PUP, Ought, Andy Shauf @ Hillside Festival 7/22/2016

This year was our first Ride the Tempo trip to Hillside, which took place at Guelph Lake Conservation Area in Guelph, Ontario. The temperatures rose above 30 degrees Celsius the three days we were there but the nearby lake provided quick relief for both patrons and artists.

As media, we were able to set up our tents in the volunteer camping area. On Friday, we arrived and set up just in time to make Andy Shauf‘s set on the main stage which began with “The Worst In You” from his Polaris shortlisted album The Party. Though there are violins and other strings on the record, they didn’t make it to the live stage. However, it set the tone for the relaxed festival, where the music was always enjoyable and never took itself too seriously.

Next up was Montreal’s Ought which delighted the audience under the Island stage tent with their Talking Heads inspired post-rock. Frontman Tim Darcy never fails to amuse with his unique delivery of spoken word (“Men for Miles”) and deliberate breaths (“Habit”). They warmed the stage for the punks to finish the night under the tent, PUP.

PUP has been one of the only bands at Hillside to warrant security and a barrier for their set. It was kind of funny because the barrier was practically physically held up by 5 or 6 security guards. I thought that was a tiny bit excessive given the band’s advocacy for safe spaces and being kind to each other. The people at Hillside are so nice that if someone crowd surfed, they would stay up there for a very long time.

PUP pumped out as many songs as they could in 45 minutes from their self-titled album and The Dream is Over. People yelled and screamed along to every song including the opener “If the Tour Doesn’t Kill You I Will” and the “I never had one” line about day jobs in “Familiar Patterns” which ripped at scorching speed on guitar. These guys know how to shred and are definitely one of the best punk bands to come out of Toronto.

They closed with an encore consisting of Weezer’s El Scorcho where the audience errupted in a massive singalong. Day 1 of Hillside already left us with high impressions.