The weekend edition of CityFolk got underway on the great lawn at Lansdowne on an unseasonably balmy Saturday afternoon. First to hit the stages were locals and kind of locals Danielle Allard, Common Deer, Miss Emily, Twain, and Fred Penner’s G-rated show for the little ones.
Juno award winners The Philosopher Kings then took the City Stage by storm proving that they are still a force to be reckoned with even though they are “a 90s band” at heart. Their reunion is delighting their loyal fan base who could be caught grooving to the melodies and singing along to infectious favorites such as “You don’t love me” and “I am the man”. Vocalist Gerald Eaton and lead guitarist James Bryan were particularly energized on stage and seemed to be genuinely in their element despite the band’s hiatus.
Crowd favorite Fred Penner then graced the Ravenlaw stage explaining to the audience gathered that this was the “Adult show” and that it was the adult show because he would be using words such as “consumption” (of alcohol) during the set. It was obvious from the get go that Penner is a man of extreme grace and intelligence, a performer who is to many a Canadian entertainment icon. When he launched into “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “The Cat Came Back” the clocks turned back for many of us as we sang along with him. Here’s hoping that he will continue to be a CityFolk staple in the years to come.
Speaking of Canadian icons, the audience got a taste of national treasure and Canadian Country Music hall of famer Ian Tyson who was accompanied by Hurtin’ Albertan Corb Lund. Over the years Tyson has sustained injuries to his vocal chords which has left him with a “gravelly” sound according to him. Tyson is a member of the Order of Canada and has received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. These accolades are obviously well earned and deserved based on his CityFolk performance where he had the audience swaying to his smooth old school ballads and singing along to their favorites.
Six-piece Royal Canoe hailing from Manitoba was up next. The band was pumped to perform on the very same day as the release of their new LP “Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit”. Keyboard effects, layered vocals, and powerful beats define the explosive sound of this collective who fully entertained the crowd gathered inside the Aberdeen Pavilion.
Finally headliner Father John Misty took to the City Stage. The very well dressed and stylish fans in the front row described his music as “ethereal, spiritual, and transcendent”. No kidding. If you have a few minutes to spare do yourself a favor and read his wikipedia description to learn about his very religious upbringing, near priesthood experience, self-medication using LSD, and contributions to the albums of pop icons Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. This consummate entertainer put on an equally entertaining show last night. Although most of the attention that he seems to garner stems from his ramblings and anti-establishment viewpoints, the music he makes is solid with a mix of trippy folky acoustics and powerful vocals.
A party isn’t a party until it’s an East Coast kitchen party, this time without the fiddles and washboards. The Ravenlaw Stage area was filled to the brim with eager Matt Mays fans hailing from Cole Harbour, St Stephen, Saint John, Summerside, Fredericton, and Moncton. The Nova Scotia rocker laid it all on the stage from his monster hit with El Torpedo “Cocaine Cowgirl” to more recent tracks from his forth coming EP Once Upon a Hell of a Time and gave Ottawa a rock show that only Matt Mays can deliver.
CityFolk wraps up tonight with performances by Rose Cousins, Rodriquez and Scott Helman. For tickets and details visit www.cityfolkfestival.com.