Canadian Musician*‘s Samantha Everts-Matusoff & Mark Matusoff were out for Field Trip 2018 at Toronto’s Garrison Common from June 2-3, 2018. The weekend featured sets from the likes of Metric, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, and Alvvays, and we’ve got Sam’s thoughts and Mark’s shots from the first day of the event right here.*
It was a gorgeous sunny day in Toronto for the 5th edition of Field Trip at Fort York. With ladies fronting each night’s headliner – Metric on Saturday and Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Sunday – there was a feeling of inclusivity in the lineup in every way possible, with afro-funk to hip-hop to mid-2000s indie rock anthems spread across the two main stages for festivalgoers to enjoy.
If it was possible, there were even more children and families out to participate in the children’s village activities this year. Hula hoops, a bouncy castle, and Jeremy Fisher singing kids songs – what a combo! The one major slight was the decrease in bathroom facilities, which had lines snaking across the second stage field and causing grumbles from fans.
In a bizarre twist, most of the bands that played the afternoon on the Saturday were relatively chill, and honestly more suited to a winter night.
Reuben and the Dark started slow and were similar to Half Moon Run or early Darcys but once they launched into their single, “Rolling Stone,” a CBC 2 fave, the energy picked up with a good build up to an end with crashing guitars and intense, emotional vocal delivery.
Montreal’s Pierre Kwenders brought a traditional African influence to a mix of songs that saw him singing and rapping in four different languages. At one point, there was a great sax solo but no sax player on stage.
Charlotte Cardin had one of the biggest audiences of the day and was clearly a major draw. She opened with “Main Girl,” and had fans singing along for the rest of her set. In what was the best cover of the weekend, she did her own version of Post Malone’s song, “Flex,” and it was such a cool re-creation of the track that even non-Post fans could dig.
Australia’s Middle Kids had come the farthest for their Field Trip performance and made jokes about being jet-lagged but their set was still stellar and included a great version of “Mistake.” Having discovered them through Sirius XM, it was a treat to see an indie buzz band that’s having a big year with North American festivals (Osheaga, Governor’s Ball).
There was a clear divide between the Damian Marley fans and Metric fans, but the smoky haze over the crowd made everyone friendly. Bursting onto the stage with more energy than any of the rest of the day’s acts, he made his father, Bob Marley, proud with his modern reggae music. His backing singers were super strong vocalists and the dance moves appreciated as Damian bounced around the entirety of the large main stage. He included snippets of “Exodus” and “Could You Be Loved,” which were major crowd pleasers for all the folks in Bob Marley t-shirts. An incredible performance that could convert even the most passive reggae listener to a committed fan (like me!). Also, kudos to the flag-waving guy who didn’t stop the entire 60 minute performance.
Unfortunately a good chunk of the crowd dissipated after Marley’s set, but that didn’t faze Metric. Emily Haines started her set by asking the audience a series of questions about where they were, who they loved, and what they were hoping for when Fantasies, their platinum album from 2009, was first released. It really struck a chord as I remembered distinctively putting on my iPod shuffle to that album while I bused to a coffee shop job at 5:30 in the morning just after university, and walking to meet a former-love right after that shift to talk about my day. “Stadium Love” was a favourite then, and the lighting during the set built the anthemic feel of the track.
This Fantasies anniversary show was clearly the first of what will be many across Canada; however, the transitions between songs weren’t as smooth as they could have been with short waiting periods between. They didn’t stray too much from that album’s material with the exception of the encores, which included “On a Slow Night” from Old World Underground, “Youth Without Youth” from Synthetica, and “Black Sheep” from the Scott Pilgrim film soundtrack.
Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
Reuben and the Dark