Mounties Roots Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 6

Mounties Roots Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 6
Photo: Stephen McGill
Canadian indie rock supergroup Mounties had a tough slot on the opening afternoon of Riot Fest, but managed to make the most of it. Starting off a day of music that would see a bizarre mish-mash of pop-punk, screamo and whatever it is the Flaming Lips do, Mounties delivered their synth-y pop-rock sound to a surprisingly dense crowd, despite the early start time and ominously grey skies.

Looking neat in polka dots, Hot Hot Heat frontman Steve Bays led the band with his high-energy vocals and showy keyboard moves, though he couldn't have asked for more solid back-up. Hawksley Workman pitched in on vocals and kept the beat on his Morrissey-decaled drumkit, while Limblifter's Ryan Dahle and the Gay Nineties' Parker Bossley provided the guitar work. Along with opener "Pretty Respectable," singles "Tokyo Summer" and "Headphones" stood out in the set of tunes from this year's Thrash Rock Legacy.

Bays — in spite of the all-nighter he was in the midst of pulling — made an effort to engage the growing audience with banter about the Flaming Lips and the planes flying overhead, though the short set time kept anecdotes to a minimum. Nevertheless, Mounties managed to rile up the groggy onlookers and set the bar high for the long day of music ahead.

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