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Photo by Daman Singh

Local music shone through on day two of Sled Island 

By Sheroog Kubur, June 23 2023

Sled Island’s Thursday lineup seemed to be specially curated for all the local music fans of the city. It included local acts as openers for a majority of the open venues of the evening, including newcomers Family Dinner and Oranje playing their sets a couple of streets apart but putting both their crowds into a trance. 

Family Dinner’s music is a bizarre kind of dreamy — the kind of dream that you never want to wake up from. They were the first act playing at Loophole Coffee Bar, a venue that felt more like the inside of a shipping container hidden behind the trendy wooden floors and cursive menu options. Walking through the unassuming coffee shop to get to the hidden performance space was peculiar, but the unconventional nature made the performance more intimate and raw. 

Photo of Family Dinner by Daman Singh

As folks piled into the hidden room, the band started by playing a hazy instrumental that instantly put the room into a trance. Every face was fixated on the group, eyes expectantly watching the frontman to start the set. After a couple moments of the instrumental, he came in swinging — his desperate voice flooded the room during their first song, “Stare at the River and Vibe.” It was electrifying to watch the room go from a synchronized sway into a rhythmic pounding. This vigour translated into each track, with the band switching it up from the studio versions of songs to create a refreshing set. 

Photo of Family Dinner by Daman Singh
Photo of Family Dinner by Daman Singh

The highlights were the moments that made the band feel more alive — like the microphone cutting out so the frontman resorted to screaming the lyrics at the audience or the band exchanging grins among themselves when the drummer decided to kick into double time unannounced. Family Dinner was post-punk in its purest form, mixing the authenticity of punk rockers with polished instrumentation. 

Photo of Family Dinner by Daman Singh

To contrast against the mellow intensity of Family Dinner, a couple of streets over Oranje were gearing up to take over the Ship & Anchor. This performance drew a crowd looking to start a fight, with the room quickly starting a mosh pit and shoving each other before the beat could drop for the first song. The band introduced themselves as a rock band with spoken word elements, which was a shock considering the initial ferocity of their sound.

Photo of Oranje (@oranjeband) by Daman Singh
Photo of Oranje by Daman Singh

The spoken word came about later in the set, with the crew inviting on a hidden member Sophia to give her performance over an almost jazzy snare and guitar combination. It was a refreshing break from the pure instrumentals that the band had been playing up until that point but was more a reminder of the versatility of their sound than anything else. 

Photo of Oranje by Daman Singh

Thursday for Sled Island was a day for local bands to showcase their skills. For fans of the local music scene or those looking to get into it, it was the perfect introduction to what Calgary musicians do best — rock the stage. 

For more information on upcoming Sled Island performances, visit their website.

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