Ryan Krochko, Where Magazine: Opening Night: Calgary Folk Fest nails it

Posted by Johanna on 26 July 2011

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The Calgary Folk Music Festival opened yesterday to a packed crowd of 12,000 for an evening-only performance at Prince’s Island Park.

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band kicked off the festival with their high-octane delta blues performance. “Where we’re from, we tell it like it is,” Indiana native and lead vocalist, Rev Peyton shouted out over the crowd. He even brought the normally relaxed tarpies to their feet during the band’s performance of “Clap Your Hands”—an upbeat stomping bluegrass number.

Canadian rapper and producer Socalled followed. Even with a break in the middle of the set to show the crowd a magic trick, the performance was as entertaining as it was musically intriguing, blending his signature style of hip hop “nerdcore” and Klezmer sounds.

Next up was charming Nova Scotia born rocker, Joel Plaskett with his group Joel Plaskett and the Emergency, who delivered a solid show of acoustic and heavy rock numbers, most notably the incredibly catchy, “Nowhere With You.” The Juno Award-winning artist has been well-known in the indie rock scene since the early ‘90s; throughout the set he reminisced about playing past Calgary performances at venues like the Ironwood.

Dallas Green of post-hardcore group Alexisonfire, solo project City and Colour closed the evening with a melodic acoustic and folk music. Many adoring fans crammed the festival’s designated dance areas, yelling out “I Love You Dallas!”.  Similar to Plaskett, City and Colour delivered a mixed set of uptempo sounds and folk fest style acoustic tracks.

In all, it was a fitting kick-off to this annual festival, a perfect blend of folk, roots and rock, and the weather even cooperated. The Calgary Folk Fest continues on to the 24th at Prince's Island Park.

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