MoSo 2016 was so much fun that we crawled into bed on Sunday and have been hitting the snooze bar ever since.
Yeah, that was awhile ago. We are well aware of what day it is. A huge hearty thank you to everyone who made this year’s festival and conference feel like a big sweaty hug of squirming awesomeness. Once again, you’ve made Saskatoon a little more magic. Now, onto our favourite things.
Thursday’s stacked line-up was the perfect storm of big name headliners, including SUUNS, whose doomy, red-faced dance party was a clear MoSo highlight. Waitress, a relatively new act featuring ex-Foggy Notions members, clearly impressed those in attendance but The Avulsions, however, nearly stole the night away with a slow-burn build of dissonance-dirge ballads. But if anyone was looking to get drenched in party sweat and blast out an eardrum or two on a Thursday would have been wise to head over to Bud’s for the double-trouble blues shake down of the Pack A.D. Packed with revelers, the cramped dance floor literally shook at the duo blew through a number of hi-octane blues-punk jammers, opening the way for The Buzzardline, who similarly were in fine, ferocious form.
Also, if you missed one of the three sets from Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback over the weekend, you missed out entirely. No words can describe, but we are pretty sure Thursday’s set at the Refinery is still reverberating throughout the walls. Wow.
The conference side of things was similarly jam-packed, although we were a tad disappointed with DIY media giant Jesse Brown’s talk, or at least the first half of it. Dude, you run CANADALAND, you took down Ghomeshi. And you are talking to a tech-savvy audience who likely don’t need to hear your take on how cell phones used to be really, really, really big. Meh.
Friday’s antics kicked off with Regina’s The Steves slicing two guitar strings during the first song. Nicely done! Other highlights included a particularly dreamy set from The Garrys, who enjoyed a packed house full of dance floor shuffle mayhem and a ravenous response to their surf-inspired songs that worm their way under your skin and tell you secrets while you sleep. Besnard Lakes and Close Talker both turned in amazing sets at the Broadway Theatre, but the light projections/installations by Ghosthouse were worth the price of admission alone. Meanwhile over at Vangelis, Toronto’s Lido Pimienta laid down a serious dose of much-needed real talk along with a set that combined fierce beats and even fiercer singing. Along with a splash of improvisation, drawing in guest vocalist Eden from Orphan Mothers, judging from the awed faces in the audience, Pimienta’s haunting set is one that left an indelible mark on an entire music festival, and won’t soon be forgotten.
Saturday’s all-day dance-o-rama began with the open stage, which, unfortunately, was situated next to the summer concrete construction apocalypse that is currently ankling Broadway. However, despite the occasional industrial rumble, the bands – who were treated to an onstage view of the road work – did their best to bust out the songs to a come-and-go crowd, many of whom found shelter in the nearby beer gardens. Fun times, but Montreal’s Duchess Says can be given high praise for transforming the area into a scene that was part sit-in protest, part weirdo antics. Suffice to say, pulling in an entire audience into a sandwich house is a good way to leave your mark on social media.
From there on in, things got a little heavy once the day-drinks set in. Winnipeg’s Tunic was especially gut-busting, combining bass-bashing with a lil’ bit o’ toe-nail-pulling vocals, while HSY’s sludge railing was a sweet kiss goodnight for those who ambled off into the night early.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, however, was the clear favourite of the evening for many, as her sweltering, powerful voice sent shivers and trembles alike throughout the theatre.
Strange or not, Sunday proved to be one of the most exciting nights of the entire festival. Paired down to one last shindig send-off, Saskatoon’s on-again, off-again Seahags tore up the stage with a number of stampy fan favourites. You can come back and play any ol’ time. Partner, however, may just be our new favourite band. Armed with a holster of songs that address dorky dildos and druggy dips, their punch drunk fun mayhem was highly appreciated for those who came out to dance the weekend away. Also, I’m pretty sure I know all the words now and could sing along with them forever.