Language Arts Main Stage, Field ON, July 15

Language Arts Main Stage, Field ON, July 15
Photo: Sarah Greene
Language Arts' Kristen Cudmore picked up on the dog-friendly atmosphere of River & Sky Fest right away, starting with a shout out to her dog (yes, her dog) Sprout of the stinky breath, who was in the crowd watching.
Canine-related fun aside, Language Arts' C86-y dream pop was smart and nuanced, supporting Cudmore's raspy little vocals; despite not being big, they still capture a kind of scrappy longing, alluring and expressive. Yes, that guitar tone is having a moment, but for this band it was fluttery and effective, and they used it judiciously.
Language Arts are a good band, fluid rockers with electro-pop moments, but definitely a vehicle for Cudmore's songwriting, which was the star here. Her lyrics capture small truths, like, "Gotta be yourself, but only show the good parts," and she seemed a natural at using humour to break the tension and draw the crowd in closer; joking around as a precursor to playing more vulnerable, introspective songs. The band ran out of time but seemed totally relaxed about it, skipping their second last song to play their "more ballsy" last one. Pros.