My column for this month is a special edition in honour of the upcoming Canadian Music Week: a five-day festival showcasing great Canadian music acts as well as conferences, lectures, award shows and films. It’s going to be a wild ride, and I want to show you which events will make you lean forward, flail your arms and smile.
CMW runs March 10-14, with events during the days and concerts/films in the evenings.
Canadian Music Week (and Fest – the music portion) require that you purchase passes to attend events (obviously). You can purchase weekly or daily passes. For more information, go here. However, if you want to go to just one concert, tickets can be purchased here.
This is the second part in a trio of articles in preparation for CMW. Today, I’ll point out a number of bands that are more than worth just checking out.
On March 10:
Fucked Up will play at 1 a.m. at the El Mocambo, which is bound to be one of the sweatiest events you will ever go to. They recently played Toronto’s The Opera House, and that is a considerably larger venue than the El Mo. So if they can pack huge venues like that, be sure to try and squeeze into the spectacle that is Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham dancing with no clothes on to really fast and fun punk music.
All night at Lee’s Palace will be a charmingly fun showcase of crooner Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen, who used to back up bands like Feist’s), Jason Collett (also in Broken Social Scene) and Zeus (Collett’s former backing band, now with an album of their own). It’s safe to say there will be a lot of harmonies!
At the Opera House will be two bands that I used to listen to a lot in high school and still hold a bit of love for: I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business and Copeland. The former is the side project from Ace Enders, who used to front the Early November and the latter will actually be presenting this as their farewell tour. If you’ve still got that soft spot for sad boy music, this is the show for you.
On March 11:
The Audio Blood showcase, presented by Exclaim!, has some of the country’s hottest young pop talent these days all in one night. Start at 9 p.m. and going until about 3 a.m., there’s the Ottawa-based folk artist Leif Vollebekk, the pop/soul mixings of We Are the City, Toronto pop/rock band The Darcys, then Clothes Make the Man, Make Your Exit and Sandman Viper Command. It’s sure to be one power chord-filled night. And they seem to be the kind of record label that has fun, as shown in a video they released this weekend in preparation for the Fest.
Another indie label, Arts & Crafts, will also be putting on a showcase. Taking place at the Great Hall, they have Australian pop princess Sally Seltmann (formerly known as New Buffalo), West Coast gentleman Dan Mangan and the haunting works of Timber Timbre. From 9 p.m. to 12 p.m.
Sneaky Dee’s, the home of some of Toronto’s best nachos with cheese, is a veteran of eager shows on their second floor that always make the floor shake. The MuseBox showcase has some great artists lined up for the night, including Language-Arts, Everything All the Time, Parlovr and Green Go. Be sure to get there early so you can be close to all of the fun. From 8 p.m. to about 4 a.m.
On March 12:
Billions Showcase includes Winter Gloves, The Acorn, Plants & Animals and Think About Life. I’m glad it’s at Lee’s Palace because this is going to be a packed show, and Lee’s is one of the more spacious venues compared to the Horseshoe or the El Mo. Most of these bands released amazing albums a couple years ago and are at it again this year, so there’s a lot of anticipation. From 9 p.m. to about 3 a.m.
The Music Gallery, which is in the St. George the Martyr Church, is always home to exquisite and calm performances. Indie musicians on the solo path at the moment will take over this night: Julie Fader (who worked with Chad VanGaalen, Tony Dekker and Justin Rutledge on her new album), Brian Borcherdt (of Holy Fuck) and Postdata (Paul Murphy of Wintersleep). From 7:30 p.m. to about 10 p.m., this is bound to be beautiful.
At the Garrison, there will be an interesting mix of folk, pop, and noise rock. From Ghostkeeper to Silver Starling to METZ, your nerves will be on high voltage, but I don’t think that would be a bad thing. From 9 p.m. to about 2 a.m.
On March 13:
Every year, ChartAttack puts on great showcases at the Horseshoe Tavern. This year is pretty solid, but no doubt is their best night this night. They have a long roster of artists: Yukon Blonde, The Balconies, The Beauties, The Wooden Sky, Two Hours Traffic, The Junction and The Stanfields. It will be a very dancey night, with pause for more country by The Beauties and The Wooden Sky in the middle, which seems like a pretty neat sandwich. From 8:30 p.m. to about 3 a.m.
Joel Plaskett is playing at the Mod Club, but the interesting thing is he’s opening for acts like Jeff Martin, Default and The Trews. A weird combination, it might just be worth it to see if you can get into Joel’s set, but it might already be sold out. I still have yet to really see him play, that’s a huge bummer. At 7:30 p.m.
New Teeth will play at the Neutral Lounge at 8 p.m. This band is kind of on the up-and-coming list at the moment, deservedly so. They’re an interesting-sounding band with pointy guitar notes and sharp synth strokes. I think they would be really interesting to see live, probably even better than their recordings.