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Grove Festival goes down easy, maybe a little too easy

Posted by Eric Boshart / August 6, 2013

grove festival torontoThis past Saturday witnessed the arrival of the Grove Festival, our newest day-long fest hosted at Fort York Garrison Common during the darling summer months. Joining the ranks of Riot Fest, Field Trip, Toronto Urban Roots Festival, and the Ontario Model Soldier Society Show, Grove served as a showcase of music for those who demand guitars with their synthesizers.

Please revisit the festival with me, band by band.

Palma Violets
Not being familiar with Palma Violets, I was impressed by their enthusiasm and vigor, especially considering the meagre early attendance (most of the crowd was sitting on promotional cardboard seats). After a few songs I found myself parched after my bike ride and wandered off to find some water. "$3?!" I exclaimed to the vendor, and kept searching for the free water.

grove fest wavvesWavves
Before this set the crowd had grown exponentially in size, seemingly to see these four cool-looking guys who play music that sorta sounds like Weezer. My favourite member was the grizzly dude wearing the cut off tie-dyed t-shirt. He looked like he really knew how to party. Halfway through I wandered off to pay $3 for a water.

grove fest earl 6Earl Sweatshirt
In a shining example of the absurdity of these modern times it took twice as long for the crew to set up the D.J.'s laptop then it had taken for Wavves instruments. I am choosing to believe it was due to a Linux driver crash. Odd Future members would totally use Linux just to stick it to everybody.

grove fest earl sweatshirtEarl rapped clearly and engaged the audience with a surprisingly inclusive sense of humour. He seemed to particularly delight the young men in the crowd wearing "5-Point Style" baseball caps.

grove fest gaslight AnthemGaslight Anthem
What a bunch of Hot Dogs! I mean this is in the good way: some rockers should be hot dogs. The bass player was particularly so, and hey, good for him! Clearly the popular part of the night had arrived as I found it not worth the trouble to wander off.

grove fest girl talk 10Girl Talk
Girl Talk started his set with a physical burst of energy in the form of stage dancers, confetti guns, mechanical toilet paper un-rollers and, of course, a song I vaguely recognized, played over a song I definitely recognized. It was enough razzle-dazzle that I temporarily forgot the shtick.

grove fest girl talkAfter the first 10 minutes I got bored, wandered off, and won the Pepsi challenge.

Hot Chip
Hot Chip played a groovy set that somehow managed to both relax the crowd and inspired them to dance. However, the word dance is relative as it was very difficult to lift one's arms from one's sides. Luckily I had found a sweet spot where I could actually clap over my head. I clapped quite a bit because it was really good. Also kudos to the programmers for allowing Hot Chip to play with a woman on drums (she might have been the only female on stage for the entire fest)!

grove fest phoenix 24Phoenix
The last bit of dusk dissipated during the set so Phoenix came on just as night had fully set in. This made them the only band of the night with full scale concert lighting. Debuting with "Entertainment," the most popular hit song we had heard yet, the crowd went wild. This mass rush is the reason music festivals exist, despite the crowds, $11 beers, lack of free water, uncomfortable Jagermeister promotions, sun burns...

After the first three songs my friend had to leave, and since my biked was locked to his, I did too. I wandered off for the last time. By the way, when you wander off you can still hear the music, so relax.

Photos by Frank Yang.



AV / August 6, 2013 at 10:06 am
Where's the review on OVO Fest? Kayne, P-diddy, Ma$e, Wale, Lil' Wayne.... now THAT was a show.
Jacob / August 6, 2013 at 10:12 am
It was a great day, except for the crowd Gaslight Anthem attracted. Bunch of rude, drunken schlubs.
Derek replying to a comment from AV / August 6, 2013 at 10:13 am
Coming later today...
AV replying to a comment from Derek / August 6, 2013 at 10:16 am
Good one D
whocares replying to a comment from AV / August 6, 2013 at 11:37 am
Watch Much Music for that crappy recap.
Sandman replying to a comment from AV / August 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm
More like P.A.B.L.U.M.
Rachel / August 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Worst review ever
candace / August 6, 2013 at 01:53 pm
The sounds was terrible except for Phoenix and it was bro central.
Laura / August 6, 2013 at 01:55 pm
I'm really glad I had free tickets to this, because I could only stand to stay for about two hours. So many 16-year-old drunken assholes. One guy trudging by with his wasted friends literally walked up to me, yelled in my ear, and walked away. Also, an hour wait for a tiny carton of poutine and $11 cans of Bud? I've been to concerts at The Garrison before and all of them were way more well-organized than this mess.
james c / August 6, 2013 at 02:13 pm
Past commenters are correct: worst review ever. How did it make it past the editors? Including the guy's reaction to $3 bottles of water? Shame on you blogTO. Feel free to contact me anytime if you want to give free tickets to a concert away in exchange for a poorly written article. I might even take better photos.
candace / August 6, 2013 at 02:18 pm
I also wouldn't say it went off "too easy" seeing as it lost big names earlier on this year, such as Macklemore, Pretty Lights, and Bob Mould.
Dash Blendar / August 6, 2013 at 02:49 pm
I regret spending $60 on my ticket to this mess. Terrible audio problems except for Phoenix's set. When I went to use the toilets, every one of the half-dozen handwashing stations was empty of water. Absurd prices for shitty beer. I wish I could remember the name of the caterer that had pulled pork sandwiches and veggie burgers, because they gave me the most ridiculous $7 burger consisting of a mediocre plain patty on a bun, with packets of ketchup and mustard on the side. The one bright spot was the $5 poutine from Smoke's Poutinerie (which I didn't have to wait for, as I ate it around 3pm). I think next time I'll just go down to Smoke's and listen to Hot Chip on my earbuds.
Drew / August 6, 2013 at 03:16 pm
Seriously, this was a shoddy excuse for a review. Crap like this is why people still don't take Internet journalism seriously.
Jack Phenton / August 6, 2013 at 03:55 pm
Incredibly frustrating that the Nightbox, Palma Violets, and Girl Talk sets were all ruined by terrible audio. If you're standing in the fourth row front and centre, you should not have to strain to hear the vocals or music playing - WTF. The left speaker kept popping in and out during the Girl Talk set for f$#% sake. Really pathetic.

