Sunday enticed us to the stage with a siren song of blue skies, grass so green you just wanted to roll around in it, thousands of islanders sipping cider and beer and amps set to 11 – this is rock and roll, after all – we were primed and ready for the religious experience about to unfold.
The Motorleague was exactly what this day promised to bring. Rock to the core, these guys slammed out thick and heavy guitars, screamingly harmonious vocals, skyrocketing energy and left everyone begging for more. Hot damn what a band. Celebrating the summer with their latest release, “Holding Patterns”, their live show was incredible and set a tone of excellence for the day.
The bar set high from go, The Standstills brought us higher with their knockout performance and sound so large you swore they were of superhuman decent. Wrapping us in a blanketed wall of guitar and drums, this duo displayed superb musicianship and dynamic presentation.
If Tron could have had a soundtrack from the future, Yukon Blonde would own it. Elements of dance and a nod to the best of what we loved about 80’s synth-pop, the songs drew you in with catchy and upbeat minor key melodies, pleasantly surprising guitar riffs, solid drums and on-point harmonies to round out the sound to perfection. Yukon Blonde gave us beautiful and carefully constructed songs with their seasoned artistry and proved to be a memorable standout of the day.
“Don’t touch my ass without my permission” – Leah Fay. July Talk brought deepness to the day with their dark and gritty blues-rock tunes and charged leave-it-all-on-the-stage set execution. Their newest release “Touch” hits us this September, but don’t mistake it for a literal and unwarranted invitation like the guy Leah encountered in the RTS pit this year. July Talk is kicking ass and taking names.
A culturally significant moment came to the festival with The Eagles of Death Metal, who’s November 13th show this past year at Le Bataclan Theatre in Paris, France horrifically experienced a terrorist attack taking the lives of about 90 fans including the band’s merch guy, Nick Alexander. The strength and vitality of this band to continue on performing after their nightmare, was met with honour and respect from Vancouver Island fans who danced and sang in solidarity outshining the hate and fear by throwing love to these American rockers.
Jesse Hughes from The Eagles of Death Metal
A sound so glorious and uplifting came from the stage as The Arkells moved us through a spiritual experience, trumpeting out anthemic choruses and deep-pocketed melodies. Vocalist Max Kerman led us in the band’s richly vibrant songs and I swear, you could hear angels singing. Nature responded with a warm glow, cool breeze and the purest feeling of joy, lending an authentic west coast backdrop to the band’s set. Families and friends danced and sang together. It was genuinely inspiring to witness; one of those little glimpses in life you never forget – the kind of moments we live for.
The evening came to a close with Metric’s syrupy sweet electro-pop amidst splashes of dance and mid 90’s alt-rock themes with the luxurious melancholy of velvety smooth vocal lines. The crowd was packed tighter than Spaceboot’s leggings and the pit extended well into the lawn as RTS saw it’s largest crowd of the weekend. Always providing a time to remember, Metric gave an outstanding show and a great festival ending.
Rock the Shores gifted us with a wild ride and we’re forever grateful for the hard work of the RTS and Atomique Productions team. With newbie band Stinging Belle, rock heroes Big Wrek, island favourites Towers and Trees and Jesse Roper to the insane energy of The Cat Empire and Dear Rouge, everyone in between and the brilliant lineup of the festival’s final day, Rock the Shores 2016 was one to go down in history as an event watermarked by our time in culture and forward thinking to what’s to come.
“What are you afraid of?” sang Haines of Metric. Respectfully, not a damn thing. We’re Vancouver Island, a land full of fearless adventurers and wild-at-heart lovers of nature and all that is holy, we boast courageous creativity, are passionate about our island and boldly dive into the genius artistry of our island musicians. Nick Blasko of Atomique Productions says he believed in our locals when they planned Friday’s 7 Mile Social day of hometown heroes, which is a plan they’ll continue to pursue. Right back atcha, Nick. We’re so grateful for you, Dimitri and your fantastic team. Cheers to you guys – way to throw a great party.