No, this isn’t a mistake, this bill isn’t from 2007 (and we mean that in the best way). First we must address the elephant in the room, the indie rock legends, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Popping up on select international bills the band is set to headline this year’s Field Trip Music Festival in Toronto alongside Metric. The rockers, which have been quiet since their 2013 release Mosquito is making a large comeback this summers, yet no new music has been released. Don’t let the huge names be the only things to get you excited, this year’s festival is one not to miss. Canadian talents, Partner, Alvvays and Ellevator are apart of the bill and they are all shows to see. The cozy set up at Fort York normally allows you to see pretty much everything, without having to jug for miles between overlapping acts. Happening June 2nd and 3rd, the two day fest is coming up soon!
Most everyone stands at the main stage. The first day of Field Trip is nearly over. The sun goes down cooling the growing crowd. In well-worn muddy shoes with a camera around my neck, I shift my weight to my other foot. Glancing around at the familiar photographers waiting at the photo pit entrance, I smile, nod and laugh in conversation. Security gives the wave as July Talk is about to take the stage. The crowd is cheering the band’s name from behind the barrier to the left. To the right, in matching black outfits, five stone-faced men stand in a line at the stage.
A large man with yellow vest blocks the photo-pit entrance, checking wristbands as each photographer enters the pit. With shoulders back and my head held high as I hold my wristband high and step past, nothing new. My wristband had gotten me into the pits all day long…(so far).
“Hold it.” The man said. “What is this?” Ignoring personal space he grabs my wrist, turning the yellow band. He eyes it, and then stares at me.
“I’m here for the festival.” I say simply. He drops my arm and nods. I take my spot in the pit pretending that I didn’t have a mini-heart attack, because…well, I’m not saying I snuck into field trip but I’m not saying I didn’t. I’m just saying I was there. I won’t say how. But I will say thank you!
Back to security: now, let’s note, I wasn’t lying EXACTLY. I was there for the festival; it’s not my fault if he assumed I was in the pit shooting for the festival. That’s simply, a misunderstanding on his end.
Now, this wasn’t exactly easy (at first). There were a few things I had to learn, and learn quickly when it came to being somewhere I wasn’t technically allowed.
First, confidence is everything…EVERYTHING. If you can convince yourself you belong, everyone else will follow. In the beginning I was content with shooting from the crowd. People were polite, everyone respected my space and I had the equipment. After the first band, my limitations from shooting from the crowd were apparent. More people were coming and it wasn’t as easy to move. Not impossible, but more of a challenge.
Bully was up next and the pit was open and…fuck it. I went for the pit. The security guard was off to the side. Photographers entered the pit, with wristbands completely different than mine. With shoulders back and head held high I hold my dinky camera in front of me and walked past as if I was the most important person in the world. The few in knew in the pit waved to me. While slipping right under security waving my arm for him to get a glance at my wrist band, as if I’d done it a thousand times before. A few stares from security came my way.
Before anyone could give me another look, I realized it’s about who you know. No one is going to say anything to you when you walk up to the photo pit and are met with waves from the big guys.
“How’s it going?” a familiar voice called as I took a spot beside him.
“Great. How are you?” I asked.
“Great. Where’s that red wristband? “ He winked.
“Excuse me.” I heard hollered behind me. A mini heart attack ensued. I turned slightly, realizing he wasn’t talking to me but another media outlet that wasn’t granted pit access. The girl turned away, taking a place in the crowd.
A few more shows later, and a tummy full of fries. I headed back to the smaller stage, this time fewer were in the pit.
“Hey, where is your media pass?” The security guarded asked midway through Holy Fuck’s set. I lowered my camera, politely, yet gave off enough of an attitude for him to know he was disrupting me while I was working.
I could have panicked…but then he would have known I wasn’t supposed to be there. Point being. In this moment, you can really only stay calm and again, go back to point number one. Confidence is everything, but more importantly: be prepared to stick with your bullshit.
“I’m here for the festival.” I said confidently.
