By Jenna Lee Williams
June 25, 2015
EDMONTON — The first set was caught during the second day of the Interstellar Rodeo was that of American singer, violinist and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens. After performing of some of her own roots-oriented material with a full band, she pulled out the covers, including an excellent rendition of Patsy Cline’s love soaked, country-esque “I’ve Got Your Picture.” As the set continued, it was marked by variety (and ever increasing rain), even including the beautiful gospel tune “Can’t Nobody Hide from God.” Soon afterwards the band picked up the pace, for which they earned a standing ovation for a classic Celtic tune. Finally finishing up with a rendition of Blu Cantrell’s sassy R&B hit “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” the set demonstrated that whether solo or as a member of the old-time act Carolina Chocolate Drop, Giddens is a consummate musician.
Later in the afternoon Elle King (who happens to be the daughter of former SNL star Rob Schneider) took the stage wearing a velvet red riding hood cape. As she took out her banjo, she explained, “This next song I wrote is about all men.” Her raspy voice gruffly and passionately delivered the lyrics of “Good to Be a Man,” an ode to the benefits of having being male. Following that song, she semi-jokingly noted that “People got mad at me about writing the song about men so I wrote this after some girls were real mean to me.” She then proceeded to close out with her self-proclaimed favourite song, “Oh! Darlin’.”
The lovely Tanya Tagaq was up next, gracing the stage in a bright pink satin dress. Before her fully improvised set, she introduced the audience to her traditional form of Inuit throat signing. Jenna Broomfield of Inuit throat singing duo Sila soon took the stage with Tagaq to demonstrate as they stood closely, face to face in an intimate duet battle. The improvisational portion of the set began afterwards with some violin and percussion, electronics and other various instruments integrated throughout. It was moving, mood provoking performance art, with Tagaq’s vocals ranging from high-pitched harmonies, to more traditional throat singing, to growls, and death metal like screams.
The rain had finally stopped by the time headline Father John Misty began his set and he went straight to the punch as he opened with a wild performance of his popular song “I Love You, Honeybear” complete with seductive dancing with an upside down microphone stand. The man oozes charisma and swagger, repeatedly standing on top to the kick drum and shook his booty at the crowd. He even grabbed a cell phone from an audience member and recorded himself as he performed. When he handed the phone back he declared, “There it was almost like you were here!” The set continued, chock full of theatrics. Right before Misty played a rousing rendition of “Hollywood Forever Cemetery,” he chucked his guitar off stage to a roadie. Eventually, his band members (save the keyboardist )left the stage, for “Bored in the U.S.A.” He sat down, randomly inserting the words “cowabunga! ” and “fuck!” throughout. Finally, he finished with a high-energy rock and roll rendition of “The Ideal Husband.” Then, the encore: the crowd choose the song “Holy Shit,” resulting in a lovely end to a wonderful day of music in the City of Champs.