Playing music from the roof of a building must be a dream come true for any band. The #RaiseTheRoof concert series held on the side roof of the Dr. Disc/Sonic Unyon building has been one of the best things to check out at Art Crawls all summer long. This past weekend, at the last Art Crawl before September’s Supercrawl, IHeartHamilton and Hamilton Magazine put together an incredible line-up of bands to fill the August night sky with great music.
Apologies to Two Stripes Down and the Tallest Tree as I was unable to catch their sets but am certain both bands sounded great. Two Stripes Down is a lot of fun live and their set list is always full of surprises. I’m sure they stepped it up for their rooftop set. I arrived at the end of the Tallest Tree’s set, and it was pretty clear that Dawn Larsh and Armando Vega are some of the best songwriters in the city, showing off an excellent combination of simplicity and depth in the final track of their set. Check out their first single, “Boat”.
After moving my car from a questionable parking spot and grabbing a quick bite to eat, I caught the rest of the night’s line-up. Saxophone-driven Haolin Munk played the 8 p.m. slot and drew a decent-sized crowd with their funky hip-hop/jazz sound. The four-piece band is always a treat to watch. Their intricate melodies over each drum and bass groove really highlight the talent within this band, effortlessly flowing from a melody into a free jazz explosion and back without hesitation. Just check out the sweet sounds they’ve posted on their Soundcloud page.
Between Haolin Munk and the Ascot Royals’ sets, a group of Bollywood-style dancers performed a high-energy routine at the edge of the parking lot at James and Wilson. Their white outfits and shining jewelry were hard to miss even as the night sky darkened significantly.
— Dr. Disc (@DrDiscHamilton) August 9, 2014
Brantford’s The Ascot Royals followed the pop-up performance with a solid set from atop the roof of Dr. Disc. Their hard-edged indie rock sound is one of the most polished I’ve heard live. The band played as night covered the downtown, allowing the sound crew to set up some cool lighting effects across the back wall behind the stage area. As they blasted through songs from their 2012 album, Don’t Let It Stop You, and a couple new tracks, lead vocalist Jim Chauveau bounced around the small roof top space and often put himself dangerously close to the edge. The Ascot Royals also pushed the limits of their set time, cranking out as many tunes as possible before giving way to the night’s final act.
The Human Orchestra is one of the best bands in the city, and also one of the largest in terms of members. We wrote about their recent show with The Double Cuts and the number of band members expected on-stage. The roof above Dr. Disc can only hold so many people and so much equipment.
“We had to fire some people to make this happen,” joked lead vocalist JB Reed.
The band played songs from their upcoming album, including “Bad Jokes”, which should be its first single. Their up-beat performance drew a sizable crowd at parking lot beside Dr. Disc. The small piece of pavement in front the stage became a bit of dance floor, an older gentleman taking the lead and busting some incredible dance moves. To close out the night, The Human Orchestra played their cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, and encouraged the audience to clap and sing along, as well as participate in some call-and-answer à la André 3000. It was a great choice to end the set with that song.
Supercrawl will take place the whole weekend following the second Friday of September, but #RaisetheRoof will be back one more time in 2014 at October’s Art Crawl on the tenth. See you there!