It’s been nearly 48 hours since the LIVE at Squamish music festival wrapped up for its third consecutive year. Having nearly recovered from a 2-day hangover and one hell of a party, I thought I’d write a little recap for those of you who couldn’t make it to Squamish this year.
LIVE at Squamish keeps stepping up their game in terms attracting kickass bands and putting together a killer lineup. The first year was a mash-up of washed up rockers and not-so-indie hipster bands. Last year Metric and Weezer took to the Stawamus stage to headline the fest. This year, however, was my favorite lineup to date. The not-so-indie hipster bands were still there (would it be a proper festival if they weren’t?), but this year we were treated to the Tragically Hip and City and Colour, fronted by Alexisonfire alum Dallas Green. I was in festival heaven!
The pure novelty of watching The Hip perform in my hometown was reason enough to go, but as usual, festival producers brand.LIVE managed to create that electric atmosphere and showcase some great Canadian talent. Here were some of the highlights:
We arrived just in time to catch Canadian indie rockers Wintersleep, hailing all the way from Halifax. You’ve probably heard their haunting track Weighty Ghost, which I first fell in love with on the soundtrack of One Week. Anyone know if lead singer Paul Murphy is single? Holy hell he’s easy on the eyes. Maritime charm aside, these lads played a great set.
I got to meet Daniel Wesley, who wasn’t performing but definitely should be on the roster next year! He was taking in the festival with some friends, so I made my way over to his blanket to introduce myself and snap a pic. I also proclaimed that I’ll be walking down to the aisle to one of his songs during my nuptials in a few weeks. I was hoping he’d offer to sing it live. No such luck, but a lovely guy nonetheless.
Oh boy I love me some hillbilly rock, and the shaggy-haired members of The Sheepdogs brought just that. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to escape to the mountains and dance in a big field under the moon. They were the perfect choice to put on before The Hip as the crowd was hyped after they finished their set.
Gord Downie is still at it with his bizarre stage antics and political references, proving he hasn’t lost his edge (or lunacy) one bit. The Tragically Hip sounded as good as ever, leading the crowd through some new tracks and lots of old faves. They played for a solid 90 minutes and left the crowd begging for another encore…with their catalogue of music, I suppose we could have been there all night.
Day 2, we hit the fest just as Kathleen Edwards took to the main stage. If I could describe Edwards in 2 words, it would be saucy minx. She propositioned a man for sex during her set after exclaiming that it had been a while. Last I heard she was dating Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon, non?
One thing I love about LIVE at Squamish is their participation and support of the social media community. Which is exactly how YouTube sensation Motown Tribute to Nickelback snagged a spot on the Garibaldi stage. We arrived early and were one of a few folks watching…by the last song, the place was packed. I swear to god, I actually witnessed hipsters singing along to Nickelback songs. The most ironic and fabulous moment of the fest! I met the Motown boys after their set and they were so grateful to be there. Oh, the power of social media.
Shout out to Mother Mother who has appeared at all 3 LAS festivals. However, we chose to enjoy them from the belly of the beer garden.
The best part of musical festivals is discovering new bands. I had heard of The Airborne Toxic Event – mostly on Vancouver’s The Peak radio station – but didn’t really appreciate how good they were until I saw them live. They’re heading to the Commodore November 1, so if you’re in Vancouver, I would definitely go check them out.
What can I say, I’m a huge Dallas Green fan so he could stand on the stage a strum a few chords and I’d still melt into a pool of goo. City and Colour brought the crowd down a notch in terms of energy, but you could tell that people were really listening to his lyrics. All the lovers in the crowd cozied up as Green crooned for over an hour. He is, in my opinion, the most talented singer/songwriter in Canadian music today. Loved every minute.
Finally, we capped things off with a bit of a boogie, catching Mark Farina at the Garibaldi stage which concluded LIVE at Squamish for another year. It was an epic weekend – hats off to brand.LIVE for putting on another world class event.
Who do you think will headline next year? On the top of my wish list: Arcade Fire and Feist. Post a comment and let me know who you’d love to see at LAS13!