Sunday, August 7, 2011

ShoreFest: Steph Macpherson & Sumner Brothers @ Kits Beach -- 08/06/11

The last night of the Symphony of Fire Celebration of Lights also means the last night of the Shore104's annual ShoreFest. Aside from their usual stage at English Bay, this year they also had one in Vanier Park and one at Kits Beach -- spotlighting the Song Search top 10. And yesterday, not only were the last three of the top ten playing, they would also be announcing the winner of the competition.

But first, The Sumner Brothers were up, who were one of the bands I was pulling for in the Song Search. It was just the two brothers, Bob and Brian up on stage with a more stripped down set, and I am not sure if it was that, but the set seemed a bit more low key than the last few times I had seem them. It could have also been they were playing a few slow, sombre songs about death on the beach on a crisp sunny afternoon. But they picked up steam again at the end of the set, with a cover of a Stompin' Tom song, "Luke's Guitar", and a traditional song that is a staple of their show, "Pay Me My Money Down". I still enjoyed their set, but perhaps they're just better suited to venues where the whiskey flows.

Next up was another of my favourite in the top ten, Steph Macpherson. She had a backing band full of familiar faces -- Mike Edel, Shaun Huberts & Jason Cook -- making sure the stage was full of top notch musicians. She kicked off with "Best Of Us" and played a few off her EP To You, as well as a couple new songs.
Even though the sound mix was a little off, it was quite a good set, with highlights being "Something In You" and one of the new ones that I didn't happen catch the name of. Her set wrapped up with the song that, had I any say in the matter, would have been the winner of the Song Search, "Summer Salute", getting some of the gathering crowd on the beach clapping along.

The final band before the announcement of the winner was Freeflow, who had more of a reggae-ish feel to them. They had a pretty decent energy -- especially the guitarist who broke multiple strings throughout the set -- but their songs were lacking in variation and sounded quite similar to each other; even the few covers they threw in throughout the set -- "My Girl" by The Temptations, The Police's "So Lonely", ABC by the Jackson 5.

At then it was time for the announcement, after playing a medley of all the songs in contention, the golden guitar was awarded to Randy Ponzio of Quest Poetics. Which... well, let's just say I respectfully disagree with that outcome.
(Attempting to link to the YouTube video he uploaded for the contest gives a private video error, so... yeah.)

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