Ambassadors of Iqaluit, Nunavut, the Jerry Cans delivered a typically high-energy set that saw a growing Northern Lights main stage crowd up on their feet, dancing and tentatively trying to sing along in Inuktitut. For those unfamiliar with the band, their sound is a sometimes-baffling mashup of Celtic pub rock, reggae and throat singing. Nancy Mike's throat singing is my favourite part of the band, but kudos to lead singer Andrew Morrison for his commitment to not only learn, but also to enthusiastically share his adopted culture and language.
"People think we're kidding when we say come up and visit," he told the crowd. "But we're not: [drummer] Steve has a couch you can stay on. It'll only cost you $2,000 to get there." Another point the band was trying to drive home, in their song "Mamaqtuq," is the local importance of eating seal meat and the ability to hunt seal, considering food is sparse and incredibly expensive to get. The band have a serious side — songs like "Arnalukaq," about domestic abuse, is tear-inducing — but the band's main function Thursday night (July 6) was to get everyone appropriately revved up for headliner Buffy Sainte-Marie, and they nailed it.