Summersonic 2012 – Day 1: Bahamas, Father John Misty, K’Naan and The Stars

When the lineup for #SSONIC2012 was announced, Friday Night was the night I was least interested in. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had a Weekend Pass, I more than likely would have passed on this night. Fortunately I didn’t pass and ended up seeingacoupleofgreatacts, got what I expected from another and lastly was bored with the fourth.

I arrived at the Garrison Grounds in time to catch a handful of songs from Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen), I watched, I applauded but was thoroughly bored. The sound was clean, pleasant and incredibly dated, to the point of wondering where he had parked his Delorean. I’m not entirely sure if it was the name Bahamas, or the fact that the band sounded perfectly suited to be frolicking on a beach someplace down south with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello at a Tiki Bar. It may have been the fact I was just leaving work to get to the show, but they just struck me as wholly dull and old timey.

(note: In an effort to confirm or refute my initial findings, I did some Youtube homework and was pleasantly surprised by their performance at SxSW which gave me a better feel for the band. I enjoyed the youtube video far more thantheirperformance Friday, as they showed far more personality in 5 min of the youtube video than I got experienced at Summersonic. I’d be willing to give them another shot down the road. You can hit up the SxSW video here:

[youtuber youtube=’′]


Next up was the feature act of the day (for me and some of the other music geeks in the crowd) Father John Misty! Former drummer of the Fleet Foxes, Joshua Tillman released his solo debut Fear Fun (as Father John Misty) back in May of this year. If it wasn’t for a fellow tweeter (@sonician), I would have missed out entirely on this night of music, but was incredibly happy I didn’t pass on it. I was already digging the music, but coupled with the live performance of Tillman and Co. I was blown away. He exceeded every single expectation I had and then some. Tillman is the epitome of a frontman, charismatic, obtuse and somewhat cheeky (see his apologies for the Bay of Funding barely missing out on being one of the 7 wonders of the world). The crowd ate up the banter and material, I certainly hope Father John Misty makes their way back out to these parts, as I’ll be there with bells on.


[youtuber youtube=’’]

for a taste of what we got on the Hill Friday evening.

Towards the end of the set, I noticed that over my shoulder was a guy who I consider to be a guiding force in some of my listening tastes, if music geeks had senseis, he would be mine. Growing up, this chap would make me mix tapes and turned me onto acts like Manic Street Preachers, the Odds, U2 and Neneh Cherry, it expanded my view on music in general, not necessarily a set genre. He was a fan and collector, so after seeing his stacks and stacks of vinyl, it gave me a goal to achieve. Regardless, we sat and chatted about music we were both into now, and shows that we’ve seen. It was a nice opportunity to catch up and talk, which I haven’t had a chance to in years. It was def. a sign that I was in the right place.

Then the show shifted gears to make way for alt hip-hop / pop artist K’Naan. Most people know him for the song that became the Canadian anthem of the Hatian relief effort “Wavin’ Flag”, which was also eventually used as the World Cup theme. The omission of that sort of cheap-pop tune was a highlight in of itself. But as the set kicked off, I noticed that the demo in the crowd dropped by over a solid decade if not a decade and a half, lots of young kids in the crowd for the Somali born – Cdn Raised K’Naan.

K’Naan kicked his set off with the very apt “In the Beginning…” and from there tore through a set that ran through the gamut of hip-hop, rap and pop tunes. He was jovial and engaged with the audience throughout his set, even closing his set out by giving the crowd the choice between new and old material. The crowd surprised K’Naan by selecting an old track, and he treated us to “Fatima” One of the unexpected gems of the set was performance of a tune he claims is “the stilliest song I’ve ever written” which is “Lazy Song” which was co-written with (and made famous by) Bruno Mars. K’Naan was certainly a highlight, even though for whatever reason my brain wants to correlate him with K-OS (while similar, is quite different).

Once K’Naan wrapped up his set, I needed nourishment before The Stars took the stage for their Headlining slot. I had my sights set on Nomad Gourmet food truck (@nomadgourmet) , as they were rocking a smoked meat sandwhich that featured beef that was smoked for 20 hours, served on a hearty bun with some slaw and bacon jelly (yes, Bacon Jelly! – I know!) and it was a tasty treat. I’ll certainly keep my eyes peeled for their locations to get my next fix. (Keep up the great work Nick! – Beaver Bank Represent!)

Now that I had some grub in my tummy, it was time for The Stars to take the stage. (For those playing at home, we’ve uncovered the boring band – The Bahamas, and the two Highlights: K’Naan and Father John Misty, time to wrap things up with the band who gave me exactly what I was expecting). The Stars hit the stage without Amy Millan (who quickly arrived on stage in a Disco Ball inspired dress) and played a couple tracks that did exactly nothing for me, it was exactly what I had expected and for that reason after they launched into their 3rd or 4th song, I opted to make my way home to rest up for Day 2. (truth: I’m getting too old for this shit Riggs! Concert going is a young man’s game – I was close to needing a cane to walk to my car)

But Day 1 was certainly a treat and was the perfect appetizer! Excellent work with #ssonic2012 @SonicConcerts!!



About the author


A proud and over-caffeinated husband, father, runner and writer. I've written for the local weekly The Coast for over a decade and have since taken to creating and writing for HAFILAX for even longer. I hope you enjoy the musings of a guy who has loved music for the better part of 4 decades, and has an album of concert tickets to show for it.