Concert Reviews

FIELD TRIP DAY 2: Broken Social Scene, CHVRCHRES, Constantines

Photographs by Neil Van.

The weather wasnt nearly as nice the second day of the Field Trip festival, so not too many activities were happening. Everyone donned ponchos, held umbrellas or just got soaked but no one looked miserable. It did prevent a lot of people from wanting to move around and this prompted bands to try and spark some enthusiasm from the crowd.

This included badbadnotgood who suggested we moved around to generate energy despite the weather not being cold. The Toronto jazz fusion trio, accompanied by friends, started the day off with easily, and without any close competition, the most technically impressive set of all of Field Trip. Alexander Sowinski would hype the audience without missing a beat (including crossing hand rolls and single handed fills), Chester Hansen crawled all over the neck of his bass like a tarantula (and attacked every note with feeling) and Matthew Tavares slammed on his keyboard without looking tired at all (despite churning out some highly difficult melodies). The band was doing well even before sending a lion mascot to crowd surf, somehow starting a moshpit, and covering artists from Flying Lotus, TNGHT and Gucci Mane. They may have had a small set but they were definitely one of the most exciting bands this entire weekend.

Shortly afterwards, Feist‘s project Hydra came out with the three femme fatales out in front of the stage. On the topic of short sets, their set felt incredibly short, most likely because they are still a new band. Feist remarked on Hydra being born at Field Trip last year so we were there for its first birthday. The music was hard hitting, catchy, and slithering with snake like tambourines. The harmonising vocals were angelic in comparison,  as they tamed the rusty guitar tones. With many of us now eager for Hydra to release an album, the band played a very sultry-yet-aggressive version of Immigrant Song, leaving us all the more impatient for them to return already.

Constantines are a band of whom have returned after a few years of a hiatus and they were met with a large crowd and a very positive reaction.  They were one of the loudest bands of the day and one of the most energetic. They were clearly happy to be back as Bryan Webb kept showing his appreciation, humbly thanking the audience.  It was a fun set and one full of joy for both the band and the audience for The Constantines have returned.

Washed Out were much more mellow on the other hand as they greeted the rain, now at its worst point of the day (thankfully only a drizzle), with a smile. The bass, still unforgiving in volume from yesterday for all bands, worked extremely well with Washed Outs catchy and happy music. Everyone was dancing despite being rather wet and the huge Washed Out back piece was so bright that it was as if the sun was out by illusion. This was the closest the day felt to mirroring yesterdays aura before the rain let up.

Another synthpop band, Chvrches,  started on the opposing stage and with an interesting lighting set up; their logo in LCD overlooking the crowd.  It took a few songs for Lauren Mayberry to greet the crowd as she did seem fairly shy on stage, and then she opened up to make the audience feel better. She told us she only looks dry now because she just changed her clothes but she too was drenched earlier. The bass was loud, as always, and while it worked better with some similar artists, it sometimes overtook the melodies in Chvrches’ songs. Nonetheless, the set was fun, the stage looked a bit like a ninja turtle hideout, and the band was visibly excited to be there. I cannot await their return when I can experience them with a different sound set up.

Unlike the shy and cute Mayberry, we had Fucked Up closing the smaller stage with Fucked Up and Damian Abraham putting on the funniest and most explosive performance of the weekend. He’d constantly rip beach balls open by popping them with his teeth and make hats and masks out of them. He commented on how anybody “sunbathing” yesterday was weak and thr hardcore people came today to do the rain dance. The rest of the band were as serious and on point as their layered studio work has been for quite some time now with every guitar melody piercing and resonant and the rhythm section pounding. For the rest of the band the show was about the music. For Abraham it was about making it special for the crowd the good old punk fashioned style.

Closing the day with the sun finally coming out was headlining band Broken Social Scene.  Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning met with fans earlier and continued this casual attitude onstage with light, fun banter onstage. This happiness continued through the whole set and was a perfect way to end the day. It was a statement on the festival with its rotating line up (ranging from Feist to Andy Kim) and the fact that everyone on stage just wanted to have fun. There were a few mistakes,  such as people tripping,  feedback going off and volumes not being leveled well at times, but that didn’t matter because everyone was there just to have a good time and celebrate music. Thats why Broken Social Scene are such a beloved band; they unite all lovers of music. With a weekend full of not a single disappointing artist, Broken Social Scene gave us an everlasting longing for their return and the Field Trip festival next year.

Thanks to Arts and Crafts & Live Nation Ontario for media access.

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.