*He stares* His hands reaches toward the walkie-talkie strapped to his chest. He hit the button and before he could talk I interrupted. Now I don’t want to say lying helps, but twisting the hell out of truth sure does.
“Oh, I was given this. It has given me pit access all day. Is there a problem? Should I request a media pass with the front?” I say waving my bracelet.
Security guard stares, dropping his hand.
…Kinda. When in doubt…lie…lie…lie…if you believe it they will too.
“Do you need me to email someone?” I asked pulling out my phone.
“Oh, no no. You’re right. It’s cool. My mistake.” He said backing away.
“No problem.” I said raising my camera.
Throughout out the festival my debatable presence was only questioned a few times. The second day there were different security guards and I had to start from scratch.
The festival began, but was shut down and evacuated as soon as the flash flooding began. Arriving after the entire debacle once the festival reopened, I checked the security situation. Different faces. My heart-raced again, after the familiarity of yesterday’s guards were gone.
Yet again, Itook a chance.
Waiting at the pit with the other photographers we spoke of the evacuation and the cancelled shows. Things were behind and pushed back, but everyone was grateful the rest wasn’t cancelled.
DIIV was up and it was time to enter the pit.
“What’s this?” The guard asked me. With a frown he stared at my wristband. I could tell he was mentally recalling which bands were allowed in the pit. He had just sent two people away for not having the right ones. There was difference between me and them: our answers. When asked the same question they answered with “Umm…” and a panic in their eyes. Replaying everything I learned the day before, I let out an easy breath and smile.
Alas, Indie week, has begun. What a better way to start off the festival than with a party celebrating what the festival is all about simply, good music. Joni Fuller, Victoria + Jean and Tiny Danza opened the first night with intimate performances for a select few. Here’s a quick recap of what went down.
Meet the show stoppers
Winners of the UK Indie week, Victoria + Jean, flew overseas to give a breathtaking performance that had the crowd screaming and photographers crawling over one another to get their golden shot. Thrashing hair, screaming and a whole lot of sweat, they brought the venue into the twisted world they rule with guitars and a sweetly-sinister take on rock. Performing each night for the festival you have many chances to take a step into the darkness that is Victoria + Jean, and see for yourself how great a walk on the dark side can be.
Earlier on, Joni Fuller performed an amazing set, with a full band of herself. Playing her pop-country album, Letters From The West Coast, the English sonsgtress is stunning. Playing keys, guitar, violin, and acoustic guitar on loop with vocals, the musician is hypnotizing to watch.
Tiny Danza pumped up the crowd a little later on. The 2011 winners graced the venue with a high-energy set that mixed their signature rock/rap dynamic that the crowd was waiting for.
250 artist, five nights and over 20 venues…Indie Week is coming. Taking place October 13th to 18th Toronto Indie Week will be taking over the city. The Horseshoe, Bovine and Lee’s Palace will be just a few of the spots welcoming international artists with a whole lot to show.
From shows focusing on special showcases, like the acts of The Edge’s Next Big Thing contest, a showcase of talent from over seas and a special line-up of artists from Alberta, the event has more than a few great major line-ups. This year is shaping up to produce some amazing acts, and specifically, some amazing female artists that are known for blowing up stages. Take a gander of the talent to come.
All the way from New York, Lilly Wolf is a style of her own; she’ll make you look twice and that’s just the beginning. Mixing electornic-pop with a darkness found embedded into her lyrics she kills it with song after song with danceable beats, lush tones and new sounds layered with trilling piano. The piano adds almost a signature to each track, making the sounds so completely hers. There is a raw power seen in her photos that translates directly into her music. Each song is dominated with an undertone that is memorable, proving Lilly Wolf is a powerful force on the rise.
“My music will be called Rosk, for Rosk is my music and nothing more.”
It is pretty badass though.
From Mexico city the raw sexual mastermind, known as Rosk, can be placed in the categories of freak folk, rock, and pop. Rosk is an indie rock project that has a raw sound that instantly commands your attention. With one EP down, the band takes you on a journey through the moods and emotions that are out of the ordinary. The EP called, Rosk 1, begins with a hard rock number full of screaming, trashing guitar and a penetrating heavy bass line I Wanna Do it and ends with the sweetly mellow and awkwardly perfect, Times Square.
