RBC Bluesfest Day 6: Edward Sharpe, Hamish Anderson, Future Islands & Operators
July 15, 2015
by Shawn Katuwapitiya
There was a storm brewing above day 6 of RBC Bluesfest but no one was quite sure when it would hit. Literally. Oh, and metaphorically with Lynyrd Skynyrd and the current climate around the Confederate Flag just begging someone to bring one out and test how security would respond. But let’s stick to the music, as there were some gems on this day.
It seems that Dan Boeckner can do no wrong. Whether it was with Wolf Parade or Handsome Furs, he has a skill for making catchy indie rock/indie pop songs that capture something special. It’s with his new band, Operators, that he was able to rock RBC Bluesfest this year and while the set was short, it was sweet. The enthusiastic set won the crowd over with some songs that they had never played before (such as “Enemy”) and the charisma of keyboardist Devojka was impossible to ignore.
The irony of the clouds opening up above Future Islands as they sang a song about how “seasons change” was not lost on me. The hypnotic, sometimes-comical, sometimes-psychotic movements of their lead singer Samuel T. Herring almost seemed to beckon the storm from above like a tight-pantsed Neptune. When all was said and done, Baltimore’s Future Islands delivered the set of the festival. Jumping up and down in the rain to songs like “Spirit” and “Seasons” was a magical moment.
My first and only real “blues” act of the festival, Melbourne’s Hamish Anderson rocked the Barney Danson Theatre for folks looking to dry off from the rain. The strength of his backing band and the solos that seemed to perfectly augment every song, proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with.
Edward Sharpe and his band of misfits came out to a warm reception despite the surprisingly cold summer winds whipping past the Canadian Stage. While there have been many soundalike bands in the folk revival, and while nothing they’ve released tops their stunning debut Up From Below, seeing Alex Ebert in his element is a sight to behold. Whether he’s hopping through the crowd or belting out the lyrics to classics like “Home” or “40 Day Dream”, he’s a magnetic performer. Unfortunately, the yin to his yang, Jade, is no longer in the band and hearing the refrain “Home is wherever I’m with you” is oddly hollow. No one in the crowd seemed to mind though, the crowd was engaged both figuratively and literally as someone proposed to his girlfriend during the song.