Review: Calgary Sun; Jesse Locke

Posted by on 3 August 2007

City Folk Fans Raise the Ruf

City folk fans raise the Ruf

Special to Sun Media


July 27, 2007  

With a calm, cool breeze in the air and a mellow accompanying vibe, the first night of the 2007 Calgary Folk Fest went off without a hitch.

New York crooner Rufus Wainwright was a suitable finale for Day 1 of the Calgary Folk Fest.

Bulgarian gypsy act Lubo Alexandrov and the Kabo Horo were the first act of the night, but it was The Sadies that really started off the festivities.

The always shockingly talented Toronto four-piece put on a slightly subdued set, despite tearing through their songs at an even faster pace than usual.

The Good Brothers, Dallas and Travis, looked dapper with their sculpted sideburns and shiny, fitted western suits, but showed their rock ’n’ roll side with some relentless riffs, twangy fiddle action and some of the funniest facial expressions in the biz.

The set list included fan favourites such as There Is A Higher Power, the blistering instrumental Northumberland West and a rousing take on Tiger Tiger as the closer.

Great stuff, as always.

Next up was Dallas Green’s somber side-project City And Colour, which may just be eclipsing his day job, Alexisonfire, in popularity these days.

It’s hard to believe this is the same guy from that angsty teen approved screamo act, as the songs he played here are just so heartfelt, slow-paced and emo.

The crowd lapped it up however, and when Green’s MuchMusic VJ girlfriend Leah Miller was announced, a collective sigh from the female members of the audience could be heard.

The St. Catharine’s, Ont., group got the crowd involved with some new material and a few danceable numbers, and as they serenaded the crowd with their hit song Save Your Scissors, the sun setting behind the main stage created a suitably sappy setting.

It’s clear not much has changed in the Folk Fest formula over the years, as the organizers have seemingly perfected every aspect of the island experience over their 28-year run.

The crowd was a classic salad of middle-aged fans in straw hats and birkenstocks, smiling toddlers and teenage twang enthusiasts with stupid T-shirt slogans, all bobbing along from their mostly seated spots.

There were also the usual clusters of ticketless fans, sitting on the wrong side of the river in an attempt to leech a listen.

By the time the sun had sufficiently bowed its head, the stage was set for New York City’s uncompromising and flamboyant crooner, the one and only Rufus Wainwright.

The favourite son of an exceedingly talented family, he looked stylish and coy as usual, sporting some lederhosen as his backing band wore stripes and broaches.

Wainwright started the set simply on the mic, with some horn section and stand-up bass accompaniment, before sitting down at the piano and then getting up on guitar as one of his band boys played the flute.

The audience was full of clearly dedicated fans, with some raising their hands in the air, other singing along and almost everyone staring up at his face.

Both Rufus’ set and the night seemed to end too early, but it was a well-chosen finale for a very enjoyable first night.