Concerts Concerts JunoFest 2011: Saturday Night

JunoFest 2011: Saturday Night

Basia Bulat at The Great Hall
Junofest 2011 - Saturday Night
Meaghan Smith, Gramercy Riffs, Basia Bulat, Elliott Brood, Hollerado
Toronto, ON
March 26, 2011

Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Julie Lavelle

Canada's best bands bring a party to the stage for the last night of JunoFest 2011.

For two wild nights last week, Toronto played host to dozens of the country's top new artists for JunoFest 2011. Sticky Magazine was there to bring you the highlights from Friday night, and we were back on our feet just in time for Saturday's final installment.

Meaghan Smith

We began Saturday at The Drake Underground, where Meaghan Smith was first at bat in a schedule co-headlining Hannah Georgas, the pair holding matching Juno nominations in the same category. Under dimmed Earth Hour lighting, singer-turned-songwriter Smith took the stage in her daintiest sunday dress and delivered her equally delicate songs, masterfully showing no strain hitting notes all along the scale. Her time on-stage was a series of silly stories and skillful vocals, showcasing her talent modestly and showing all the reasons why she later went on to win the Juno Award for New Artist of the Year.

Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake   Meaghan Smith at The Drake  

Gramercy Riffs

Just a short jaunt from The Drake, our schedule next had us dashing to The Garrison to see Gramercy Riffs. Slotted to open the venue's Saturday line-up, the group dug in as the audience slowly streamed in from the cold. Although everyone was shaking and shivering as they entered, they were all quick in warming up to the fuzzy, soulful pop, dancing and jumping to the band's vivacious lyrical work and peppy instrumentals.

Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison   Gramercy Riffs at The Garrison  

Basia Bulat

Easing our way into the late evening hours, we found our way to The Great Hall, where Basia Bulat was fixed to charm the hushed, full house. Another nominee for new artist of the year, Bulat bit into her set with a genuine and infectious smile that didn't waiver, all the while spinning us through a set that at times reached heights of heartbreaking beauty. Her folk-inspired, dreamy style was shown at its best with pieces like, "The Pilgriming Vine", where her talent for songwriting was only rivaled by the quality of her voice outside the recording studio. Basia Bulat's performance was simple and sublime; it was our much-needed calm in the JunoFest storm.

Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall   Basia Bulat at The Great Hall  

Elliott Brood

With Bulat's show under our belts, our twosome was called back into the bustle of Queen Street, where we hopped a streetcar to The Horseshoe to see Elliott Brood pulling the graveyard shift. Inside, we pressed deep into the thickest audience we'd been into all weekend, but nobody there was feeling much pain. Of course, even without the liquor's help, Elliott Brood would have had no trouble stirring the audience into a frenzy, making good on their reputation as one of the city's best party bands. Pushing well into the night, Toronto's alt-country favourites had their fans beating on pots, sloshing their drinks, and dancing until their feet ached.

Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern   Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe Tavern  

Hollerado

It was approaching 2:00am by the time Elliott Brood wrapped up their set, but the crowd surging toward the door was smaller than some would expect. Because, for a secret appearance that wasn't kept very secret, Juno-nominated Hollerado was about to take the stage. With a blast of confetti and in a drunken mess (they admitted it before we had a chance to notice), the band rode a tornado through the last set of the festival. Burning through bad jokes while belting out hits like "Juliette" and loud Neil Young covers, Hollerado made good on their promise, "It's gonna be one of those sloppy ones." This was simply the show where all hell broke loose. By the end of the night, the stage was a disaster, most everyone was battered and bleary, and no one could have dreamed up a better way to bid farewell to JunoFest 2011.

Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern   Hollerado at The Horseshoe Tavern