Rain, rain, go away…
It didn’t, but that was obviously not a deterrent for the 3,500 brave souls who showed up for the sold out Day 2 of Performance in the Park. On the bill for the afternoon was: Winners of CBC’s 2017 Searchlight Contest, The Long War; Amistad, an insanely entertaining band hailing from Vernon, BC, playing their first out of province show; and the multi-talented phenomenon that is Walk Off The Earth.
Despite the drizzle and cold, the crowd was already swelling as The Long War kicked off the day. In the simplest terms, the band describes their sound as modern Canadian folk rock, and that is exactly what they provided on stage. You can never go wrong when you add a little rock to your mix.
Next up, Amistad took the stage. Wait, let me rephrase: they didn’t just take the stage, they stormed it with their infectious energy and charisma. This band knows exactly how to get a crowd’s attention and keep it. To everyone’s delight, they pushed out a few covers, including my personal favourite: Taking Ain’t no mountain high and melting it into the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage. Pure art. These guys are masterful on stage and definitely worth checking out if they make a stop in your town. They’ll have you jumping and singing all night long.
As snow accumulated on the mountain tops, the mood was anything but cold as Walk Off The Earth prepared for their set. They brought their unconventional musical tools and opened with a medley of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you, TLC’s No scrubs, finally mixing in with Blackstreet’s No diggity.
Without missing a beat, they kicked it up a notch into their original tune Rule the world. It’s not every band that could make a didgeridoo work, but WOTE’s Beard Guy makes it look easy.
Looking around at the crowd, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more positivity or so many people – from parents to toddlers – having such a genuinely good time in 2 degree rainy weather. The good vibes must have been contagious because in that moment they took a break to announce a “special contest winner”. Being the perceptive female that I am, I knew something was up when a couple walked on stage and they handed the mic to the man with a bewildered look on his face. I poked Dave hard in the kidneys and said, “He’s proposing! He’s doing it, get that shot!”, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened. In that moment, we all forgot about the rain and erupted in cheers; not a frown in the house, although I’m sure more than a few teary eyes. I’m sure he’s set the bar a little higher for any non-married couples in the crowd, good luck beating that one.
After the brief pause in the name of love, the show went on. They played one of my personal favourite covers that they do – which I actually prefer over the original – their amazing gazoo-laced version of the Chainsmoker’s Closer.
The 2 days of music-filled fun was just what I needed to finally feel like we were at home in the Rockies. I love these types of events, not only because I feel that they feed your soul, but because they are a true homage to music; in this case, to Canadian music which is too often overlooked. We are a country that produces some truly amazing talent and it’s a damn shame that many of artists put their hearts and souls into their craft and get very little support; whether that be from the industry or from fans. So get off your phone and actually go support your local artists, buy tickets to their shows, buy their merch and throw lots of love and encouragement their way.