Friday, August 21, 2009

Edmonton Folk Fest: Friday Shows

Friday ended up being a short day for me, as I missed some of the acts that played earlier in the evening. Two beers in, however, I found myself couched in front of the iconic Loudon Wainwright III. Yeah, Rufus, Lucy and Martha's Faja. 63 and still rocking hard. While he didn't play my favourites ("Rufus is a Tit Man", "I wish I Was a Lesbian"), his set was replete with his standard humorist-styled songs. He's one of those artists you didn't know you knew: to be expected, as his 21 albums have spanned nearly 40 years and countless movies and TV shows. Perhaps the humorist-folk answer to Nico Muhly. Wainwright had his audience chuckling and singing along for the whole set. It was interesting watching the looks of sudden recognition on people's faces as they made the connection between one of Loudon's songs and something they'd heard before. It was a short performance, but a wonderful warm-up for the rest of my evening. Photo Borrowed from CBC. My camera was dead this weekend.

After another hour in the beer gardens, I got myself situated at the main stage for perhaps the most exciting (and anticipated, for me) show of the entire weekend. Lovely, lovely Miss Neko Case. I think I expected a certain kind of exuberance from Case, as every release I'd ever heard from her had been passionate and full of energy. Don't take this the wrong way, Neko sings with passion in her live show. But she doesn't talk much. Her back-up singer did all the crowd-pleasing speaking stuff for her... Case just focused on blowing us away musically. It was a really interesting dynamic between the two, and, I suppose, not entirely surprising. In addition to Middle Cyclone jems, Neko regaled her crowd with samples from Blacklisted - mon favouri - and Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. The live renditions of "The Tigers Have Spoken" and "Deep Red Bells" were most certainly the highlights in an absolutely amazing set. My only complaint is that it was entirely too short. Count me in the line up next time she comes even remotely close to Edmonton (be it with The Sadies, The New Pornographers, or on her own. I will be there).

Friday was short, but intense. And the rest of the weekend would continue at the same pace.

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