Photographs by Neil Van.
There’s not much more Canadian than a bout of cold weather and, while the frigid temperatures kept some people from the Sunday night of Wavelength, those that did show up were treated to some excellent sets of live music and a 4 am last call to celebrate.
I arrived at The Garrison in time to see Tenderness taking to the stage – the one-woman bedroom project of Toronto’s Chrissy Reichert. At times, she seemed to channel Sleigh Bells’ Alexis Krauss. While Reichert’s delivery was far more conservative, she performed an impressive arsenal of sound that was all tribal beats and South East tempos. It was interesting to listen to (and certainly a surprise to find out what was coming next), but would benefit greatly with that final push in its delivery.
New Fries were next to the stage, starting their set with a long, haunting organ solo that turned into an absolute assault of noise. The no wave band doesn’t exactly offer up easy listening and their set was kept blissfully short: a punch in the face that both woke and warmed up the audience for the rest of the night.
Debuting some new material from an upcoming release, Toronto’s Fresh Snow continue to serve as one of Toronto’s finest instrumental bands. Performing as a four-piece, they delivered an onslaught that possessed an urgency missing from Saturday’s comparatively conservative programming. It was heavy, it was intense, and it came with the sense that it could all so easily come unhinged. It didn’t and what’s more, the band managed to make all that noise coherent and pleasurable – no easy task, by any means.
I ended my Wavelength 15 with a headlining set from Mozart’s Sister, another one-woman show who was celebrating her 30th birthday via Wavelength’s 4 am aforementioned last call. While it’s pretty no frills, Caila Thompson-Hannant knows how to work a stage – belting out lyrics like a diva and connecting with her crowd. While the microphone cut out midway through “My House is Wild”, the rest of her set went off exceptionally well and the front row of photographers and friends were all too happy to dance along.
It was an exceptionally fun Wavelength with a whack of talented bands, and it was a festival worth losing your voice over (… is what I’ll keep telling myself and my lungs.) Congratulations must be extended to everyone involved and to all the volunteers who gave their time. In a local market that’s become, dare I say, over-saturated with festival offerings, Wavelength has certainly carved out a niche few others could ever dream of achieving. Here’s to another 15.