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Over The Top Festival Launch

The organizers of the Over The Top Festival pulled together an outstanding line-up for this year's launch party at the Great Hall.

Sombre local talent Great Lake Swimmers opened to the cheers of the all-ages crowd. Tony Dekker is arguably one of the best singer-songwriters to come out of Toronto in recent years. He is a man of polar opposites, emotional and passionate, yet so shy that he avoided addressing the crowd until after the second song and then only said a few words.

The highlight of the night was Pitchfork's darlings, Akron/Family. This psychedelic bluegrass band from Brooklyn was a wild and crazy mix of Phish and John Belushi. The night reached its climax when the band left the stage one-by-one to start a ho-down in the middle of the Great Hall.

Headlining the night was Toronto's pride and joy Final Fantasy, backed up by a very talented string quartet. Owen Pallett looked more nervous than usual coming out on stage, and admitted that the Akron Family are a tough act to follow. Owen looked stressed the entire performance as he performed mostly new songs, tried to co-ordinate with the quartet and play instruments other than his trusty violin. Owen had an especially hard time with his father's harpsichord, which became out-of-tune due to the heat generated by the full house.

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Despite all those obstacles, Final Fantasy put on a powerful show with a much fuller and more layered sound than Owen's solo performances. This was by far the most experimental show I've seen by Final Fantasy. You have to give Owen credit for pushing himself and taking some risks on stage. It definitely kept things interesting.

The magic of the evening continued right to the end when Owen brought out the lovely Laura Barrett for a duet of her "Robot Ponies". The night came to a conclusion with a mesmerising cover of Bloc Party's "This Modern Love".

The Over the Top Festival is in its 5th year, and aims to showcase up & coming local talent alongside national and international acts, creating eclectic and interesting line-ups over the course of its 4-day run. The festival this year will run from May 4-7. The bands will be announced shortly, so stay tuned to www.overthetopfest.com for updates.

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Many thanks to Beth of Rock//Paper//Pixels for her help with the article and the use of her wonderful photos.

More photos available here: fotograf.416

Full Set-Lists:

Great Lake Swimmers:
1. Song for the angels (solo)
2. Lets trade skins
3. I saw you in the wild
4. Moving shaking
5. Moving pictures silent films
6. Cripple Creek
7. Falling into the sky
8. I will never see the sun

Akron/Family:
1. Moment
2. Running/Returning
3. Future Myth (the long drawn out song)
4. Love and Space (this is the song they went into the audience for)
5. Raising the Sparks

Final Fantasy:
1. Weakling Heart
2. Hey Dad
3. Illusion Song (the new song)
4. Song Song Song
5. That's When the Audience Died
6. The Sea
7. Furniture
8. The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead
9. Many Lives for 49 Mana Points
10. Please Please Please
11. Robot Ponies (encore - duet with Laura Barrett)
12. This Modern Love (encore - Bloc Party cover)


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