Yep Rock 15 Night 2
If Thursday night's bill leaned towards singer-songwriters, Friday night was primarily a rock and roll showcase. Jeannette was saving her energy for Saturday night (and John Doe) so I went solo. By the time I found a place to park, I'd missed Mayflies USA but was there in time for the rest of the bill. The room wasn't quite as crowded from the start as it had been the night before, so I was able to make my way close to the stage for the first couple of acts, neither of which I was at all familiar with. Cheyenne Marie Mize was relatively interesting but not really my cup of beer. Josh Rouse had a number of fans there and was relatively interesting (sort of Paul Simon-ish) but somewhat low-energy for rock night. The obvious fan favorite was Sloan - who knew after the demise of Nortel that there were so many Canadians still around the Triangle? Maybe it was the overly-hot audio mix but I found them pretty forgettable. There was really nothing there to differentiate them from a thousand other bands. But they had a lot of fans.... who all walked out as soon as their set was done, sucking whatever energy there was out of the room just in time for Liam Finn.
Finn was the act I was most interested in seeing Friday - I didn't know anything about him other than his relationship with the Finn Brothers from Split Enz (son and nephew) but I'd checked out a couple of his songs and thought he'd be pretty good. I'm guessing (and too lazy to look it up) that he's one of those guys that plays most/all of the instruments on his recordings, which can be a challenge when you're playing a (mostly) solo show. He did a pretty credible job of using repeaters and other electronic tricks to create a "band" - I'm interested enough to check out some of his recordings.
Fountains of Wayne was the headliner - they're another one of those bands that people whose music tastes I greatly admire really like but I've just never developed any attachment to them (see also They Might Be Giants and Robyn Hitchcock). I hear their stuff and think it's okay but it's never anything I'll seek out. That was pretty much my takeaway from the half set I stayed for Friday. They were very competent but that was about it.
Thursday night was very collaborative and very collegial with people coming out and playing with other bands and covering each others' work - very high-energy. Friday night was a bunch of bands playing their stuff - normally that would have been enough but frankly it was a bit of a let-down after the night before.