OMFEST 2: Review

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Saskatoon/Regina brings the ruckus at OMFEST 2

Saturday, March 2. 7:00pm – Saskatoon

I generally dislike putting on shows – I get stressy and instead of partying down I worry about things like scheduling, guest list privileges and backline guitar amps with potentially missing power chords. As people start trickling in for the beer night at the Hose I start thinking about where the photobooth is going to be set up – it’s Amigos and there isn’t a good spot for a photobooth. I chug approximately three beers and then head to supervise set-up – I spend the majority of the time cursing the Montreal Canadiens for losing.

Thankfully, everyone is uber-competent, Habs notwithstanding, and I have worked myself up into a mess for nothing.

Robot Hive take the stage first along with a massive and seemingly-ridiculous set-up – it’s amazing and totally worth it. The Regina five-piece, which features past members of Geronimo and Sylvie, combine bouncy electro-pop along with a fuzzy wall of noise. The crowd moves in to the front of the stage. I start to relax. Shots of Jag are consumed.

Up next are Gunner & Smith, another relatively new group who have been gigging around Saskatoon and western Canada over the past year or so. The group tears through songs that careen in between hearty folk ballads to full on bar rock rippers. Standing off to the side of the stage, I get a full view of the juxtaposition of a band rocking the fuck out while a packed house smiles gleefully.

oneschapter thrive

Ones take the stage next in what will be their second show ever. Fronted by Ryan Davidson, who led the much-missed noise freak project Feral Children, the group features a veritable stacked line-up of backing musicians, including members of Shooting Guns, Foggy Notions, Junior Pantherz and Golden Smoke. The din they create is unkempt and heavy. Good stuff.

At some point I go to the men’s washroom to whiz – three of the four urinals are broken. Awesome. Sort of. Maybe, I don’t know.

urinals

More gear is shuffled in an increasingly boggling stage swap – I am amazed that the logistics of cramming five groups into one bloated night of rock haven’t blown a gasket or burst at the seams. Regina duo The Spoils walk onstage and immediately blow the lid off the place. Crushing waves of bass mix with frantic drumming. They even cover a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. I imagine this band will likely be getting a whole lot of attention very soon.

More gear is moved around before DJ Charly Hustle and Chapter Thrive take the stage. Lasers rip into a disco ball. Everyone dances. And all is finally right with the world.

Sunday, March 3. 11:30pm – Saskatoon

The morning starts off auspiciously – I attempt to order a drink and am told I have to wait until noon. Stupid liquor laws. The next three hours are spent in the back room of Amigos, which is more or less packed. Highlights include huevos rancheros, downing tylenol with a beer, acoustic loveliness and soft hip-hop ballads about putting your ass into it.

Ominocity would like to officially thank all the bands from both nights for being so fucking awesome, our volunteers and contributors for similarly being fucking awesome, everyone who leant a hand, the amazing staff at Amigos and the Hose and Hydrant, local media who helped spread the word, everyone who came out and supported the event in any way, and anyone who cares about local music and supports their scene wholeheartedly.

And to whoever kept grabbing my ass all night, you’re lovely but your fingers are grabby.

– Featured photo by Gary Colwell – check out more of his photos HERE.

All other photos by Ominocity.

For more photos of OMFEST, check out Michael Morien’s blog HERE.