LIVE at Squamish: ReviewPosted by Kelsey Klassen
There haven’t been any weekends in recent memory more picture perfect than the second edition of LIVE at Squamish. Blue skies and snowcapped mountains greeted the roughly 10,000 fans each day as they streamed into the Squamish Logger Sports Grounds. With temperatures soaring in to the twenties, music fans from around the province got to enjoy an amazing line-up of local and international artists and their long-awaited summer.
Saturday kicked off with a high octane set from contest winners The Proper Villains. Australian multi-instrumentalist Kim Churchill professed his love of Vancouver’s pho after his jaw dropping solo set, while Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric awed in the background with just a guitar, a piano and a taste of things to come.
Other highlights from the Garibaldi Stage included a fun mix of originals and covers from local lad and Peak Performance winner Kyprios, who had a touching moment of tribute to fallen Canuck, Rick Rypien, followed by the slick Polaris-nominated hiphop of Shad. Judging by the comments from the fans in the front row, and the vibe around the stage as the sun went down, Shad is Canada’s quencher to our hiphop thirst.
Meanwhile, across the grounds, Hey Ocean filled the big Stawamus stage with bubbles and shark balloons, and showed why they are steadily rising in the Canadian music milieu. Later the same stage was treated with all the talent of the John Butler Trio. Butler carved out a swath of the set with just riffs and slaps on his twelve-string, and then told the crowd they were beautiful as his bandmates rejoined him on stage.
As the evening got moderately cooler, virtually everybody in attendance at the very family friendly festival packed in around the Girl Talk stage to have a giant dance party. A few dozen lucky Girl Talkers were invited up on stage, and the rest just jumped in to dance amidst toilet paper and confetti while arguably the world’s best mashup DJ reminded us of every song we have ever liked, ever.
Sunday had surprises in store, with the mysteriously masked Panda Watch revealing themselves to be local darlings Said the Whale, complete with all new material and a closer that had the audience clapping and singing, “We are lucky and we know it.” Vancouver prog-rock has gained a new face in Dan Moxon, the endearing tie-dyed teddybear fronting Bend Sinister, who offered the crowd an inflatable shark he found outside a Jaws screening earlier this summer.
The Zolas brought their family on stage to sing along with their last song. Shane Koyczan brought the crowd to a reverent hush with his slam-poetry set about bullying and depression. The Dudes showed some healthy beverage-consuming competition and Black Mountain’s ominous Zeppelin-Sabbath hybrid, Tyrants, brought the sun down.
Metric claimed the stage with a hair-shaking, fist-pumping run through their extensive catalogue of hits such as Help I’m Alive and Monster Hospital, and frontwoman Emily Haines took the time to remind everyone they’re listeners too and that she was so happy to perform at the same festival as Stars because, “We’ve like, known them forever.”
Weezer’s winged “W” watched as they said it ain’t so and got up-close and personal with fans while a host of DJ’s, including duo Major Lazer, kept the party going late into the night.
The relatively simple two-stage set up allowed steady flow through of fans from one act to another, and delays were minor. The festival had some awkward moments however, when acts The Belle Game and Black Mountain were advised during their closing minutes that they had to wrap.
Adding to the world-class music and scenery were a variety of interactive stations. It was really beautiful to see entire families enjoying the sights – from the silent disco, to the secret Green Couch Sessions and an artisan village.
Organizers brand.LIVE estimated that attendance was roughly 19,000 over the two day festival and LIVE at Squamish is expected to have generated close to $1 million in related business for the district of Squamish, in addition to the inestimable impact the support of a successful festival has on the local music community. For the second year running, LIVE at Squamish delivered a top-shelf experience destined to grow bigger and bolder with age.
For all the photos from LIVE at Squamish, check out the Tracks facebook. See if you can tag your friends!