Sled Island Day One: Rhye, Burnt Shrines, Jerusalem In My Heart, Operators | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Burnt Shrines, Operators, Sled Island Music & Arts Festival 2014, Rhye, Jerusalem In My Heart

Sled Island Day One: Rhye, Burnt Shrines, Jerusalem In My Heart, Operators, June 18th, 2014

Jun 19, 2014 Burnt Shrines Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

The tagline for this year’s edition of Sled Island is #NobodyRainsOnOurParade. Given the festival’s cancellation last year due to extreme flooding, it wasn’t just an inside joke—it was a plea to the elements to behave themselves and not stop the rock. Although the first day was met with grey skies, Mother Nature behaved herself. Among artists to perform in venues scattered across the city were Rhye, Burnt Shrines, Jerusalem In My Heart, and Operators.

Canadian/Danish duo Rhye (singer Milosh and producer Robin Hannibal) took the stage at Central United Church with four additional musicians, all the better flesh out their delicate R&B. Milosh is a captivating performer. His androgynous falsetto felt at home among the building’s high-vaulted ceilings. In addition to singing, he often let his drummer a hand—a move that with any lesser musician might read as pure hubris. But the frontman clearly cares about sound and song dynamics. Crescendos—not proving how hard he could hit things—was the name of the game. Songs from the duo’s slinky debut Woman were teased out far past their recorded length, without ever coming across as indulgent. (No small feat.) In all, it was a truly seductive performance.

I wasn’t so taken with Burnt Shrines. The band seemed at home at the Common Wealth downstairs bar. But dramatic backlighting and an ever-running fog machine couldn’t make up for the fact when it comes to noise rock, Sonic Youth has already done it better.

Perhaps the most mesmerizing performance of the entire festival (a heady claim to make on day number one) was Jerusalem In My Heart’s multi-media set at the National Music Centre. The Montreal-based producer performed on a series of vintage synths, incorporating both Middle Eastern-influenced vocals and flickering black and white images, projected from actual film. It wasn’t necessarily something I’d listen often. But then again, the one of a kind performance wasn’t meant to be replicated. When it was over, I had no clue what I had seen, but would have happily sat through it a second time.

Capping off the evening was Operators performing in their seventh show ever. aggressive electronic project is the work of Dan Boeckner, hot off the demise of his previous band, Handsome Furs. (It also features drummer Sam Brown and singer/keyboardist Devojka.) The trio’s songs are poppy, fast-pasted, and full off hooks. Not a bad end to the start of the festival.






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