Jun 23

Sled Island 2016 - Wednesday Night at The Palomino & the Legion

by JaronW · 0 comments

Sled Island kicked off their 10th year last night with a number of great shows spanning the inner-city. While the big outdoor show isn’t until Saturday at Olympic Plaza, those who are willing to stay out late on a school night were greatly rewarded.

I started my night off with a stop at The Palomino Smokehouse & Social Club. I had originally intended on going straight to the #1 Legion, but I made great time coming downtown and decided to stop for a bite to eat before heading over. As is often the case with Sled Island, I was lucky to show up right as Saskatoon band Waitress was starting their set and was immediately pleased by their sound. They quickly turned me in to a fan with fuzzy guitars, moody synths and catchy drum loops that acted as a solid foundation for delicate vocals.

After Waitress, I ordered a poutine from my server and enjoyed Peterborough’s Severed Feathers. Best described by me as psychedelic rock, Severed Feathers performed a fun set of fuzzy rock songs with tight bass lines and vocals that sounded like they were transmitted from Mars. The band admitted on stage that they had to recruit a backup drummer due to a conflict, and had made a very long drive before arriving at the venue, but regardless they were able to overcome the trials and tribulations of a cross-Canada drive and play a great set.

This is about the time when I paid my tab and took off towards the #1 Legion. I have to say that I’m a big fan of the Palomino and I was sad to move on, I didn’t get a chance to take in any of the bands that were playing downstairs and by the time I left I was definitely torn. I’ve never had a bad time at the Palomino, so I knew I would have had a killer time if I would have stayed, but there is just something about the #1 Legion that makes Sled Island that much more special.

In addition to being an amazing provincial historic building The #1 Legion is a great venue. I like being able to sit and chat near the back of the room between bands, and being able to race up and down the stairs to catch twice as many bands! I showed up in the middle of a set from Edmonton’s N3K, who were playing some very technical instrumental rock, that had bass guitar, electric piano and drums all working hard to blur the lines between prog and punk.

Bounding down the stairs I caught the latter half of Technical Kidman‘s set. Earplugs were a must for this Montreal band’s set as noisy drones, loops and synths were backed by a larger than life drummer that really made me feel the beat in my chest. Back upstairs to catch up with some old friends and watch local band Blü Shorts fill the upper performance space with a thick blanket of fog from their smoke machine, and then unleash a noisy set of fuzzy punk songs. Back down the stairs to catch a few songs from the extremely fun Edmonton band Physical Copies, who brought what I might call “Party Punk” to the stage that was getting people dancing in anticipation for headliner ESG.

After a great downstairs set, it was once again time to head back upstairs to catch a bit of Mitchmatic. Last time I saw Mitchmatic, he was performing solo using backing tracks and a loop-pedal to accompany his fast, technical raps and unique saxophone solos. Since then, he’s assembled an entire band featuring drummer, bass and synth player which I think has enabled Mitchmatic to take his performance to the next level. After a few great songs from Mitchmatic, I made a final jaunt down the stairs to the main stage to get a good spot for ESG.

ESG at the #1 Legion

By this time the Legion was definitely beginning to fill up, and the temperature was rising significantly. I was able to grab a spot close to the stage and I was thankful I got there when I did, as a band like ESG doesn’t make it’s way to Calgary very often. Taking the stage, the band got directly to the music without much fanfare. They made their way through a couple of songs before coming to their instrumental track UFO, which is known as one of the most sampled tracks of all time, appearing in more than 400 other recordings.

This is when the heat really started to turn up, as the audience began to loosen up and people began dancing to the deep grooves. I eventually had to sit out the rest of the set towards the back of the room to prevent myself from over heating. I enjoyed the rest of the set from the back of the room and it’s relative cooler climate, watching the rest of the audience dance to the fun and unique rhythms of ESG. Another night at the Legion for the ages!

Sled Island continues until June 26th! Catch more live music all over Downtown Calgary!

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