Tall Pines Music & Arts Festival: Emerging Artists

Tall Pines Music & Arts Festival: Emerging Artists

With eighteen Canadian acts performing on the Tall Pines stage across two days, you had to arrive early afternoon if wanting to catch some of the emerging artists found on the bill. Once the final schedule was released, I found myself circling the 3:15pm slots for both days as a pair of artists not to be missed. Curious about (and not at all familiar with) Toronto band Misty Blue (Friday), and wanting to catch up finally with our pal Vikki Minor (Saturday), we’ve condensed both artists into this recap today.

Misty Blue

With a 25-minute set, Toronto band Misty Blue brought an energetic and refreshing mix of indie-folk music and pop-music sensibilities, demonstrating chemistry and cohesion that far exceeded their short few years together.  My initial curiosity about this band intensified quickly when a sizeable gathering of attendees flocked to the stage area, many sporting Misty Blue t-shirts – and after a stunning six-track performance, their pre-show buzz proved fully warranted.

Opening with a pretty upbeat number, lead vocalist Ally gave her vocal pipes a workout from the off-set, backed by regular band-mates Jake (guitar), Matias (bass), Ben (drums), and guest guitarist Keo (sic). Progressing immediately into their latest single, “Runaway” (released the same day), Ally dedicated the tune as a song for lost souls. “Alright folks, we’re gonna slow things down a little,” Ally offered as the song drew to a close. “This next song is called Won’t Wait.

Misty Blue

In the blink of an eye, Misty Blue transitioned from all out pop-rock to a softer, melodic pop-ballad designed to tug at the heartstrings. Splitting lead vocals with Matias brought an extra element to this exceptional moment too, before a lengthy instrumental pause ultimately returned the five musicians to their earlier pace – Ally’s vocal cries during this particular tune reminding me a little of Dolores O’Riordan – not a comparison I make lightly.

Drawing their set to a close with “Red Sweater,” described by Ally as a very special song, as it was their first song recorded as a full band, these 25-minutes seemed to fly by.  Fortunately, for those of us craving more from this band, the trio of Ally, Jake, and Matias were invited to perform on the smaller stage as part of the Cottage Comfort Series – and would deliver acoustic versions of “Runaway,” “Red Sweater,” and their debut single, “Mountain Times.”

Set List:

  1. Total Dream (sic)
  2. Runaway
  3. Won’t Wait
  4. *Unknown Title*
  5. Sun Top
  6. Red Sweater

Vikki Minor

With an identical start time and 25-minute set on Saturday, Saskatoon, SK (and recent Toronto transplant) alt-pop artist Vikki Minor brought an equivalent amount of on-stage energy too. No stranger here at GDW, some may recall our features from a couple of years ago covering Vikki’s single releases under a prior moniker, velours – making it extra special to hear some of those tunes performed at Tall Pines.

Performing as a trio, Vikki was joined by friends Ivan (guitar) and Zach (drums), who collectively shifted the music from a familiar electro synth-pop sound to a festival appropriate pop-rock affair – something noticed immediately once the band launched into “Tell Me.” The synths and studio effects may have been replaced, but with her distinct vocals and stage presence, this was vintage Vikki Minor.

Vikki Minor

Two summers ago, we featured Vikki’s single “Whatever That Means,” and if you are familiar with the music video that accompanies the song, you will have made the connection to Vikki’s acknowledgment of celebrating Pride month. Following a very short pause, the recognizable vocal chant that precedes “Running Up That Hill” signaled the arrival of Vikki’s incredible cover of this timeless Kate Bush hit – one that has seen a new lease of life thanks to the popularity of both tiktok and the Netflix original series, Stranger Things.

“We love you Vikki,” came a cry from the crowd following her powerful performance of this 1985 hit, “I love you too, random citizen,” her ad-hoc response. Taking time to discuss the inspiration for “Flowers In A Wasteland,” Vikki would address the audience before her. “This is another original of mine, and is basically about when you know when you are in love with someone,” she shared. “It doesn’t have to be romantic love, but it’s like a person you want to spend every moment with. You wanna just waste your time with them, it doesn’t matter what you wanna do.”

Set List

  1. Tell Me
  2. Good Boy
  3. Whatever That Means
  4. Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover)
  5. Flowers In A Wasteland
  6. Miss You The Most

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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