Midge of Coach Longlegs Journals Her Sled Island Experience

NOTE: Sled Island is a music festival that has taken place in Calgary, Alberta since 2007. Not to be confused with Shed Island, a festival which debuts in St. John’s, Newfoundland August 2014.

Midge and Dave of Coach Longlegs

Midge and Dave of Coach Longlegs

In true Coach Longlegs fashion, the friends we made at Sled Island come before the music. Chris Scott (bass) had arranged to stay with Matt from the band Stalwart Sons, while I had already made plans to stay with Nicolas from the band La Luna. Little did we know, Matt and Nicolas actually live together, and a whole bunch of us ended up having a great time the entire week.

On Monday, things started up when we heard from Solids and Animal Faces who were driving through from Edmonton en route to play a show in Lethbridge. Before I knew it, Chris and I were hopping into a van with Louis, Xavier (from Solids), and their driver/our new pal, Vincent.  Our trip to Lethbridge can be summarized with watching Family Values Tour ’98, free pizza, a post-pizza dessert hunt, pool, a volcano vaporizer, and Mario Kart.

Back in Calgary, Dave Barclay (drums) arrived in the city. Chris and I met up with Dave at his brother’s (very modern) house. The first order of business was to drive up to Edmonton to play a show with Book of Caverns (AB), NEEDS (BC), and The Greater Wall (BC). We walked down Whyte Ave, through people who contantly asked Chris for weed (a theme of our trip), and wasted time before our show at the Bob Marley-themed tiki bar Cha Island. The best part of the night was hearing some of (former owner of the infamous venue/bar, Wunderbar) Craig Martell’s jokes for his comedy set at Sled.

Midge and Chris pose with Chris's Uncle

Midge and Chris pose with Chris’s Uncle

Chris’ uncle came to our show and we stayed at his insane house in some insane Edmonton suburb. Chris’ uncle, a self-proclaimed “grungy motherfucker”, was a big Coach Longlegs supporter who also claims that his Fort Mac work-crew love our song “Give a shit” and often quote the chorus.

By the time we returned to Calgary, Sled Island had already begun.


The first show I attended was the Local 510 evening show with Cold Water, Kevin Stebner’s alt-country band. Kevin’s haunting voice and the instrumental accompaniment distinguished this from your average Keith Urban.

After that show we went to Broken City where Tigerwing, Wicked Healing, Each Other, and U.S. Girls played. This was one of my favourite shows of the festival because everyone got REALLY into US Girls set.

Before she started playing, I drunkenly went over to her at her merchandise table and started the conversation by saying that I saw her at Lawnya Vawnya III and that we have the same name. She didn’t seem too enthusiastic about talking to me so I bought the last of the five tapes she made herself. She told me the J-cards were made from a book of homemade face-lifts techniques.


I started the morning with a free mojito, free tacos and chips with guacamole courtesy of Mint Records at The Commonwealth where I saw Supermoon, Renny Wilson, and Tough Age play. One of the album covers Dave designed was in their distro so Randy Iwata took his photo with it — Dave is truly in the biz.

Supermoon were great and they reminded me of east coast female fronted bands like Very Okay and made me want to fulfill me life long dream of starting an all girl band. Renny Wilson had such a great 70’s sound and his vocals reminded me of Colin Blundstone from The Zombies. He also played our show at The Legion later on in the evening. I remember talking to him about Catan a lot.

Our show at the Legion is definitely on the imaginary top-ten-shows-I’ve-ever-played list. When we were loading up our gear in The Legion some people were setting up downstairs so I asked the first person I saw how to get upstairs and it turns out it was Dan Deacon, himself. The Legion had a green room where we got free beer and got to talk to all the other bands.

Midge croons onstage with Coach Longlegs, Sled Island 2014

Midge croons onstage with Coach Longlegs, Sled Island 2014

Our set was like most other Coach Longlegs set, but what really made it special was seeing my new friends from Calgary pile in with Louis, Xavier, and the guys from Animal Faces. For me, what makes the best shows is the company it’s shared with.

