Field Trip 2017 Review: What happened on Sunday

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Field Trip by Elisabeth Isles

It was supposed to rain on Sunday. I was considering not going to Field Trip but then i was like, YOLO and went to Canadian Tire and bought some ponchos to prepare for Armageddon. Instead, I got a nice sunny (but slightly chilly) day and some music. Here are some thoughts regarding Sunday’s acts.

LP by Elisabeth Isles

Kicking off my Sunday afternoon, LP drew a large crowd to the Fort York stage most probably on the strength of her single “Lost on You.” Those who went to Field Trip early on Sunday were treated to a powerful vocal performance from LP, whose powerful unique voice had everyone in awe. LP can really really sing. It’s like, some people have one really good skill, like Steph Curry and 3 pointers – this is LP and singing. It feels like she’s naturally meant for the stage. Her music had your typical LA blues-rock vibe and perhaps a more poppy (or electro) approach might utilize her voice better and get bigger hits, but LP, between all the jokes with the crowd and her easy going demeanour, seems pretty comfortable. A great way to start out Sunday.

Oh yeah, there was a funny part when LP wanted the crowd to sing along to a part of the song, but the crowd did not know this and so it all went silent for a very awkward five seconds before the crowd realized they were supposed to sing.

Essentially a one hour free jam session of blistering jazz percussion and guitar, Thundercat’s show was intense but didn’t do a whole lot for me. Some kid started crying because of all the noise and so the parent had to leave mid-set. Thundercat had a wicked Mike Piazza jersey and was easily the most colorful person, just look at this outfit:

Thundercat by Elisabeth Isles

James Vincent McMorrow
“Life is short but it’s also long” – James Vincent McMorrow with the quote of the night. A gentle man with a gentle voice, his set was disrupted by one of the most annoying things about music festivals:

No one likes the fuckin’ beach ball, I don’t know why Indie 88 keeps on sending staff members to throw these gigantic sized beach balls into the crowd. This and their insistence on high fiving people is really starting to get on my nerves. We get it, you have an aggressively happy brand. The thing is, beach balls are annoying because no one wants to get hit in the head with the ball. So basically as soon as it comes even remotely close, you are on edge, determining if you need to participate, and by participate, I mean, defend yourself. You get distracted and stop paying attention to the ball. Then you get annoyed because you got distracted but you can’t get too annoyed because you still have to focus on the ball. Anyways, stop doing this stupid shit Indie 88.

Feist by Elisabeth Isles

Wearing the same dress she wore for the Pleasures album cover and also her show at trinity church, Leslie Feist serenaded us into the evening with songs new and old. While hardcore fans of hers might have appreciated some deeper cuts, Feist stuck to a festival style set-list which included early crowd pleasers such as “Mushaboom,” “1-2-3-4,” and “My Moon My Man.” I was crushed when the man coming out to the stage to do the spoken word part for the song “Century”  was not Jarvis Cocker, but Torquil Campbell. That’s like replacing a Porsche with a Chevy Impala.

Phoenix by Elisabeth Isles

Vanessa Williams once said “Save the best for last” and that theory definitely rang true for Field Trip. Phoenix played the best set of the weekend and added some rock star panache to the festival. I love all those Canadian bands and stuff, but they just don’t have that swagger that makes you feel like you are at a true rock show. Phoenix, with their overly complicated ground and mirror lighting system, just made you feel like “damn, I’m at a festival!”. Bathed in technicolor projections, the French group took an otherwise placid night and transformed Fort York into one gigantic dance floor with a hits filled set. New tracks like “Ti Amo” and “J Boy” mixed well with classics like “Lisztomania.” “1901” set everyone into a frenzy and honestly, after a day of nice, gentle music, we were ready to rock and Phoenix just delivered on our needs. For that, I am forever grateful.

Not a bad way to spend the weekend.

All pictures by Elisabeth Isles (From Devonshire, England). Have a safe flight back!

Oh yeah, a funny part was Phoenix thanking Feist for playing and saying it was pretty funny because Feist also opened for them ten years ago. PROGRESS! Haha.

Field Trip 2017 Review: What happened on Saturday

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Field Trip by Elisabeth Isles

What a great weekend. Good music, great friends, amazing weather and a cosy outdoor vibe just reinforces something I’ve known all along – outdoor music festivals are a great way to spend the weekend. Despite the threat of daunting weather this weekend, the music gods pulled through and we were blessed with calm weather throughout our time at Fort York.

It will be sad if there are no more Field Trips because as a community, we really need stuff like this in times like these.

Let’s take a look at some of the acts we saw on Saturday.

