My Wednesday of Sled Island starts with a panicked call from the dispatch office hoping I can start my volunteer shift early in order to pick up some media types at the airport for 415. Fortunately I finished work early this day in order to make it in time for my 4 pm start as a driver for the fest. I rush to pick up a vehicle and head to the airport only to run smack dab into the parking lot known during rush hour as Deerfoot Frustration Trail. Unable to collect my charges in time I am called to pick up Biblical to take em to their hotel after they realize that their billeted sight is sooooo far away from everything. Stop off for Tubby Dogs. Nice enough guys from Toronto. Oops, i called them Bible. They didn't seem too perturbed.
Pick up BJ Snowden who I want to adopt as my other-mother. Such a sweet, sweet woman! She was so very excited to play in Alberta, having played the maritimes the prior year and thus getting closer to playing each province across our great land. I hope that the bug I planted in her ear to play the Winnipeg Folk Festival will help her to cross Manitoba off her list soon. She asked "how would one get in touch with the right people to make that happen?" I wish I would have had an answer. I would have loved to have seen her show but instead have to pick up Wild Nothing who were a little put off by the crowd at Central United Church sitting throughout the entirety of the show. I still don't get why people would prefer to sit their asses down instead of dancing and enjoying the rhythm for which they have paid to hear!
Get to see part of Chali 2na perform to a full house. He asks the crowd, "who likes music?" woah! "who likes rap music?" woah! "who likes the music they play on the radio?" hiss, boo, blah! "Well then tune into Chali 2na radio!" He is also a very affable person, eager to shake hands, shoot the shit, and sign autographs. Now finished my driving shift I am eager to check out some music so return my vehicle in order to exchange it for my own.
I head to the Distillery but, sadly, just miss Dum Dum Girls. (sigh!) and hear that this may have been the show of Sled. But this is just the 1st day! I meet up with Campbell and the rest of the music crew and we head off to the Palamino to see Crocodiles. However Friendo is playing and making us lust for better music. I convince the crew to check out Man Man, whose exciting live show I had discovered at last year's Calgary Folk Fest. I would later hear from the Greenhorns that they were also quite happy to see their friends in Man Man perform. Musicians were often seen checking out others shows throughout the festival. Calgary so rarely sports so many celeb sightings. Back to Crocodiles who played to a smallish crowd and rocked the Palamino, despite starting out visibly upset at the sound guy, a theme that would repeat throughout the 4 days of sled.
Having had to start the day prior quite early in order to get a full day in for work followed by my shift driving for Sled and ending in the late night Crocodiles show I was too pooped to attend Sled Thursday. This despite my strong desire to see Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, the Dum Dum Girls, Zola Jesus, Bison b.c., Blonde Redhead, and BJ Snowdon. But my good buddy from the peg Cooney is coming into town tomorrow and I KNOW that I am going to have to save up my energy for what is about to prevail. Besides, another wonderful thing about this festival is the ability to catch acts you want to see at various different times as they (mostly) play multiple sets.
Once Cooney shows up at my doorstep (bringing a two four of Standard, the best beer made exclusively for Manitobans ever in tow) we head down to meet up with Campbell for a little comedy. Neil Hamburger takes the stage looking like a greased comb over middle aged man in a 2nd hand suit with geeky Buddy Holly-esq glasses. A shock jock who tries to disgust the audience by making gross throat noises and SCREAMS out a succession of one-liners "WHYYYYYY! Don't rapists eat at TGIFridays?" Why? "It is hard to want to rape when you have a stomach ache!" Slinging insults to and fro at celebs and the crowd, especially those who are offended by his line of comedy and vacate the premises. Over all he had some dandy jokes but the most entertaining moment of the evening was when one lady who had left the venue returned, obviously upset at whatever name he had slung at her and assaulted Neil Hamburger, throwing numerous punches, a drink, and then a glass in his face. The crowd was shocked and failed to react for quite sometime until someone stepped in and pulled the young lady from the stage. Taking things in stride Mr Hamburger went right back to his schtick. I wouldn't doubt if he had similar reactions to his off-putting comedy before.
With something exciting to talk about we head to Olympic Plaza Main Site to catch Sleep and a beer. A positive change for this year's Sled is to not be sequestered to a small corner for the beer garden and instead be able to enjoy the music with a view of the stage. From here we hit the Palomino for what would end up being my pick as the show of Sled, Quest for Fire who pulled out an amazing set despite also starting off with a few technical difficulties with the sound guy. This quartet hails from Toronto and satiated my psychadelic rock needs. Well, almost satiated. For the rest of the night I would be chasing the high that these guys had provided me with. In talking to singer Chad Ross after the show I would find out that they would be playing again the following night at the Beatroute after party. I make a mental note to be there whatever it takes.
We return to the #1 Legion hoping to see Kurt Vile and the Violators but those without a VIP bracelet were unable to gain entrance. So we ended up splitting up, Anil staying put, Campbell heading for the UK's Alberta Cross, and Cooney with myself off to the Distillery to catch Winnipeg's own Royal Canoe of whom I had heard much about from members of both Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers and the (now defunct) Paperbacks. Unfortunately their show failed to impress, not only for my bar set high aspirations but also Cooney's. So we hop the C train to head to the packed Dicken's to see the Crocodiles only to just miss them and instead catch a disappointing Deer Tick.
Multi-stage music festivals are a keen combination with my persona as they provide me with an abundance of good music (which feeds my soul) and also allows for my ADD mind to jump from act to act. I love a plethora of styles of music, musicians, venues, instruments, and crowds. It takes quite a thunderous performance for me to stay in any one place for too long. As such, we ditch Deer Tick (getting another drink there would have taken far too long anyway) in order to hit up Electric Six. Tired and still in my Quest for Fire experience I am less than enthused by the fun rockers from Detroit Rock City. But Cooney has a dancing good time. At the end of which I suggest that we hit the after party but with sage like wisdown Cooney suggests we head home for the night and save our energies for our full day of music to come. Yeah, for those who know him you heard right. It was COONEY who suggested we hold back. WTF?! haha