Everything You Missed at Wayhome This Weekend
Solange, Frank Ocean, and more
It’s been a weekend full of flag boomerangs, fanny packs and crossing-your-fingers-that-Frank-Ocean-shows-up—but we finally made it! And while I’m happy to return to my duvet cover and my hot water (like, really happy), I would have been willing to stick out my sleeping bag and dry shampoo for more time at Wayhome.
If you couldn’t make it to Wayhome 2017, you’ll want to know what you missed. And if you did make it to the three-day music fest, you’ll want to reminisce about the great times we had. Here are the highlights from the weekend.
For those (like me) who went through their indie phase in 2011, The Shins and Foster The People each brought a flood of nostalgia, while The Naked and Famous and Phantogram surprised skeptics (also me) with full sets of familiar music. You think you don’t know an artist, and then you find yourself singing along to every single song: this might be the most beautiful thing about a music festival.
As a pseudo-rock fan, Cage the Elephant was the biggest surprise of the day. I had no idea what I was in for from the American rock band—or more specifically from its Mick Jager-eque lead singer, Matt Shultz. He had SO. MUCH. ENERGY. And fire, confetti, and incredible dancing. A long nap was required after this performance for everyone involved—audience included.
Unfortunately, there was no time for a nap. Headliner Flume took to the main stage next, and it wasn’t exactly a show you wanted to sit down in the field for. The bass was heavy and the lights were bright as the DJ and producer delivered a full set of popular (and dare I say overplayed) electronic-pop songs, from 2016’s summer anthem “Never Be Like You,” to his career-making remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court”.
The electronica love kept flowing over at the WayBright stage, where French duo Justice “took the crowd to church.” Moving LED panels hung over the stage like skylights and lazers shone into the audience, making for a truly transformative experience. Stage theatrics doesn’t get much better than this.
Friday was full of feel good moments, and the high energy performances set the bar high for the rest of the weekend.
Montreal model-turned-artist Charlotte Cardin started off the day at WayBright stage, delivering a shy charm and powerful vocals. Those who were hearing the 22-year-old spiritual successor to Amy Winehouse for the first time were in the audience taking notes for when they were back on Wi-Fi and could download Cardin’s debut EP, Big Boy. After the jazzy electro-pop performance, Toronto’s rocky electro-pop duo The Darcy’s took the stage. Equipped with pink palm trees and a blow up swan, The Darcy’s brought enthusiasm, energy and a whole lot of colour to the stage. Lead singer (and guitarist), Jason Couse, broke his arm two days before the festival, but brought a cast covered in sequins and his best air guitar to fill the void.
The sun shone bright into the afternoon, but Schoolboy Q kept things cool on the WayHome main stage wearing toque and a jacket for his performance. Between playing his own hits (“Collard Greens” and “Hands on the Wheel”), Q showed love to fellow Top Dawg Entertainment member, Kendrick Lamar, by covering “HUMBLE” and “M.A.A.D City.” Weekend trend alert: no matter how famous you are, know that nothing draws in a crowd like a Kendrick song.
Over at WayBright, Toronto native Jazz Cartier put on an equally ~*hype*~ show for his hometown fans. And in case you were doubting his Canadiana loyalty: from the stage, Cartier announced he wanted to perform his final song from atop a poutine food truck. And then he actually did.
I thought that watching the crowd chase Cartier across a field was going to be the highlight of my weekend — and then the 24-year-old rapper dove OFF THE TOP OF THE TRUCK ONTO THE CROWD. He somehow survived the jump, broke away from the mobbing fans, flung himself over the fence, and then disappeared into the mysterious abyss. Watching the security guards frantically try to protect the rogue artist was also extremely entertaining.
Vance Joy played next at WayHome, but I sacrificed hearing “Riptide” for the 110000x for a front row spot at Solange. It was the decision everyone should have made. We’ve always known that the Knowles family radiates light and perfection, but Solange’s 2016 album A Seat at the Table took her to the next level. Nobody is calling her Beyoncé’s little sister anymore (though they might now call her Beyoncé’s cooler sister.) The retro choreography, the monochromatic red aesthetic, the pure passion – the whole thing was perfect. Backstage after the show, I yelled, “I love you so much” to Solange and she replied, “awe thank you.” This was the peak of my Wayhome weekend, and potentially the peak of my life.
Next came the headliner that everyone from Barrie seemed most excited for. TBH, before Saturday the only thing I knew about Imagine Dragons was that my parents are obsessed with them. So obviously, I thought they were super lame. It’s frustrating when parents are right. As mentioned above, the best thing about festivals is discovering you’re actually super into the things you say you hate. I mean, aside from scream singing the lyrics and flailing my body in a massive crowd, I don’t know where I’d listen to the music—but for the time and the place it was perfect.
Let’s be honest, the only thing that mattered on Sunday was Frank Ocean. Two hours before the festival gates opened, people were waiting to be first in line for his highly hyped screen-printed merch. But even those waiting five hours for a t-shirt with his face on it were wondering: would Frank (who’s been a no-show at a number of scheduled performances this year) actually show up?
Frank Ocean did show up, which was honestly enough for most people. The recluse R&B star could have stood there for two hours and I’m pretty sure 1/2 the audience still would have cried. He put on an intimate, tender and emotional show…when honestly I kind of just wanted to dance around and have fun. Ocean strayed from Channel Orange’s blockbusters, which have more of a pop structure, and instead played the introspective songs from his new album, Blonde. The set was beautiful, honest, authentic, and had stunning visuals, but watching from a raised platform I missed out on the intimacy. At first I felt like maybe he was uncomfortable, and maybe he didn’t want to be there—but then he said “I’m still getting the hang of being in front of so many people,” and I really just wanted to hold his hand and give him a hug. Maybe ending the high-energy, feel good weekend on a mellow note was fitting: it’s Monday morning, and I’m lonely/angsty/unhappy in my post-Wayhome mood—and Frank Ocean is the only thing I feel like listening to.