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David Dondero

Second day (for me) at Sled meant kicking things up a notch. Local 510 was doing a double whammy of shows inside and outside the venue. On Friday, I played it safe and only covered the shows in the parking lot. Today, I was going to attempt to do something inconceivable: see ‘em both.

In the outdoor sauna that was the parking lot, the modestly sized gathering was in awe of this riveting persona on stage. It was the troubadour David Dondero. Armed with nothing but a guitar and a voice, the transient singer songwriter plugged along to his extensive discography dating back two decades. The songs, imbedded with a certain gloomy wit, made you smile and feel sorry for him the next moment. You just wanted to sit, grab a beer and revel in his tales of misery and heartache. If you were one of the many who were new to Dondero, you have to agree that this was one of the better finds at the festival.

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Wanting to breathe in some cooler air urged me to move inside. Stumbling into the hip-swaying doo-wop brilliance of Blonde Elvis was like the icing on a vegan cake (I can’t have dairy).The sounds from this Toronto based fierce-some would want to head to a 50s themed night at your nearest rollerskating rink. Songs like ‘Oh Mary’ or ‘Fit for her’ were best-case examples when glam-rock breeds with psychedelic pop. If it wasn’t for the congested space, I am certain the packed bar would have started getting their twist on with their partners. The thunderous applause, as their set finished, would have to do for now.

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Due to a prolong chat with the fellas from Blonde Elvis, I ended up only catching the last few minutes of Cy Dune. The fierce duo from California is lead by Seth Olinksy, the mastermind behind the Band Dialogue series that wowed audiences at Sled Island this year. Olinsky’s echoing wails over deafening guitar and thrashing cymbals was just the cathartic release crowd needed, battling the high temperatures all day.