Winnipeg Folk Festival – Day 3, Friday, July 6, 2012

Adam Depre

One of the greatest features of the Winnipeg Folk Festival is the
daytime activity on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. During the day,
several different unique stages host performers and workshops
comprised of two-to-four festival artists/musicians.

Elliott Brood, The Beauties, Bahamas
I arrived to the Yonge and Bloored Workshop to the mellow indie-folk
sound of Bahamas. The workshop was worked out in a
songwriters-in-the-round style, though the musicians on this stage
accompanied each other during most songs. In between songs they would
step back from the microphone and work out the chords and the key.
Elliott Brood and the Beauties traded raucous country songs, and when
it came time for Bahamas again, he started playing right through the
banter. The melody was instantly recognizable, but it took me a while
to realize that he was playing “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” When
they finished their jam, Afie Jurvanen, guitar/singer, asked, “Is it
still our turn or did we just use up our turn for that?” Fortunately,
they were given full use of their turn and put forth a spot-on cover
of Neil Young's “Harvest Moon.”

James Vincent McMorrow, Snowblink, Good Old War
The Your Indie Heart workshop brought three main stage acts together
for what turned out to be a series of covers. James Vincent McMorrow
got the covers train started with a song by Mark Kozelek, the producer
of Retribution Gospel Choir's debut album. Good Old War followed suit
with a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's “Cecilia,” explaining that they
got their start as a cover band playing in bars. Snowblink then played
their very unique take on Michael Jackson's “Thriller,” which utilized
the band's minimalist sound and haunting vocals for a much slower
version of the song.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday offer an alternative to the main stage at
the Big Blue at Night stage. The Big Blue stage usually offers high
energy dance bands to a no-tarps-allowed audience. For this reason, a
younger, rowdier crowd tends to surround the Big Blue stage.

I started the evening by checking out Chic Gamine, a Manitoba-based
soul, R&B, lounge, jazz, hip-hop, roots and doo-wop band at the Big
Blue stage. Accompanied by minimalist instrumentation, the four female
singers take turns leading songs into striking four-and-five-part
harmonies. Members take turns alternating between percussive
instruments, while, occasionally NAME OF KEYS PLAYERS will step behind
the bass-heavy synthesizer. Drummer, and only male member of the
group, Sacha Daoud provides the backbeat for each and every song, and
rarely NAME OF GUITARIST joins in with never-too-much, one note guitar
riffs which flawlessly fill out the songs.

I had every intention of watching the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the main
stage on Friday night, but after one song, I decided to make my way
back over to Big Blue. I arrived at Big Blue to the sight of crowd
surfing and a laser light show and the sound of Balkan/Gypsy dance
band Besh O DroM. They worked the crowd up into a frenzy, continuing
to play faster and faster until they finally had to stop. At this
point, many went off to continue the party in the festival campground,
and some of us retreated back to quiet camping for some much needed