Stereophonic shows its soft side

Local festival showcases folk music.

The eleventh Stereophonic was a tale of two festivals. As expected, there were the evening shows, filled with everything from punk to alt-country. But there was also a string of singer-songwriters who were featured in the earlier sets each day.

The first of these primarily folk shows was on Wednesday in the university chapel. Michael Duguay and Nick Ferrio played to basically empty pews and their music suffered for it. Folk music relies on an emotionally reactive atmosphere, as its formulaic nature does not try to excite through being progressive or blatantly exciting, but rather through establishing a sense of shared feeling and building off of that. Without this atmosphere, Duguay’s songs came off as thin in places, and his frequent double entendres fell short of hitting their intended marks. Ferrio’s set did not fare much better, ultimately coming up hollow despite emphasizing the strong traditionalism of his songs.

The second of these sets, fortunately, managed to draw a bigger portion of the Sackville community. Pat LePoidevin, fresh off his nation-spanning album release tour that brought him to Sackville in October, was no doubt a huge part of that draw. The central theme of his new album, American Fiction, is small towns and the obvious relevance to Sackville was clearly grasped by the audience. LePoidevin cleverly looped his own voice, which allowed the music to take on the triumphant tone of his album and songs that were actually about Sackville drove home this point, causing the emotional crowd’s attention to spill over into the next set as well.

Steve Lambke, of the Constantines, did a solo set under his moniker Baby Eagle. His lyrics were smooth and tightly knit, resulting in a clean performance, despite a misbehaving guitar. The show in the Vogue ended off on a sombre note with Jennah Barry providing a counterbalance to the triumphant tone of LePoidevin’s set that went over well. Employing the stage as a large kick drum, Barry brought a large sound that ended the night well despite a waning number of attendees.

The last of the distinctively folky shows got off to a great start despite not being folky whatsoever. The final product of the week long Radio Girls Rock Camp was a trio of rock groups that did just that: rock. The performance brought out parents and much of the Sackville community that gave the girls their much deserved applause for the effort they had spent learning the ins and outs of musicianship in the past week. It featured workshops on song writing, stage presence, and gear management run by CHMA, local artists, as well as Simone Schmidt, who was in town for a performance later that evening at George’s as Fiver.

The afternoon show at the Vogue ended off with the all-girl trio of Dark for Dark, who maintained the already jubilant atmosphere despite their slow pace in comparison to the girls who had preceded them. This discrepancy was rectified as they transitioned from a single acoustic guitar to two guitars and a bass and brought the folkier side of the four day festival to a climatic end.

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