Getting Feisty on Canada Day

Harbourfront Centre
July 1, 2005
What a good show! To say one of Canada's greatest exports is feisty would be a foolish, clich»d understatement. Suffice then to say, the powerful headlining performer I witnessed on the CIBC stage on Friday night IS Feist. How is it that Leslie is so aptly named? I had no idea she was so tiny!

Appearing first in the back up percussion trio while Broken Social Scene alumni Apostle of Hustle wowed with the opening set, Feist herself officially took the stage at about 9:30. Andrew Whiteman had done a good job of setting the tone and requesting audience participation, with a set reminiscent of his recent Kensington Market show. The crowd really enjoyed the flamenco percussionist's tap shoes, although I suspect it was her grand dance they were responding to, as the sound didn't really travel. I loved how the i-forget-what-a-box-drum-thing is called sounded, and that fact that you often could hear double duty as Feist, or one of her two musical companions, seems to travel with one as well.

Speaking of travel, Feist had just come in from Ottawa, where she'd had the pleasure of performing with "a real spitfire," Kathleen Edwards. Pot, meet kettle. Apparently on Canada Day in Ottawa, the entire town is converted into beer tents and the party gets underway about noon, which certainly gives the Harbourfront Extravaganza some competition in my book for next year. Feist also met that day for the first time, Ron Sexsmith. Before performing Secret Heart, she shared with us that she had been scared to send her cover of his song to him after she recorded it, but how she could now treasure his apparent approval since she had been able to perform it with him -- he had joined her during her set for that very number!

My favourite parts of the show were the audience-sing-along bits. A very major aspect of the show, since for various songs she would sing us our lines and gesture at us until we were doing it loud enough for her satisfaction. Fans knew to expect it, and were ready to sing out loud, making good leaders. Others were not so familiar with the material, but joined in the choir also. She must have talented followers, since I found myself accidentally singing in harmony with the lady next to me and the man a row behind. It was awesome, a whole crowd joined in together in joyous participation. Feist would then go on and do other parts, the hard bits requiring expertise, including using some kind of play back feature through the second mic on her guitar. This girl really knows how to give 'er. I am grateful to Feist for the feist. Who doesn't need the inspiration?

Writer: Kim Logue

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