| August 17, 2011 | Comments (1,662)

There are some festivals you go to where music is the only thing that counts, and everything else is secondary. Then there are events where no matter how good the band(s) playing may be, the music is definitely an afterthought.The latter is a good way of summing up Toronto’s Festival of Beer, which in 2011 celebrated its 17th year of alcoholic experimentation. For beer lovers, the TFOB is a buzzingly brilliant concept, as it gives them the opportunity to sample as many as 120 different types of brews over three intoxicatingly awesome days.

I couldn’t be in Chicago for Lollapalooza, but the CNE Bandshell at Exhibition Place wasn’t a bad alternative, as Sunday August 7th marked the return to Toronto of Canada’s newest musical breakthrough, The Sheepdogs. With apologies to other indie up-and-comers like Dirty Mags and Poor Young Things, the day pretty much belonged to the four boogie rockin’ beardos from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In case you HAVE been living under a perpetual rock, these are the guys who won out over 15 other contenders to become the first ever unsigned band to grace the cover of Rolling Stone, “shearly” because of the incredible support they’ve garnered across the country over the past few months.

And that mutual love doesn’t look like it’s going to subside any time soon – Despite the occasionally pouring rain, the Beerfest attendees stood their ground and cheered madly for every song, from grooving opener ‘Who?’ to jams like ‘Southern Dreaming’ and ‘Learn & Burn’ to surpriseradio hit ‘I Don’t Know’ and finally ‘How Late, How Long.’It was as if we were back in 1989 watching The Who at venerable old CNE Stadium. You can keep the love going by buying their new EP Five Easy Pieceson iTunes. (And put Adele in her place!)

If that wasn’t enough, we also got The Trews, who now call Toronto home by way of Keith’s drinking Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Almost immediately after they took the Planters sponsored main stage, the clouds gave way to radiantly sweltering sunshine. Wearing a ‘Hey Ho, Let’s Go’ Ramones shirt, singer Colin MacDonald, his sometimes showboating guitarist brother John-Angus MacDonald and the rest of The Trews define energetic and anthemic to a T. Anyone who may have been feeling the least bit tipsy had no choice but to quickly sober up and sing along to familiar foot stompers ‘Not Ready to Go,’ ‘So She’s Leaving,’ and ‘Hold Me in Your Arms,’ as well as ‘The World, I Know’ and the title track from their still new but perpetually rocking album Hope & Ruin.

Click HERE for photos of THE SHEEPDOGS!

Click HERE for photos of THE TREWS!

- Text and live photos by Gille LeBlanc -
- Promo photo by Matt Dunlap -

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Photo Updates