Summerworks: Wilderness of Manitoba, Mountain and the Trees, Entire Cities, The Weather Station, August 12, Upper Ossington Theatre

Toronto – The lineup for Summerwork’s music portion on Thursday night reads like titles from Farley Mowat novels – Wilderness of Manitoba, Mountain and the Trees, Entire Cities and The Weather Station. All four bands seem to draw inspiration from Canada’s large and vast space and the gentle and quietness that comes with it. It was basically acoustic-folk power hour at the Upper Ossington Theatre. Knowing that I myself was heading to a cottage on the weekend, I thought these bands would be a nice primer for my foray into nature.

First of all, I would like to thank the staff of Summerworks for putting on a well organized festival. There were no problems anywhere and one of the volunteers at the Festival was nice enough to retrieve one of my flip flops from underneath the seats after that flip flop decided to go rogue and escape from the clutches of my right foot.

Canadian duo The Weather Station started off the night. Tamara Lindeman, took on vocal duties while her partner Jack Donovan used the banjo for most of the set. They played nice set of songs that was a bit on the gentle side. Tamara told us she used to suffer from stage fright, and then played a nice little song that had some really complicated banjo action. After a few short enjoyable tunes, the band was joined by their tour mates, a 7 piece band from Toronto called Entire Cities. They had a more upbeat feel then the Weather Station and lead singer Simon Borer had a mustache that would rival any 70s era hockey player. They retained a similar wild country-folk sound of the Weather Station, but infused some layers onto their music – there was a flutist (is that a word?) and a few guitars as well. The band laid down some funkier songs that managed to get some people off the seats. They too played a few short but enjoyable songs.

Following a short intermission, Jon Janes took the stage with an acoustic guitar. Also known as The Mountain and the Trees, the man was dressed in plaid and instantly captivated the crowd with his blend of honest humor and impressive melodies. I had anticipated a good show after Patricia raved about the man in her CMW review. I think of all the acts I saw on Thursday, this dude definitely impressed me the most. Hailing from Newfoundland, Jon introduced each song with funny anecdotes that added a nice personal feel to the show. I was also impressed with the way he would loop his own guitar and then replayed it later in the song to make it seem like more then one person was on stage. Either he’s really ingenious or anti social, I am not sure. Either way, Mountain and the Trees was definitely impressive.

Considering one year ago, I had never heard of the band the Wilderness of Manitoba, I found it rather shocking that Thursdays night show was the fourth time I had seen the band. They are now tied with The Antlers, British Sea Power, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, The Rapture and Voxtrot as the bands I have seen the most. Having first seen them play in a garage in their very own backyard, one of the things that first caught my eye about their set on Thursday was how much they had grown as performers in merely a years time. If I had improved my coding skills in one year as much as these guys have improved their live stage skills, I would have created skynet years ago.

Their set this time around sounded sharper then I have ever heard them before and the band was properly spaced out, allowing their vocal harmonies to really fill out the room. The band has also upgraded their wardrobe considerably, looking quite dapper in suits and vests. I say they are taking the professional road now. The band sang a nice blend of bands between their debut release – Hymns of Love and Spirits and their new record, When You Left the Fire. It was nice to hear the recorded sounds of actual birds when they played the song Bluebirds. The next step would be for them to actually have birds in the audience during the set. I think that would be so great.

Overall, it was a nice pleasant evening. Those who know me would not classify me as an acoustic folk music kind of guy but I did enjoy myself at this showcase. If you are looking for something nice, quiet and melodic, then you should check out any of the four bands on the list.

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Posted on by Ricky in Summerworks

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

One Response to Summerworks: Wilderness of Manitoba, Mountain and the Trees, Entire Cities, The Weather Station, August 12, Upper Ossington Theatre

  1. Pingback: Concert Review: Leif Vollebekk, Wilderness of Manitoba, November 25th, Horseshoe Tavern | The Panic Manual

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