Basia Bulat Main Stage, Field ON, July 17
Published Jul 18, 2016River & Sky closed off with a folky end to the party: an afternoon set from Polaris Prize-shortlisted, Montreal-based singer-songwriter Basia Bulat who, incredibly, was playing the Sudbury/North Bay area for the first time.
Bulat was touring with a streamlined version of her Good Advice band, just four people including herself and guitarist/keyboardist Andrew Woods (who sang some nice backup vocals on "Good Advice"), which made for a more compact spin on her fourth album's big Motown/throwback tunes. Actually, taking it down a notch seemed to work for Bulat's voice, which sounded even sweeter and clearer in the less cluttered context.
The arrangement also helped integrate the newer songs with Bulat's back catalogue (she played "In the Night" off her debut, "Heart of My Own" and songs from Tall Tall Shadow), and Bulat treated the crowd to a mid-set solo set and egged them on to try a very gentle, adorable "mosh pit," which they did — especially funny given River & Sky's punk leanings.
Before she went for a sauna and a swim in the river, Bulat got fans dancing to "Tall Tall Shadow" and "Infamous." These are tunes about loss and heartache, but Bulat was in a typically chipper mood.
"I'm in a happy time," she said. "It's nice when you can remember, 'Hey, that's over now.'"