Someone forgot to tell Hooded Fang that Saturday night was one of the coldest, wettest days this summer. As the frigid wind cut through the air, the band warmed the crowd at the Ottawa Folk Festival with one sunny, reverb-drenched tune after another.
Hooded Fang has undergone major sonic renovations since forming in 2007. Their debut EP and album (aptly named EP and Album respectively) tread familiar, but immediately likeable, indie pop territory. But their 2011 release, Tosta Mista, was a different beast entirely. By this time, the band had shed some members and lost the trumpets, the glockenspiel and the Morrisey-esque vocals. On first listen, you might swear that you’ve heard these pared down, hook-laden songs before. That’s because, even live, this material would fit well alongside The Ventures or Dick Dale.
On Saturday, the band drew a decent Folk Fest crowd that was composed of a few die-hard fans. The lawn chair crowd seemed to be holding it down at the Great Lakes Swimmers set, which played concurrently at the main stage, so those who were in the mood were free to dance and make a ruckus.
After greeting the crowd with a bad pun (“How the folk are you guys doing?”) the band treated us to a set composed mainly of that summery Tosta Mista material. Fans of their earlier work may have been disappointed, but the band was far too likeable to let that happen. Who wouldn’t love a band that borrowed their name from a children’s book by Mordecai Richler?
Despite the absence of their usual drummer, the band was kept tight by Young Mother’s Jesse Laderoute. As many of their songs clock in at less than three minutes, Hooded Fang blazed through their set with time to spare. The only disappointment of the evening was that when they were done, they had no other material to keep the show going. Even so, the band managed to put smiles on the faces of their long-time fans, and by the looks of it, managed to score some new ones too.
Folk Fest continues until Monday, September 10th. Stay tuned for more coverage of the festival.