Afterwards, Chris ran over to Broken City for the Solids and Animal Faces sets. As many of you know, Solids and Animal Faces can really get the crowd moving. I stood behind Louis, overcome with joy as I watched people wiggle and jump to the sounds of one my favourite bands. Chris ripped his shorts, I took selfies with Kevin, and we had post-show 7 Eleven nachos while Chris was on the verge of vomiting, and it was all followed by a household dance-party. Solids and Animal Faces ended up crashing with us too, which led to two nights of having nine or ten people crash in a small Calgary basement in the middle of summer. It smelt rank.

CL's Chris Scott rocks out to Solids at Sled Island, 2014

CL’s Chris Scott rocks out to Solids at Sled Island, 2014


On Saturday we played our second show at the Local 510 Hangover Brunch with Heaven For Real, The Younger Lovers, and BA Johnston. I was very much hung-over for the show. Heaven For Real were really good but I left after our set and regrettably missed The Younger Lovers. Before I left I got to meet the drummer (who is also a member of Sourpatch!). I left to catch the Touché Amoré show and when I arrived an Icelandic hardcore band called Icarus was playing. The singer was super involved in the set and jumped from of the PA stack. They were good but the guitar tones just reminded me of CBS power-metal. After their set, our host, Nicolas’ emo/hardcore band La Luna (formerly Brain Fever) played — their self-titled was the first record I ever bought. Vanessa, the vocalist, called every girl up to the front in true Kathleen Hanna style (she was the fest guest curator) so another new friend, Veronica, and I got right up in there.

I skipped out on Touché Amoré (for the second time in my life) and met up with the guys in Solids and Animals Faces to check out the White Lung and Spiritualized show at Olympic Plaza. While Zach and I were sitting down waiting for the show to start, this little kid came over to us; he didn’t have any shoes on and his finger was in his nose for the better part of his short visit. He asked what our names were and if he could smell Zach’s armpit. It was a really strange encounter.

After night time beers next to Central Memorial Park’s multicolour water-fountain, we all went to the Legion show. Screaming Females, The Younger Lovers, and Obits played downstairs while Roman Polanski’s Baby and Mindtroll played upstairs. The Younger Lovers stage banter was topnotch and their hooks just sounded like summer. When I first started looking for punk bands with rad women I downloaded Screaming Females but totally forgot about them and kept confusing them with Violent Femmes. When they started playing “It All Means Nothing” the lyrics came out of my mouth with startling ease.

After their set I went upstairs to catch Mindtroll whose sound is really unique and costumes were awesome. Their drummer added me on Twitter and said that she couldn’t stop playing one of our songs! After their set I went back downstairs to catch Obits, which was good, but mediocre at best in comparison to their recent Lawyna Vawnya appearance, with a serious lack of crowd participation. It could have had to do with how intoxicated they were during that memorable LV set. I ended up having a conversation with Rick about their show in Newfoundland and he said that it was “the most drunk I’ve ever been and I’m 46”. He asked me what parties were happening after the show but I just shrugged and he gave me a hug. Chris was disappointed that I didn’t invite him back to the party at our host-house.


Sunday was our last full day in Calgary. A bunch of us went to Clive burger once last time. Matt and I shared a strawberry shake and we all sat in the grass in the sketchy park nearby. We walked back to the house to relax after a very exhausting weekend. We ordered pizza, made a bunch of vines and watched the Lego movie. It was a really great way to spend our last day in town.

Now that I’ve returned a lot of people ask me “how was tour?” Although it was just three shows in Alberta and barely a tour, I’ve embraced the fact that it was close enough. A tour is about making lifelong friendships with people from different places and sharing your music and art with one another. Other than the whole ‘playing a show every night in a different city’, I think our trip to Sled Island was a great tour.

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