Hillside review: Esther Grey @ Lake Stage – July 26, 2014

By Tom Beedham

Steph Yates of Esther Grey @ the Lake Stage for Hillside Festival - July 26, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Steph Yates of Esther Grey @ the Lake Stage for Hillside Festival – July 26, 2014. Photo: Tom Beedham

Steph Yates and Tyson Brinacombe are pretty much staples of Guelph’s “underground” music community, so it’s no surprise that Esther Grey is featured as such a prominent fixture of this year’s Hillside. They helped welcome the eager ears with a festival opening workshop alongside Amelia Curran, Bry Webb, Culture Reject, Daniel Champagne, and Fearing & White at the Island Stage yesterday, and later tonight, Yates is participating in another workshop with fellow musical nook and cranny explorers Barzin, Clinton St. Johh, and Nat Baldwin at the Sun Stage.

Earlier this afternoon, Esther Grey got a chance to plow through a proper set of its own at the Lake Stage.

Esther Grey is also celebrating this Hillside with the discharge of a special, very limited career-spanning CD compilation collecting works found elsewhere on last fall’s “Buttermilk” seven-inch, their split with Brinacombe’s other project, Tyson & His Gameboy, a 2011 CFRU compilation of local artists, and a rare, six-copy cassette released for Kazoo! Fest 2013. But seldom ones to stick to the script, Esther Grey’s sets are never extensively rehearsed renditions of their recordings. The group’s been known to improvise parts of their sets and shuffle up the deck, bringing in outside performers to keep things interesting onstage. Today that meant bringing in their friend Starr to play a keyboard that coupled the band’s tip-toed garage pop minimalism with curious sound washes and frequency wobbles. A couple of gear problems gave way to improvised sections, and the set was only better for it.

It was a performance that perpetuated a long tradition of making it impossible to walk away from an Esther Grey concert without yearning for something more – maybe it’s time for a live album from these folks.

(Review originally published at HillsideFestival.ca)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Burden of Salt and tagged , , , , , , on by .

About Tom Beedham

Tom Beedham is a Canadian writer and photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. His work focuses on independent culture, DIY communities, and their relationship to the mainstream, reporting on a spectrum of creatives that has ranged from emerging acts to the definitive voices of cultural movements. In addition to contributing regular features to AUX, Chart Attack, and VICE publications Noisey and THUMP, he has appeared on Daily VICE, and frequently reviews concerts, festivals, and new album releases for Canadian arts and culture monthly Exclaim!. He is also a co-organizer and curator of the seasonal inter-arts series Long Winter, for which he oversees an online blog and print newspaper-style publication, printed for distribution at each instalment of the event. He was also a DIY concert organizer in his hometown Georgetown, Ontario in the mid-2000s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s