Greta Van Fleet, Mother Mother, Bahamas, and Buffy Sainte-Marie at Brockton Fields, 9/9/18
By the third day of the inaugural Skookum Festival in Stanley Park, most festival-goers were decked out in their most rain-appropriate gear. Ponchos were widespread, and the music did not let up even once. The festival managed to stay on-schedule, which is pretty impressive for a rookie gig of this size.
The fairly new rock group Greta Van Fleet took the Skyline stage early in the evening, and killed it. Absolutely killed it. The band, consisting of brothers Josh, Jake and Sam Kiszka, and drummer Danny Wagner, are constantly being compared to Led Zeppelin. And from the first few notes out of lead singer Josh Kisza’s mouth, it was more than evident that this 22-year-old is the modern-day Robert Plant.
The group was high-energy, moving through their small but powerful discography with plenty of sweat and powerfully epic guitar solos. The group was decked out in quintessential 70s rock garb and feathers, and Josh Kisza was all mischievous grins and powerhouse vocal climbs. Original tracks “Highway Tune,” “Safari Song” and ”Black Smoke Rising” no doubt pleased fans and made more than a few new ones yesterday. It was quite something to behold. Who says rock and roll is dead?
Vancouver’s own Mother Mother took the Skyline stage after Greta Van Fleet. They were a decently fun time … but after the raw power and talent of GVF, it was hard to really be impressed. Mother Mother pulled out some all-time favourites like “O My Heart” and “Burning Pile,” and you could tell that the B.C. group had a loyal following present at Skookum. All in all, the set was enjoyable, but not memorable.
Meanwhile, Ontario-bred Bahamas (Alfie Jurvanen) was on the Mountain stage, giving one of the most lovely sets of the day. Feel-good beach vibes were the order of the hour, and festival-goers swayed and grinned dreamily throughout the whole Bahamas stint.
“No Wrong” and “I Got You” were the epitome of chill, and caused more than one group of friends to put their arms around each other. Jurvanen obviously felt the love and attention of the audience, which fed his banter with the crowd. The sky literally cleared up during the Bahamas set: “look, blue sky,” said Jurvanen. And it was a pretty beautiful moment.
“Caught Me Thinkin” from 2012’s Barchords was the highest point in a set that, frankly, was near-perfect.
“So chill,” Jurvanen said between songs. Indeed.
Buffy Sainte-Marie has been on a real career high lately. It was a shame her set on the Forest stage ran parallel to the much anticipated Father John Misty show back at Skyline. The crowd loved her, but much of Skookum ran to view the papa in his full white-suited swagger and glory. Sainte-Marie is an iconic artist whose Medicine Songs album deserves to be sung to a rain-soaked Stanley Park crowd. Those who took in her raspy, intimate performance of “You Got to Run,” were grateful for her presence.
For more coverage of day three of Skookum Festival, read Leslie Ken Chu’s article here.