OUR STAFF PICKS
Story by Kate Davies
True to its digitally-inspired namesake, this weekend’s ALL CAPS! Island Festival promises to deliver some of the best in locally-harvested indie talent. Organised and programmed by a team of seven musicians and writers collectively named Wavelength, this non-profit organisation has helped launch the careers of such artists as The Constantines, Broken Social Scene, Holy Fuck, Final Fantasty, The Hidden Cameras, Great Lake Swimmers, Tokyo Police Club, Caribou, Junior Boys, and many others. Returning to Toronto Island for its 4th year, the ALL CAPS! Festival holds true to its indie vibe by featuring some of the most diverse musical talent from across the continent, also including art installations, swimming, and bonfires in its line-up.
With the motto, “Support art locally. Globalize it vocally”, here are this weekend’s must-see acts:
Saturday, August 11
Known for putting on spectacular musical theatre performances in huge monochrome paper sets, this Montreal-based group combines an array of musical influences in their dazzling show. They blend a unique mix of Chinese opera, Black and White television, Chinese/Japanese and First Nations mythology, and psychedelia and rockpera into a cornucopia of eccentric costuming, DIY musical instruments, and their own manga-inspired cardboard set design. They are also short-listed for this year’s highly coveted Polaris Music Prize.
Perhaps best described as Guelph’s answer to Feist, Esther Grey maintains a fine balance between the worlds of folk and garage rock. Slow and meandering with a bite of soul-searching edge, this artist recently played to huge crowds at Guelph’s Hillside Festival.
Probably the most appropriate group of the day for a late-night dance party, Triple Gangers blend lo-fi synth pop and electronic beats to create an 80s-infused soundtrack for the modern-day hipster. Driven by the hook-laden harmonies of the two main vocalists, this 3-piece Toronto group are one to check out if you’re in the mood to move your feet.
Sunday, August 12
This Brooklyn-based noise rock group, commonly known as APTBS, have supported such acts as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and MGMT. Having just released their 3rd album in June, they consistently receive favourable reviews from such noteworthy media outlets as Pitchfork and Metacritic. They have a reputation as New York City’s “loudest band”, and their shows are often described as “chaotic” and highly experimental.
After DD/MM/YYYY broke up, four of the groups five members banded together and formed Absolutely Free. Named after the second album by The Mothers of Invention (led by Frank Zappa), this hypnotic and experimental group sound a lot like DD/MM/YYYY but with “less punk-rock skronk and more Krautrock drone grooves and math-rock riffs”. The vocals are sung more than shouted, leaving the listener with a more easily accessible array of songs to connect with.
Growing up on Ward’s Island, Mairi began writing songs at a very early age, recording some of her first endeavours with Cowboy Junkies’ Michael Timmins, who later would become the producer on both of her albums. Inspired by Neil Young, Lauryn Hill, and Shirley Collins, Mairi mixes a variety of influences which add to both the soulfulness and energy that encapsulates her voice. Backed by a talented band, this folk-rock group is a perfect way to sit back and relax at the end of a music-heavy weekend.
Advanced tickets are available through Soundscapes, Rotate This, and www.GalleryAC.com.
Camping passes – SOLD OUT!
Festival passes – $30 (admission both days, no camping) advance / $35 at the door
Single-day tickets – $17 advance / $20 at the door
Children 12 and under – $10 at the door only
Children 2 and under – FREE
Not including ferry ticket.
Gates open 3:00pm each day