Thursday, August 4, 2011

ShoreFest: Wide Mouth Mason & Jeremy Fisher @ English Bay -- 08/03/11

It's that time of year again, time for the Symphony of Fire Celebration of Lights. Which also means it's time for Shore104 to put on their annual ShoreFest. This year they have three stages, one in Vanier Park, one on Kits Beach -- spotlighting the Song Search top 10 -- and the usual stage at English Bay, where the setup was a little different than the last couple years. Two years ago it was on the roof of the bathhouse facing the beach, and last year there was a stage set up on the beach, but this year it was on the bathhouse roof, facing toward the VIP area, so the people on the beach could hear the music, but not see the band. It was a bit of a strange setup, but luckily I was in the prestigious VIP area (where there were also appetizers from The Keg circulating) to catch the bands.

First up was Jeremy Fisher, who I had somehow never seen live on his own, just for the Malahat Revue. He took the stage with just his acoustic guitar (and an assortment of harmonicas) starting off with "Shine A Light" and "Cigarette", playing a good mix of old and new songs. The songs sounded great, and Fisher was also pretty funny, with great banter between songs; playing with the fact that the people on the beach below couldn't really see, like joking that Paul Simon had joined him when he slipped in a cover of "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard". There was another cover near the end of the set, when he mentioned that Prince wanted a ban on people covering his songs, so he had to do this while he still could, playing "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" -- and pausing mid-song to wonder about the lyrical content.

Shine A Little Light, Cigarette, Ain't Got Nothing but Plenty of Time, Scar That Never Heals (with Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard [Paul Simon cover]), Nothing To Lose, Left Behind, Singing On The Sidewalk, I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man [Prince cover], Come Fly Away, High School.

There was only a brief break before Wide Mouth Mason, with their new permanent bassist Gordie Johnson (who you may should know from Grady and Big Sugar). They kicked off the set with "Why", before concentrating on their new album, No Bad Days. I had heard a lot of the songs live at their show back in January, but it was great to hear them again, being more familiar with the album. The funk-infused "Shut Up and Kiss Me" and the bluesy "Sweet Little Thing" were both definite highlights, and it was cool to see how well Johnson meshed with the always awesome Shaun Verreault and Safwan Javed, like they had been playing together for years.
They paused mid-set for the stunt plane that was doing tricks in the bay, and finished off their set with a few more -- including Verreault's amazing guitar playing showcased on "More Of It" -- ending with an old favourite, "Change".

There's one mire night of the fireworks and ShoreFest to go, and on Saturday I plan on checking out the Kits Beach stage which will feature, among others, Steph Macpherson, The Sumner Brothers, and the unveiling of the winner for this year's Song Search.

Why, Listen Sister, Get A Hold Of You, Go Tell It To The Waterfall, Shut Up And Kiss Me, Sweet Little Thing, Only A Secret If You Keep It, 
Only The Young Die Good.
Midnight Rain, More Of It, Change.

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