Sled Diaries Vol 3. - Ella Coyes
Before we begin, let me admit something. This was not my most exciting Sled Island. I admittedly did some hermiting, but still had the post-Sled exhaustion. There is no way to escape it.
I got in on Thursday, late afternoon and did my best to settle myself into the lively energy of Calgary. I stopped in at the Palamino (downstairs) to catch Edmonton favourite Marlaena Moore. Featuring a new lineup with Ily Barnes on drums, Aladean Kheroufi on bass and Cass Hardy on guitar, the set was fun and fast. I stayed to catch a little Bud Frasier and the Electric Razors, fantastic as always, zany and just plain fun. That was it for Thursday, called it by midnight.
This was my busiest day and I had FUN. First up was Ghost Woman at Sloth Records. They are quickly becoming one of my favourite Alberta bands, and it was a treat as always. Based out of Lethbridge, I would be lying if it wasn’t a little strange to see them play in the light of day, but a little desert surf feels good in the sun. Then Peach Pyramid at McHugh House. Sparkly, washed out and psychedelic, I rolled in late, but the crowd was having a great time. I took a bit of a break, and then my evening continued with Bully at the Palace Theatre. This was one of my most anticipated shows of the festival. I struggled a bit with the sound of the room, but wow what I’ve heard about Bully live is true. Despite being born in the late nineties, it felt like a throwback to an era that I missed out on, but with period talk. Then to the Legion. One of my favourite venues. I caught a bit of Ancient Pig, then went upstairs for Lemongrab. I had been hearing about them throughout the weekend and came too close to sleeping on this show. Based out of Montreal, the energy (and songs) were raw and no fucks given. As they finished Kid Congo + the Pink Monkey Birds began. Donning a bright pink button down shirt and some kind of power that felt like magic, the room was alive. My big takeaway/hot tip: listen to Magic Machine and dance forever.
This was a big day for me. I was at Sled Island to play at The Palace Theatre opening for Tasha and this years curator Julien Baker. In turn, my day started late. I trekked to Central Memorial Park to see Squirrel Flower after chatting with her in the artist longue, and meeting through mutual friends. What a treat. The songs were tender, and well suited for a sunny afternoon. There’s a big blank spot here for a few hours where I got ready/had a sound check/freaked out/played, and then it was all over and I became a real human again that wasn’t nervous sweating. Tasha was selected by Julien Baker, and came from Chicago for the weekend. She performed with a comforting smile, and minimal guitar work with just enough reverb to fill the room. Then, of course, we have Julien Baker. Someone I want to say I’ve been looking forward to for years. She performed mostly solo, only a few songs with violinist Aisha Burns. There were a few bumps along the way, but this only fed into Julien Baker’s innately human performance. The room was packed to the rafters, and almost unsettlingly quiet. So, for some context, at this point I’m a human again. I talked about the nervous sweating, but for real I was a bit of a mess. I went to the Legion for my last show of Sled, and saw my standout of the weekend. Cate le Bon was mesmerizing. Throwing her hands in front of her face to combat the glaring lights, Cate le Bon and her band pulled through. The entire set was tight, and just what I needed to wrap up my Sled Island weekend.
1. Cate le Bon
3. Kid Congo + the Pink Monkey Birds
- Ella Coyes