by Lisa Wiklund
Of all the music festivals I’ve been to, Wayhome most certainly makes the top three. The phenomenal music, coupled with cool vibes and even cooler people made for an unforgettable weekend.
While there was an incredible amount of Canadian talent present (Alvvays, The Sheepdogs, Viet Cong and surprise guest Broken Social Scene to name a few) I made sure to check out two of my favourites: Hey Rosetta! and July Talk.
If I had to describe Hey Rosetta!’s performance in one word it would be breathtaking. Absolutely breathtaking. Although this was my third time seeing Hey Rosetta!, it was like I was experiencing them live for the first time all over again. From points of absolute joy to moments of awe and sometimes sadness, I had goose bumps throughout the entire show. Perhaps my favourite song of the performance was “Soft Offering (For the Oft Suffering)” from the band’s most recent album Second Sight. What began as slow and careful became vibrant and alive as keyboards, percussion and strings came into full effect. The crowd reacted accordingly and the energy in the tent was palpable. The set ended with a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” and while perhaps an unexpected choice, fit perfectly as the last song. The camaraderie amongst the crowd was only heightened, and each audience member left the show with a smile on their face and perhaps a couple of tears in their eyes.
After seeing Hey Rosetta!’s set I was convinced nothing could top it, although July Talk came pretty damn close. The exchange throughout the set between Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Creepy yet so incredibly captivating, the two put on a performance that I never wanted to end. Fay seemed especially frisky as she scaled scaffolding and played with an unsuspecting security guard, all the while looking fabulous in a leather jacket and skinny jeans (how she didn’t melt in that outfit in 30+ degree weather I’ll never know). But what set is complete without an onstage wet t-shirt contest? Apparently not July Talk’s. Besides relief from the sweltering heat, contestants of the contest also received a kiss from Dreimanis, making them the envy of every audience member. Yet amongst all this, the band managed to put on a flawless show, with not a note out of place. Surprising to some, the band has released only one album, yet its craftsmanship is undeniable. “Guns and Ammunition” had everyone singing while “The Garden” had feet tapping. Amongst old hits were two new ones, as the band revealed they soon hope to be finished their second album. After that performance, I can’t wait to hear the newest from July Talk.
Now back in the city I can say I am #wayhomesick.
You can bet I’ll be back next year.