Portugal The Man by Elisabeth Isles

Portugal The Man
The Alaskan band played their sunset set with a great ferocity that added a nice punch to what was otherwise a pretty tame affair thus far. I had never seen them live before and was pleasantly surprised.

Cloud Nothings
Being a Raptors fan, I have a lot of hurt feelings over anything from Ohio right now. Despite my hatred, I still enjoyed the Cloud Nothings set on Saturday, Their 2014 track “I’m Not Part of Me” is a great song and well, they played it. The new album seems to follow the energetic guitar rock sound that they have utilized to much success on previous records. Why break a good thing?

Tribe Called Red by Elisabeth Isles

A Tribe Called Red
People need to dance at outdoor festivals. It doesn’t feel like a music festival unless you are jumping up and down and dancing in a field and let me tell you, A Tribe Called Red definitely provided that on Saturday. As per usual, the trio were accompanied by their own dancers who would inspire the crowd to move and move they did.

Pharcyde by Elisabeth Isles

The Pharcyde
My favorite act from Saturday, The Pharcyde brought the party to the people at the Fort York stage. Blessed with an expansive back catalog and a tight live show, The Pharcyde had everyone in the crowd on their feet, fist pumping, and dancing while delivering classic tracks. A particularly touching moment happened when they asked the crowd to raised one hand for Dilla. A great, energetic show.

Broken Social Scene by Elisabeth Isles

Broken Social Scene
The hometown band playing the hometown festival, Broken Social Scene brought out all their guns on Saturday and reminded the world what a powerful music entity they can be when they can get everyone together. The whole gang was there, and that wasn’t enough as they brought on even more people to the stage. At some point I was wondering if there was an eventbrite invite out there somewhere to join the stage.

With the release of new album Hug of Thunder looming, BSS drew a fine line between testing out new music and playing the hits that got them there. Starting off the set with an all male lineup for “Cause = Time” before giving the ladies a grand entrance for “7/4 Shoreline” was a nice touch. This was my first time seeing the band, and their sound live is much more powerful than their album. Everything just has a lot more oomph to it. All in all, a splendid way to end the night.

All photos by Elisabeth Isles, who flew a red-eye flight from Devonshire England to be at the show.

Field Trip 2017 Preview: The Bands We Are Most Excited To See

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment


Summer usually means one thing: music festivals. This year is a bit different because a few notable festivals (Bestival, TURF, Riot Fest) decided to stop operating and so everyone started writing think pieces about the death of music.

Have no fear, Toronto’s favorite record label still runs strong and with new records by their most prominent acts coming out there was no way Field Trip would have been cancelled (we’ll see for 2018). Taking place once again at Fort York, Field Trip promises to be a fun weekend of good music, truck food and covfefe

So this year, two of us at the Panic Manual are covering the event. It only made sense for me and our exalted photographer Elisabeth Isles (from Devonshire, England) to collaborate on who we are most excited to see.

Broken Social Scene

Ricky says
A quintessential Toronto group by now, BSS is back after a long layoff with a new album. You know it’s very Toronto to see BSS in Toronto and frankly I’ve never seen them live except for a few fleeting minutes at SXSW. So for me it’s a Toronto bucket list thing. Yet for many it will be a cathartic experience as to journey through a BSS set list is to journey through memories in Toronto, one song at a time. I’m sure everyone is wondering how good new LP Hug of Thunder might be, but personally, I’m wondering if they will be filming to sequel to their movie from earlier this decade:


How excited would you be for that? Probably not, but one can only hope.

Elisabeth (from Devonshire, England) Says
With all due respect, the only way I ever really enjoy Kevin Drew is in small doses. Thankfully he is only 1/12 of Broken Social Scene.


Ricky says
Another Arts and Craft artist back after a long layoff, it’s almost like they need money or something. With new album Pleasures in tow, Feist is perfect for the early evening set as her gently sultry voice is the perfect vehicle to carry us into the night. I have personally not seen Feist since 2003 or 2004, back when what is now CB2 was still a concert venue. She’s put out a few records since then, I think some of them are okay.

You know what would make this awesome? If Jarvis Cocker showed up for their song Century as the last song of the set. And then the stage goes dark, and then suddenly, I feel goosebumps all over as a realize that Field Trip’s secret set is none other then PULP! An excited crowd gathers, as we look at the stage, something like this happens

Oh my god, how awesome would that be! Make it happen Kevin Drew.

Did I just write Field Trip fan fiction? yes.


Elisabeth (from Devonshire, England) says
I feel like Phoenix is destined to forever headline smaller festivals and I am okay with this because they play their shows like they’re the biggest band on earth


Ricky says
An underrated feature of Field Trip is how earth friendly it is. Half the bands are local and as such we don’t have a high carbon tax from having to fly bands in, except for Phoenix. Those French fuckers. A great local band is Badbadnotgood, who exist in a musical space that is exclusively theirs and as such have been able to collaborate with such high profile acts as Ghostface Killah. Their album last year built on their existing popularity and they always put on live shows so this set will be very good. Will Kaytranada show up? Tune in and find out.

