by Elena Gritzan
I’ve always kind of known that I love you, but this weekend was something else. I know that I can count on you to present bands on opposite ends of the genre spectrum, with the only common denominator being that they are all creative and trying something new. Often that turns into amazing performances, but it also creates a cohesive community centred around discovery. This weekend, we all went on a journey together.
The journey ended last night at the Garrison, starting with Cell Memory & Castle If. They were full of dark drone-y synths and slowly developing long-form songs. I only wish they could have played for longer; their rather short set was completely entrancing. Next, instrumental surf-rock band Legato Vipers injected some upbeat playfulness into the room. Their music feels like a soundtrack, so it was fitting that visuals were added by burlesque group The Harlettes.
The next set was a reunion of Henri Fabergé and the Adorables, featuring some Toronto music scene heavyweights like Maylee Todd and Laura Barrett. The large group led us through exuberant pop tunes filled with harmonies, dancing, and shenanigans. Fabergé twice leapt off of the stage to run around the audience, the second time grabbing a girl and pushing her on stage before him. The look on her face was one of shocked excitement. It was theatrical, sure, but the whimsical songs stand on their own too. I have written down in my notes: “new favourite band?”
The enthusiastic pop times kept going with Guelph’s The Magic. Frontman Geordie Gordon, clad in a colourful cape, twirled and spun while delivering his vocals. The Magic are like skipping through a field on a warm summer day, or the feeling you get after someone pays you a compliment. They left the room smiling.
Last night was also the “live debut” of Cookie Duster, Brendan Canning’s pre-Broken Social Scene band (really, it was more like their fifth show). The world has been missing out without Cookie Duster as a live band for this long, it turns out, but better late than never. Their danceable guitar pop may not have been enough to excite the stoic majority of the room into motion, but I hope that everyone appreciated it as much as I did.
The show finished with a special performance from Dusted, who played back on Wednesday at the Sonic Boom in-store. They were every bit as polished this time around, but the end-of-festival excitement and solid sound system provided them with some extra intensity.
This has been an absolutely incredible weekend. Some new ideas really worked: the in-store series gave a nice change of pace and an opportunity to explore some artists and concepts in depth. Yesterday afternoon’s at Grasshopper Records paired a talk on the importance of record stores in Canadian punk history by author Sam Sutherland with an in-your-face performance by The Soupcans, complete with multiple broken guitar strings. Some old ideas worked, as well: Lullabye Arkestra returned after taking last year’s festival off and Do Make Say Think thrilled thirteen years after playing the very first Wavelength.
My favourite performance from the weekend was definitely Blue Hawaii putting me in a hypnotic dance trance, though the discovery of Doom Squad comes pretty close. So much of me wishes that I could just perpetually live in Wavelength-land, but it’s time to head back into the real world after mountains of sleep.
Cheers, Wavelength, congratulations on a well-rounded and exciting festival. Can’t wait to see what you do next.