Live at Squamish eclectic and folk-inclusive
Live at Squamish, a three-day event hosted from August 24-26, was a superb combination of two great elements: music and the outdoors. This year's festival procured a distinctly Canadian line-up with familiar bands and musicians close to home, including The Tragically Hip, Lights, City and Color, the Rural Alberta Advantage, and Chromeo.
Located in the heart of Squamish, surrounded by the natural landscapes and ragged cliffs, locals and long-distance travelers alike gathered together to celebrate music and jam packed days of non-stop activities. Artists and vendors were heavily frequented by concert-goers and provided entertainment in between acts. Vancouver-based talent Scott Sueme was part of a live art exhibition. Sueme, whose roots are founded on using spray paint to create abstract pieces of graffiti, works out of ACME Studios in the Downtown Eastside with five other artists who also displayed work at the festival.
The music genres at the festival were eclectic and folk-inclusive. LP delivered a thunderous set with an incredible range of octaves that wooed the audience before sundown. Mixed in with crowd favorites' Tokyo Sunrise and Into the Wild, LP's rendition of Beyonce's Halo was unique and had fans singing along in excitement.
Lights followed suit with a new crowd-pleasing electronic dub sound. Clad in a black romper, Lights played out the fading sunset with tracks from her new album, Siberia.
Chromeo, an electro-funk duo, ended off Saturday night with a fist-pumping, strobe-flashing, mosh-pit inducing performance. The pair, P-Thugg and Dave 1, from Montreal had an energetic performance after minutes of continuous “Chromeo, Oh, Oh” chants from Chromeo's opener "Intro".
However, it was the second-to-last show, The Tragically Hip, that drew a deeply nostalgic crowd to Squamish. An estimated 12,000 loyal fans came to the Stawamus stage to support the band that has captured Canadian hearts for almost three decades. The Hips had old-timers and young souls swaying about and singing along with frontman Gordon Downie's every song.
Day three saw Rural Alberta Advantage play to an unexpectedly large Albertan following that yelled “one more song, one more song” long after the band had disconnected their instruments. The trio hailing from Alberta (surprise, surprise) sang about the memories of their province from their debut album Hometowns before stamping out the set with songs from their more recent album, Departing. Led by lead singer Nils Edenloff, Amy Cole (vocals, keyboard) and Paul Banwatt (drums) caroused the crowd with heart-thumping beats and melancholy lyrics.
Off to the smaller Meadow stage, a swanky dressing Maria in the Shower jazz-folk cabaret charmed a shy crowd into a full-on, leg-flying fiesta.
Vancouver band Mother Mother began the night as the wind started to pick up. Interestingly enough, in between hit songs such as Hayloft and The Stand, the band chose to perform a cover of “Weighty Ghost” by Wintersleep. Incidentally, Wintersleep played the night before on the same stage. Mother Mother's new and fourth album, The Sticks, is set to release September 18th.
The night ended off under the stars on Stawamus stage with an intimate performance by City & Colour. A minor disturbance at the front prompted Dallas Green to ask the crowd to “block that guy from Facebook.” Neither audience nor band missed a figurative beat though as the band continued by performing crowd-pleasers such as Save Your Scissors and The Girl.
Aside from minor intoxication incidents and fence-hopping individuals, the third edition of Live at Squamish was a smashing success. This unique British Columbian event is definitely on the rise and perhaps it's time Squamish is no longer mistaken for Sasquatch.