Canadian Musician Does Bestival – Day 2Monday, June 20th, 2016
Samantha Everts & photographer Mark Matusoff were on the ground for the 2nd Canadian edition of Bestival in Toronto. The fest went down June 11-12, 2016, and we’ve got your recap of Day 2 right here.
Day 1 and Day 2 of Bestival couldn’t have been more different. Gone were the sparkly neon costumes and in were the all-black-clad Cure-idolizing folks. On the second day, festivalgoers could easily just stay put at the main stage of mostly British rock fare, munch on nearby food truck snacks, and drink without realizing other activities were happening (save for the thumping deep bass beat between song changes).
Singer James Graham of the Scottish post-punk band The Twilight Sad apologized for bringing the clouds and cool weather to accompany his self-proclaimed “miserable” music; however, the audience was anything but miserable (though sparse this early) and fans were screaming for more. In between verses, Graham appears to go into an angry trance-like state, rolling his eyes back into his head and shouting at the sky as though he holds the heavens accountable for his misery.
The crowd began to grow as British rock act The Wombats took the stage, though they remarked that the show looked like it would be a cozy one in that maybe 200 people were watching. The band still performed as though they were headlining an arena set, particularly bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen, who ran and jumped across the stage working the crowd while singing along to crowd-pleasing songs such as “Techno Fan” and the closing song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division.”
The crowd was filling up and the clouds were disappearing just in time for Daughter to take the stage. Daughter’s slow, sad, and heartbreaking melodies were welcomed with excitement, putting the band in prime position to perform songs from their newest album, Not To Disappear, alongside older favourites like “Youth.”
Bestival brought along a great lineup of UK acts to Canada, but the artist that perhaps best represents the feel of the festival was Canada’s own Grimes. With oud, colourful outfits and lighting, booming electronic music, and a wild stage show, Grimes was a definite highlight of the day. Performing her hit song “Flesh Without Blood” early in her set, Grimes showed her multi-instrumental skills by picking up a guitar to strum whenever she wasn’t playing keys, programming beats, or running around the stage. A group of backup singers and dancers accompanied her to deliver non-stop excitement.
As representatives of goth culture, heartbreak, and king of the smeared red lip, it was bizarre to see lead singer Robert Smith perform in the sunshine on the Sunday night. The crowd quickly changed to 40-somethings and hipster kids ready to sing along and do the South Park shuffle goth-punk dance. (Click here if you don’t know it.) Playing for two-and-a-half hours, fans were treated to favourites including “Just Like Heaven,” “Lullaby,” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Boasting that each of their 30-song sets was different from the previous tour date, this writer was disappointed “Love Cats” wasn’t in that mix, but it’s hard to be sad when you grew up worshiping the songs and lyrics of such a band. Apart from a few technical difficulties that were hardly noticeable (a speaker or two cut out at times), the band lived up to their iconic stature and messy black hair.
All in all, a great weekend of eclectic fare both onstage and off.