Sights and Sounds of Day Two (see full coverage: edge.ca/wayhome)
WayHome Music & Arts Festival kicked off Day Two with high temperatures, and even hotter bands. Day One had already set the bar high, but Day Two blew it out of the water, with artists such as Arcade Fire, Arkells, Banners, and much more, taking the stage. With Day Two of WayHome all wrapped up, here’s all you need to know about what went down…
The electro-rock sounds of Young Empires helped to kick things off at WayHome on Day Two. The Toronto-natives played the WayBright stage to a fairly sizeable crowd. They ran through a number of their hits, including “Uncover Your Eyes” and 2012’s, “White Doves”. By the time the band had closed with “The Gates”, lead singer, Matthew Vlahovich, had everyone’s hands in the air! Since releasing The Gates last September, Young Empires have been on a whirlwind year, and have really come together as a unit. Can’t wait to see what’s next!
Populist genre-mashers X Ambassadors put on a high-energy set filled with the the polyglot tweaks they’re known for. Combining a little bit of dance, soul, blues, folk, and of course rock, the New York band blasted their high-octane music for an excited crowd. Weepy ballad “Unsteady” was the first of the big hits to be brought out, followed by the stomp-rock of “Jungle”. Frontman Sam Harris showed off his sampling and saxophone skills, and finally the band dropped their monster hit “Renegades”, with Harris climbing into the crowd to finish the set.
Half Moon Run
The lead singer of Half Moon Run, Devon Portielje, asked the crowd to “show me what you got”, as they broke into “Turn Your Love”, the first single off of their latest album. It may be hard to keep up with these multi-instrumentalists, as they are constantly rotating through different instruments to suit the mood of the song. From Devon switching between guitar and percussion, to the drummer having a keyboard built into his kit (not to mention having two different drummers with their own kits), Half Moon Run will surely impress you with their instrumental diversity, if not with their catchy tunes. Let’s hope the boys from Montreal have a new album on the way soon!
Third Eye Blind
Third Eye Blind took a break from trolling Republicans in the States and delivered nothing but good vibes on the main stage. The 90s alternative veterans seemed to be fueled with the fervent support of the fans, who were all singing the band’s hit “Jumper” prior to the start of the set. It’s hard to tell who was more excited, the crowd or the band. Lead singer Stephen Jenkins was in an exceptionally jovial mood, taking a break from his sardonic wit to emphatically thank the audience for their devotion. The set was mostly material from their latest album Dopamine but the hits were all there , from “Jumper” to “Semi-Charmed Life” to “How’s It Gonna Be”. Also in the set were partial covers of U2‘s “With or Without You” and Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky”. It was a treat for old and new fans alike.
Banners, aka Michael Joseph Nelson, has had a busy past 6 months since the release of their self-titled debut album in January. Banners knows how to excite the crowd, making sure to play the songs that he has become known for, such as “Ghosts” and “Start a Riot”. They wrapped up their set with “Shine A Light”, which Banners extended to the delight of fans.
M83 brought their celestial reaching aesthetic down to earth, with frontman Anthony Gonzalez forgoing many of his older, widescreen eyes-on-the-sky anthems for the grounded synth funk of his new album. Some older material was present, like hit single “Midnight City” and the soaring “Steve McQueen” (also known as the song too epic for verses). But more time was given to songs from 2016 album Junk, like the warped “Do it, Try it” and the crowd-baiting “Go!”, which featured guest vocalist Mai Lan. Possibly the most entertaining part of the show was Gonzalez’ curly-haired band mate, who had a blast skittering back and forth as he bashed away at an electric drum kit and operated some sort of theremin-like instrument with great delight.
As the sun began to set on Day Two of WayHome, it was time for a great big homecoming for the Arkells. The Hamilton-natives, who call Ontario their home, took to the WayBold stage to promote their message of good vibes. With sounds reminiscent of 80’s Rock mixed with Motown, the Arkells have carved themselves a new genre unto themselves in the new millennium. Backed by a horn section for extra punch, the band ripped through such fan favourites as “Come to Light”, “11:11″, “Oh! The Boss is Coming”, and even threw in a cover of “My Girl” during the bridge of “Pulling Punches”. The band also gave the crowd a taste of their new album, Morning Report, by playing “Private School” and “A Little Rain (A Song for Pete)”. The climax of their performance came during their 2015 summer hit, “Leather Jacket”, which had the whole crowd singing and dancing along! If you have been to an Arkells show before, you know how much of a party their set can be, and if you haven’t, then you definitely need to check them out the next time they come to town.
Canadian indie legends Arcade Fire closed out day 2 of WayHome’s main stage, fitting into the headliner slot like a glove. They’ve always been at home in front of thousands and tonight was no exception as the band played a veritable hit parade for a massive crowd. The crowd in fact was a very appropriate one for Arcade Fire, considering the band’s recent tour dress code and the many creative totems made by WayHome attendees.
As mentioned, the set list was packed from beginning to end with hit singles, roughly in chronological order. A few surprises were in store for the crowd as well; “Here Comes the Night Time” had the band’s masked doppelgänger join them on stage and a confetti explosion while “Wake Up” finished the night off with a fireworks display befitting the celebratory mood of the song. Before leaving, Win Butler promised new music before the next tour, leaving the fans eager for the collective’s return.