Consilience, Louise Burns, The Micah Erenberg Band, and The Once and Future Band @ Broken City 6/24/2017 #SledIsland2017

Sled Island can get kind of overwhelming by the weekend because there are just too many amazing things happening simultaneously and only one of you and time-travel is difficult.  In order to keep the overwhelming feelings to a minimum I think it best to commit to a single location for the day and just see whoever happens to show up.

I wished to bring my sweet parentals to a few shows and because my mama happened to be rocking crutches on this day, we opted to skip hobbling through the crowds of the popular Block Party, and also the Hangover Breakfast at Local 510, and go sunbathe on the Broken City patio instead.

Arriving in time to catch the last half of Edmonton’s Consilience, we were greeted by music as sweet as balmy summer days such as these.  An art-pop band from Edmonton, Consilience was first the solo project of vocalist/guitarist Tasy Hudson until she realized having a band was much more fun.  Consilience’s songs are guided by Tasy’s jazzy lullabye voice, warmly reverbed guitar and spry, playful percussion.

Downstairs, Louise Burns and her band were also beginning a set.  Indie-pop with influential sprinklings of old-timey country ballads and psychedelic surf rock, though the catchiness of her songs is what hits one immediately, they are also supported by a very raw emotional core, and at times become quite heavy.

Back up on the patio Consilience said farewell and folk favorites The Micah Erenberg Band, a five-piece from Winnipeg arrived for a set of musical storytelling that had all the flavors of life in the Canadian prairies. (Sidenote: Aside from writing excellent music and making funny on-stage small talk, Micah Erenburg also has excellent manners and jumped out of his chair to offer my mother his seat, and to buy her a drink as soon as he saw her hobbled on-crutches state.  What a swell guy.)  The songs are easy-going and casual, with lots of country and blues influences, the lyrics fun and satirical, and the vibe of the band interactions with each other like a group of small-town best friends just hanging out and having a good time (which they very well may be.)

Downstairs again I go to catch an act I was very looking forward to seeing, the Once and Future Band from Oakland, California.  One of Flying Lotus’s picks for the fest, this four-piece of psychedelic 70s prog masters, true to their name, is very much like going back in time to sounds gone by, but with all the additional complexities and technological improvements the future has to offer.  That familiar organ-like 70s keyboard sound, mixed with intricate twists and turns of complex jazz progressions, vocal harmonies, and anchored by deep electric bass melodies as poignant as they were funky.

I was reminded at moments of Queen, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, and vocally, of Zeppelin, but to box this group in as sounding like any of these bands alone would be unfair, because there is so much about them that is just as innovative and propelling forwards as it is a nod to the past.  Having since listened to their latest self-titled EP post Sled performance, I have to say that as much as this album rules it is in live performance these songs really shine, this due to the improvised moments and solos, the fact that these guys are absolute wizards on their instruments, and just the shear excitement and momentum of it all.