Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wrap Up: Sled Island '11

Sled Island, what to say? You must have had a feeling that it was on. No one downtown this week could have missed that the number of hipsters wandering around had quadrupled. It's like they hide out in basements smoking weed, discussing 'issues,' planning their next outing to Value Village and then they all emerge for five days in full force.

Last year I got my Sled Island cherry popped (and by that I mean attending, not screwing some hipster in the bathroom - get your mind out of the gutter) and this year was round two.  I have to say, last year I was way more committed...that may have had something to do with the job I had which supported 2 days of being hungover at my desk, or maybe it was due to the fact that this year the only thing I had to drink was a bucket full of free Palm Bay (courtesy of the PB Marketing team). If you have had it you know, it is pretty hard to get hammered off that stuff without puking all over your face.

This year I saw films, music and comedy (did they do comedy last year? I don't know...didn't see it).

I started off the festival with a show of a band originally from Calgs, Braids (3.7). Fantastic. This is the second year in a row that I have kicked off Sled at the Central United Church and I feel like I may make it a tradition.
Braids lead singer, Raphaelle Standell-Preston
I must say a few words about Braids lead singer, Raphaelle Standell-Preston. I was told before the concert even started that the woman was a straight up bitch, but as devil's advocate and author of my own opinion I try to make these declarations for myself from personal experience. I will say that I disagree. She seemed legit...she did kind of freak out at the end of the concert when she was giving a "we love Calgary" speech and some ass hole was yelling in the audience, but I would have done the exact same thing coupled with a little bit of violence. 

From what I did end up seeing the rest of the festival, I was impressed. There was one show that I saw at one of the all ages venues, Undermountain, that I ended up leaving, but it wasn't because the band sucked. It was because the tiny basement room in which they were playing was so hot and muggy I literally thought people's faces were going to start melting off - mine included. I had another function to attend post-show and I needed to get the hell out of there before my hair turned into a wet mess and my makeup ended up on my shirt. I have taken note to never attend a concert there again, but to send any people I detest there as often as possible.

Mode Moderne
The Palomino surprisingly had a very solid line up. I was able to catch two acts and I heard raves from the random hipsters I ran into about the others.  Adaline, a chick from Vancouver (3.2) and Mode Moderne (3.4) also from Vancouver, were the highlight of my Friday.

Tig Notaro
Then it was onto the comedy...note to self: do not sit in the front row of a comedy show as 1) you will feel bad when the people suck and you do not laugh and 2) they can hear your smart-ass comments.  The first two guys were pretty brutal, but after that it got good. Two of the people who were at my table got made fun of by Tig Notaro, which was awesome. Brody Stevens was also kind of funny, but talked way to much about baseball. Know your audience. Comedy as a whole (2.9).

The Raveonettes
Saturday was Olympic Plaza all day. The day started off with The Raveonettes (4.1) whom I love. I was told that one of the chicks was going to flash her vajay, which didn't end up happening which left me relieved and disappointed. Expectations dashed yet again.

Next, Chad VanGaalen (2.7) was introduced by Mayor Neshi who proclaim him to be the 'hometown hero.' He then went on to play an uninspired set. Maybe it was because the crowd wasn't getting excited enough by his talk of a bike borrowing program...this is the point where I knew there was a bunch of fake hipsters in the audience, real ones would have been excited. Then again, real hipsters don't get 'excited' about it was a lose-lose situation.

Minus the Bear (2.1) was next. I have seen them before and I didn't remember them being that blase. I guess not everything gets better with age. (Speaking of, my friend got a flask of expensive scotch poured out at Twisted...please take a moment to mourn her loss...).

The Dandy Warhols
The Dandy Warhols (3.0) were one of the headliners of the festival. Their sound was good, but I didn't feel like the crowd was as into it as they could have been...which does have an effect on the overall feeling of the set.

Of Montreal
Last show of the night...Of Montreal (4.2). And by far my favorite of the entire festival. If this group had Lady Gaga's budget I am sure they would give her performance entertainment a run for her money. The crowd was loving them and I witnessed a dude holding crutches crowd that is dedication (pure stupidity, but I admire the drive).

And that rounds up the Calgary Hipsters' favorite weekend of the year. Now watch them they were never here at all.


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