Brasstronaut & We Are The City @ Surrey Fusion Fest -- 07/17/10

I am not sure how many years the Surrey Fusion Fest has been going on for, but this was my second year checking it out, for the music. Last year saw Said The Whale and Joel Plaskett Emergency there, and while it seems like an odd choice to hold it on the same weekend as the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, it is a nice alternative for people unable to attend, afforded an opportunity to see some great live music (for free!). This year they had a couple excellent BC bands playing, not the main stage, but a smaller one that I am pretty sure was not there last year. Which caused some... problems.

But first, We Are The City was up! Supposed to go on at 6:30, they got their set bumped back a little because some genius decided to put this stage too close to the main stage. It was good, though, that they planned to stagger the acts. At least, in theory. The set was a short one, only half an hour, so they only managed to play a half dozen songs. But as usual, they owned the stage, and I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few people there were now fans. They played a couple new songs, which seem to be a staple of their live set now, "The Birds" and "This Is A Bad Mistake". The latter I had misidentified as "Take It From Me" a couple times, based on the lyrics, which now makes me feel silly since I had actually heard them name the song before.
They wrapped up the set with "Astronomers", which got the "recognition whoo" when they said the name before playing it, and "April", as they seem to have been doing lately, which is fine by me, as it's a great pair to end off a show.
There was also an amusing moment where, just as a lull happened in one of the songs, a loud piano note came from the sound check on the other stage. It just happened to be perfect timing, and pretty funny... but also an omen of things to come.

There Are Very Tiny Beasts In The Ground; There Are Very, Very Big Lights In The Sky; This Was A Big Mistake; The Birds; Astronomers; April

As soon as they ended, the other stage played, but then as soon as the other stage ended... Brasstronaut was still sound checking and setting up. I don't know if they just took longer than expected or what, but then when they were about a song or so into their set... an act on the other stage started playing. As Edo put it, "it looks like we're part of an old fashioned ghetto blaster battle". And while they took it in stride and continued their set like pros, it was incredibly annoying and frustrating, having the sounds from the other stage bleed over. Major planning/scheduling/organizational failure on the part of the organizers, there. Why would you put two stages practically right next to each other?? Then schedule bands to play them at the same time??? But aside from that, the set was quite awesome. No lazers or video projection like they had last time I saw them, but that didn't detract from their rich and grandiose sound at all. They too only had about a half dozen songs, mostly from their new album, Mt. Chimaera, but also the older "Requiem for a Scene". They capped off the set with one of my favourites from it, "Slow Knots", which was fantastic live. The only disappointment was that they didn't play "Hearts Trompet", but given they had a short set, it didn't bother me that much. That, and it probably would have been overpowered anyway.

Six Toes, Requiem for a Scene, Hands Behind, Lo-Hi Hopes, Slow Knots.

Aside from the one small bit of shoddy planning, it turned out pretty damn good, and so long as the Fusion Fest keep getting top quality bands like they have for these last two years, I will keep checking it out.