It was a sight to behold, the downtown streets of Peterborough filled with fans out for a great line-up of live music. Hootenanny took over Hunter Street West for the better part of Saturday. It was a free concert featuring a who's who of indie Canadian rock darlings. The patios of the Hunter Street restaurant district were filled to capacity with music fans and revelers.
The day began with sets from a number of locals including Bear Trees, Levon, Rikers and Union City. Others on the bill included Elvyn and Express & Co., with the show taking a strange turn thanks to the musical shenanigans of Hamilton, Ontario's B.A. Johnston. It's clear after hearing and seeing B.A. both in clubs and now on an outdoor stage, his banter and original music work under any circumstance. He was at his hilarious best accompanied by his own electronic samples and acoustic guitar work. I am sure B.A. likely found some new fans on this day.
Cuff The Duke, Oshawa's alt/country/pop darlings, played a warmly received set, which was matched by The Wooden Sky (see picture at right) who played right after—the later benefitting from a sun, sinking past the horizon, creating lovely light as a backdrop.
Next up were local darlings The Spades, who played a shortened set of favorites including an explosive cover of Fred Eaglesmith's "49 Tons Of Diesel Locomotive" as well as their rollicking track "The Revenge of Johnny Laundry".
As the night drew to a close, just past 10 p.m., the sounds of Hollerado belting out Neil Young's "Rockin' In the Free Word" seemed to epitomize the day. This was a show to remember. Thanks to the Peterborough Downtown Business Association and the organizing committee for creating a reason to brings throngs of folks to the downtown on a lovely summer Saturday.
There was a lot of love passed out by the performers throughout the day, but the best moment was when Gavin Gardiner of the Wooden Sky called out local scenester Mike Duguay, calling him the unofficial Mayor of Peterborough. Organizers Ryan Kemp and Jonathan Hall both deserve kudos for the inspired curatorial and organizational work that went behind this show. Looking forward to more of the same in coming years.
[Text and pics by PtboCanada's Jeffrey Macklin]