Last summer, I took a trip back to Calgary for the Sled Island music festival. If you’ve never heard of Sled Island, it’s sort of a poor man’s NXNE. Well okay, that’s a poor choice of words. It’s a multi-day, multi-venue music fest in the vein of North by Northeast–but it’s definitely not for poor people. You know how NXNE has those free concerts in Yonge-Dundas Square, right in the heart of downtown? Well, Sled Island does something similar in Olympic Plaza–but instead of offering free admission, they charge arena-rock prices, then put up a fence to keep prying eyes away.
Alas, while I gladly if somewhat begrudgingly dished out 80 bucks to see Sleep, The Sword, Buzzcocks and Bison B.C. at the Plaza last year, it seems that they’ve lowered their prices significantly for the outdoor gigs this time around. Although it’ll only set ya back 45 bucks per evening ($51.50 once Ticketbastard does its thang), I wouldn’t pay that much for either of this year’s gigs, even if I still lived in Calgary. Let’s just say the heaviest band on this year’s bill is one half of Feistodon–and it’s the B Side, at that! (Mind you, I wouldn’t travel all that way to see Mastodon, either…)
That’s right, the counting folk-pop songtress is this year’s biggest draw, with other acts including Wake Owl, Timber Timbre, Parlovr, Bonjay, Shabazz Palaces, The Dudes, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and The Hold Steady. (Thanks, Calgary Herald!) Can’t say I’m familiar with any of these artists, but I’m pretty sure Al Cisneros has more volume in his bass head than the lot of ‘em combined. Colour me disinterested.
Alas, while last year’s festival had plenty of potential, it looks like I’m not about to make it a regular thing. In fact, I’m flying right over Calgary and heading to Seattle next month, instead. Sled Island, I see your softened-up Boris (seriously, their last tour was pretty heavy… on the lighter side of their catalogue!) and raise you CHURCH OF MISERY.