S.C.E.N.E. St. Catharines ON July 22

S.C.E.N.E. Fest is a difficult thing to boil down. The abundance of bands is a little overwhelming and — like Disneyland — you can’t see it all in one day. It’s a completely subjective experience but you would be hard pressed to not have a good time if you planned your day right. St. Catharines — the type of small town where everything closes on Sundays and the vegetarian option includes fish — is overrun by kids in studded belts and dyed-black hair for one day a year, all hoping to cram as much music in as humanly possible. The festival sported over 140 bands on 16 stages in 13 different venues around the city this year, all conveniently within walking distance of each other. Among the bigger names this time around were Moneen, Bedouin Soundclash, the Constantines and illScarlett, but the event also featured many lesser-known and up-and-coming bands. It’s difficult to point to any single stand-out performance, because no matter who you see you’re undoubtedly missing another great band four blocks away. I Hate Sally and Fucked Up played back-to-back at the Mansion House’s outside stage to a large, rowdy crowd — but you missed Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start playing across town; if you caught the Constantines at the Market Square you were missing Hostage Life at the Whisper Lounge; and while walking to the Great Canadian to check out the Carps because the line up to Attack In Black stretched into the street, you could hear the reggae sounds of Bedouin Soundclash echoing around the city. No matter where you were or who you were seeing there was always another band worth checking out somewhere else. S.C.E.N.E.’s ultimate accomplishment is that it managed to bring together incredibly disparate elements and make them work together, and as a result it seemed to foster an environment that — for at least one day — created an actual sense of community.