Grading Time Festival
Time Festival returned to Toronto, bigger than ever on July 19th at Fort York. Here’s my individual grade and quick reviews of each set.
HOLLOH: B- Less of a set, more of a welcome to the fest. Their set was short but they laid down some good production. They were fairly simple but looked out of their element. Maybe if they let people in on time they would have had more fun?
Ice Cream: D By far my least favorite set of the day. Their sound was horrible (not their fault, more the sound guys) and their lyrics were all over the place. Didn’t enjoy the vocals or production. Seemed like they were trying to be edgy, but did the exact opposite.
Lowell: A- Lowell were the first band to truly hit the mark at Time. They had fun playing their hearts out and got the crowd pumped up for the rest of the day. Blazing fun set. Lowell might just blow up very soon.
Haerts: C+ Many seemed excited for this set, but I didn’t really care for them. They have flare and style on stage but their actual music was very bland and textbook.
Sango: B+ The first DJ set of the day was a banger. Not knowing Sango before Time, he impressed the hell out of me with his excellent choices of sample and mixing. From some lesser know music to some crowd chanting songs such as Future’s “Move That Dope”, Sango hit all the bases and brought the much needed fuel for the day.
Majical Cloudz: A- Majical Cloudz stuck out on this list as a way more slow and less party ready act, but they took full advantage of it. From some truly haunting and pitch perfect renditions of tracks from “Impersonator” to some witty banter (including an… interesting Q&A with front man, Devon) they got the crowds attention and kept it for the full set. Devon is still nervous on a stage this big, but he’s getting better, Too bad they were cut off early.
Jon Hopkins: A+ Jon brought out his top game for this brilliant set. Playing songs (in full!) from last years outstanding “Immunity” and occasionally dipping his toes in older material, he blew me and many others away. Fantastic cinematic visuals played out behind him as his fingers flew doing amazing live production. He didn’t say a word to the audience, but his music said enough
Smith Westerns: B- They tried their damn hardest but Smith Westerns’ jangle pop couldn’t catch the attention of an electronic filled festival. They came out blazing but quickly fell apart, with their bassists giving zero shits and barely playing later on in the set. The rest of the band tried to have fun but it was really just a bit sloppy. I love Smith Westerns’ music, but this was not the right festival for them.
Kaytranada: C- At a festival where DJ sets were the true standout, Kaytranada left me feeling very off. A very boring by the numbers mix and a less enthused crowd than other sets, Kay seemed bored and the set reflected this. Supposedly his after party set was much better though.
St. Lucia: B+ St. Lucia took the stage as the hardest rain of the day fell, but brightened it right up. Sure, their lyrics aren’t groundbreaking but they put on a hell of a fun set. They were having fun. The crowd was having fun. The sound was pitch perfect unlike other acts. A real surprise from a band I was never big on in recorded music form.
Action Bronson: B Action Bronson got one of the most resounding cheers of the day. Their was some sound problems and dillydallying but what do you expect from bronson? He ate a sandwich and jumped right in the crowd. But his rapping was still great. Fun stage antics, fun raps, It was just a fun set to kick off the night portion of Time.
Flume: A+ Even with second billing, Flume drew the largest crowd of the day. And with good reason, he put on one of the best DJ sets I’ve ever seen. Brought the party with jaw droppingly gorgeous visuals and lights and an insane jam packed set. The crowd was alive singing to his songs such as “Holdin’ On” & “Insane” and going insane over remixes of “Tennis Court” & “You & Me”. He was having fun and was perfect in his production. Flume might have just been the best set of the day.
Grimes: A Finishing off the day was Grimes. Who brought an insane show. Dancers, mimes, camo cloths, raised platforms. She brought the show. The set was fairly short (Thanks 11pm curfew!) but she played her heart out until then. She also played two new unfinished songs, which were and extra treat to those who stuck it out all day in the rain. A very solid finish to a day that was all over the place
TIME FESTIVAL OVERALL GRADE: B+
Some of the smaller acts missteps couldn’t take away from the rest of the festivals blazing fun attitude and the trio of three of my favorite shows of the year from Flume, Jon Hopkins, & Grimes