Review: Calgary Sun; Jesse Locke

Posted by on 3 August 2007

Folk festival to remember

Folk festival to remember

Special to Sun Media


July 30, 2007  

By Day Four of the folk fest, fans and bands alike seem exhausted.

— Darren Makowichuk, Sun Media

But they managed to muster more than enough enthusiasm for the final evening of entertainment.

Cape May were the first band I caught July 29, at their final set on the shady Sunterra stage.

The Calgary quartet have so far found more success in Europe, opening for Nina Nastastia on a recent tour, but are more than worthy of attention on the local level.

Their sound is a muted wash of guitars, harmonica and brushed drums and lead singer Clinton St. John’s lyrics delve into oddball imagery like sailing through the night, with visions of hell and the ghost of a dead ex-wife.

They may not be as immediate as some of the other acts at the festival, but were definitely a cool way to start the day, and the crowd ate it up.

Between sets, we happened upon the spandex-clad sporting clown Gustavo The Impossibilist, who sports a fakehunchback.

He was performing for a mass of children buzzed on popsicles, mini doughnuts and other sugary snacks.

In his own words, this local entertainer “attempts feats of unrealized stupidity,” and I would say this is an apt description of his show.

Tossing a diablo on a string high into the air and then catching it again, he was repeatedly forced to thwart the small hands of children attempting to steal his props.

He countered by calling them out as rotten, and the parents in the crowd laughed in appreciation.

I know I’ve devoted a few words to Final Fantasy already in my coverage of the folk fest this year, but I feel Owen Pallet deserves some more paragraphs because his set at the ConocoPhillips stage yesterday was quite possibly the highlight of the whole four days.

His use of guitar and bass-effects pedals is just so effortless, as he adds endless layers and loops to his voice and violin, and at this set a Roland synthesizer as well.

Couple this with his virtuoso playing and the anguished way in which he shouts into his violin, and it all sounds so beautiful that you can easily just ignore the lyrics.

This would be a crime though, because lines like “I could fill the lake with all the things I didn’t say” and “Jenna dreams of being physically able/of beheading herself at the dining room table” are brilliant as well.

Pallet is a whiz kid and undoubtedly one of Canada’s brightest shining talents.

Up next on the main stage was Sarah Slean, performing her grandiose songs on a grand piano.

In a shiny purple dress and with fire in her eye, the brunette bombshell was well-received by the afternoon audience.

The night was closed out with an acoustic set by Australian [sic] anarchists Chumbawamba, the thick funk of Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, and the nostalgic crooning of Don McLean.

This year’s festival was a lot of fun, and will go down as another successful notch on the belt of the summer music staple.