Sappyfest 2016: Day 2

Story & Photos by Jennifer Hyc

Day two of Sappyfest 2016 gifted festival-goers with perfect weather and enough music and activities to keep you going until nearly sunrise. Although festival gates opened at noon for the day’s main stage musical performances, attendees had plenty of options beyond the music. The annual Sappy Zine/Crafters Fair, held on Main Street, featured Sackville artists and a wide selection of clothing, art, and accessories. Both festival-goers and Sackville residents were welcome to shop and browse, as if the festival needed even more of a sense of community than what already exists.

Sorrey, whose band merchandise included a soft pink hair scrunchie, button, and an album download package, soothed and charmed the eager early-afternoon audience. The Prince Edward Island songwriter’s set was easily likeable and sweet—a good match for the hefty amounts of sunshine spilling in overhead.

While Sorrey’s sound fit well with her small-island origins, Hooded Fang delivered big-city sound and bite. The mid-afternoon main stage featured the Toronto-based rockers, who largely played material from their newest album, Venus On Edge. Co-lyricist and bassist April Aliermo took the time between songs to briefly address topics such as mass consumerism and racial justice, all of which were met with applause and attention. The high energy performance set the stage well for the next act, Hamilton’s The Dirty Nil , who took the stage to deliver their signature sweaty and reckless set. As soon as the first sound filled the tent, I made a beeline to the merch table to grab myself a few ear plugs. The band would have been much better suited for a late-night slot, as few people were willing to mosh at four in the afternoon. This proved to be a bit of a drag, but The Dirty Nil weren’t going to let it slow them down.

Fake Palms re-opened the main stage’s evening festivities, but not quite with a bang. Whether it was nerves or the long drive over to middle-of-nowhere New Brunswick, their set would have benefitted from just a bit more enthusiasm. Regardless, drummer Simone TB was a star, helping to carry their performance right until the end. The Wooden Stars took over soon afterwards, playing favourites from their catalog and even pulling Julie Doiron onstage, a day before their scheduled Sunday evening reunion set. The band has a lot of history together, and their experience showed through their onstage banter and interactions with each other and the audience. Then, after being warmly introduced by the weekend’s CBC music correspondent, Ben Caplan, Little Scream graced the stage with some ambitious and colourful tunes. Singer and guitarist Laurel Sprengelmeyer, originally from Iowa, recently became a Canadian citizen, and made her love for Canada well known to her audience. It was hard to resist, especially considering the largely Canadian—and therefore fantastic—festival lineup. The performance was layered and infectious, but no one equalled the evening’s next performers.

Hometown heroes Partner were filling the tent well before their set had started, particularly near the stage. Josee Caron and Lucy Niles essentially burned the festival tent down, at least metaphorically. Featuring backup singers, a fiery red double-necked electric guitar, and an overwhelming amount of support from the audience, Partner delivered a performance unlike any other. I counted at least five people crowd-surfing simultaneously at one point. The response from the audience was enormous and justified, enough to reduce Josee to tears. This was heightened by a song tribute to a four-legged friend who had recently passed. Not only was I left in awe, but also very much heart-warmed and inspired by the community. Initially, it felt cruel to have another band—Montreal post-punkers Ought—follow their performance. That sentiment, however, disappeared fairly quickly. The quartet’s brand of intellectual, post-modern art-rock treads carefully between optimism and downright dissatisfaction, making for an intriguing way to end the day’s main stage festivities. Frontman and guitarist Tim Darcy gestured and spoke to his audience in a way that made for a captivating performance.

Any seasoned veteran of Sappyfest can tell you that the festival’s greatest performances are certainly not limited to the main stage. After midnight, difficult choices were made, and with that possible burden, I made my way to Thunder & Lightning to witness the She-Devils. The night before (in the bar/bowling alley venue) was sweaty and energetic, but what I found on Saturday night was sweet and slower-paced. Couples held each tight and swayed with the music, while Audrey Ann serenaded and charmed while on top of a bench. I would soon find out from none other than Ought’s Tim Keen that Un Blonde had put on one hell of an inspiring performance after She-Devils, but I had opted, perhaps mistakenly, for slipping into one of the secret shows a few streets down, which reportedly featured members of Century Egg and various East Coast punk bands. I didn’t end up staying for long, as the house had packed in enough people to leave me thinking that the floor beneath us would undoubtedly collapse. One rumour claimed that the porch had collapsed the night before, but that didn’t exactly escalate.

Day two of Sappyfest spilled into the early hours of day three quickly, making for a strange transition with next to no sense of separation. Clearly, sleep would have to wait until Monday.

Sorrey 3.JPG

Sorrey

Hooded Fang 3.JPG

Hooded Fang

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The Dirty Nil

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The Dirty Nil

The Wooden Stars (with Julie Doiron 2.JPG

The Wooden Stars with Julie Doiron

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The Wooden Stars with Julie Doiron

Fake Palms 5.JPG

Fake Palms

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Fake Palms

Little Scream 2.JPG

Little Scream

Little Scream 5.JPG

Little Scream

Partner.JPG

Partner

Partner 15.JPG

Partner

Partner 17.JPG

Partner

Partner 22.JPG

Partner

Ought 13.JPG

Ought

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Ought

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Ought

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She-Devils

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Bart

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