Wolfe Island Music Fest 2013

What an incredible day of live music on Saturday at the main
stage of the Wolfe Island Music Fest. This year’s lineup included The
Huaraches, Grey Kingdom, Wildlife, Diana, July Talk, The Wooden Sky, Hannah
Georges, Born Ruffians and Joel Plaskett Emergency.

Starting off the day was the only local band on the lineup
The Huaraches. They did an excellent job of opening up the festival with their
fully instrumental Surf Punk sound. They came out and hit the stage hard and
even brought along a pair of dancers who were placed at the front sides of the
stage. The energy that they blasted out throughout their extensive set was
quite amazing they didn’t seem to really let up at all. Their creative titles
for their songs were quite amusing as well, being the fact that there are no
lyrics in any of their songs. Even before they hit the stage Ben one of the
hosts for the day declared them the winners of the best dressed band for the

The genres of music at this year’s festival was a wide
selection indeed, I was quite impressed by the bands which were picked for this
year’s lineup. Folk/Country was still a large influence on the crowd as the
story teller Grey Kingdom took to the stage. His set has basically half music
and half storytelling; although the story telling did go over with some people in
the audience it was quite easy to tell that others were not as amused. Wildlife
has a bit of a battle with the audience while trying to bring them to their
feet, they eventually managed to get people onto their feet and bring them to
the front of the stage. Dean even yelled out that this was one of their missions
today to bring people to the stage. They definitely pulled everything they had
out onto the stage to be successful. The 80’s stylings of Diana were definitely
not for me, yet people were pumped to see them live today. Even the hosts for
the day proclaimed that they have been looking forward in seeing them live.
They had a bit of a rough time setting up their gear as they had a tremendous
amount of electronics on stage.

If there was an award for the breakout artist of the
festival it would go to July Talk. I have never seen people run to a stage
before like this before. They only played about thirty seconds of their first
song before people were tripping over each other trying to get to the stage. The
vocals on Peter were something else that it quite hard to explain the rawness
mixed with a boozy blues, southern rock, and alternative made for an
entertaining listen. The riffs that he was blaring out throughout the set
marked only half of what they had to offer. The differences and the onstage
battles of personalities between Peter and Leah took them over the top
throughout their set. Leah quickly made herself noticed as she came out onto
the stage wearing a Tragically Hip T-shirt. Leah also made sure that people
were going to be scared to put on their sun glasses for the rest of the day as
well, just ask Ben Mclean. I could easily write two pages strictly on their performance
of their set, “Paper Girl” was one of my favourite songs which they performed
during their set.

The Wooden Sky had the next slot after July Talk. There was
a bit of a running joke that it was going to be a hard slot to fill after what
we just witnessed. However The Wooden Sky did have a solid backing of fans of
the band that quickly showed their support for the band.  Playing songs off their latest record their
folk/pop ambient country sound went over on the crowd quite nicely. Their sound
relaxed the audience and brought out a few more people to their chairs which
now surrounded the back half of the ball diamond.  

Hannah Georges was one of the artists that people took  a shine to. There was quite a bit of talk
about her career so far and even brought out fans who just saw her play at
Osheaga, and also for making the list for the Polaris Music Prize. She started
off her set with the song “Waiting Game”. Quickly she showed us how her soft
semi toned vocals have been charming audiences wherever she plays live. Before
she even started her set  a large audience
had already formed at the front of the stage. She played us songs off of her
latest release and “This Is Good”.

The Born Ruffians were in full stride when they hit the
stage tonight. This was also the first show for their new drummer as well and
what a show he had to play. Fans of the band could be overheard saying how he
fit right in and how he nailed the most difficult drum parts in their songs. I
remember seeing the Born Ruffians playing at the Grad Club to sold out crowd
there so it was great to see them pack the Wolfe Island stage with people.
Their set was a solid explosion of energy throughout its entirety. They were
out showcasing their latest album titled “Birthmarks” which the crowd loved
every second of it and had pretty much mastered the lyrics in every song. “I
Need A Life” was definitely the crowd favourite of their set.

Joel Plaskett just had to show his face onstage for the
audience to start going crazy. It almost looked as if he was surprised at first
by the response that he was getting. They wasted no time getting into their song
and capping off an incredible day of live music. The Emergency portion of the
band tonight was made up of a bassist and a drummer, who have been at Joel’s
side for quite a while now. “Through & Through & Through” was one of
the first few songs to be played in his set which had the audience singing
every lyric. We even got to hear a new song as well which involved the audience
that was titled “Park Avenue Sobriety Test”. There was a quick story about how
the song came to be then he went on to explain how the audience part was going
to work, which the audience ate up right away.  Even shots of whiskey were appearing at the
side of the stage for Joel during their set.  There were so many different songs that I was
hoping to be played tonight and I was not disappointed at all either were the crowd.
Unfortunately s I chose to take the earlier ferry to avoid the overcrowding and
possibly being stranded on the island for the night so I had to drop out of the
show early which was quite a difficult thing to do.