July 2, 2018
I was introduced to The Kents in early 2017 at hometown function celebrating arts, music and culture in small-town Ontario. There to represent what the region could offer, they performed a three-song medley that stamped their act indelibly in my music-blogger agenda. Originating from a high school music class project, Freddy, Warren and Luke dove into the music world after college. They solidified their sound with the addition of Peterborough drummer Tanner Pare and released a debut EP Waking in 2016. I met them shortly thereafter; I was smitten, an instant fan of their thoughtful, genuine anthems.
I was thrilled to learn they'd perform at this summers' Sound of Music Festival in Burlington ON Canada. On a last-minute whim, and after a heavy week of travel, work and photography in Los Angeles, I caught a flight to Toronto for the weekend. DRiFFt needed a taste of The Kents. The boys had graciously granted permission for me to join them at SOM. Woefully under-prepared (as every blog-worthy trip is), I hit LAX at 3am with camera bag and suitcases in tow.
Like a good journalist I sat on my grungy suitcase, lukewarm pre-dawn coffee-in-hand, waiting for a shuttle. In a sleep-deprived state, I find myself reflecting on how every published image is just a microsecond representing hours, days and weeks - of travel, work, communication, research, planning and contemplation. A little overwhelming. A microsecond condensing so much time, passion and hard work; on my behalf but more so on the behalf of the artists I photograph. I click through my galleries and Spotify The Kents' latest EP, reflecting on the unwavering talent, time and energy put into these songs. The microseconds we seize live end up in a meager static square. It's a melancholic, stomach-kicking moment; I wonder if the folk clicking through s Spotify playlist or an Instagram channel recognize just what goes into it.
And this, folks, is how I travel; thoughtfully listening, editing and obsessively reflecting on the inner workings of the music world. It's borderline pathological… but it's also the juggernaut that drives this blog. Thank god for a mid-flight glass of wine and an ensuing cup of Tim Horton's coffee when I land, fresh and eager, on Canadian soil. Don't judge.
In its' fifth year, Sound Of Music Festival has taken over the Burlington scene as the largest (and arguably most successful) free music series in Canada. Spanning ten days, it offer both free and ticketed concerts of a variety of genre. It draws crowds of thousands and has awoken a sleeping giant in the greater Toronto region. I'm personally nothing but grateful; appealing to such diverse crowds, and in a stunning waterfront location they tie together arts, music and culture into a huge annual blowout.
I check in for my media pass and take a stroll with some time to kill; it's a crisp sunny morning and the festival is perched along the waterfront promenade of Spencer Smith Park. Boats cut through the sparkling bay, shoreline and rocky beach spanning the length of the festival grounds. Towering stages are set at either end of a grassy midway offering festival games and rides, food trucks and an array of art, craft, technology and cultural tents. Drawing over 200,000 people every year, it serves a wide demographic and appeals to musical tastes ranging from Sublime to local rockers In My Coma.
I meet The Kents at the midway and accompany them camera-in-hand, as they set up and sound check. I realize that in all of my festival history, the folks running this event are the nicest, most genuinely accommodating and congenial staffers I've met. I should expect no less from our great white polite Canadian neighbors. I connect with other media and photographers and they, too, are chatty, friendly and accommodating. Our bustling, pointy-elbowed, attitude-riddled American photo pits could take a few pointers from these guys. It's nothing short of a dream photographing Sound Of Music Festival.
The Kents are ready to hit the stage, unleashing some new tunes early on (a treat) as they ramp up to some old favorites. They are musically methodical with a graceful, tempered fury. Indie rock that is full, flowing, relevant and thoughtful; punctured by soaring bridges with the power of a stadium-packing U2 anthem. Hints of glittery pop, riffs reminiscent of the Beach Boys, reverberations of My Morning Jacket and a foundation of gritty soulful rock. You find yourself drawn in by the genuine gentle honesty of this music, as Warren's vocal prowess and otherworldly lyrics lift the melody out over the bay. The Kents are just GOOD, damn good. It is genuine and reflective; not just music for the sake of noise. The Kents hit the Canadian music scene strong and it's only a matter of time before they're a household-name international act. You have been warned.
We get to Caroline (I Can't Explain) and I realize that I just can't explain how the world hasn’t caught on quite yet. I spend an indulgent moment selfishly relishing in the fact that for the time being, I can meet, interview and photograph these impeccable musicians (me, the little Independent nobody of the music blogging world). I relish in sharing with you a young and very promising band; one you'll be glad you heard about as they take over the Indie rock scene. So check out their music HERE and please, for the love of god, do not pass up the opportunity to see them live when they hit your town.
Here you'll find archived band, festival and concert stories... plus blog entries from Team dRiFFt as they travel, photograph, interview and adventure!