Friday, September 15, 2017

Recording: Best Fern

Artist: Best Fern

Songs: A Way + Lay It On Me

Recorded at Sherbourne Common (Camp Wavelength – Day 2), August 20, 2017.

Best Fern - A Way + Lay It On Me

Since 2009, the summer Wavelength festival has been a highlight of the season, slowing down the hectic "festival experience" to an Island pace and making the whole thing as much about the vibe and the location as the (always well-curated) music. When this spring's floods shut the Island down, there was a ripple of apprehension from many quarters at the loss of favourite summer hangs, culminating in the festival decamping to the mainland.

There's been a number of WL events that have taken place at spots that've been overtaken by the city's voracious development, so it was a pleasant change to be in a new space — one's that's still not fully integrated into the city and that is going to be around for a while. With a wall of almost-completed condos along the park's east side, Sherbourne Common isn't going to be hosting too many festivals in summers to come, so hopefully some of Camp Wavelength's energy will remain imprinted on the space. Meanwhile, with the water glistening in the background and a sense of isolation from the city proper, this did a really superb job of capturing the feel of a show on the Islands. (Plus there was the bonus of the awesome slapback echo bouncing back from the new buildings surrounding the park.)

This Montréal duo fit right in with the day's lazy summer laid-back vibe, with some ambient spacewalks that curled their way into songs. The lyrics veered a bit close to inspirational poster territory a couple times, but like, say, early New Buffalo, there was just such a sense of delicate empathy to it that it felt more like genuine sentiments plainly expressed than like the schmaltz it could have been. Like on their EP, the set began with this one-two combo before floating into some other byways, including a set-closing Majical Cloudz cover.

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