Little Fury / August 6, 2013 at 04:31 pm
Cute that they are letting little kids do gig reviews now.

"Luckily I had found a sweet spot where I could actually clap over my head. I clapped quite a bit because it was really good. Then I saw a really big bumblebee, so I had to follow it. Then I went potty."
sage / August 6, 2013 at 04:44 pm
wow. that sounds really boring, your sarcasm is especially wonderful... really, this review is terrible. it sounds like a review from another toronto too-cool-for-everything hipster and not a music reviewer.
AK / August 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm
Phoenix was electric from the start. I basically went to see Girl Talk, Hot Chip and Phoenix and (having paid good money) I'll say it was still worth it.
Sam / August 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm
So glad I got into this for free because I wouldn't have paid for it otherwise. I was only there to watch Phoenix and maybe Girl Talk. Hot Chip and Earl Sweatshirt however, really impressed me. For the short set time for headliner Phoenix, they were epic. I'd pay to see them next time.
ebrench replying to a comment from Drew / August 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm
What nonsense @Drew. I liked the fact that he wrote about what it felt like to be there as opposed to what you might have expected out of a white bread concert review. Go eat a peach.
EricSupporter / August 7, 2013 at 12:46 am
To all the hater's of this reviewer and his review, I want to say that I think his review is as ridiculous as these rock fests are, so good on him for reflecting the idiocy of these boring little festivals with his style. Go read your Rolling Stone or Pitchfork or whatever, Erichaters! Your festivals don't matter and neither do you. They are the most predictable bit of wank since the latest rom-com.
AV replying to a comment from Derek / August 7, 2013 at 07:54 am
Derek... you lied. No OVO review by the end of yesterday. Promises promises....
piper / August 7, 2013 at 11:39 am
This concert was a rip off. Girl Talk, Hot Chip, and Pheonix were great...but waiting around all day on dirty mulch, paying $4 for water, sober because paying $11 for a bud light is ridiculous, and standing around in hour long lines *at dinner time* for food is ridiculous.
The vibe in the audience was awful. I have never been to a concert where so many miserable and cranky people were.
One entrance/exit was frustrating and leaving like cattle through wire hallways was unnecessary.
And why the giant jagermeister in the middle of the floor?
Why the Canadian Club tent in the middle of the floor?
This was so poorly organized. I would not go back, even if tickets were free.
jer / August 7, 2013 at 01:49 pm
Every concert should be required to provide free water re-fill stations. Been to a few events now with them and it makes sense. Keep people hydrated and less issues with medical problems/etc.
bryce / August 7, 2013 at 01:52 pm
no offense to those taking offense with this review... but Frank Yang has been covering music and shows in Toronto longer than most of you have been trolling the internet ...

not sure what there is to complain about in this review ... ?

ps. has been doing great work for more than 10 years ! Long time reader and fan ...
jer replying to a comment from bryce / August 7, 2013 at 03:24 pm
Only the photos are by Frank Yang. The review is by Eric Boshart
bryce replying to a comment from jer / August 7, 2013 at 07:00 pm
i stand corrected...
Dimitry c / August 8, 2013 at 05:33 pm
1. Water taken away at the door(only to be sold back to me at $3)
2. $11 beer
3. People seemed to be in a foul mood because of 1 and 2

I wont be going back next year

Frej Dar / August 18, 2013 at 09:43 am
I don't know if this event was actually lame or not, but after reading this, it sounded like the shittiest festival ever.
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