Will Not Sing A Hateful Song” (way, way, way better live, btw).
I saw a bit of Halifax rapper XXX CLVR‘s set but wasn’t feeling it, so I left the Legion to go grab a beer at the bar Duckie’s.
Sometime around 2:00 am Halifax’s Quaker Parents played a set at The Shed (literally that) that I caught the end of and that was cool too. Annnnd then I had to sleep.
But wow. Sappyfest was one of the best music festivals I’ve ever been to, if not the best, period. The whole experience was utopian – beautiful people, great music, an amazing and gorgeous location, and with outdoor markets and cool coffee shops and a zine fair…I wish we could’ve just stayed there and decided we were going to live our lives like that forever. If I can come back next year (and the years after and after) I will. Because I get it now. It’s just a magical festival that attracts, for the most part, people who really care not about the bro-ing out and getting drunk and big name bands, but the real stuff: music, good times and a lot of new friendships