The Long and Short of It :: Up + Downtown 2015 Festival Highlights

The pizza, the party, and the place. Here are Victoria’s UP+DT Highlights:

The Venue

Brixx/Starlite Room If you’ve never been in the Brixx/Starlite building, it’s a trip – Brixx feels a dingy punk basement, complete with low ceilings and dark side booths. Definitely conducive to a punk/experimental vibe. Leave Brixx behind the stage and walk up a few sets of stairs and you’ll arrive at the Starlite Room – spacious and grand with high ceilings, two levels for watching shows, and a high stage. Sound was spot on.

The Party

Nik 7 and Humans at the Common (Friday, October 9) – Well, if you want to know where all the hip young cats in Edmonton go to be hip and young, the Common is where you want to head. This show sold out in advance, and we got in by the skin of our teeth. Inside, it’s a minimal open concept space with a wide bar. Not sure if it was set up for this show only or if it’s a regular attraction, but there was a giant bulbous cloth structure with blinking lights behind the DJ table. It was bizarre, and yes, it was fucking cool. The place was packed shoulder to shoulder as Nik 7 was spinning really slick beats. Humans got on just past 12:15 and they were great. They performed with a more spontaneous sound than can be found on their record Noontide – super intuitive and rhythmic. As predicted, super fun dance times to kick off the festival. Highly recommend checking out either act at your earliest convenience.

The Late Night Eats

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza beside Brixx – This might be the greatest spot ever to grab a quick slice. I have a deep deep love for late night street meat, and I was almost swayed to the ‘zza side by this little haunt. Go get plastered and then eat here.

The Daytime Programming

Beaver Hill House Park, Produce in the Park (Saturday October 10)- Produce in the Park was the most pleasant surprise of the weekend – seven hours of live, local, electronic music in Beaver Hill House Park, complete with tall trees for shade on a hill with multiple vantage points and sitting areas, and a chill beer garden. Rather than being background noise, this event brought together community members and festival goers alike. Families were sitting nearby (young ones dancing) and folks were leisurely coming and going. This was seriously great introduction to discover some of Edmonton’s finest producers.

The Experimental Stuff

Jessica Moss and Jerusalem in My Heart (Saturday, October 10)- “Thank you for taking a chance on the alternative show tonight,” she said before she began her set. Jessica Moss performed a 24-minute solo violin piece. It was heartbreaking and beautiful. Mostly violin based, she used a loop pedal and did some vocal work. She was selling a tape at the gig, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t pick it up. Jerusalem in My Heart was onstage shortly thereafter. This was a stunning performance of staggering emotional weight – it was unsettling and engrossing. Read Robin and Daniel’s thoughts.

The Band

Ought – Ought was the band I was most looking forward to seeing this weekend, and they did not disappoint. Playing at the Rocky Mountain IceHouse with Mancub and the Allovers on Sunday night, they mostly played tunes from the new record as well as a few favourites from More Than Any Other Day. As a whole, they were super tight. Lead vocalist Tim Darcy is a captivating frontman and the group operates like clockwork – in time, conscious of each, making things look effortless. 


Victoria King (@tallwinnipegkid)