Hydra Island Stage, Guelph ON, July 25

Hydra Island Stage, Guelph ON, July 25
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
Hydra's Friday night set saw the return of many Hillside veterans to the stage, cramming a lot of talent onto a tiny platform. Bringing together some of the finest members of the Arts & Crafts family, Hydra began as a live vehicle for Feist's Metals, but has transformed into a Canadian indie rock supergroup. Leslie Feist stood front and centre on vocals and acoustic guitar, joined by AroarA's Ariel Engle and Snowblink's Daniela Gesundheit. Andrew Whiteman, Charles Spearin and Exclaim!'s first coverboy Don Kerr filled out the stage, making for an exciting mix of musicians that are no strangers to collaboration.

Everyone in Hydra played off each other's energy and musical strengths, delivering new and improved versions of Feist favourites like "Undiscovered First" with Engle and Gesunheit on synchronized tambourines and an a cappella ending, as well as a rousing "How Come You Never Go There," which garnered the most applause of the evening. A gorgeous minimalist cover of Antony and the Johnsons' "Another World" saw the ladies ditch their guitars, and was certainly a poignant, if restrained, highlight of the set.

It was the encore, however, that delivered the night's most memorable cover. Coming back on stage to raucous cheers, Feist took a spot atop Kerr's drumkit as the band launched into a wild rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." Whiteman took over on vocals, with Engle and Gesundheit nailing the song's trademark "Ah-ah-ahhh"s. It was an exuberant ending to a set from a band that perfectly embodies the collaborative and experimental spirit that Hillside champions.

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