Michael Feuerstack Mainstage Tent, Sackville NB, August 3

Michael Feuerstack Mainstage Tent, Sackville NB, August 3
Photo: Stephen McGill
Two years ago, Michael Feuerstack played a Sappyfest set that was labeled "RIP Snailhouse," seemingly closing the casket on his better-known moniker in advance of his first record under his own name. And yet, two years later, his return to Sappyfest was filled with Snailhouse material like "Sentimental Gentlemen," "Apple," "Dollar Signs" and more.

And why not? Obviously one has to be careful, in this age of nostalgia, not to celebrate the old to the detriment of the new, but it's not like Feuerstack's more recent material like "Flowers in the City" or "Scorekeeper" suffered by comparison in his set. And when you have a back catalogue of such strong material, it'd almost be a crime not to play to it in some fashion.

Feuerstack's skill as a writer is in meeting expectations without losing too much surprise; the rhymes in his lyrics, for example, flirt with predictability but stay just clever enough to make you smile when the line hits. His songs, similarly, feel familiar in welcome ways. Backed by members of the Olympic Symphonium, his set was an engaging start to the evening's performances.

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