Review: CBC Music Festival, May 28, Echo Beach


The CBC Music Festival has what I can only describe as a very CBC-esque vibe – it’s the kind of fest with a big parking area for bicycles set up in front of the venue, the kind of fest where a large percentage of the crowd are there with small kids, chilling on blankets while enjoying the scene, and most importantly, it’s the kind of fest where Detective Murdoch will make an appearance onstage. Yes, Yannick Bisson, star of Murdoch Mysteries, took to the stage to introduce Tokyo Police Club, memorably addressing the crowd with the line, “You might not know me, but I’m sure your moms do.” And while several other CBC radio and TV personalities would make an appearance, the focus for the day was squarely on the musical talent, which included such notables as Maestro, Tanya Tagaq, Whitehorse, Alvvays, and The New Pornographers.

Taking to the stage in the late afternoon/early evening, Alvvays professed their love for the Mother Corp while Molly Rankin also took the time to talk about proper skincare. “We need some sunscreen up here. Is there such a thing as SPF 80?” After she said that, I swear I saw her getting redder as their set went on, though that may just be me projecting my own concerns about the growing sunburn I was working on throughout the day. Sunburns aside, Alvvays put on a typically delightful set, playing tunes from their 2014 debut alongside a few new numbers as well as an excellent cover of Kirsty MacColl’s “He’s On The Beach,” which Rankin noted was an appropriate song to be playing in Echo Beach’s pseudo-beachlike environs.

While I didn’t stick around for Hey Rosetta’s headlining set, The New Pornographers worked well enough for me as a de facto headliner. A.C. Newman led the band through a greatest hits set of sorts, which is pretty easy to do when so many of your songs sound like hits. Newman mentioned how much he liked Toronto, where they’d been spending a couple of days before the festival, joking that it’s on his short list of cities he would move to if he had to move back to Canada because of Trump. And I’ve got to say, on a nice sunny day with a solid lineup of bands and the skyline of the city as a backdrop, it’s hard not to like this city. Toronto, you’re pretty alright sometimes.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts