CityFolk Day Four: Singing to the sun with X Ambassadors

Day four blessed attendees with hours of sunlight and lots of warm weather. The nice weather after a full day of storms had everyone smiling even wider than the day before.

The day brought in back to back talent, starting off the afternoon with Montreal musician and model Charlotte Cardin on the City Stage at 2:30 p.m. Her voice was comparable to a softer Amy Winehouse, which often silenced the awed crowd. She played songs such as “Dirty Dirty” and “Just Like That,” finishing off her set with a French song called Faufile.

Following Cardin, Midnight Shine stirred up the mood with their mix of modern and classic rock. The local northern Ontario group was welcomed by the crowd as their Attawapiskat First Nation singer, Adrian Sutherland, explored topics of culture through their lyrics.

The BMO stage thoroughly impressed today. Every single act was delightfully talented and new to me. Fruition began their set 20 minutes late due to problems related to their sound and equipment, but the band finally began after several minutes of soundcheck. To my surprise the crowd had gathered to 1o times the size within that time, and didn’t seem to care about the delay. The band was drinking beer on stage while they enthusiastically jammed out, playing songs such as “Santa Fe” from their most recent album Labor of Love.

After the show, the band came out to greet the crowd and sell CDs and vinyl copies of their album. I got the record signed by each member of the band and had a great chat about the quality of vinyl with them.

Starting only moments after, Julien Baker began her set playing completely solo. Her voice was raw and enchanting as she sang ballads from her album Sprained Ankle. The performance was also very visually pleasing. Because the room was lined in black curtains, the mix of lighting effects and her voice made it feel like the whole performance was a music video.

I couldn’t believe it, but after Julien there was yet another great act. Rayland Baxter jumped on stage to play songs such as “Yellow Eyes” and “Mr. Rodriguez.” He also took the stage solo as most of his set was sung without the band and took the time to joke around with the crowd. At one point, a girl in the front row yelled to persuade him to take off his shirt. His response was so witty and quick it had everyone hooting and hollering.

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X Ambassadors took the stage on the final night of CityFolk. (Photo by Erica Giancola)

I was thoroughly impressed by the lineup on the BMO stage today because I genuinely enjoyed every single one of the acts. They were all absolutely perfect to sit and listen to on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Just as Baxter finished his set, X Ambassadors were due, and everyone quickly flocked over to the main stage to welcome them on. I was completely shocked when I heard them perform. Almost everyone has heard the song “Renegade,” which sounds like a pop or indie song, so it was a surprise when their performance, energy, and the music included was completely different than what I had expected. Jumping high above the stage floor, the crowd was amped on adrenaline while the band played songs such as “Giants.”

Sadly, today marked the last day of the festival, but I believe everyone who attended had a great time despite the excessive rain and a few hiccups with equipment. I couldn’t say which day was my favourite, but today was definitely the best for discovering new talent. Each day of CityFolk was unique, both in crowd, talent, and weather. Definitely a festival to check out again next year.