MoSo 2013

Ominocity’s Top 12 Moments of MoSoFest: Review

MoSoFest 2013 is an unequivocal success. Again

It may have been a rainy, drizzly mess all weekend, but the dreary weather didn’t seem to deter anyone from attending this year’s MoSoFest.

Many of the shows, including the conference events, saw capacity crowds as fans raced in-between venues avec wet hair to try and capture a piece of a multi-venue event.

And it was awesome. And, whatever, it didn’t even rain that hard.

MoSoFest brings out the best in Saskatoon. The festival unites Broadway area venues and essentially serves as a banner for excellence in music. It takes on ideas espoused by festivals in other cities and makes them uniquely our own. Instead of the same social groups you typically see out at shows, MoSo brings out people who would otherwise be hard pressed to see a line-up that boasts the best in all genres of music.

Even my mom was talking about MoSo, and that’s saying something.

This year’s line-up was among one of my favourites, and managed to combine something familiar along with something new. Local bands got to experience playing to at-capacity venues, while touring bands mixed amongst the crowds. MoSoFest, you managed to bring us all together to dance our collective asses off and toast to the amazing music that continues to bubble, simmer and pop in our own city.

To everyone who plays in a band, does sound, slings drinks, books festivals and otherwise works hard to make our city more amazing, please take a bow. You all earned it.

Ben Caplan

Ben Caplan has an impressive set of teeth

Despite it being his first show in Saskatoon, there was a packed house for Halifax’s Ben Caplan. A rugged folk troubadour with a voice not unlike the tang and rasp of a belt of scotch, Caplan stomped and brought the entire audience at Amigos to life with his shanties and a mouthful of teeth that were seemingly suspended in the middle of his envious beard. The banter and singalongs were worth the price of admission alone.

– Chris Morin

Rah Rah

Rah Rah gets sticky

Fresh after making the 2013 Polaris Prize long list, Regina’s Rah Rah celebrated with an enthusiastic and joyful performance to a capacity crowd. Balloons were tossed into the audience, a $5 bill shoved into Kristina’s violin as she performed and Lydia’s Pub became so hot and sweaty that the pack of gum I threw in my camera bag melted all over my keys and loose change.


– Ryan Smith

Dumb Angel

Dumb Angel and Eight Moments of Icelandic cake

Dumb Angel, the haunting ethereal folk project of Saskatoon’s Shaun Mason, has seen several different incarnations. But his latest line-up is his most powerful – collecting a brigade of local musicians, Mason’s songs now boast a muscular edge that was previously missing from his usual layered sonic acoustics. Filling the Refinery with the songs from his Eight Moments of Spring, the highlight of the show included Mason riffing on an Icelandic cake recipe that was somehow both hilarious and completely disarming.

– Chris Morin

Code Orange Kids

Code Orange Kids return to Canada and give us all a good thrashing

There was a lot of anxiety leading up to the headlining set of Code Orange Kids. The Pittsburgh hardcore band had apparently had a whole heap of trouble crossing the border to make it in to their Toronto set. So it was with a huge sigh of relief when word came down that they had made it back into the country. Their Saturday night set at Rock the Bottom was far from packed, but that didn’t stop the four-piece from diving into the set with immense physicality while they served up songs from their debut album Love Is Love // Return To Dust.

But for all their intense thrashing, it was actually pretty hilarious to watch the band play a relaxed round of billiards immediately after their set.

– Chris Morin

Teen Daze and the Parish of Little Clifton

Teen Daze and the Parish of Little Clifton are solid bros

MoSoFest brings together a community of musicians from Saskatoon and across Canada. For those of us who remember last year, there were plenty of repeat performers and friends back in town – think of it as an indie rock reunion party.

DJ electro pop wizards Teen Daze and the Parish of Little Clifton, who both hail from BC, were reunited with Saskatoon this weekend. Amidst several sets of dance music-turned chillwave beat, both gentlemen were seen at several shows taking in the music and just generally being really solid bros. One of the best moments of the festival was at 3am Sunday morning, when we met up Teen Daze and Little Clifton along with Renny Wilson and his bandmates and Mikey from UBT and talked about our favourite 90210 episodes.

