Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sled Island 2014 - Day 4: A Festival, A Finale & A City

Saturday (June 21) started off slow. My feet were sore, my voice non-existent and many of my favourite frequencies replaced with a heavy case of (hopefully) temporary tinnitus. We took the bikes out again to make our way down to Olympic Plaza for the last big day of Sled. How did it go? This was taken towards the end of the night around 11:30pm. Bicycles and youth everywhere. A truly big city evening that Calgary is getting very good at:

But first:
We arrived at Olympic Plaza mid-afternoon. The rain-soaked splash-pool of the previous night's Joel Plaskett miracle was gone, replaced by beautiful sun and a few small puddles. The tinnitus was then replaced with The Shivas, our second helping of Sled 2014. Amazing surfy, momentum music building up to some seriously positive vibes: 

Next up was the White Lung. Very cool and punky, heavy rock. Not my cup of tea - the fact I use that expression gives you an idea - but I can see why so many others do. The crowd filled out immediately with the high-energy set. Watch for these gals (and a guy) because they are clearly onto something the people want: 

It was now early evening and Olympic Plaza was buzzing. Thousands of people were milling about and afforded some fascinating shots of urban life Calgary. The relaxed attitude of all-ages but beer(!) allowed kept things mellow and relaxed. A perfect scene in the centre of the city:

The Bow building a few blocks away looks unbelievably large from the Plaza. At a healthy 58 floors, The Bow represents the largest building outside of Toronto in Canada, 235 metres tall. My friend @bt04ku says hi:

The first head-liners of the evening re-focused attention onto the stage. Rocket From the Crypt makes live music look easy. These guys are pros at working the crowd with weird, nonsensical stories of being inadvertently aroused by the sound of babies crying during the night through the wall of their hotel. Strange, but their set was pure party-rock goodness that couldn't be stopped:

The finale featured a fire-work/light show capped, perfect set by Spiritualized; a super "big-noise" sound where it feels that a whole orchestra is delivering sound to you in huge sweeping 15-minute rock ballads:

We skipped the big-ticket St. Vincent concert of evening a few blocks further down on Stephen Ave, the buzzing pedestrian strip of downtown Calgary in favour of Outer Minds - again at Bamboo / Drum & Monkey . The loudest set I have ever seen in the tiny, tiki themed club featuring a set of four alt-electro-rock bands with Outer Minds capping the night and festival at close to 2am. Beautiful finish and definitely a band that Sled is perfect at showcasing:

Outer Minds - Give Me a Reason

My Sled 2014 Statistics in four days of music, urban bliss:

  • Number of shows: 30 shows
  • Number of bands: 27 bands (Mark Mills x 2, The Shivas x 2, Outer Minds x 2)
  • Venues Visited: 9
  • Estimated distance by foot: 25 kilometres
  • Estimated distance by bike: 32 kilometres
  • Number of Big Rock Saaz drunk: 21
  • Favourite Moment: Lightning Bolt - Joel Plaskett @ Olympic Plaza
  • Favourite New (to me) Band: Outer Minds
  • Runner Up Favourite New Band: The Shivas
  • Most hip-thrusts per show / Best Local Act: Mark Mills
  • Runner Up Best Local Act: Samantha Savage Smith
See you at Sled Island 2015. I need some sleep.

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