Monday, 18 June 2012

Burlington is alive with the sound of music...festival

Our not so far away neighbour Burlington had an amazing festival this past weekend. The Sound of Music Festival is the biggest free music festival in Canada and for good reason. Local talent. Hamilton and surrounding area is chalk full of crazy, crazy talent. Since the festival fell on father's day weekend I was unable to go everyday but I managed to get there a couple of times and can definitely say that there has to be something in the water because I don't know any other areas that have this much of a bursting diverse, music scene.

I went on Thursday evening to see Born Ruffians, a band I had never seen but had heard about many times. They were a lot younger than I had imagined and that made the music they were playing much more impressive. The lead singer is a young guy with a baby face and a great rock presence. I liked them.

Born Ruffians
  After they played I noticed that the crowd had probably quadrupled in size. I was kind of expecting that since the biggest band to come out of Hamilton in the past 10 years was there. Arkells made it to Burlington after shotgunning it 42 hours from Pheonix. This was probably my fifth time seeing them and once again they did not disappoint. Their music really resonates with me because they just seem to get it. They get my generation. They come from blue collar families and went to the same schools we went to. I hear Hamilton in their music, but they have taken their hometown love and made it accessible and understandable even to those who are not Hamiltonians, hence their success.

Arkells killed it!
 I missed Saturday to pursue father's day activities. I was a little bit sad because I really wanted to see San Sebastian. Another band from Hamilton. They have opened for bands like Hedley and are really making a name for themselves. I have liked them since they were The Pumps, then just Pumps and finally San Sebastian. I have to say they know how to get people off their feet. My friend Laura went and said that they played an awesome set which included a cover of my all time favourite song. Shout. I wish I had seen it. Oh well, next time.

San Sebastian. I feel like I need to support them not only because they make great music but I went to college with the one in sunglasses :P
 I almost didn't go to the festival on Sunday due to the weather forecast.  It called for thunderstorms all afternoon and evening and I really didn't want to go walk around in the rain but at the last minute I decided to go and thank goodness I did. If I had not gone I would not have discovered an amazing band. The Dinner Belles were playing on the Cogeco stage and even though I had never heard of them I had heard that one of them was in another Hamilton based band, Monster Truck. If you've heard Monster Truck you can imagine my surprise when this band walked out with banjos and mandolins and started playing folky country music. I did not expect it, but I did love it. I bought their album and intend to drag my friends to their next show.

Dinner Belles. Best discovery at the festival.
 After Dinner Belles I went and saw another fairly well known band that hails from Burlington. Saint Alvia. I liked them. I really did, but after seeing Dinner Belles I had a hard time really getting into it. They ruined me for the day because they were just so good I compared everyone to them. The bands are complete opposites. Maybe next time I see Saint Alvia I'll be in a better headspace.

(The) Saint Alvia (Cartel)
 The next band I saw was the youtube sensation, Walk Off The Earth. Okay I'm ready for the backlash here but please remember this is just my opinion. I did NOT dig it at all. Thousands showed up for them, which I guess I expected because they really did blow up over night. Once their somewhat pretentious five minute musical intro finally ended and they all came on stage wearing matching hoodies I was kind of surprised at how...not great...they were. It felt like they thought they were mega stars...there was just no connection. I was pretty disappointed because I was actually looking forward to seeing them. I left halfway through. I didn't need to see anymore. Maybe it was the was too big for them. I don't know, I think I had hyped them up in my mind. Either way it's just my opinion.

I could not get any closer to Walk Off The Earth. The crowd was nuts.
 Last but not least I went to see Treble Charger. As I walked up they were playing the song Hundred Million and I was taken right back to high school. They were a very popular pop-punk band as I was growing up. When I saw them though I immediately felt old. They still sounded good but there wasn't a ton of energy and you could tell it had been a while since they had played. It started to drizzle while they were playing so I left before I could hear my favourite song by them, Brand New Low. I'm not too upset about it though. I would hate to have my memory of that song be tainted by them playing it lackluster. I'll just keep it in there and remember singing it in vocal ensemble in high school.

Treble Charger. Less charging now.
All in all what I saw of the festival was impressive. I liked that even though it was in Burlington most of the bands were Hamilton based. I just loved the bands, the stages...everything. It's such a great festival and as they kept reminding us it is run mainly through volunteers so that is pretty incredible. Can't wait for next years festival! (Also most of these pictures were taken by Laura Cook so photo cred to her)

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