It’s happening again: Summer is almost here, and with it comes oh so many shows to attend.
And this sun-season will be no exception, with the month of June leading the charge against silence, rainy days, ennui, wasp stings and solar burns.
On a more bummer note, this is our first summer without MoSoFest. While the multi-genre, multi-venue, multi-awesome music festival/tech conference is sorely missed (and a huge thank you to everyone who put in a tonne of work to make it happen), it seems as though several new Saskatchewan festivals have risen from the ashes.
But instead of getting all teary about things that no longer exist, let’s get stoked on all the good things that are coming our way this month:
Saskatchewan Jazz Festival: Feist/Low/Thor/Simply Saucer
Featuring a wildly diverse selection of everything occupying the worlds of rock, indie, dance, weirdo-whatever, and, of course, jazz, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival has once again pulled together an impressive line-up, both on the main stage and off. In addition to the return of Feist – whose new album Pleasure has been dominating our headphones lately – make sure not to miss legendary slow-core group Low, who will no doubt devastate all those in attendance at their show at the Bassment. Also on the must-see list: Thor Harris of the percussion-focused “avant-chamber” Thor & Friends, and the reformed ‘60s/’70s proto-punk art rock ensemble of Simply Saucer. Plus all the usual fun and dancing, am I right? The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival runs from June 23 to July 2.
While they are capable of producing crushingly subtle moments, the Japan based four-piece instrumental group MONO is typically nothing less than gargantuan. Amidst amplified crashing waves of guitar-heavy post-rock noise, this orchestral display of dizzying power is set to take over the Cosmo Seniors Centre on Saturday, June 24.
Featuring works by emerging and established Canadian composers performed by Canadian ensembles, the sixth annual Strata Festival features a number of artists including the ensemble in residence who will play a selection of works by – and with – guest composer Barbara Croall, who shared a bill with Tanya Tagaq at the SSO in 2016. Strata Festival runs from June 9 to 11.
One of Saskatoon’s newest iterations to the music festival scene, Nightshirt is uniting a number of shows under one cool-looking banner. Some highlights to look out for include the return of Calgary’s FOONYAP, whose dramatic vocals and electro-instrumentation will share the stage with the respectfulchild album release show at Christ Church Anglican on June 15. There’s a whole number of shows to attend so make sure to pay attention to the fledgling festival’s Facebook group here for more info on fun and FAPS-related brunch shows.
While the flag-raising officially kicks off the events, the Saskatoon Pride Festival is one of those glorious events that takes over nearly the entire month of June with a diverse number of events that range from family-friendly to all-night dance-a-thon ragers. And don’t forget to hit up this year’s Pride Parade, which takes place June 24.
Speaking of MoSoFest, one of our favourite shows of all time was when Busdriver pulled in to Saskatoon and proceeded to blow the lid off of Lydia’s during a particularly epic, sweat-drenched set. Now this L.A.-based rapper is returning, with a show planned for June 27 at Amigos alongside a number of guests, including Nolto, M.Phasis and Crabstyle.
Sure, Loscil’s ear-bleedingly beautiful ambient-electronic noise collages are not to be missed. But the real kicker here is the one-two A/V combination of modular synthesist Chad Munson and Ghost House (Lindsey Rewuski) who combine forces to create a cinema of otherworldly live experimental sounds and artistic visuals. Catch the spectacle in its full fury on June 10.
There could always be more punk shows in the summer. Thankfully, Radioactivity are here to shred your eardrums in the most pleasing way ever – for fans of supercharged drinking anthems, the power pop of the late great Exploding Hearts and staying out late on a school night. Catch Radioactivity on June 18 at Vangelis.
Speaking of punk and going to work all bleary-eyed the next morning, Sightlines are set to take over one of the coolest new stages in Saskatoon. Hosted at the Saskatoon Indoor Skatepark, an industrial warehouse filled with vert ramps that also recently hosted the awesome RVIVR, this venue also likes to get things started early. So no excuses! Also, the line-up rips like your jeans that time you bailed off your board and fell on your keys. Catch Sightlines, Man Meat and The Sips on June 20.
Let’s all take a time machine back to the mid-90s when SIANspheric blew our collective minds and eardrums with their distinctly dissonant space rock noise meld. Ushering in an age of indie rock that was big on both fuzz and melody, the Hamilton-based group managed to filter back into the now with the release of their latest album Writing the Future in Letters of Fire in 2016. Make sure to come feel the noise on Monday, July 3 at Vangelis.