Published Jun 15, 2014It was rainy and a little dreary in Saskatoon for the final night of MoSo Fest, but this suited the highest-profile act of the evening, Timber Timbre, just fine. The Toronto band captivated the sold-out crowd at the Broadway Theatre for around an hour, and leader Taylor Kirk demonstrated why he's earned comparisons to Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen with his deep voice and unnerving lyrics. "Grand Canyon" crept to a climax before giving way to the plinking rhythm of "Beat the Drum Slowly." These two eerie tracks off their latest record Hot Dreams set the tone for the rest of the performance.
Perhaps Kirk's most Nick Cave-esque moment came during the 2009 cut "Until The Night Is Over." He cracked, "I ain't no doctor, son / But I'll cool your fever till the doctor comes." Although no one knew exactly what this meant, most could be certain his intent was unhealthy.
Following a generous set, Timber Timbre returned for an encore of two more songs. The group's dark Americana sound and Kirk's singular vision were popular at MoSo Fest, but they still have years of sustained creativity to go before achieving the legend status they seem to be after.
Regina indie pop collective Library Voices turned the Cosmopolitan Senior Citizens Centre into a raucous celebration shortly after midnight. With seven musicians on stage, the group was a lot of fun to watch. They encouraged people to clap along, and many were all too eager to participate. Songs such as "If Raymond Carver Was Born in the '90s" and "Haunt This House" from their first two full-lengths are already classics in Saskatchewan, and fans in attendance knew every word.
Most were also receptive to material from their new For John EP — written in tribute to a radio DJ friend who passed away — even though "Some Mezcal Morning" was slower burning than their earlier work.
Over at Amigos Cantina, Halifax rapper Ghettosocks headlined a hip-hop showcase and took to the stage at around 1:30 a.m. "Out For Treats" off his 2009 album Treat of the Day was a highlight with its references to junk food galore.
Toronto's D-Sisive also delivered a respectable set, but the highlight of this show was local First Nations MC T-Rhyme*. The title track off her From Scratch mixtape featured an underground flow over classic boom-bap beats. And she displayed a sense of humour on another track when she rapped about how she's "shook like Mobb Deep" before admitting that she's "never been to NYC."
A reunited Despistado of Regina also brought the house down at Vangelis Tavern with their emo-inflected post-punk. These guys have only played sporadically in the past few years since signing to Jade Tree Records in 2002 and breaking up in 2004, so the excitement was palpable. One noteworthy act from the outset of the evening was Jerusalem In My Heart, the project of Lebanon-born and Montreal-based Radwan Ghazi Moumneh. He fused Arabic singing, acoustic instrumentation and electronics while film projectors screened images that complemented the discordance in his work.