PUP, Partner, Lonely Parade, Heat, Casper Skulls, The Blisters, Germaphobes, Billy Moon, Lazy Daisies @ River & Sky 7/22/2017

After an early morning swim in the river, the music began on the beach stage with the energy filled local (Sudbury) favourite Lazy Daisies. Their set consisted of bubblegum garage pop that ended with frontman Shawn Cosmo stripped down to flowery bottoms and dancing with the crowd.The garage rock continued with Hamilton’s Billy Moon.

Germaphobes turned the tables with some synth-filled new wave pop. The Blisters was the only American band I could think of on the bill, hailing from Chicago. On drums was Spencer Tweedy, the son of Jeff Tweedy from Wilco. The sound of the rock was sunny, but their lyrics revealed darkness.

After breaking for dinner and drinks, Casper Skulls took the main stage. The band came full circle as vocalists Melanie St-Pierre and Neil Bednis originally met at River & Sky in 2011. I’ve seen them a bunch of times in Toronto, but on Saturday, their Sonic Youth inspired rock was at its most confident.

Before more craziness, Heat calmed their audience with their dreamy non-offensive rock.

I’ve seen Lonely Parade grow up over the years and on bigger stages. They drew the majority of their material from 2016’s No Shade including personal favourite “Window”.

The headliner of the night was punk rockers PUP who teased the fact that they haven’t played Northern Ontario in over 4 years. That didn’t matter though, PUP had plenty of fans here who sang a lot to every raucous melody. Frontman Stefan Babcock dropped his guitar for the closer “Old Wounds” and leaped into the crowd, which stood up for the first time (because the rest of the fest was pretty chill).

Before heading off to bed I had to venture into the darkness and the beach once more for Partner who never fail to impress. They won over new fans with their stoner-rock. Once you see Partner once, you are hooked.

Saturday of River & Sky was the most action packed but there was plenty more to enjoy on Sunday.