Review: Time Festival 2015

August 17, 2015

Mac DeMarco Time Festival 2015 3Mac DeMarco at Time Festival – photo Alyna Paddon, Music Vice

What: Time Festival 2015
Where: Fort York, Toronto
When: 15 August 2015
In one word: Engaging

I had never been to Time Festival before and was not very familiar with it prior to this year, so I didn’t really go in with any expectations. I also did not know what to expect as a result of lack of information on their website. I arrived just in time for Tommy Kruise’s set, which I did enjoy. He had kind of an awkward presence, but it was still enjoyable. He had a very diverse choice in the music he spun, in comparison to Tory Lanez and Allison Wonderland who played it safe sticking to one sort of genre. Kruise definitely set a good vibe to start out the day, and it was obvious that the audience enjoyed him. Ryan Hemsworth had a great set as well, and his was much more different than the other DJ’s because he played his own style – it was still electronic, but it was much more mellow. I found that Allison Wonderland and Tory Lanez’s set to be very similar, they both just played mainstream music and interrupted songs at awkward times. Not to say I didn’t enjoy their sets at all, there was just nothing that particularly stood out to me. I didn’t like the way that the festival scheduled all of the DJ’s into one time frame. If it were me, I would have mixed it up a bit rather than putting all electronic right after the other. I would have preferred if they put a DJ, then a band, another DJ, and so on. It almost makes you lose the effect of the set because you are so used to watching the same type of thing for so long. After Tory Lanez set was DIIV, which I was very satisfied with. They sounded exactly as they do on record, and the best part of there set was when they played “How Long Have You Known”.

I really disliked Freddie Gibbz set- it just killed the whole vibe. At that point, I was just ready to see something different. To be perfectly honest, he just reminded me of an NWA wannabe.

Badbadnotgood was a great way to finally change up the day. They put on a flawless performance. They opened their set with a clean performance of their song “Triangle”. The drums throughout their whole set were very distinct and strong (kudos to Alexander Sowinski on drums) however, all instrumentals were clean and on point. They covered songs by Tyler the Creator, Gucci Mane, and more.

Following Badbadnotgood was one of my favourite bands, Ariel Pink. I had never seen them before, so I was extremely excited to finally see them live. I feel bad saying how disappointing the set actually was. They opened with “Getting’ High in The Morning”, and he just really didn’t sound like himself. He was constantly screaming unnecessarily throughout the song, and overall it was pretty brutal, which is not a word I would normally use to describe a set.

Something just seemed very off for the next couple of songs, so I decided to move closer to the stage so I could visually see what was occurring. When I got up to the barricade, Pink wasn’t even on the stage and I was instantly thrown off. I then noticed him at the side of the stage, looking raged and complaining to a sound technician. He continuously would go on stage and sing a few lines, then go off stage again and complain, it was a continuous pattern. The band kept playing and did not let it affect their performance. After playing “Fright Night (Nevermore)” a band member than said “Well we had a big finale planned but now were just not gonna do it, have a good night everybody!”, and that was the end of that. It was extremely poor sound quality throughout the set, and I’m not sure who’s fault it was. It was a shame because the band is a very talented group of people. I was able to speak with drummer Don Bolles (formerly in ’80s band Germ) during Mac Demarco’s set. I asked him what exactly happened and he explained that Ariel had been going through his “own thing” and that there was monitor issues. I then asked if he could tell me a little about the finale that was supposed to occur, but he said he was not able to give any details except that it was supposed to be very epic. Overall it was a disappointment to fans like myself. Although sound quality was extremely poor, I believe that they should have finished their set for the sake of their fans.

It was a tad of a longer wait for Mac Demarco’s set following the incident, but it was well worth the wait. He had the best performance out of the entire festival. Great choice of opening song with The Stars Keep on Calling My Name, which was beautiful. He is such a mellow character, and he had an amazing emotional connection to the audience, most during “Another One”. Some were disappointed that he wasn’t as wild or crazy as he can be during his performances however , I don’t even think that was needed because of how talented he is. Luckily for him, there were no issues with sound and everything went perfectly. He closed with “Together”, which really united the crowd.

Lastly came Die Antwoord, starting 10 minutes late. They definitely had an energetic and fun filled set however, their graphics on the screen were somewhat disturbing and distracting from the performance. A great amount of people came later to the festival specifically for Die Antwoord (the crowd became much larger between 9:30pm and 10:00pm). Unfortunately, the festival pulled the plug on them at 11:00pm during their last song, “Ninja”. This left fans extremely angry, as well as Die Antwoord themselves. The duo announced via Instagram that they will not be returning to the festival not only because of the plug being pulled, but “other reasons” as well. Embrace said that the city has a strict curfew of 11:00pm, hence why they pulled the plug. With this being said, they should have started their set earlier – who gives a headlining band less than an hour to play? Also, they should have given the band notice.

Overall, I did have a good time at the festival however, there is great room for improvement. VIP ticket holders had many complaints about the VIP area; they didn’t receive their posters, they weren’t as close to the stage as they thought they would be, there were no cheaper drinks, and more. I also feel that there could have been more decorating. The chalkboard was a great idea, but I do feel it should have been rinsed down every hour so that more people could actually draw on it because by about 3:00pm, it was full. There was a good choice of food and vendors, and I really liked the “General Store”. I will go back to this festival depending on the lineup however, there is definitely room for improvement and I would hope that the organisers realise that.

© Gemma Mastroianni, Music Vice

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