The 2018 CBC Music Festival is fast approaching, and we want to help you plan your day.
Below, we've broken down every performer on the Main Stage, which will be hosted all day by Reclaimed’s Jarrett Martineau. The Main Stage is, as you might have guessed, where the day’s headliners will be playing. While you may not need an introduction to any of them, we wanted to fill you in on what they’ve been up to — and what new music they’ve released — before you see them live on Saturday.
2:20 p.m.: The Jerry Cans
If you watched the Juno Awards this year, you would have caught Iqaluit-based the Jerry Cans’ moving performance of “Ukiuq,” a song from their 2016 album, Inuusiq / Life. A mix of folk, alt-country and Inuit throat-singing, the band’s sound is bringing Inuktitut to the masses via their music, as well as through their Nunavut-based label, Aakuluk Music.
The Jerry Cans' festival performance will be a perfect way to kick off the Main Stage festivities.
3:25 p.m.: Busty and the Bass
Busty and the Bass doesn’t adhere to a single genre box — funk, jazz, pop and soul would complete most of its Venn diagram — but after seven years performing together, this McGill-formed band knows how to move a room (or festival ground). The nine-piece group released its debut full-length album, Uncommon Good, in 2017 after numerous singles and EPs — and three years after winning CBC Music’s Rock Your Campus university band contest.
Last year, Busty and the Bass opened for Anderson .Paak at Montreal’s International Jazz Festival, which should give you a good idea of who they pair well with. Also, there is a horn section — what more could you need?
4:30 p.m.: Jenn Grant
The Halifax singer-songwriter has graced the CBC Music Festival stage before, and we can’t wait to have her back. Since that 2015 performance, she’s released 2017’s Paradise, the followup to her Juno-nominated 2014 album, Compostela. The most recent album is a dreamy departure from some of Grant’s more folk-leaning or pop material, incorporating synth and R&B rhythms for what feels like a whole new sound while still focusing on her sharp lyrical imagery.
“You grow up and your voice grows up with you,” she told CBC Music last year. “When I hear old recordings I don’t recognize myself in it, really. I think with Compostela I feel like that’s me but I feel more present in my own voice now. I’m more in the moment. It means more now.”
Paradise just won Grant an East Coast Music Award for pop recording of the year. Her CBC Music Festival set is one you won’t want to miss.
5:35 p.m.: The Rural Alberta Advantage
Feel like yelling your heart out to hand-clap-happy songs and heartbeat-sustaining drums? Then Toronto’s the Rural Alberta Advantage is the band for you.
After longtime bandmate Amy Cole left in fall 2016, the band announced that keyboardist/singer Robin Hatch would be joining original members Nils Edenloff and Paul Banwatt, and the newly formed trio released its first album together in October 2017. The fourth full-length from the band, The Wild, didn’t disappoint — and now Cole is back to form the original band makeup. This festival performance should keep everyone warm — and possibly hoarse — by the end of the set.
6:50 p.m.: Charlotte Day Wilson
Charlotte Day Wilson has been on so many artists-to-watch and best-of lists over the years that we’ve lost count. The Toronto multi-instrumentalist dropped her debut EP while going to school in Halifax, and released a handful of singles while living in Montreal — all places that have shaped her music. Her second EP, 2016’s CDW, was a Polaris Music Prize long-list nominee, and collaborations with fellow Toronto-based musicians Daniel Caesar, BadBadNotGood and River Tiber saw the powerhouse singer’s name popping up everywhere.
With 2018’s EP Stone Woman, Wilson has poured her heart into six new songs, charting a spectrum of R&B, funk, soul, electro and synth notes that she has written and produced herself. Earlier this month, she won the 2018 Prism Prize for best Canadian music video for her earlier single "Work" — an award of $15,000. If you haven’t seen her perform live, now’s the time.
8:05 p.m.: A Tribe Called Red
It’s sundown at the festival, and it's time to ramp things up. A Tribe Called Red has made a name for itself over the years with a genre the members have dubbed powwow step, a sound that fuses Indigenous drum group samples with house music elements, among other evolutions. Based in Ottawa, founding members Tim “2oolman” Hill, Ehren “Bear Witness” Thomas, Ian “DJ NDN” Campeau and Dan “DJ Shub” General won the 2014 Juno Award for breakthrough group of the year after releasing their second album, Nation II Nation. The group’s followup album, 2016’s We Are the Halluci Nation, was a powerful political statement that featured collaborations with Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Tanya Tagaq, Lido Pimienta and Saul Williams, later garnering two Juno nominations and a spot on the 2017 Polaris Music Prize short list.
Today, A Tribe Called Red counts 2oolman and Bear Witness as current members — DJ Shub left in 2014, and DJ NDN left last year — and they’ll be putting on a perfect dance party for sliding from dusk into night.
9:40 p.m.: July Talk
July Talk’s electrifying live show is no secret: co-frontpeople Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis push and pull, yell and twitch, scream and sing each other through a roller-coaster of hysterics and lulls, performing their hearts out for a punk-rock set that leaves everyone in a sweaty mess by show's end.
If that’s not enough reason to stick around for these headliners on the Main Stage, watch the band’s live session for its second album, 2016’s Touch, which won the 2017 Juno Award for alternative album of the year — two years after winning the same award for its self-titled debut album.
Visit CBCmusic.ca/festival on Saturday, May 26, to stream the 2018 CBC Music Festival performances.
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