High Ends, the side project of Yukon Blonde's frontman Jeffrey Innes, took the opening spot and set the night in bloom with a hypnotic and polyrhythmic track that was equal parts heady and body moving. The band kept on an upwards progression throughout their set, culminating in a monstrous closing track. The screaming sonic journey seemed to never end, travelling through multiple thunderstorms of noise before culminating in weary triumph. Another highlight was Innes' switch from electric to acoustic guitar on the song "Intoxicated," which added another few degrees of warmth and colour to the already kaleidoscopic sound.
Despite High Ends' spirited and colourful psychedelic pop, the dance floor stayed disappointingly sparse. The looming spectre of fall proved too heavy and dark for High Ends' bright jungle rock to illicit anything more than a shuffle from the crowd.
The change from the upbeat psych-rock to the dark and sombre folk of the Wooden Sky was a fitting microcosm of the changing season, and better suited the audience of the evening. They wisely stayed away from their slower tracks, instead playing some of their most rock-influenced material. They were able to energize their older tracks too, such as their opener "Child of the Valley."
The Wooden Sky seems to perform on a knife's edge. Gavin Gardiner's richly textured voice lends itself equally well to noisy alternative rock as it does to atmospheric folk. They transitioned easily between the two, even within the same song, which made their first half dynamic and full of character.
From this point on, their music reached an unfortunate plateau. Most of the second half sounded monotonous and foggy, like a generic rock radio station with poor reception. There were few surprises or changes of pace in this section, which ended the night feeling repetitive. And even though the audience called for an encore, it already felt as if we had heard the same few songs again and again.