Next door to The Buffalo Lounge was the M for/pour Montreal party, where Polaris Prize winner Karkwa (pictured) was playing. I stepped in and caught most of their set, which sounded like a French-speaking version of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" if that album wasn't so sad. The stately and important feel was there, as well as the vital energy missing from the previously mentioned album. Karkwa's whirling, complex soundscapes were anchored by guitar and pounding piano and augmented by two drummers, making for a very full, enveloping sound.
After grabbing some dinner and doing a quick interview, I hustled over to Geographer's set. They only played for twenty minutes and flipped the breaker three times with their songs, but it was incredible anyway. The lead singer's lithe, gorgeous voice propelled the tunes and set the audience to swooning. He played guitar and keyboards, while the other two guys held down cello/electronics and drum duties. Their swirling, easy set rode the line between dreamy and direct, finding an easy-going space in the middle. It's a sound that washes over you, and it was well-done. I just wish the venue had better electrical work, so we wouldn't have missed any seconds of their set due to power loss.
Leaving Sixth Street for the first time for the entire festival, I kicked it on out to Antone's to watch banjoist Abigail Washburn at my girlfriend's recommendation. Although she didn't play her banjo much (what's the use of being a celebrated banjoist if you don't play the thing?), she sang well and was incredibly enthusiastic about her band, her songs, her instruments and her new album. She excitedly explained that "City of Refuge" was "less folky" than material she formerly recorded, as she co-wrote it with more indie-minded musicians. (Drat.) Nevertheless, the set was enjoyable, if not what I expected.