Preview: S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival

S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival
St. Catharines – Sunday June 24

Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

One of the largest annual, one-day, all-ages music festivals in Canada, over 160 bands will take to stages and venues throughout the downtown core of St. Catharines on Sunday, June 24. Born and raised in St. Catharines, SCENE represented my first real foray into local music. While I’m now living in Toronto – the live music mecca – heading back to run around the streets of my hometown from noon until 2am one day out of the year is still one of my absolute favourite things.

Anyone who says that Niagara isn’t a hotbed for up-and-coming musical talent obviously hasn’t been to a show there in the last few years. This year’s festival showcases a slew of local artists and if you’re coming in from out of town, I’d recommend you look beyond the names you already know and try to also check out some of what this fine region has to offer. Don’t worry, to make it easy for you, the festival website has a pretty handy scheduler that lets you check off all the bands you want to see to create your own custom and printable schedule. This is just a few that should be on yours:

Parts Per Million – 2:00PM @ Mahtay Cafe
Former lead vocalist of the former band Sleeper Set Sail, Casey Baker has given up his Buffalo Sinners and joined forces with Andrew Brandes (Souls) to play emotionally-charged acoustic numbers as Parts Per Million. Reminiscent of, and similar in vibe to, former fellow local, Dallas Green (City and Colour), is it sacrilegious to say I might actually prefer PPM’s recently released self-titled debut?

Julianna Riolino – 4:10PM @ Strega
With a bit of a dirty, Simone Schmidt (One Hundred Dollars, Fiver) vibe, Riolino’s voice will stop you in your tracks. She’s already won the hearts of Teenage Kicks, and you may have already heard her contribution to their Tribute to Levon Helm. Be prepared to sweep your jaw up off the floor when she gets to wailing.

Souls – 4:20PM @ L3 (downstairs)
This six-piece features Trevor Speechly (ex-Sleeper Set Sail) on bass and the passionate powerhouse that is Dave Fontaine yelling into the microphone, plus a cello and the bell-like voice of Shanika Lewis-Waddell. Souls is a band that will make even the most jaded critique fall in love with music all over again. Passionate. Classic. Timeless. They put on one of the best live performances that you’ll see.

Elk – 5:40PM @ L3 (downstairs)
Playing farage rock with a laid-back fuzzy psych feel, Elk’s new record Daydreams sounds like sunshine and is up there in the top records I’ve heard so far this summer. Their recent record release was one the craziest local shows I’ve ever experienced. Come see what they are all about.

The Bends – 6:05PM @ Cache (inside)
Amongst the tightest bands in the city, you’d be hard pressed to believe these are high school kids.They play a mix of bouncy indie rock and funk, and sing about chicken and rice and Rob Ford (though not all in the same song) – be prepared to dance.

Whitney Peterson – 11:15PM @ Strega
One of the loveliest lilting folk voices around, Peterson is sugar and spice and everything nice. Her singing has been known to make boys instantly fall head over heels in love with her. You’ve been warned.

Paul Federici – 12:15AM @ Strega
Playing pretty acoustic songs, Federici actually went to highschool with Dallas Green (but don’t mention that around him). Since releasing his album Relative Importance earlier this year, he has been making quite a name for himself throughout the province and beyond. Federici sings songs that will make you swoon, while simultaneously breaking your heart.

But to get the full Niagara experience, make sure you hit up the Indoor Shoes booth in the Market Square where in addition to high-fives and candy, they’ll have all their recent releases up for sale, a contest to win their entire catalogue, and even a cassette tape mix tape!


Categories: S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival 2012


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