– Chris Morin

John K. Samson

John K. Samson grows beard, increases songwriting super powers

I’ve seen John K. Samson perform countless times. Whether fronting The Weakerthans, shredding bass in Propagandhi or performing solo, his meek voice and heartfelt poetics just grips you. Despite my infatuation with this man I considered skipping his set to check out other acts I hadn’t seen before but my gut told me to stay at the Broadway Theatre and boy am I ever glad that I did. When Sampson opened with an acoustic version of “Plea From A Cat Named Virtute” my heart dropped and I wanted to squeeze the hand of the person sitting next to me.


– Ryan Smith

Fist City

Fist City are a good addition to a greasy hangover brunch

On Saturday morning, Ominocity, along with Big Fun Festival, helped put together a morning brunch show. While a bunch of greasy, underfed skids lined-up for pancakes, Liam Trimble, Mitchmatic, Pop Crimes and Fist City managed to jar everyone’s senses and make the hangover just a little more… loud.

While everyone played amazingly, especially given the brutally early hour that probably would have been better spent in bed, Fist City managed to pull out a legendary performance. Having tightened their live sound considerably, the Lethbridge/Calgary four-piece ripped through songs that fused surf riffs into garage pop punk stompers.

After getting barely any sleep after being awake for nearly 24 hours, it was the best possible way that I’ve ever been woken up on a beery-eyed Saturday.

– Chris Morin

Lady Hawk

Ladyhawk make a loud, triumphant return to Saskatoon

Flown in for a one-off show, Vancouver’s Ladyhawk – a band notorious for being homebodies – came to Saskatoon and churned out one hell of a performance. Not unlike a Can-rock version of The Replacements, Ladyhawk churn out rough-hewn indie pop gems that stomp and inspire reckless fistpumps and anthemic hoary choruses. There’s something amazing about being a part of a rock show turned social spectacle, and there were a lot of incredibly happy people in the audience at Amigos that night.

Thanks for the memories MoSo.

– Chris Morin

Hooded Fang

Hooded Fang are Can-rock’s answer to the monster mash

When I volunteered my couch to Ryder from Mohawk Lodge for an evening, I had no idea it would turn into a 24-hour drink-a-thon that would end with him seeing me poop.

Which is a top MoSo moment for another time.

Despite turning out his own amazing set, there was a total moment of clarity when Ryder drove me around on Saturday morning to look for my car and he popped in Hooded Fang’s Gravez album.

“This is one of my favourite albums I’ve heard in a long time,” he said.

Moi aussi.

Hooded Fang play energetic pop songs that veer dangerously between indie and punk rock. Their energy is infectious, and the crowd at Vangelis drank it all up. And Gravez? It’s easily among my top ten albums of 2013.

– Chris Morin


Factor and Friends

It seems mildly fitting that the majority of my friends were made through our collective love of music. I think I met everyone in Factor and the Chandeliers through different circumstances, but I can trace our beginnings through playing music together in Saskatoon.

That said, I’ve never felt more proud of seeing my friends onstage. Factor’s set, which featured various musicians including Kay the Aquanaut, Enver and Levi, completely blew away the audience at Amigos on Saturday night. Highlights included watching Levi play violin while his guitar dangled perilously off his back like an indie hip-hop Sword of Damocles.

Also, Amigos on Saturday wins the award for the most people in attendance wearing high heels. Although none of them pulled it off as good as Gentlemen Reg’s Lady Regina alter ego.

– Chris Morin

Make Liars

Saskatoon’s Pride Festival is here and fabulous

Running parallel to MoSoFest, Saskatoon’s Pride Festival rolled out a week’s worth of events, which included a Wednesday night fashion show, poetry reading and several local bands playing at Village Guitars on 20th Street. The fashion show was utterly fabulous, with some of the most hilarious riffing I’ve ever heard come from the rouged mouth of a drag queen. Not to mention that I got a total boner from the plaid suit jacket that one dude was rocking. Also awesome: Quadrant Khan, The Seahags and Make Liars.

– Chris Morin

Fistfuls of free booze at the conference after parties

Having a music festival associated with a tech conference often means that there are many companies willing to throw some money around to get their name out there. This often comes in the form of free booze and food and there was plenty of that at MoSoConf! I received so many free drink tickets that even after consuming fistfuls of jello shots, highballs and beer I still came home with drink tickets in my pockets.

The Kolo Haus conference after party was a sweaty mess of entrepreneurs packed into the Hose and Hydrant mingling over multitudes of free drinks, the Noodlecake party at 2nd Ave Lofts was a killer mix of video games, beautiful people and smooth beats and I still have half a keg sitting in my office after throwing a party for Varial Hosting’s 10th anniversary.

– Ryan Smith