Running from August 13th through to Saturday August 15th, Shed Island is a welcome addition to the local festival scene for filling a niche: Great Music by Modern Bands You’d Never See on the Bill at the Folk or George Street Festival.
And that’s precisely their goal: to showcase a new breed of NL music, while bringing in some come-from-away acts that existing music promoters are unlikely to book here in St. John’s.
If you don’t get out to see local music much, use this festival as a chance to see some of the best acts in town, like George Nervous 4, Maans, and Jonny & the Cowabungas.
“The Arrogant Need” by George Nervous 4
Those locals acts, and more, will play alongside a well-curated pile of solid and distinct Canadian bands, from the quieter side of things, like Montreal’s Beaver Sheppard, through to plain heavy acts like Halifax’s Weed Thief and Crosss.
In fact Crosss themselves embody a multitude of genres, which is why Festival Co-director Micah Brown was keen to book them. “[I like] how long the phrasing of some of their riffs are, and the hit by hit drumming style, really cool combination. They’re distinctly dark and weird in ways a lot of Halifax bands (Each Other, Quaker Parents, etc) have never quite been. It’s a nice mish mash of old heavy metal with some psych and indie stylings.” Crosss are signed to the same label as Teenanger, Lids, Ty Segall, and Soupcans (Telephone Explosion Records).
For a multi-day festival entering its second year, the lineup is impressive. If you haven’t heard of bands like Country, Crossed Wires, or Best Fiends then get Googling: you’re in for a treat. Go to Bandcamp right now and check out Best Fiends’ brand new self-titled album for a perfect summer album of garage rock with a punk rock heart on its sleeve. “Street Surfin’” is a hot enough summer jam to make you forget about our depressing lack of sun. And the most recent Crossed Wires EP is just as good – “Young Adult” being the standout.
“Street Surfin'” by Best Fiends
Country – and their latest album, Failure – are a great dark wave electronic band not to be missed. They were, for me, an amazing discovery as I dug into the lineup. I state that not to tell you about myself and what I did today, but to be clear about something: I often overhear people who see the lineup for a music festival like Shed Island and feel that – because they don’t know all the bands – they’re not interested in the music. That’s silly. There are thousands of Canadian bands, and you just cannot know them all. So you trust festival organizers to introduce you to new stuff. If only because there are pints involved, and the best way to hear new music is live.
Other visiting bands not yet mentioned will include bands like gothish post-punk Haligonians Unreal Thought, psych-pop experimentalist Kurt Inder, hardcore punk band Never Human, and Toronto’s beloved lively shoegazers, Kestrels. For more details, see shedisland.com
“Africa, What Are You Doing with Bottled Water?” by Country