Photograph by Jan Kucic-Riker

The Toronto Island Concert had many things working against it. Torontonians were busy constructing fake lakes for the G20 summit, thunderstorms were expected to figuratively and literally rain on our parade, and finally the past two years saw our beloved island at the mercy of public services and scheduling conflicts. But not this year, the show was scheduled, bands announced, and we at Ca Va Cool began planning pancake/beer brunches in anticipation of festival day. We faced hordes of security, eager fans, and sound checks on Queen Street as we thought to ourselves that the crowds must have started heading down to the water early – we soon found that the clamour was instead centered on Miley Cyrus’s recital for the upcoming MMVA’s. So we did what any self-deprecating music-lover would – bought crêpes and stood next to the mass of shrieking tweens to take in the glory that was Ms. Cyrus. Arriving at the waterfront we armed ourselves with SPF 60 sunblock, wristbands, and contempt for those that managed to snag a better spot on the ferry than ourselves.

There we stood in a sea of Converse, Keds, and Wayfarers, each person cooler than the next; we were on our way to hipster heaven. Upon reaching the gates we were greeted by security barking the seemingly endless list of items not permitted – coincidentally they were not wearing Converse, Keds, or Wayfarers and thus labeled pejoratively as “the man”. Determined not to be denied, we downed the contents of our unsealed water bottles, smuggled in chocolate chip granola bars, and argued for blankets as a staple of outdoor festivals rather than fire hazards. We had arrived with good karma; the sun shone brightly, concession stands challenged vast rows of Porta Potties, toddlers sported over-sized ear protection, and concert-goers shared in the joy of brilliant music. We can’t thank Collective Concerts enough for making this event possible, our lovely friends both old and new for stationary head-bobbing along with us, and all the music fans in Toronto for sharing in the sights and sounds of the Toronto Island Concert 2010. – Jan Kucic-Riker

Beach House Photographs by Jan Kucic-Riker

Beach House

Contrary to popular belief, Beach House’s set did not start with Victoria Legrand’s dreamy vocals or Alex Scally’s expansive guitar riffs. Their set started deep in the heart of the audience with mutual mumbles that spread to the very corners of Olympic Island. I overheard the message spreading through the crowd as one person asked, “What band is up next?” Her friend replied, “Beach House”. The two shared a moment of silence that sought no response from either party until one girl rummaged through her bag. Her friend instantly understood and responded, “We’re definitely smoking to this.” For legal reasons, I assume the pair suffered from glaucoma – along with much of the island – and their actions strictly medicinal.

Beach House played a stunning set that bounced off the stage and enveloped the island with floating sounds. Though skeptical of the bands festival sound, Beach House translated magnificently on a stage that made the entirety of Broken Social Scene look small. The one-two punch of ‘Walk in the Park’ and ‘Lover of Mine’ had couples making out and yours truly swooning. I remember feeling content just sitting by the water and listening to the pair play in the distance, there was no need to wrestle for a spot up front or even face the stage for that matter.

Between songs Victoria asked the crowd how they were enjoying the heat and at the conclusion of ‘Norway’ told the audience – lovers and glaucoma sufferers alike – that they looked sexy all sweaty. Alex opted to smile modestly as he plucked away on the guitar placing the music in the hands of listeners rather than on a coveted pedestal. The setlist continued blissfully drawing material principally from Teen Dream with hints of Devotion and ‘Master of None’ from the bands eponymous debut. Beach House closed with ‘Take Care’ at which point the majority of Torontonians were cast adrift, already long lost in Victoria’s crooning and Alex’s delicate notes. – Jan Kucic-Riker

Setlist
Walk in the Park
Lover of Mine
10 Mile Stereo
Better Times
Norway
Master of None
Astronaut
Zebra
Real Love
Take Care

Band of Horses Photographs by Levin Samuel

Band of Horses

Following a late lunch of overpriced pizza soundtracked by the distant buzz of Beach House, Band of Horses was actually the first act of the day for several of us. After grabbing some precious merch, we made our way towards the stage as Ben Bridwell and company opened with the appropriate ‘Islands on the Coast’. Even though Infinite Arms was released a few short weeks ago, the setlist seemed to draw heavily from their second album, Cease to Begin. Still, the heavily-bearded band braved the hot temperatures to deliver an enjoyable performance. Avid readers of the blogosphere may recall an incident involving Bridwell lashing out at concert-goers for remaining unresponsive until their signature song ‘The Funeral’, which of course served as an epic closer, but he seemed rather gracious and happy to be there, particularly when yielding the microphone to keyboardist Ryan Monroe for set highlight ‘Older’. It’s doubtful Band of Horses was the sole reason anyone made the trek out to Toronto Island, but they were an added bonus that made the day that much better. – Kevin Kania

Setlist
Islands on the Coast
The Great Salt Lake
Is There a Ghost
Factory
Weed Party
Compliments
Laredo
The General Specific
For Annabelle
No One’s Gonna Love You
Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
Older
Ode to LRC
The Funeral

Broken Social Scene Photographs by Jan Kucic-Riker

Broken Social Scene

This was my second time seeing Broken Social Scene, the first since 2005’s Toronto Island Concert with Modest Mouse, and it was interesting to see how little had changed. New songs from Forgiveness Rock Record and some line-up changes didn’t alter the bombastic and joyful, if slightly predictable, set from the band. The special guest appearances, extended horn section, and awkward political statements from Kevin Drew were as I remembered them, and I can’t imagine seeing Broken Social Scene anywhere else.

