Goddamned I love the Fringe Festival. I think its better than the jazz fest, but only marginally so. I love its lack of pretense, its rootsiness, the communal spirit. Jazz fest brings in big names and its a huge party of one kind. But Fringe is so much closer to my own heart. I similarly enjoy the infringement festival because of its commitment to artistic tolerance and rejection of corporate sponsorship by any questionable companies. However, let's stick to the topic... tonight's freebie show at Parc d'Amerique.
I wish I lived in the Plateau. Granted, St. Henri is where its at if you have punk, anti-authoritarian leanings and embrace street cred as an asset. But, if I ever get married and have puppies, I want to live in the Plateau with the other liberal artists of the world. Why? So I can take my pack of brats to the Fringe festival free concerts and let them play and run while the good beautiful creative people stand around, drink beer, and listen to kick ass music in the heart of the city. This jovial event is family friendly, neighborhood friendly, artist friendly, introvert friendly, queer friendly, trans-whatever friendly, and you name it friendly. Everyone is all smiles, smiles, as Mr Rourk would say on Fantasy Island. Actors and actresses put flyers in your hand begging you to see their productions. It's a great vibe and a pleasure to attend.
As for tonight's two freebies, Lake of Stew followed by the sizzling United Steelworkers of Montreal, I was psyched as all get go to be there. Both bands fall pretty squarely under the roots genre, which means they have country leanings, but tend towards rock IMHO. I've seen both play before, and was by no means disappointed to see this well chosen complimentary pair. Lake of Stew is a little more sprawling and lacks the gritty character that gives the United Steelworkers so much charisma. Not to complain -- they are a fine band, but perhaps more sedate then I enjoy. As for the United Steelworkers, they put on a big, fun, balls out show. Its impossible not to like them, with their northern version of southern charm. I sometimes find it hard to believe that so many different types of quality artists are bred in the same city. Must be the constant exposure to quality entertainment in all arts areas.