10 performances you need to see at Supercrawl 2017

Here are ten performances you absolutely need to see at Supercrawl this year.

From Pup to Basia Bulat, don't sleep on these shows

Circus Orange's fiery performance is set to once again light up the sky at Supercrawl 2017. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Supercrawl 2017 is almost upon us, as hordes of festivalgoers descend upon downtown Hamilton for the city's biggest free party.

There's a ton to see and do around James Street North this weekend, and we want to make sure you don't miss out on anything great.

Here are ten performances you need to see at Supercrawl this year.

John K. Samson

John K. Samson is one of Canada's most revered indie songwriters.

He's best known for his time in The Weakerthans, a band that pops up on countless best of lists across the country. Albums like Left and Leaving and Reconstruction Site are firmly imprinted in Canadian consciousness.

After the band's dissolution in 2015, Samson continued on as a solo artist, and released Winter Wheat last year.

That album features performances from some of his Weakerthans bandmates, and most live sets include at least a few classics from the band's catalogue — so you'll likely be able to shout "I Hate Winnipeg" at the top of your lungs on James North this weekend.

Samson plays on the City of Music/Exclaim stage at 11 p.m. on Saturday.


Fans of electronic music and R&B owe it to themselves to check out Toronto producer Harrison on the main stage Friday evening.

He's a brand new Juno Award winner, having taken home electronic album of the year honours for 2017.

Just check out this video for Right Hook — there's a throbbing, modern backbeat, fused with throwback eight-bit sounds. It's enough to get anyone dancing.

Harrison plays on the Hamilton International Airport Stage at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.


Pup's spastic punk rock energy is insanely infectious.

The band has toured internationally with mainstay pop punk acts like The Wonder Years and Tiny Moving Parts in recent years, and graced festival stages like Lollapalooza, Osheaga and Wayhome.

Even Rolling Stone has featured the band on a couple of occasions, proving they're drawing attention on both sides of the border.

Pup plays the City of Music/Exclaim Stage on Friday at 11 p.m.

Mother Tareka

Hamilton's Mother Tareka is a multi-talented MC, instrumentalist and producer.

He dabbles as a lyricist, flutist, saxophonist, drummer, pianist, poet and social activist. Tareka performs with a nine-piece funk, hip-hop and afrobeat band called The Rebel Funktion.

Many of his tunes are firmly rooted in themes of social justice, and come packaged with some seriously head-bobbing beats.

You can check out Mother Tareka on The Mohawk College stage on Friday at 9:45 p.m.

Tribal Vision

Tribal Vision is a First Nations dance group that brings the vivid imagery of Aboriginal culture and history to life.

The group has been part of big events like the Pan Am games, the ImaginNative Film Festival and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Tribal vision performs Friday at 7:15 p.m. on the Hamilton International Airport stage.

Circus Orange

Circus Orange has been a mainstay at Supercrawl for years. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Anyone who is a Supercrawl veteran knows about Circus Orange, but for the uninitiated: Circus Orange is a performance troupe that marries aerial circus arts with a ton of fire.

Their performances are usually among the best attended of the entire weekend, and you'll want to stake out a spot early to make sure you catch the action.

Circus Orange performs Saturday at 9 p.m. on the Tim Hortons Circus Stage, with a bonus rehearsal performance on Friday evening at 6 p.m.

Basia Bulat

Basia Bulat is a ferocious talent with a voice that just has to be heard.

She has been nominated for both Juno awards and the Polaris Music Prize, and is undoubtedly one of Canada's gems onstage.

Bulat performs on the Hamilton International Airport Stage on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Black Collar Union with the HPO

The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has made a point of collaborating with local musicians at Supercrawl, having performed with beatboxer Hachey The MouthPeace and indie-rock group The Medicine Hat in the past.

They're going a different route this year, and hooking up with local power trio Black Collar Union.

The band's up tempo, heavy rock doesn't immediately seem like a perfect fit for orchestral arrangements — and that's why this collaboration will no doubt prove so interesting. With the caliber of musicians performing here, there's little doubt they'll get it right.

Black Collar Union and the HPO perform on the Mohawk College Stage on Saturday at 6:15 p.m.

The Medicine Hat

And speaking of the Medicine Hat, you should definitely check them out at Supercrawl this year, even without the backing of an orchestra.

Nabi Sue Bersche's elegant vocals carry these tunes, and it's a great soundtrack to the last gasp of summer.

Check out The Medicine Hat on the City of Music/Exclaim stage on Sunday at noon.


Megative is a Brooklyn-based collective that plays in a dark, fluid dub style, drawing from the UK punk and reggae scenes of the late 1970s.

They feel like a band just on the cusp of something bigger, and fans of groups like Gorillaz and The Clash would do well to check them out.

Megative plays the Hamilton International Airport Stage on Saturday at 8 p.m.

For more information on Supercrawl, and the full lineup, visit Supercrawl.ca.



Adam Carter


Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.