Published Jun 09, 2014Day one of Toronto's Field Trip got off to a slow start, but the momentum that day built by substantial performances from Austra, the Kills and Shad all led up to the second and final day of the festival. Day two was undoubtedly more stacked, with heavy-hitting headliners such as Fucked Up and Chvrches alongside the day's one-two punch of reunited acts the Constantines and Broken Social Scene, the latter taking the stage for a second year in a row.
The day's earlier acts were more robust draws: up-and-comer Lowell and the Polaris Music Prize-nominated Zaki Ibrahim both performed festival-worthy sets given their typically club-sized experience. Instrumental jazz and rock were highlighted in an overlapping hour that found veterans Do Make Say Think and youngsters BADBADNOTGOOD taking the stage and capturing audiences in vastly different manners. Whereas Do Make Say Think's precise and layered execution was visceral and filled with emotion, BADBADNOTGOOD's set was a more boisterous dance party, highlighted by a dancing mascot who jumped into the audience to get the crowd moving.
Even though the day was anchored by more reputable acts, an outstanding newcomer came in the form of Hydra. The merger of AroarA, Snowblink and Feist have been pulling one-off gigs and hopping onstage with each other's bands for a year now, but their commitment to becoming a fully-formed band was the best decision yet for these three. Together, Hydra performed a mix of each other's songs, from AroarA's "#14" to Feist's Metals cut "The Bad in Each Other," all of which was bolstered by the absolutely on-point harmonies of Leslie Feist, Ariel Engel and Daniela Gesundheit. It remains to be seen whether or not Hydra will put out any original music, seeing as how all those acts are still very much active, but if their Field Trip performance was any indication, it might be in their favour to set some time aside and really come up with something original together as many people that day walked away claiming them as their new favourite band.
Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their acclaimed album Shine A Light, Constantines were arguably the most anticipated act of the day. This does bring up the strange question as to why the band didn't get a more prime timeslot, perhaps even headlining the first night, but the Guelph rockers embraced their mid-day slot. Bringing back the hits from Shine A Light, the Cons stomped their way through a stunning set of ground-shaking rock that reverberated from end to end of the festival grounds. It was ear-blisteringly loud at times, but between fans shouting the words to "Nighttime/Anytime (It's Alright)" and frontman Bry Webb's firecracker energy, it didn't matter. Consider this reunion a success.
Just like last year, Arts & Crafts staples Broken Social Scene came together to headline the evening. Instead of focusing their sights on one record, such as with last year's You Forgot It In People, the band brought a more diverse set list, drawing from their self-titled 2006 album as well as 2010's Forgiveness Rock Record. Sure, the set lacked the nostalgic touch of last year's performance, but Broken Social Scene is an act that can draw from almost anywhere in their decade-plus discography and still make it a unique performance thanks to singer Kevin Drew's inspirational banter and the band's grab-bag of guests, from alumni Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell of Stars to Andy Kim and Gord Downie. It's a family affair, and the audience, and Toronto in general, is part of it. We'd gladly welcome this as an annual gathering.
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