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Photo recap: Sled Island Day 1

By Jason Herring and Jarrett Edmund, with photos by Jarrett Edmund, June 23 2016 —


Sled Island is a special time of year for Calgary. The downtown core buzzes with life as thousands venture out to experience the weird and wonderful live music the festival is famous for. It’s not uncommon to see bike racks filled to capacity, and everyone you see feels like either a friend or a friend-of-a-friend. We kicked off this year’s Sled at the Beltline’s Local 510, where bands played sets both inside and in the parking lot around back.




Sled veterans Diamond Minds returned to the festival with another setlist of lackadaisical twee pop. Spatterings of rain kept the audience back for the first few songs, but the clouds soon cleared and the crowd started to vibe with the Edmonton band’s sunny tunes. The band only went full rock and roll once, but it was a spectacular and shocking display where Diamond Minds left nothing on the stage. The band played as part of a set curated by Calgary indie label Wyatt Records.




While Diamond Minds jammed out around back, Victoria four-piece Jons started their set inside Local 510. The tiny venue made for an intimate show as the crowd huddled close to listen to the band’s hypnotic surf rock. The band’s two guitarists played off of each other brilliantly, playing melodies that looped in and around one another. Jons also garnered a few laughs when the group played improv jazz while waiting for a member to tune his guitars and adjust his pedals.




Marlaena Moore showed up to Central United Church looking like an angel in an all-white suit. Her stage presence was larger than life until she came down to earth with her quirky mid-set banter, offering advice on love and expressing worries about playing a song about masturbation in a church. The Edmonton singer-songwriter was a force on the stage, playing powerful tunes both with a full backing band and solo.




Angel Olsen was one of the day’s most hyped acts, evident by fans packing the aisles and balconies of Central United Church. Her excellent 2014 album Burn Your Fire for No Witness was a hazy collection of folk. But live, Olsen’s tracks gain a newfound clarity, with normally distorted songs ringing clear. This gave her music a feeling closer to country, and the audience was enthralled. Olsen’s songs teemed with sadness, defiance and poise, making her set a first-day Sled highlight.


Late Spring


Vancouver’s Late Spring were a force at Broken City. The garage rockers blasted through their latest record, May release Invisible. Late Spring plays a fast paced, run-your-ass-over style of surf punk. Wailing vocals crash headfirst into a wall of sound. The end result is a blissful concussion. But they aren’t simply a one-dimensional noise rock band. Dreamy pop songs cut the pace in half, providing a nuanced juxtaposition that emphasized the band’s versatility.


Chastity Belt


Seattle-based grunge rock band Chastity Belt played the latest show of Wednesday’s schedule, taking the stage just past 1:00 AM at Broken City. But the late night was worth it, as the band put on a spectacularly badass show in the intimate venue. Shifting away from their party rock identity, Chastity Belt played with intense precision, effortlessly conjuring melodic soundscapes laced with their signature “no-fucks-given” attitude. The headlining act of a set curated by Calgary Feminist arts festival Femme Wave, Chastity Belt set the bar for the rest of the week. If you missed them this time — or were already asleep — Chastity Belt will play again Thursday night at Tubby Dog at 11:30 PM.

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