MoSoFest: Reviews and Diaries of Broadway, Saskatoon

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Editor’s Note: Make sure to catch our MoSo photo essay for more scenes of the weekend.

Thursday, June 14

Giving the perfect high-five is an art, and, like everything else in life, there is a simple trick to doing it.

Choose a proponent and, with your forearm extended and palm stretched in readiness, lock your gaze on your advocate’s elbow. For some reason, this works. In fact, chalk it up to physics, wizardry, magic or an act of some higher power, but for some reason this is the secret to high-five success.

However, by not looking into your partner’s eyes, or even an incoming palm, you could miss out on the brief intimacy and serendipity of the moment. Concurrently, if you chose your high-five partner poorly they could pull a jerk move on you. You could conceivably miss the telltale signs of getting your hand slapped overly hard, a “too slow” move or even a knee cap to the midsection. Fair enough, because you missed out by paying too much attention to the mechanics of the high-five.

That’s life and, tough shit kid, you are going to miss out on more than a few things.

Just like Saskatoon’s MoSoFest.

MoSoFest

The anticipation of knowing you are going to miss out on something awesome makes what you are actually seeing all the more sweeter

Likely one of the first SXSW or Sled Island-style festivals of its kind to hit the prairies, MoSo brought a collection of over 50 local and international bands to a multitude of venues in the Broadway area. And don’t forget the after parties and secret afternoon shows that popped up throughout the weekend.

MoSo can be summed up by running up and down the streets in a wild huff, cigarettes dangling off parched lips and pocket beers swaying dangerously, attempting to take in everything and while simultaneously missing out on something else.

But, for some reason, that was the fun of it all – the anticipation, and anxiety, of knowing you are going to miss out on something awesome makes what you are actually seeing all the more sweeter.

Smokekiller & Jen Lane

Smokekiller & Jen Lane

MoSo kicked off Thursday night at Louis’ Pub on the University of Saskatchewan campus. Packed with delegates from the MoSo Conference – a sold-out event that showcased speakers giving presentations on all things tech and Twitter – Saskatoon’s Smokekiller and Jen Lane gave a winning acoustic folk performance while patrons munched on free burgers and performers cracked free beers. Toronto’s Eamon McGrath took the mic next and plowed through several songs of whiskey-soaked solo material, including a few rad cover songs. The next performer, David Carroll, looked weirdly uncomfortable on stage – maybe some of the audience members haven’t seen his YouTube vids, which have over 12 million views.

Vaero

Vaero

Finally, the night veered towards the “main course” of the festival with Parish of Little Clifton – an awkwardly named chillwave project but a total sweetheart of a dude. Up next was one of my favourite performances of the festival – Saskatoon’s Vaero is an incredibly talented musician who somehow seems to be involved in a thousand other projects while her own project somehow seems to fly under the radar. I sincerely hope that with her MoSo showcase, which featured loop pedals on both violin and vocals, that this changes.

Slow Down Molasses took the stage next with another cyclone of a revolving door of a line-up that somehow came together, practiced together as an entirety maybe once, rocked hard, and then blew away into the night. Headliner Teen Daze, however, was a different story. A solo electro project, Mr. Daze whipped the crowd into a silly dance-y fury with noise bleeps and beats, leaving behind an archipelago of spilled pint beer and sweaty joy.

Teen Daze

Teen Daze

I would have appreciated missing out on the afterparty, which involved shots of whiskey with Ian Blurton

The best part of the opening night? With only one show happening for the entirety of the evening, no one really missed out on anything happening elsewhere.

However, I really would have appreciated missing out on the afterparty, which involved shots of whiskey with Ian Blurton and a brief nap before waking up 20 minutes before having to go to work.

Sometimes it’s okay to miss out on things.

It is not, however, okay to miss work.

Friday, June 15

Sometimes it sucks to play shows. Well, not really, but when you are a musician you are occasionally granted an iota of responsibility and you have to be at specific places during scheduled times. This means you miss out on things.

Bry Webb

Bry Webb

Friday night began with shows erupting all over the Broadway area, and I scrambled in a mad dash to catch at least one song from everyone, no matter how foolish or out of breath that seemed.

Even so, I managed to catch one song by Young Benjamins, one from Arms Up and a few charming, dad songs from Bry Webb, who was backed by dueling slide guitars. Amazing and heartrending.

At this point I had to reconstitute at Amigos, where my band was scheduled to play. Kicking off the evening was rock freak out show Breaker Breaker, whose set was dogged with rumours that they were breakering up. “50-50,” said guitarist Dallyn Guenther when prompted backstage. I’m not here to cheerlead you into not calling it a day, but please record your songs at least.

At this point I began to feel the heart aches of missing out on things

Eyebats

Eyebats

Next up was a puerile-yet-concise set by the Eyebats. I can never tell if people like us but then again I never started a punk band to be popular so whatever. However, stage manager Amber Neal commented that due to our 12 minutes-long set that the evening was on schedule. Best compliment of the evening.

