For the first time ever, Supercrawl had a third day.
Supercrawl Sunday still had James Street North buzzing with activity; plenty to see, hear, and do in the heart of downtown Hamilton. Sunday had a unique vibe; lots of local talent, like Jeremy Fisher, Terra Lightfoot, The Dinner Belles, and Lori Yates getting lots of attention for the closing afternoon. But one of the biggest treats was the Daptone Super Soul Revue, featuring Sugarman 3, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Antibalas and the legendary Charles Bradley, set for a three-hour block on the main stage.
The funky instrumentals of Sugarman 3 started the Revue. Their performance was delayed as the technical crew prepped for the quick changeovers between bands. But once the trio started their set, the crowd quickly gathered around the main stage and danced to the groove.
While the Sugarman 3 lit up the afternoon with their funky sounds, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens captivated the audience with their voices. Backed by incredibly talented musicians, Shelton and company filled the air with uplifting tunes, many audience members clapped along, feeling the good vibes. The Gospel Queens, a trio of ladies with phenomenal voices, were a treat to hear live as they backed Ms. Shelton.
I must say the technical crew at the main stage did a great job handling all the changeovers between sets all week. They handled things like the power outages during the Arkells set and sound checking massive bands like Antibalas very well and they truly helped make the weekend a special one. Sound checking the over two-dozen microphones and instruments for Antibalas’ set delayed the set times further than expected, but in the end it was worth it.
Antibalas’ incredible performance lit up the main stage and drew many festivalgoers just walking by. Their infectious rhythms, energizing call-and-answer routines, and wild jam sessions captivated the audience. People were dancing all over the corner of James and King William as Antibalas burned through their 50-minute set.
All the delays pushed the performance into the early evening. By the time Charles Bradley hit the stage, it was around 6:30 and nearly an hour and half behind schedule. The crowds seem to die down as it hit the dinner hours, but once Charles Bradley started playing, the audience grew and grew. Bradley’s soulful delivery and undeniable stage presence harkened back to performers like Marvin Gaye and James Brown: funky and full of love. The 65-year-old singer burned up the stage with his stage moves, often falling to his knees with the mic, throwing the mic stand and pulling it back, and screaming with his arms outstretched. At the end of his set, Bradley went down into the crowd and began hugging everyone in sight. The incredible performance warmed the atmosphere as night fell upon Hamilton and ended Supercrawl on a beautiful note.