Like a good portion of North America, Québec City has recently been experiencing record high temperatures. But the heatwave gave the historic Canadian city a break on July 6, the second day of the Festival d'été de Québec, the giant music festival that began this year on July 5 and that runs through July 15. Not only did the excessive heat disappear, but the evening’s music began with a bit of a chill in the air. That wasn’t a problem for festival-goers, especially those at the “Fibe” stage, where a genuine warmth emanated from the stage as the Nashville-based pop singer Liza Anne and her band played for a large crowd.
Liza Anne’s latest release, cut for the Toronto-based Arts & Crafts label, is called Fine but Dying, and she played a healthy dose of the record during her showcase, including “Socks,” “Closest to Me,” “Small Talks,” “Get By” and “I Love You, But I Need Another Year.” Singing and playing electric guitar, Liza Anne led her band through driving alt rock numbers, but some songs also had quieter passages, and on some of those her vocals reminded of Joni Mitchell. It wasn’t just Liza Anne’s music that won over the crowd; she also impressed with her stage patter which was very revealing of her personality and delivered in a charming matter-of-fact way. Early in her set Liza Anne revealed that she suffers from panic attacks, right before, appropriately enough, playing another Fine but Dying cut, “Panic Attack.”
Happily, Liza Anne did not experience a panic attack during her Festival d'été de Québec experience, her first-ever. “I have panic disorder, so I have panic attacks; they just come on randomly,” the singer told AXS.com. “I’ve had it since I was two-years-old. I used to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. But now it’s not that bad anymore because I practice meditation and all these holistic forms of therapy.” Liza Anne also feels her art helps her keep anxiety at bay. “Absolutely,” she says. “I think that when you kind of give every voice in your head a seat at the table it becomes less of everybody yelling over each other at that table. It’s kind of like all of my emotions can be alive in the house at one time and give each of them a space to exist. It’s no longer this fight to keep everything quiet. This whole week I’ve been so happy. Next week I might not be!”
Liza Anne and her band have a few scattered dates in the US this summer and they’ll be headed out on a European run in September. While Festival d'été de Québec always has lots of superstar performances on tap, one reason why the event is so popular is because fans have opportunities to check out hundreds of lesser-known and developing artists that come from all over the world to play in Québec City. Some of this year’s highly-anticipated appearances include American indie rocker Car Seat Headrest, Jamaican ska band the Skatalites, Nigerian Afrobeat star Femi Kuti, Brazilian singer Flavia Coelho and lots of great bands from Québec like rockers Tiger Tea Club, hip-hop duo Seba and Horg and the always entertaining Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project.
Plenty of big names remain set to perform before the Festival d'été de Québec wraps up, including the Chainsmokers, Air Supply, Lorde, Bullet for my Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Cyndi Lauper, Beck, Sum 41, Sturgill Simpson and the Dave Matthews Band.