Olivia and The Creepycrawlies
A little closer to home, Olivia and the Creepycrawlies is a dazzling and darling Canadian band that you’ve probably seen a time or two on the music scene. Don’t let their name give you the wrong idea, from London Ont. Olivia and the creepycrawlies is full of ukuleles, a saccharine voiced lead and sweet melodies.What more could one ask for?
Their quirky style and songs written so well they’ll have you dancing or flipping through fond memories, truly make them a show to see. Catch them at The Bovine Sex Club on October 16th.
Ginger Ale & The Monowhales
With a song titles like Blue Balls and a sound just as exciting, conflicting and exhilarating. Ginger Ale & The Monowhales is a band that makes you want to dance like no ones looking, in your brightest clothing with a spotlight on you. Lose yourself in their fast-paced fun indie rock that’ll make you flush with happiness. These crazy kids will have you ,at the very least, smiling as they tame the room into a full on dance party of their very own. Playing The Horseshoe Tavern on Oct. 16th for their video release party, you can be sure, the glittery stage and dark room will be filled with light, fun and an epic performance.
Bluesy, moody, and oh so soft at times. Nadia Kazmi, takes on every element, every sound and dominates it until it’s her own. Her latest 7-track EP, Lamb, plays in every genre and mixes her powerful voice with everything from gritty guitars to delicate country undertones to the haunting piano as she confesses. This is artist who can take anything into her own and stamp all over it until it’s bleeding her name. Riddled in dark lyrics and a serious theme, there is always something interesting to listen to, be it from her confession of killing her brother from her first album or the pleading of killing the monster from Lamb. Her show at Cherry Cola’s on October 14th is a must see.
A stunning solo artist that will have you gaping for breath. Using a sound from the past to sound like something unheard, synth layered with dreamy guitars and catching hooks compile the vast well-rounded sound that is Roboteyes. Singer-songwriter, Kate LeDeuce creates a persona from the ’80s who’s time-traveled to the days of now. Mixing the mindset of ’80s pop with the sounds of now, LeDeuce has filled two EP’s with a genre-bending sounds that touch in variously influenced directions, yet, instead of feeling chaotic, somehow, feels perfectly intact.
If you’ve never seen SATE perform before, prepare because it isn’t gentle. From her black lipstick to her sensual smirk, she is a wild one. She doesn’t give you a warning, signal or any mercy. She does you hard, right on the stage for all to see. Once she begins, she unleashes herself and you can’t help feel a little dirty because it takes about 2 seconds before you’re trashing along with her wanting more. Last night at the Horseshoe, she had everyone panting, dancing and losing themselves in her. During the performance she ripped the crowd raw with her powerful voice paired with a blues-rock sound. Though blues-rock doesn’t begin to describe the enthralling experience of SATE, it’s something more raw and exclusive and so good it’s indescribable. Performing Sunday, the rock-queen is sure to bring down the stage at TURF.
Now, with an act as breath-taking as SATE, who could have possibly been as eye-catching enough to open. Well, they came from someplace where a see-through cheetah dress is called “dressing up” for the occasion.
“Put your phone on the table, and jump on the table,” lead, Serge Brideau said. Then the music began and head-banging possessed him. Taking the glittering glory, otherwise known as ‘the stage at The Horseshoe’, sweaty, French, and full of sass was Les Hostress D’Hilaire. If you don’t know them, don’t worry. They’ll get you excited. Vamping up the crowd with their angry French rock, the band made themselves memorable to say the least. The crowd couldn’t understand what they were saying while they played but Brideau made sure to speak enough English to crack a few jokes between sets. Even offering up a small side of political humour.
“If you don’t buy our CD that’s okay, but that means you’re probably from Alberta.” Brideau said.”…I mean if you don’t buy it it means you love Harper.”