The Saturday of Supercrawl is usually the crown jewel of the weekend festival: all the art installations are finished and fully interactive, vendors and food trucks are out in full force, and people come out for all day outdoor fun. But this year, Saturday morning featured rain and followed an unprecedented high achieved by The Arkells the night before. Still, Saturday was a solid day for downtown Hamilton.
I missed most of the rainy afternoon and arrived at the festival around 5 p.m., just missing Jessy Lanza’s performance on the Exclaim! stage on Colbourne Street. After hitting the food trucks for a Gorilla Cheese sandwich, I was in time for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s collaboration with Stoney Creek’s Thought Beneath Film.
Last year, the HPO’s project with beatboxer Hachey the MouthPEACE was a must-see, and this year was no different. Thought Beneath Film added string arrangements to tracks from their Cartographers album, and played covers of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” and an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer tune. The HPO had the band accompany them on classical works from Mussorgski and Greig. My favourite moment from the set was a rendition of “Korobeiniki”, better known as “The Tetris Theme”. The collaboration drew a fairly big audience at the corner of James and Wilson.
In 2011, Broken Social Scene headlined what was the biggest edition of Supercrawl yet. This year, BSS co-founder Kevin Drew held one of the headlining spots on Saturday night on the main stage, playing before Spoon. Along with a veritable Canadian indie rock all-star band featuring members from BSS, Do Make Say Think, The Beauties, and The Stills, Drew played songs from his latest album, Darlings, as well as tracks from BSS and previous solo projects. He closed his set with an acoustic rendition of “Superconnected”, an incredibly intimate and touching way to end his performance.
On a chilly night, nothing warms you up like than an open flame. Circus Orange’s performances are not to be missed, especially the spectacles they put on at Supercrawl. Colourful characters, including a clown conductor who spoke an unfamiliar language, travelled through the packed street on a giant bicycle that shot fire into the air. Officers and security pushed the crowd back as the show moved from the Arkells stage near Dr. Disc to the parkade on York. Fire, acrobatic theatrics, and a stunning fireworks finale brightened and warmed up the cool September night.
Spoon was scheduled to close the main stage at the corner of James and King while Teenage Head was closing out the stage at James and Wilson. While the crowd was not as dense as the previous night, fans surrounded the main stage to see the indie rock superstars. Britt Daniel and company played tracks from their critically acclaimed They Want My Soul, and old favourites like “I Turn My Camera On”. Daniel was all over the stage, jumping from the drum riser, singing on top of the speakers at the front, and playing keys at the back corner. A pretty cool performance overall, but it could not match the energy from the night before.