Portugal The Man

Ricky says
It’s only fitting I see Portugal The Man, before I see Portugal the country (in July). The American band has quite a following and will be touring for a new record for the first time in four years. This seems to be a theme. Anyways, check out this org chart someone made on wiki, the conglomerate I work for doesn’t even have this much detail.

Cloud Nothings

Elisabeth (from Devonshire, England) says
They’re a cool band, or at least that’s what all my cool friends tell me.

Ricky says
As a Raptors fan, I like nothing from Cleveland


Elisabeth (from Devonshire, England) says
I am genuinely excited for LP. That voice is amazing. Listen to this live video of “Lost On You” and tell me I’m wrong


Ricky says

How can you not want to see a show with a dude dressed like that. Known more for his collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, Thundercat is playing out the show on solo and it looks like it’ll be a fantastic time. Also, if he were to show up in a random alleyway and tell me that I’m actually an alien prince and I need to return to my home planet to regain my throne from a group of squidlike aliens, I would probably believe him.

Elisabeth (from Devonshire, England) says
Take a shot every time you see someone do air sax


Elisabeth (from Devonshire, England) saysI saw them at NXNE and people really like them! That’s a fact!

Those are the acts we are excited to see! Who are you excited to see?

Concert Review: Rural Alberta Advantage, Nov 17, Phoenix

Posted on by stacey in Concerts | Leave a comment

There are many similarities between seeing a band and making love. The first time with someone new is always filled with anticipation, uncertainty and intrigue. If you’re lucky it turns out pretty great. But with a repeat performance, the parallels become even more poignant. Sometimes you are more disappointed than you were the first time. Often as one matures, there is slow improvement as skills progress; and rarely, like Thursday night with the Rural Alberta Advantage, it’s like seeing someone you’re completely in love with after being apart for a while. You know that what’s coming is going to leave you entirely fulfilled – and then somehow, it’s even better.

Speaking of first times, I did have a first time with one of the opening acts – a young gentleman named Darren Eedens. Taking on the expanse of the Phoenix solo with his guitar, banjo and borrowed mandolin, Darren managed to captivate the early-comers with his songs that debated what is important in life, and captured his feelings about a bunch of girls that were mean to him along the way.  With an endearingly awkward presence, and fun bluegrass folk style, the most remarkable thing was his amazing technical skill. In such a big space, the show could have benefitted from a backing band. I have no doubt that he would amaze in a small venue. Lucky for us, Darren has upcoming shows at Not My Dog, C’est What and the Painted Lady

“Characteristic of all great lovers, there are little things that they do that are ‘just right’. Things that you wait for with baited breath during repeat performances.”

Following this and wearing the biggest smiles ever, the RAA took to the stage for their last show of a busy touring 2011. They seemed just as excited to play the sold out house as the audience was to see them. By the time the time they hit Don’t Haunt this Place, I knew that the night’s tryst was going to be the best show I’d seen them play.  Characteristic of all great lovers, there are little things that they do that are ‘just right’. Things that you wait for with baited breath during repeat performances.  Amy Cole’s perfectly timed xylophone in Under the Knife and Ballad of the RAA, as well as her angelic vocals and base drumming that started in Rush Apart were captivating. Nils Edenloff’ strained, genuine, passionate lyrical performance hit that spot deep in your chest that makes you hold your breath. Paul Banwatt’s beaming smile while playing complex percussion was positively infectious.

Playing songs from both albums Departing and Hometowns, the audience was with the band for every step. At one point, Nils wistfully reminisced about writing and practicing these songs at a space they had rented just up the street – never imagining an audience like this would be singing all the words back to them.  In typical RAA fashion, they also did a few fun covers – this time with a Canadian twist: The Littlest Hobo, Canada Geese by Gord Downey, and my favourite of the night Lover Lover Lover by Leonard Cohen.

The highlight of the night was the encore. Not even able to wait for the slow clap to culminate, the band jumped back on stage, said “this is our last show of the year, so we’re just going to play as much as we can okay?” and threw it down. North Star and Sleep All Day got the audience swaying, and then Barnes’ Yard and Deathbridge in Lethbridge brought back the dancing and clapping fury that had been going on throughout.  Finally, leaving the stage and heading for a place atop the side bar, the acoustic Goodnight to a silent Phoenix audience was like a forehead kiss at the end of it all – the perfect goodnight.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Barnes’ Yard by Vicente EDPMC