by Elena Gritzan
Thirteen. That’s the number of times that the word “wavelength” appears in the lecture slides from my analytical chemistry lecture yesterday afternoon (not even joking, I could scan them for you and such, but, well, 6 pages about spectrofluorometers or talking about music? Yeah, let’s talk about music). It is, of course, also yesterday’s date. And the age that Wavelength is turning. And the name of this weekend’s jam-packed festival.
Always ones to try new ideas, this year’s Wavelength festival comes with a bit of extra to add to your plate in the form of all-ages in-stores. Last night, Sonic Boom was the host to the first of the series, featuring Wavelength alumni Absolutely Free and Dusted. I missed the first part since I was in a psychology lecture (did you know that people can look at someone’s yearbook photo and predict at what age they’ll die, within two years, with significantly above chance accuracy? I know, right?), but made it in time to see a bit of Absolutely Free do what they do best: fit a large number of instruments on a small stage and rotate between them to produce creative, twisty, polyrhythmic art rock.
They’ve expanded a bit since we last saw them at ALL CAPS! over the summer, releasing “UFO” as a single and hosting perhaps the most ambitious album release party ever. Sonic Boom is always a fun venue to see a band play; the collection of mirrors around the walls give you a couple of different angles to view the band and an easy way to see how the rest of the audience is reacting. Lots of head bobbing around for this one.
In between sets, MC Doc Pickles mentioned he last saw Dusted playing Crosswires as a “tune-up” show before heading down to SXSW. They’re certainly returning to Toronto polished. Brian Borcherdt and Leon Taheny create atmospheric songs that alternate between quietly drawing you in with fuzzy falsetto and contemplative lyrics and rock-driven sections that sound louder and punchier live.
So what do we have to look forward to this weekend? I’m personally hoping for a set from Blue Hawaii that is as heartacheingly beautiful in reality as it is in my imagination, to dance to the pop stylings of The Magic, and to fall in love with some bands that I have never seen live before. There’s bound to be something for everyone; this is a festival that transcends genre and scene, directly delivering you a grab bag of thoughtfully curated, exciting music.
The first official night of the festival is tonight at Parts and Labour. Do you have a festival pass yet? Better get on that soon.