On a vibrant Wednesday night, the stage at Harris Park in London, Ontario was graced by a cavalcade of musical maestros as part of the opening salvo for RBC Rock The Park, running from July 12-15, 2023. Each act, from the explosive Trews to the mellifluous Bahamas, the intimate Vance Joy, and the barnstorming headliner, Mumford and Sons, lit the summer sky with an electrifying mix of melody and rhythm.
Setting the tone, The Trews ignited the crowd with a selection of twelve dynamic performances. With an electrifying rendition of their opening number, “Tired of Waiting,” to the lyrical waves of “Hope & Ruin,” and “I Wanna Play,” the Canadian rock group presented a high-energy musical canvas. The highlight, a new song “The Bloody Life,” performed in collaboration with The Glorious Sons, particularly stirred the crowd. The set, concluding with the anthemic “Hold Me in Your Arms,” underscored why the Trews’ opening act was an illustrious addition to the festival’s 19-year history.
As the dust from the Trews’ raucous set settled, Bahamas, the brainchild of Alfie Jurvanen, brought a contrasting yet equally enchanting energy. Despite the unusual set timing, his folk-infused rock subtly warmed the audience with hits like “Trick to Happy,” and “Own Alone,” bringing a distinct dimension to the festival’s narrative. The closing track, “Wisdom of the World,” underscored the unique sonic layer that Bahamas brought to the festival landscape.
The musical rollercoaster then continued with Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy. His earnest lyricism and engaging performance style carried the audience into a space of intimacy and collective enjoyment. Opening with “Missing Piece” and continuing with fan-favorites like “Mess Is Mine,” and “Saturday Sun,” Joy’s set was a captivating journey of storytelling and emotion. The crowd-pleaser, “Riptide,” served as a memorable high point, demonstrating the enduring power of his songcraft.
The crowning act of the evening was the globally renowned Mumford and Sons. The group’s fusion of folk music with anthemic rock brought a dynamic close to the opening night of the festival. From the opening number, “Babel,” to the crowd-favorite “Little Lion Man,” and the poignant “Guiding Light,” each song echoed the band’s blend of intensity and sensitivity. A memorable moment unfolded when the band paused their performance of “Guiding Light” to attend to a fan’s needs, epitomizing their dedication to their audience.
Mumford and Sons’ closing set, which included a tour debut of “Dust Bowl Dance” and ended with the encore of the wildly popular “Awake My Soul” and “I Will Wait,” manifested their global appeal and proved why they remain a powerhouse on the festival circuit.
The first day of RBC Rock The Park showcased a rich palette of performances, as electrifying as they were diverse. As the echoes of Mumford and Sons’ closing number faded into the night, one could only wonder what the remaining three days held in store, but the bar was set – high and resounding, just like the chords that filled Harris Park on this unforgettable night.
For more on RBC Rock The Park, visit: rockthepark.ca.
RBC Rock The Park
July 12-15, 2023
All photos by Dan Savoie
Rock The Park Wednesday 2023