The Gateway heats up with Anti-Freeze
On March 30, Sled Island and the Gateway presented Anti-Freeze. It was the warm-up event for the summer music festival. Anti-Freeze featured the talents of many acts from Canada and the United States such as Murder by Death, Big John Bates, Rococode, In Media Res, Black Mastiff, Chron Goblin, and Sons of Bears.
The diversity of genres was a factor that filtered crowds in and out throughout the day, and into the early morning hours. It wasn’t a full house, but most who attended were in their element and ready to rock out. Starting at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, the music kicked off a promising summer for Sled Island.
The first act was Sons of Bears. Lead vocalist and guitar player Lorrie Matheson,sported a very prominent pair of hipster glasses, which added to the wonderful medley of the band’s all-around rock sound. There were no cliché acoustic solos here. The frames definitely added a controlled and well-balanced punch of personality to Matheson’s stage presence and made him the best dressed performer of Anti-Freeze.
Calgary-based, Chron Goblin, took the stage mid-afternoon with their stoner-rock tunes. At the time, the crowd was small and there was not a glimpse of moshing. However, the band’s energy-level remained high throughout the whole set. It was pleasing to the eyes and ears, and definitely deserved more credit than was received through applause and crowd reaction.
Black Mastiff played about halfway through the event and summoned people with their eye-catching stage setup. With several giant, green, glowing, cone-like structures onstage, it was impossible to look away. Everyone’s attention was drawn to Black Mastiff’s performance due to the fluorescent green structures and purple back-lighting.
Big John Bates was second last to hit the stage but had lost the attention of no-one while performing. With an upright bass, a prominent top-hat, and a screaming female vocalist, this was a toe-tapping treat.
It was loud, proud and impossible to disregard. In the midst of a song, numerous band members would step off stage, walk to the bar, and grab a drink without missing a chord or note. The audience buzzed with excitement, waiting to see what the band would do next.
The last band to play was Murder by Death. To the surprise of many, this was not a metal band as one might assume, due to their name. The band plays instrumental rock with mixes of alternative country. The deep vocals and lyrical content of lead singer, Adam Turla, are slightly comparable to the likes of the late Johnny Cash in his “Ring of Fire” days.
By the third song, the audience was made up of an enthusiastic crowd, mainly composed of anchor tattoos and beer pitchers. Everyone was ready to dance.
After their encore, the night left most with high hopes for what is to come with Sled Island this year.
Anti-Freeze was free for SAIT students and was worth checking out for some good tunes. Those wishing to continue the Anti-Freeze experience can head to Sled Island this summer, which will be hosting events around the city June 20 – 23.