A "relatively successful" event - SM's words, not mine (it was much more than that)

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Jun 21 2010, 3h24

Sat 19 Jun – Toronto Island Concert

Slanted & Enchanted was released 6 months before I was born. If you had asked me a year ago if I thought I would ever get the chance to see Pavement play (never mind Pavement, preceded by Beach House, Band of Horses, BSS, etc.), I would have probably started laughing. This was my first really big concert and a night I will take great pains not to forget. Breaking it down set by set:

Toronto Revue - I was still in line at this point, so there's not much to say. They sounded pretty good as I slowly advanced towards the entrance and contemplated the afternoon/night of music ahead.

Timber Timbre - I only started getting into this band a little while ago, so not all of the songs were recognizable to me, but I enjoyed the set quite a bit as a mid-paced warm-up for later acts. The spooky folk might not have matched the bright, sunny day, but the songs were very pretty and haunting.

Beach House - Teen Dream is one of my favourite records of 2010 so far, but I was not prepared for the sheer power of Victoria Legrand's voice. She made every song sound incredibly massive and anthemic. My personal highlights were Walk in the Park, Norway and 10 Mile Stereo (some of my faves from the album, not so coincidentally). Victoria was headbanging like a champ on the keys and the guys provided sturdy instrumentation and solid backing harmonies on some numbers. If I could change one thing, I would give Alex a pair of pants that weren't so tight; otherwise, a wonderful set by a band that's sure to really break out.

Band of Horses - I wasn't sure how this set would be, as I haven't really gotten into their latest record, but they played an enthralling mix of old standards and newer songs. Ben Bridwell and his band are really charismatic and a joy to watch. They look like they would be a lot of fun to have a beer with. Personal standouts were Islands on the Coast, Is There a Ghost, Compliments, and The Funeral (of course). Two other notes: the crowd was becoming noticeably bigger at this point (really cramped up at the front), and it seemed like this was the start of every band getting much louder.

Broken Social Scene - A set for the ages. I think that many Canadian music fans would list BSS as one of their favourites and I am certainly a member of that group. Their Toronto shows have become things of legend for their entertainment value, massive sound, and guest appearances from some of the collective's most famous members. This year did not disappoint in all noted categories. Feist, Emily and Jimmy from Metric, Sebastian Granger, John McEntire, and almost every other collective member save our friends from Stars (currently on tour) was present. This led to showstopping big group numbers and vocal turns that would make any BSS fan jump for you. My personal highlights were 7/4 Shoreline (with Feist), Sentimental X's (Feist + Emily), Almost Crimes (pretty much everyone) and Ibi Dreams of Pavement (appropriate closer). In reality, every single song was given maximum effort and was appreciated in turn by the huge crowd. These people are near heroes to the city of Toronto and their contributions to the music scene are near and dear to Canadians everywhere. I feel honoured to have seen this performance. Other notes: the sun coming out for Lover's Spit was perfection and felt almost like fate, especially when rain was predicted and never came. Also, the crowd of seagulls descending upon the island was a little gross, but I suppose it was inevitable. Finally, this was probably the set with the most green stuff going around. It was all I could smell for the entirely of the 90+ minute set.

Pavement - It still hasn't hit me that I saw the one of the seminal rock bands of the last 25 years perform live. It was a parade of hits for Pavement, and the crowd knew every word and shouted along with glee. The middle-aged woman in front me was dancing and singing in a particularly infectious manner. Almost all of my favourites got played, and the set was heavy on S&E and CR, CR material. Only one song from Terror Twilight made the cut (which makes sense, given the band turmoil at that time). SM was his usual sardonic self, Spiral Stairs was endearing and seemed like an everyman, and Bob yelled all over the stage for the whole set and played an admirable cowbell. Highlights were Grounded, Stop Breathin' (part of the encore after a prolonged cheering period, very awesome), and Gold Soundz (so great). Other notes: SM can shred his guitar really hard, I would have loved to hear Type Slowly, and my favourite moment was Kevin Drew and Ben Bridwell coming on to sing backup on Kennel District. They looked like overjoyed little kids on their first trip to Wonderland. It was fantastic.

I wrote a shitload up there and it probably sounds like nonsense but I'm still trying to piece it all together. My ears are still ringing, my tan is uneven, and I'm a big ball of grease, but nothing can quantify how much it was worth it. Toronto Island 2010 will live on forever for me.

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