Wavelength 2014: Sunday

By Emily Scherzinger, Feature Photo by Matt Lacrette

After an intense three days of music, Wavelength 14 was charged with putting on a last show that would make the audience remember the music forum’s name as if they were out of Breaking Bad. The line-up looked promising, featuring COUSINS as the headliner, supplemented by rising star Lido Pimienta, Edmonton dance-rock band The Wet Secrets, and more.

Elaquent at Wavelength 14, photo by Emily Scherzinger.

Elaquent, photo by Emily Scherzinger.

Elaquent started the show with some instrumental hip-hop that – significantly, for the first act of the night – got the crowd bopping their heads in time to the solid drum tracks. Perhaps more significantly, Elaquent did not say a word to the audience while he was on stage. He looked around at the audience infrequently and only for a few moments, but other than those brief glances, Elaquent gave no indication of connection. However, based on the way he was clearly caught up in the flow of his set, I don’t blame him – and the audience was caught up along with him, so who can truly complain?

Next, Lido Pimienta took the stage, opening with what some would deem a controversial rendition of “Oh Canada” (featuring changed lyrics such as, “Our home on native land”), as well as an electronic table covered in an upside down Canadian flag and a clarinet player satirically decked out in a Canadian maple leaf poncho. After Pimienta finished up her version of the national anthem, she immediately began gyrating and jumping around on stage, with her hair over her face like the girl from The Ring. She indiscernibly chanted while her crew beatboxed and played some Afro-Colombian rhythms.

Lido Pimienta at Wavelength 14, photo by Emily Scherzinger.

Lido Pimienta, photo by Emily Scherzinger.

Pimienta’s set not only displayed impressive athletic abilities as she ran around on stage, but also intense political statements about nationalism, Indigenous rights, and feminism (her songs were dispersed among pro-feminist statements such as, “If you want my love, you better deserve it”). It’s hard to pin down Pimienta’s music – featuring a mixture of Afro-Colombian influences as well as Bjork-esque electronic – but it’s even harder to pin down my feelings on her performance. I was impressed, in awe, intrigued, and found myself discussing her set with others throughout the rest of the night, which is exactly what Pimienta wants – to make a statement that gets people thinking.

Kim Rackel and Emma Frazier of The Wet Secrets, photo by Matt Lacrette.

Kim Rackel and Emma Frazier of The Wet Secrets, photo by Matt Lacrette.

The Wet Secrets took the stage next, launching into a classic indie rock song “about the magical powers of rock n’roll.” The band, decked out in full marching band attire, featured the two female horn-players dancing in tandem, akin to old school rockabilly back-up singers. This was an interesting juxtaposition to Pimienta’s thought-provokingly feminist set, as the dancers’ marching band uniforms featured deep necklines and short skirts, and caused some audience members to scream and whistle whenever they bent over to pick up their instruments. That being said, The Wet Secrets played a tight set, with great vocals and impressive percussion (it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a band use congas), leading up to an all-around amazing performance that forced me to walk away with one of their $10 LPs.

Greys, a self-described “loud rock band,” already had a mosh pit formed within the first few bars of the opening song that had the security guard nervously scanning from the stage. They truly lived up to their description – Greys performed a loud set that could have easily sounded messy and confused, but the band didn’t let that happen. They included tight stops and starts throughout their short songs that were anything but sweet, giving their version of loud rock a harder bite than usual.

Leigh Dotey of COUSINS, photo by Matt Lacrette.

Leigh Dotey of COUSINS, photo by Matt Lacrette.

Finally, COUSINS took the stage, amidst intense cheering from the crowd. As they launched into their first song, it was obvious that COUSINS are a simple band, featuring only guitar, vocals, and drums, and playing music classified as stripped-down hard indie rock. While it can be argued that some bands don’t pull off this simplicity, this is a welcomed feature of COUSINS’ music. They’re a much-needed change to bands with fancy gimmicks and – while this may work for some bands, like The Wet Secrets and their marching band outfits – those gimmicks often end up falling short. COUSINS provided fun music that the audience could easily dance to, as well as stage dive, tying up a great night.

Wavelength clearly has the potentially dangerous “something for everyone” mentality, which can easily fall through, as seen at the shows on Thursday and Saturday. However, Sunday’s eclectic mix of electro-hip-hop, indescribable Afro-Colombian electronic, traditional indie rock, and loud rock was full of tight sets, great performances, and skilled musicians. Wavelength 14 ended on a great note with an impressive show, tying up the whole festival perfectly after four days of incredible music and inspiring performances.

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