Imaginary Cities

I arrived at Jericho Beach Park for the 2011 Vancouver Folk Fest at the tail end of Gillian Welch’s set. I wasn’t familiar with her Americana folk, but the large crowd already gathered at the Festival seemed to LOVE her. (Now that I’m home and reading a bit on Gillian Welch, I see that she had a hand in putting together the amazing soundtrack for the movie O Brother Where Art Thou – cool!)

MCs Lana Gay and Tariq Hussain

Next we were treated to a tweener set by Imaginary Cities. (For those unaware, a tweener is an act that plays between larger acts. They serve as the entertainment during gear changeovers. They are usually lesser known acts and are usually performed as stripped down sets with easy to set up acoustic instruments.) Though the band usually performs as a five piece, the songwriting duties in Imaginary Cities are shared by Rusty Matyas and Marti Sorbit. True to the tweener form, this set was just Marti and Rusty and an acoustic guitar. The duo played selections from their Polaris Long Listed self-titled album Imaginary Cities, and sneaked in a great cover of the song “Mexico” by Cake.

Joel Plaskett

Closing out the first night of the festival was Joel Plaskett. Ever-changing his lineup of backing musicians, this time the group was billed as the Joel Plaskett Emergency. I was excited for this, I hadn’t seen the Emergency configuration (which usually plays more of the rock songs in Joel’s massive catalog) in years. The Vancouver Folk Fest version of the Joel Plaskett Emergency was a trio: Joel on guitar with a bass and drums backing him. The group played a mixture of new and old songs, which was fitting given his recently released greatest hits and b-sides collection called Emergencys, False Alarms, Shipwrecks, Castaways, Fragile Creatures, Special Features, Demons and Demonstrations: 1999-2010. The highlight of the evening for me was the closing song “Extraordinary”. I have a great video of the performance from that night that looks amazing, but sounds horrible due to some off-key singing from the crowd ringing loud and clear over everything else. I’ll spare the internet from having to hear that, and you’ll just have to trust me on how great the song was. (OK fine, it was my off-key singing. Still, no one wants to hear that.)

Joel Plaskett

My photos of Day 1 at the Vancouver Folk Fest can be found here.

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