By Kristin Archer
Photos by Lisa Vuyk (unless otherwise stated)
Jam packed day ahead for day two of Supercrawl adventures. Sharp at noon, it was over to the Murray stage to see the first act of the day, Taylor Knox. We had such incredible weather on Friday, but Saturday was a little spotty. I think I put my umbrella up and down multiple times during Taylor’s set. At one point all of the elements were happening at once – rain, sun, wind, leaves blowing all over the place, Jed the Dancing Guy breezed beside me. Taylor even has a track called “Fire” which was a highlight of the set. He also has a tune about the sun and the sun actually revealed itself right on cue when he played it. Magic.
First to grace the main stage was local powerhouse and someone who should be on everyone’s radar – the incredible Jennifer Budd. As I booked it from Murray to King & James, I heard the unmistakable soulful sounds from Jennifer and her band blasting through the air as I got closer to the stage.
I was so stoked to see Jennifer on the Supercrawl lineup and even more so that she got to play the main stage. It has been a phenomenal year so far for the singer since she released her debut album Lip Service last November. Still being such a new artist, Jennifer already has her signature sound and look down, and delivers with her live show every time. I get so jazzed seeing her play. Get it, girl! Jenn’s next Hamilton show is November 12th at Mills Hardware.
I’ve been a proud 93.3 CFMU volunteer for almost three years now – I started my radio show at the station in November 2013. Every year, CFMU broadcasts their Supercast live-to-air from the festival. I remember dropping by to see Jamie Tennant in action during Supercrawls past, even before I had my show. Since joining the station I’ve loved getting the chance to hop on the air during the Supercast. Nothing beats the excitement of a live-to-air!
This year, Mark Gonzalez held it down all day at Supercrawl’s headquarters Sonic Unyon. I sat in with Mark, Jamie Tennant, and James St. Pierre to co-host segments. It’s always a packed lineup and it’s exciting to find out who I get to interview. It worked out so well that my segments included Taylor Knox, Ryan Ferguson from the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Tyler and Nabi from The Medicine Hat, Rob Wolanski from the HPO, Jennifer Budd, and Troy Witherow from Illitry. I was also there for my friend Jen (TasteHamOnt)’s first radio interview. Listen to the segments here and check out CFMU’s blog coverage of the day.
Meanwhile, back on the street, Lisa was capturing the action! The sun stuck around for most of the afternoon and it was packed out there. More highlights included a favourite local act of ours, Billy Moon, who just released his newest EP, That Which You Can’t Throw Away. I was also curious about new Canadian supergroup TUNS – the lineup consists of Chris Murphy (Sloan), Matt Murphy (Super Friendz/Flashing Lights), and Mike O’Neill (Inbreds).
The performance I was most looking forward to that day was the collaboration between the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and The Medicine Hat. The set was remounted from their sold-out show at The Spice Factory last spring when the two camps came together for HPO’s Indie Series. I loved that show and was really happy to see a reprise, especially given the amount of work that goes into these collaborations.
HPO’s Indie Series was born out of a collaboration they did they Hachey the MouthPEACE for Supercrawl 2013 – since then they have collaborated with more acts including Illitry and The Redhill Valleys. The Medicine Hat’s material was just fantastic when reworked with the orchestra and the band completely held their own with such seasoned musicians.
Oh yeah, and I also got to play MC! Thanks to the Supercrawl team for asking me back to introduce some of the acts again this year. It was my pleasure to introduce HPO & The Medicine Hat, and Coszmos Quartette. I of course had to resume my Supercrawl selfie series.
Coszmos Quartette is one of my favourite new local acts – their self-titled album, released through HAVNRecords, is a breath of fresh air. Seeing them a few months ago at the Rock On Locke church with another favourite of mine, Twin Within, was one of my favourite local shows this year.
Brad Germain is one of the most prolific local musicians – I can’t even name all of the bands and projects he has been involved with. The music of this four piece is so beautiful and calming. It didn’t even matter that the rain was coming down by this point; it only added to the lovely sounds.
Food is usually the last thing on my mind during Supercrawl, other than knowing that I need to have it at some point for sustenance! There is an overwhelming amount of options between the restaurants and food vendors. I started my ‘Crawl on Friday with pokeh in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, which was just the dish to fuel me up. And I can never resist the Peachy Blonde from Jonny Blonde when I see it – that hit the spot on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the rain hit harder but spirits weren’t dampened. It’s just always a bit of a bummer. But if we could handle last year’s three days of straight rain, we could certainly handle this.
Lisa and I took shelter at Mills Hardware and celebrated the release of local writer Andrew Baulcomb‘s book Evenings & Weekends. Andrew read some passages from the book and it only made me more excited to pick up my copy.
I can’t say enough good things about this book – I absolutely loved it! I read it so quickly and it already begs a re-read. Andrew writes about Hamilton’s music scene from 2006-2011, which is when I really started paying attention to what was going on in the local music scene, and I would go on to start my own documenting in 2011. Andrew does a fantastic job weaving his own life into the narrative as it runs parallel to what was going on in our music scene.
“More than anything, this is a book about being in the right place at the right time. Sharing a common experience. Meeting like-minded people. Experimenting and taking chances. Feeling the need to create and consume and binge and purge with no need for external validation or fear of making a mistake.”
– excerpt of the prologue of Evenings & Weekends by Andrew Baulcomb
It’s also so cool for me to see I Heart Hamilton listed in Andrew’s credits along with all of the many publications he has written for. Go pick up a copy!
The rain eased up and just in time for a little shimmy and shake with Vancouver band Dear Rouge. Their live show is pretty irresistible. Danielle is a force to be reckoned with. She commanded the stage and got the crowd amped up. Stage presence and showmanship like that will win me over every time.
Trivia: Dear Rouge’s first Hamilton show was back in November 2013 at The Casbah during the blog fair I organized. Kudos to Brodie Schwendiman for catching wind of the band early on and booking them. They’ve accomplished a lot since then – it’s funny to note that a bunch of bloggers set up with our laptops facing the stage was their first introduction to Hamilton!
You know how much I love local songstress Laura Cole. I’m always happy to hear her sing. She and the band performed a sultry, soulful set on the Dr. Disc stage and had everyone dancing (in the rain – it was raining again!). Laura is a total pro and what an incredible run she has had with her debut album Dirty Cheat. Her smoky voice also leant itself well to a beautiful rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s song “Mercy.”
Then it was time for day two’s headliners, The Strumbellas. Similar to Dear Rouge, they’re a band I saw play in Hamilton a few years ago, but now they’re having their moment. That’s one really fun part of documenting my travels – getting to see some bands take off and to be able to say I saw them when. I first encountered the stomping sounds of The Strumbellas in 2012 at Hamilton Places’s The Studio. You never know what will strike a chord with audiences, but it’s clear The Strumbelllas are hitting that chord right now.
And that’s a wrap on day two – one more to come!