Supercrawl 2015 crept up really quickly – as the big weekend got closer, I was getting anxious just thinking about it. It was a genius move on Sonic Unyon’s part last year to extend the festival to three days. With all of the hype, I need a good three days to unleash my unbridled enthusiasm for Hamilton!
Part 2: Friday, September 11th
My day started with a huge show at 93.3 CFMU. I fulfilled a goal of mine by interviewing one of my favourite musicians, Rich Aucoin, who would play Supercrawl the following night. Also performing the following day, Grey Lands joined me in studio to celebrate their album’s release. (Listen to the episode!)
From there, I wandered down toward James North. It was the calm before the storm, and I mentally prepared myself for Supercrawl with a beer and snacks at The Mule. The newest restaurant in the The Other Bird family opened that weekend – it’s always exciting to be among the first in a new spot. I grabbed a seat at the bar, took in my colourful surroundings, and perused their soft opening menu. It has since been tweaked, but I ordered two Vegetale tacos and a fish taco – both flavourful and delicious. The Grease soundtrack was playing on vinyl, and it was like they planned it all just for me! Perfect start to the fest.
Heading over to James North, that’s when it happened. It began to sprinkle. Let’s just state the obvious now – it rained during Supercrawl. I was warned of the forecast beforehand, but went into it with no umbrella, no rain jacket, no thoughts of rain at all. I figured, it just can’t rain during Supercrawl. Nope. It won’t. Not gonna happen. Well, it did. All weekend. But it would take a lot more than a little rain to keep the diehard Supercrawlers away! (Shout out to the Dr. Disc staff for lending me a massive umbrella on night one – I learned my lesson and came prepared for the rest of the weekend).
The honour of the first musical act of the festival went to Basement Revolver. The band, comprised of Chrisy Hurn, Nimal Agalawatte, and Brandon Munroe, played the local stage in the lot of Dr. Disc. The trio has a really unique sound they’ve described as “experimental freak folk” and it actually really suited the weather. The rain lightly came down as Chrisy’s strong vocals shot through the air. The wind even gusted up for a dramatic finish!
Meeting up with Lisa (who pounded the pavement with me all weekend!), the next act we caught was Pet Sun. Despite the rain, they had a solid following waiting to see them. Again, the music actually suited the weather, as Pet Sun’s grungy sound ripped loudly through the damp air. This crowd had a ton of energy and even moshed around a bit in the rain. Joining in, a little girl in a bright pink rain coat stomped around in a puddle beside me. The Supercrawl spirit was still alive and well!
This year, the main stage was situated even further down James North, surpassing last year’s location which was across from Jackson Square. The stage was now a notch past Gore Park and Spruce Invaders had quite the ensemble stretched across it. They’re a super group of musicians already, but this set featured some special guests. They were joined by Steve from Monster Truck and Terra Lightfoot on backing vocals and Nathan Burger from TV Freaks on percussion. Chris Houston, formerly of Forgotten Rebels, took the audience by surprise by adding a spoken word element to the set. In an interview with me live on CFMU the following day, Brad described the set as one of the all-time greatest Spruce Invaders shows.
A cool fact: all three bands who took the main stage on Friday featured members of The Dinner Belles: Brad of Spruce Invaders, Terra Lightfoot, and Brandon Bliss of Monster Truck.
One of the brightest local stars of the year is Terra Lightfoot. The woman is on a roll! The rain was really starting to come down by the time she took the stage, and Terra thanked us all for braving the elements to see her and the band. We wouldn’t have missed it! Terra is hands down one of my favourite local artists to see live.
Last year we saw The Dirty Nil take the main stage at Supercrawl. It was a huge moment for the band, in a local context, and also showed them at the precipice of really breaking through on a bigger scale. This year it was Terra Lightfoot’s turn to do that – she will be another one of our biggest musical exports and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.
My Supercrawl always consists of a ton of racing around between bands. This year, with the main stage behind pushed even further out, and the Fashion Zone located at the opposite end of James North, at Murray, to say we did a lot of walking is an understatement. Making it even more of a challenge, we were dodging umbrellas left, right, and centre, while being careful not to take anyone’s eye out with our own! It was quite the workout.
Next up, we ran over to catch a set by The Vaudevillian. These guys might win for most appearances throughout the weekend, as we spotted the band busking at various points as well. This moment was the perfect example of the Supercrawl spirit. Hearing The Vaudevillian’s charming, 1920’s ragtime sound, the audience danced away, kicking up their legs and splashing into the puddles that formed.
Friday night headliners Monster Truck closed out the night, proving why they’re at the level they are. They’re larger than life. Again, I think the weather just added to the dramatics of it all. Lots of hair-whipping, rain dripping off of them. Rockstars.
The secret to Supercrawl survival is pacing yourself. Forgoing any after parties, we called it a night and opted for our beds. We would be up bright and early to hit the streets again the next day!