Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω
Canadian rock icon Matthew Good headlined a stripped down, acoustic day at Sun Peaks Resort with Victoria’s Vince Vaccaro, Qualicum Beach’s Wil and Vancouver’s Stef Lang.
Headliner Matthew Good is one of the essentials in Canadian rock over the last 20 years. No longer the skinny lead singer of an angry quartet, the man has matured. While there is evidence in the albums, it’s more evident on stage. Totally comfortable in front of 3,000 people at the peak, he opened with the classic “Strange Days” and proceeded bouncing between his band’s material, his solo work and an at-ease back-and-forth with the audience.
With a stiff drink, Good shared a meandering series of thoughts between songs, at one point stopping for a smoke obtained from the crowd which resulted in him nearly being hit by a lighter thrown by an overly excited fan from 50 feet away.
It was an interesting chance to see an artist sometimes known as arrogant and pretentious being himself on stage, with an attitude that suggested he was playing a few songs for friends instead of an incredibly varied demographic sitting on the side of a ski hill.
Vince Vaccaro started the day off completely alone, just himself and a six string guitar opening the festivities. In bright red plaid with a wilting mohawk he looked like a punk rocker on his day off. Vaccaro’s performance was more akin to a busker, playing with energy and force despite the lack of accompaniment. A spotty attendance early in the day didn’t slow Vaccaro, who stayed upbeat playing a selection of indie acoustic songs. His performance was aided by the fact many of his songs originate with an acoustic guitar.
Wil took up the cause as a duo, with Wil Mimnaugh bringing drummer Kevin Haughton along. An experienced pair, Wil’s genre lands more in the folksy rock area, with a heavy, stomping, up-tempo rhythm and a guitar with occasional twang in its driving chords. With crazy strings hanging off the end of his guitar, and a great beard, the performance injected energy into the growing crowd. Mimnaugh looked like a man enthusiastically passionate about playing the music and appreciative of the crowd’s attention.
By the time Stef Lang, wearing extraordinary pants, had set up on stage with a laptop on a stool, there was an interesting mix of people before her, with day trippers, vacationing families, permanent residents and the financially well-off travellers expected at a resort. With a Nelly Furtado-esque style and songs themes ranging from bad break-ups to critiques on society’s ideal attractive woman, Lang seemed a pop rock pleaser, playing to a broad crowd. She relied on the laptop for rhythm and to fill out her sound.
An outdoor stage at the base of the ski hill offered audience members the option of a free general admission area or a ticketed VIP section directly in front. With such a large free area for people to set up blankets and chairs right next to the centre of Sun Peaks, the day took on a festival feel with the first musician on stage at 1 p.m. and Good leaving around 7:45 p.m.