Alabama Shakes, Purity Ring, The Arkells, Young Empires, The War on Drugs + more! @ Field Trip Day 1 6/6/2015

The third annual Field Trip took place last weekend at Fort York Garrison Commons. The first day the sun shone brightly as concertgoers (many of whom brought their children this day) ate from food trucks, explored the discovery areas and of course eagerly waited for the many spectacular acts booked for the day.

We started ours with Pins & Needles on the Fort York Stage. The funny part is we went in expecting Needles // Pins but were delighted with the garage-rockers who are alumni of 2012’s Girls Rock Camp. It’s awesome the acts and relationships that the camp builds. Over at the main stage The WAYO (whom we only recently heard of) won some new fans with their smooth jazz inspired tunes. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Andy Shauf with his warm dreamy folk tunes that would make you fall in literal love with him.

“We flew all the way from Vancouver,” said Andrea Lo of The Belle Game before breaking into their acclaimed record Ritual Tradition Habitat. Lo’s powerhouse of vocals made her quite deserving of the big stage.

The most anticipated of the day was probably children’s music legends Sharon & Bram. It was delightful that they were given a set on the actual stage AS WELL as on the children’s stage. Adults and children were equally as excited to be there. The former reliving their childhood, and the latter just having pure fun. Everybody knew the actions to the songs including “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain”, “Chugga-Chugga” and of course the quintessential closer “Skinnamarink”. Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene joined on stage for “Peanut Butter”. It was amazing to see a field full of people acting like children again and literally the happiest moment ever.

Calvin Love has yet to reveal his upcoming album Super Future, but we got to experience it first hand live. His psych-pop paired well with the beaming sunshine and evoked some dancing from audience members. Besides Sharon & Bram, the other hilarious moment of the day was when De La Soul made everyone put their hands in their air. “We should be the only ones working,” they exclaimed, telling everyone including the security guards and photographers in the pit to comply with their request. And even though the security guards weren’t sure if this was allowed, they played along so the MCs could continue delighting the crowd with their old school hip-hop.

Back on the small stage Apostle of Hustle (which includes Andrew Whiteman of Broken Social Scene) performed their first show in 4 years playing their debut record Folkloric Feel (which was released over 11 years ago) front to back. The set was solid, as if the trio never really stopped touring. Sounds of The War On Drugs  reverberated on the big stage as they brought out trumpet, sax and occasionally harmonica. Even if you don’t care for the beef with Sun Kil Moon, it was hard not to like this set.

It’s been years since we’ve seen Young Empires but Matthew Vlahovich continued his brand of wearing sunglasses while singing pop tunes built for summer including new tracks “The Gates” and “Sunshine”.

Hamilton indie-rockers Arkells have had a huge year but you could still feel how grateful they are for every opportunity. Friends & family gathered excitedly considering this was a (near) hometown show. Whether you like them or not, it’s undeniable that these guys always put on a killer live performance. Max Kerman knows how to work the stage and get the crowd singing along to their songs regardless of how familiar you are with them.

I was really excited to see Purity Ring. Their stage set-up was elaborate. Beads draped from the ceilings and Corin Roddick’s lights had been upgraded to be more epic. However, this may have been the cause of unfortunate power failures that happened 3 or 4 times before the duo got fed up and literally walked off. When the two were able to play it was stunning.

The night was closed off by Alabama Shakes and the powerhouse vocals of Brittany Howard bringing a bit of the South to the North. It was amazing the diverse talent and genres that were offered in one day. There was something for all demographics of people and that’s what makes Field Trip so special.

Stay tuned for a recap of Day 2 soon!