The clouds may have been dark grey and ominous, but even they didn't rain on the feel-good parade of Canrock that descended on Olympic Island last Saturday. Except for a few minute glitches - first act Death from Above 1979 played to a woefully small, confused-looking crowd of early birds; odd sequencing choices meant Pilate 's wishy-washy Coldplay coos sounded weak after a blistering set by the Constantines ; the lineup for the ladies' washroom was, like, a kilometre long - the event was pretty smooth. The sound was shockingly good, with crystal-clear vocals audible even at the very back of the field, and the acts consistently delivered solid sets. While you expect co-headliners Sam Roberts and Sloan to keep it up for stadiums, it warmed the cockles of our hearts to see an indie outfit like the Arcade Fire totally rock a mega-crowd.
The best part by far, though, was the family-friendly atmosphere. From hair-bear Roberts grinningly signing autographs out in the audience and Jason Collett playing euchre with his kids backstage to the extended Broken Social family sharing stroller space with suburban parents on the ferry, the Olympic gig had a delightfully unbuttoned vibe.
It was hard not to compare Saturday's show with last year's concert event of the summer, SARSstock , where security was tighter than a Madonna press conference and the talent hid out in barns.
The sadder similarity between the two was their overwhelming lack of diversity. Sure, Olympic Island showcased some of Canada's best bands, but it's disappointing that said musicians are so monochromatically male. Even the token hiphop act, Buck 65 , fit the bill.
Upsoming, Santa Cruz, featuring Camouflage Nights, at Lee's August 13
This month's edition of Tyler Clark Burke 's popular rent-payer happens at Lee's Palace again, a larger venue than previous digs Stones Place and the Silver Dollar. But if the success of July's edition is any indication, this summer-closing shindig should be plenty boisterous. It marks the musical debut of longtime SC DJs Camouflage Nights , better known to some as the duo of Ian McGettigan and Rob Benvie , who've been working on the project since before becoming spinners at Burke's singles parties. Expect to hear them channel the spirit of Rick James, Prince and other ass-moving pioneers while they maintain their indie cred with a carefully chosen wardrobe. The band debuts a music video, too.
Burke has no fear of scheduling a gig on Friday the 13th.
"If one is the loneliest number, 13 is the party. Let's turn bad luck into good, Lee's water into Lee's wine."
To mark the occasion, artists will create superstition-based installations over the course of the night, and Adam and Dave of Knock Knock Who's There? Comedy are back hosting. Show up and maybe you'll get lucky.