At this point I began to feel the heart aches of missing out on things. Personal favourites Jessica Jalbert and Shotgun Jimmie were rocking out at Vangelis while Factor was spinning at Lydias and Feral Children were tuning up at the Fez. Unfortunately, “that’s life and, tough shit kid.”

I have seen Burning Love five times now and there was no way I was going to miss even a second of their hardcore-meets-the-dirtiest-rock shitshow. At this point I was feeling the free backstage keg beer and I was certain I had a goofy smile to match the goofy leopard print headband/pajamas I was wearing.

I was not disappointed.

Mad props for sticking the mic between Matt Yablonski’s legs and then howling at it like a cock-hungry water buffalo

Burning Love ripped through a massive-sounding set, which saw front man Chris Colohan marching through the crowd and making us all his collective bitches. Mad props by the way for sticking the mic between Matt Yablonski’s legs and then howling at it like a cock-hungry water buffalo.

Ian Blurton & Junior Pantherz

Ian Blurton & Junior Pantherz

Next up was the hugely anticipated showdown between rock legend Ian Blurton and locals the Junior Pantherz. A match made in heaven if there ever was one, however five songs in I decided to jump ship and catch something else. Nothing wrong with Blurton and co. but I wasn’t feeling it. Mostly because it made me miss C’Mon. Sigh.

Sometimes you miss things.

By the time I stumbled home and into bed I could already tell I would be missing out on breakfast

The night ended between a three-way tie for last. I caught one song by Castle River before taking in Zombifyus, who were absolutely mind-bending, and Busdriver, whose raps were similarly a lot to take in.

By the time I stumbled home and into bed I could already tell I would be missing out on breakfast. Barf.

Saturday, June 16

Perish of Little Clifton

Perish of Little Clifton

I woke up the next morning to a flurry of Tweets about all the secret MoSo shows and parties that were going down. My mouth tasted like the water from those gross old coffee cans that people use as ashtrays but never empty, even when they are full of rain.

Despite every muscle on my body protesting, I managed to get up and outside to see everything that I could. For more on the MoSo secret party experience, check out Ominocity’s review HERE.

My mouth tasted like the water from those gross old coffee cans that people use as ashtrays

Karpinka Brothers

Karpinka Brothers

An afternoon filled with caesars, beer and music finally rolled over into twilight. Which meant that somewhere the Karpinka Bros. were probably wearing matching outfits.

With a new album out, the duo’s live show straddles the line between feel-good acoustic folk and witty onstage banter that had the audience in stitches. Andy Shauf sauntered up next and proceeded to give a devastatingly powerful show.

The evening began crackling with a weird energy and the streets began flooding with MoSo-goers skipping in-between venues

Doug Hoyer

Doug Hoyer

Next up I caught a few songs from Shuyler Jansen at the Broadway Theatre before trekking over to catch The Seahags stomp up a storm at Vangelis. I wandered over to the Fez to catch one of the few, infrequent Auld Beak sets – you never know, right?

At this point, the evening began crackling with a weird energy and the streets began flooding with MoSo-goers skipping in-between venues. It was an amazing sight and great feeling as Edmonton’s Doug Hoyer took the stage at Amigos. Amidst swirling smoke, lazers and dueling tamborine players, Hoyer gave what is likely the best set he has ever delivered. The best part was when Tyson McShane pointed out that despite the amazing show, Hoyer still based his live set around the “song where he was a fat kid.”

Ketamines

Ketamines

After dancing it up to Form, we wandered over to the Ketamines, who were playing in front a packed house at the Fez. Highlights included the song where B.A. Johnston jumped on stage and when the weird, wallflower-esque plastic houseplant decided to take a stagedive. Hilarious. Meanwhile Toronto’s Bonjay, who are probably going to make the cover of Exclaim Magazine once they write more than six songs, was delivering a similarly blistering set back at Amigos. Back to the Fez for some Dudes and then back to Amigos for Quadrant Khan.

Despite rumblings of a Teen Daze house party set, I was far too fested out to attempt hunting down sketchy weirdos to lead me off into the night. Instead I got naked and ate pizza.

I didn’t miss a thing.

Sunday, June 17

Shotgun Jimmie

Shotgun Jimmie

Despite the festival ending the night before, MoSo unofficially came to a close with watching Shotgun Jimmie, Cannon Bros. and members of Slow Down Molasses onstage at Vangelis with roughly ten other people, most of whom were MoSo staff members. Watching the gaggle trundle through botched songs that were about ten different crayon-shades of terrible and too-drunk to play, a thought resonated through my jelly-thick, liquor-addled brains:

Sometimes it’s okay to miss some things.

Nah, I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

So, what did you miss out on?