The setlist was drawn primarily from Forgiveness Rock Record with some old favourites strewn in. Opening with the slow build of ‘World Sick’ was a given, following which a strangely beardless Brendan Canning seamlessly moved into ‘Stars and Sons’, accompanied by the audience’s handclaps. The first guest appearance of the day was none other than Spiral Stairs, joining in on ‘Texico Bitches’. The guest parade continued throughout the set. Feist emerged from backstage to lend vocals to ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’, leading me to wonder what she’s been doing since The Reminder came out. Sebastien Grainger frequently came out to offer handclaps, backing vocals, and pure, unfiltered charisma. That man is almost too entertaining. Emily Haines made her appearance on ‘Sentimental Xs’, which ended with Haines, Feist and Lisa Lobsinger repeatedly cooing “I love you.” Speaking of Lobsinger, though the current de facto female member of Broken Social Scene, her thunder was somewhat stolen by the presence of Haines and Feist. Thankfully, she had a moment to shine on the wonderful ‘All to All’. She also provided some entertainment just by being on stage, frequently appearing as if from nowhere, with any number of instruments. I think she had a melodica at one point.

The rocking continued, though to the palpable rage of the audience, Kevin Drew swiped Feist’s signature line of “We’ve got love and hate it’s the only way” during ‘Almost Crimes’. John McEntire, producer of Forgiveness Rock Record, and member of Tortoise and The Sea and Cake, proved to be the final surprise guest of the night, contributing drums to ‘Ungrateful Little Father’. After an epic performance of ‘Meet Me in the Basement’, which is probably the band’s best instrumental track, they closed with ‘Ibi Dreams of Pavement’, as they would have been “idiots if they didn’t,” per Kevin Drew’s father. Once again, Broken Social Scene curated a line-up of fantastic bands, and was ready to watch one of their favourites perform. At this point, I’m told many audience members left, to which I say, you missed the best part of the night. Also, you suck. – Kevin Kania

Setlist
World Sick
Stars and Sons
Texico Bitches
7/4 (Shoreline)
Fire Eye’d Boy
Forced to Love
Art House Director
Cause = Time
All to All
Sentimental Xs
Almost Crimes
Water in Hell
Sweetest Kill
Ungrateful Little Father
Lover’s Spit
Meet Me in the Basement
Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)

Pavement Photographs by Jan Kucic-Riker

Pavement

Like many people, I never thought I would see Pavement live, yet there they were: Stephen Malkmus, Spiral Stairs, Mark Ibold, Steve West, and Bob Nastanovich, presumably some excitable man they let into the band to play the tambourine. I kid, I kid, the man gets an ‘A’ for energy and wearing what looked to be a skeletal Yoshi on his T-shirt. I’ve been collecting the re-issues of Pavement’s albums, and they contain an obscene amount of material, so much so that I worried I was diluting my Pavement experience by doing so. Thankfully, Pavement live is concentrated awesome. The songs were incredibly powerful, and standing a few rows back from centre stage, I knew this was a show for the ages.

Wasting no time, the band opened with what may be their biggest hit, ‘Cut Your Hair’, which Malkmus played while holding an inflatable beach ball, clutching it as if he was a crotchety old neighbour refusing to give it back to the neighbourhood kids. His sardonic banter, recalling Lee’s Palace as a place with a lot of graffiti on it and forgetting whether he was actually in Ontario, proved greatly amusing. The band drew from their entire catalogue, minus Terror Twilight, which was represented solely by ‘Spit on a Stranger’. I was expecting some more collaborations with earlier bands, but the most we got was Ben Bridwell and Kevin Drew giving guest vocals on ‘Kennel District’, consequently one of the highlights of the show. I have never seen a man on stage as happy as Ben Bridwell was during that song. Sadly, Geddy Lee coming out for a meta-moment on ‘Stereo’ wasn’t meant to be. The band tore through the rest of their set, with notable highlights being ‘Shady Lane’, ‘Range Life’, and ‘Summer Babe’. Following a three-song encore capped off with Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’s ‘Stop Breathin’, we lucky concert-goers were sent on our way pleased and knowing regardless of the ridiculous line-ups for food and ferries, as well as the ongoing threat of heatstroke, we’ll be back next year in a heartbeat. – Kevin Kania

Setlist
Cut Your Hair
Trigger Cut
Rattled by the Rush
Father to a Sister of Thought
In the Mouth a Desert
Kennel District
Grounded
Silence Kit
Elevate Me Later
Spit on a Stranger
Unfair
Shady Lane
Fight This Generation
Perfume-V
Starlings of the Slipstream
Conduit for Sale!
Here
Stereo
Two States
Gold Soundz
Range Life
And Then (The Hexx)
Summer Babe (Winter Version)

Encore
Date w/ IKEA
Debris Slide
Stop Breathin’

Photograph by Jan Kucic-Riker

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— , June 28, 2010    3 Comments
Comments:

first!!

— Alfred, June 29, 2010

Second!!

— Garp, June 29, 2010

awesome review. great pics!

— john, July 1, 2010