Super Friendz

Island Stage, Guelph ON, July 26

Super FriendzIsland Stage, Guelph ON, July 26
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
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At times, it appeared as if Halifax-bred four-piece the Super Friendz were about to fall apart at the seams. The early goings on of their set were marred with microphone feedback; DIANA's drummer, Kieran Adams, was taking place behind the kit after apparently just one day of practice the previous Thursday; and guitarist Matt Murphy had ingeniously employed an old canvas carrying bag as an impromptu guitar strap. Nevertheless, the veteran Canadian pop troupe trudged on, delivering a solid set of classic hits that solidified their spot as East Coast indie rock's elder statesmen.

With the band's three frontmen — Drew Yamada, Charles Austin and Murphy — taking place near the front of the stage, the group effortlessly ran through renditions of some of their best tracks, including Love Energy's "Girls and Their Boys," Mock Up, Scale Down's sad man's lament "When They Paid Me" and "Down in Flames."

Buoyed by the band's natural camaraderie, songs flowed into one another like no time had passed since their heyday in the mid-'90s, but it was clear that being assisted by Adams, whose precision playing and occasional singing behind the kit invigorated the group. (Yamada joked with the crowd about wishing they could go back in time and kidnap him when he was just a 14 year-old boy learning how to play the drums in Newfoundland, until he realized just how creepy that sounded.)

As their time on the Island Stage neared its end, the band busted out a blistering rendition of career standout "Karate Man," leading to more than one rock'n'roll Dad singing along to every word in the crowd, followed by consistent country-esque set ender "The Super Friendz Theme."

While not as well attended as sets from some of the day's newer acts, the Super Friendz showed once again why they're still relevant after 20 years together.

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