Canadian Musician Does WayHome – Day 2Friday, July 29th, 2016
Samantha Everts & photographer Mark Matusoff braved the intense heat for Day 2 of WayHome 2016, which happened July 22-24 in Oro-Medonte, ON. Here’s the recap:
Rolling into a music festival exhausted from lack of sleep and covered with dirt and smears of yesterday’s makeup didn’t hold anyone back from returning for the second day of WayHome. With Arcade Fire at the top of everyone’s list, another heat warning was issued for the residents of Barrie, ON, informing everyone to stay inside and away from direct sunlight as much as possible. Clearly the Weather Network folks weren’t getting through to the Wayhomies, as even more people filled the festival fields for Day 2.
Athens, GA low-fi indie group Mothers kicked off our day with fuzzy guitars that channeled a slower, moodier version of Courtney Barnett with a dose of Ty Segall spazziness to round it all out.
Montreal’s Half Moon Run came out grinning from ear to ear at the size of the crowd that filed under the WayBold canopied stage. Starting with some older songs like “Call Me in the Afternoon,” “Turn Your Love,” and “Full Circle,” the crowd sang back every word to the young rock band.
While most of the audience probably weren’t even born when California’s Third Eye Blind dominated the pop charts, they turned up in full force to sing along to classics like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper,” and “How’s It Going to Be.” Lead singer Stephan Jenkins was aware of this fact and told the audience how excited he was to have Third Eye Blind “virgins” in the crowd and how they were no longer at a festival but at a Third Eye Blind show, and that was special thing – so much so we needed to turn and introduce ourselves to the person next to us so we could become part of that TEB audience. Considering the last time I saw the group – at Ottawa Bluesfest in 2015 – Jenkins looked like he desperately needed to shower, wash his clothes, and get some sleep, the energy the group brought to WayHome was impressive. For those over 25, Third Eye Blind provided a great hit of nostalgia as we sang along to the same songs we heard on the radio a million times.
The biggest dance party of the festival, hands-down, went to Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red, who brought their electric Pow-Wow to the WayBold stage. They easily could have been a headline act with the amount of energy and dancing they inspired. With two dancers doing both break-dancing and traditional Aboriginal dance (one in full dress), everyone whose first introduction to their culture came via this music festival got enlightened by the experience. A damn good dance party that you couldn’t help move to.
Never having seen Kurt Vile & The Violators before but being addicted to the newest album, B’lieve I’m Goin’ Down, I was super stoked to find a shady spot to catch his low-fi indie pop. He didn’t disappoint and won me even more over when he was spotted rocking out hard in the Savages crowd.
Arcade Fire is another one of those artists I grew up listening to in college and university, and Funerals will always hold a place in my heart as the soundtrack to first romances (and consequential breakups). With about a third more people filling the main stage field for what promised to be an epic live show, it was bizarre that the cameras chose to focus only on Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. Their set list was a mix of old and new, with an unexpected number of tracks from Neon Bible, including “My Body is a Cage,” “Intervention,” and “No Cars Go.” It was clear the influence James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem had on Arcade Fire on “Reflektor,” for it’s quirky, jumpy, electrified live sound.
A welcome surprise in the plethora of travelling musicians joining the Grammy winners was violinist Owen Pallett, who also contributed some percussion. Their set ended with pyrotechnics, fireworks, and a flurry of confetti seen from far across the site.
Closing out the evening for us was all female-punk British punk band, Savages. As a HUGE fan, while most of the audience was still at Arcade Fire, I caught their aural assault on our ears with their heavy, fuzzed-out guitars and lead singer’s accusatory deliverance of aggressive lyrics and poses. This was enhanced by the moody flashing light show behind them.
It seemed as though they knew they had to win over the crowd as the previous band’s music was a lot softer and accessible than their heavy rock. And the best way to solve that, clearly, is to jump into the audience to be lifted above the crowd in striped Louis Vuitton stiletto heels to scream out the frantic chorus of “Husbands,” right? Right. Everyone who was witness to this show was won over and turned into a fan, regardless of their genre of choice.
Until next year, #WayHomies!