by Michael Thomas
Wavelength and Steam Whistle Unsigned’s first team-up featured two acts both rooted in folk, but expressed in vastly different ways. And neither could necessarily be called quiet.
First up was Shawn William Clarke, who just recently charmed us with his latest album, William. He has a quiet confidence to his stage banter and playing, sometimes laying intricate guitar picking over stories of trying to write a song about peace or about Charlottetown, PEI.
He was bolstered by a three-piece band, with Sara Ciantar in particular being the MVP—she did backup vocals and switched between accordion and flute. Sean Lancaric on drums and David Gluck on bass were a little more subtle, but the closing number, “Sound of Ticking and Tocking,” really wouldn’t have been as spectacular without all four band members playing their hearts out. Clarke also threw in a pair of covers, one of which was the Timber Timbre song “No Bold Villain.”
While Clarke is a bit more traditionally folk, Anamai takes folk, cranks up the instruments and douses it in extra layers of gloom. Her sprawling songs shapeshift thanks to a variety of pedals, but always remain distinctly hers thanks to her quiet vocal style. Even in between songs she stayed fairly quiet, really keeping the atmosphere as low-key as possible.
Anamai has a new album coming out, so it’ll be interesting to see how the gloom translates to more on the recorded side.
There’s just a week left until the Wavelength Festival, and as these pop-up shows have proven, the pedigree is still quite strong,