For the 6th year, the Khatsahlano Street Party took over 10 blocks of West 4th, with vendors, displays, activities, and most importantly, seven stages of music with dozens of bands.
When I saw the lineup announced, I was initially excited about how many great local acts there were, followed immediately by anxiety, because with that many bands there were sure to be some overlaps. And that seemed like the theme of the day, because just about every time I wanted to see a band, there was another one playing I would be missing.
So the first half of the day comprised of seeing bits and pieces of sets from people, a few I hadn't seen before, or in a long time.
The first stop was Nathan Shubert, who you may recognise playing piano or keys for about a dozen local bands. But here he was performing on his own, just him and a piano for some nice instrumental piano numbers, a good way to start the day. After a couple of his songs it was over to The Peak stage to see a little bit of David Beckingham. The Hey Ocean! member recently released a solo album, and that was the focus of his set, playing some emotional folk-pop, and including a cover of The Be Good Tanyas.
After checkout out some of the festival (and grabbing a drink) I caught a little bit of the fuzzy garage pop of Twin River, before going to one of the two main stages to see the end of Jody Glenham & The Dreamers (one of the aforementioned bands Shubert performs in). Her dark, moody dream-pop was juxtaposed by the sun starting to burn through the clouds, with songs like "Gypsy Babe" and the beautifully haunting "Dreamer" which closed out the set.
I stuck around that stage for nearly the rest of the day, with Hot Panda up next. The trio picked up the energy with some rocking art-punk and catchy as hell songs like "Other Spooky Is" and "Same House", and "Masculinity" which featured Catherine Hiltz playing trumpet and bass simultaneously, as she does. You could tell all three of them -- Hiltz, guitarist & lead singer Chris Connelly, and drummer Aaron Klassen -- were having loads of fun, and that energy infected crowd.
Next up was the start of a tough decision: stay at this stage for Jordan Klassen, or hike over ten blocks to the exact opposite end of the festival for We Are The City. I chose to stick around for Klassen, since I had missed his album release earlier this year; plus if I left it would likely mean missing Mounties who were following Klassen. Or so I thought.
Jordan's set was filled with his rich indie-folk, soaring songs like "Go To Me" and "Baby Moses". He also had a fantastic cover of "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis, and capped off the set with "Call and Answer", with it's beautiful build to a grandiose finale.
Unfortunately this is where the day broke down a little; the stage was already running a bit behind, and massive technical difficulties majorly delayed Mounties' set. Over 45 minutes after they were scheduled to go on, there was no indication of the problems being fixed soon, it was time to head over to the main stage, disappointed at missing the band.
But what better way to ensure the day ended on a positive note than Hannah Georgas on that main stage. Having recently moved back to Toronto, it was nice to see her back in Vancouver, and the absolutely packed street seemed to agree. Highlights included songs off her new album For Evelyn like the bouncy and synth-driven "Loveseat" and "Crazy Shit", as well as older favourites like the dance-jam "Shortie" or the acerbic "Somebody". She also included her cover of Rihanna's "Stay" in the encore, coming out backed only by guitarist Rob Tornroos, for her soft and heartfelt version of the song.
Like every other year, it was a highly enjoyable -- if a little chaotic and busy -- festival. But even with the overlapping bands and technical difficulties, it's hard to complain about a free street festival that manages to pull together so many great and talented acts, not to mention everything else that goes into the day.