Concert Review: Wilderness of Manitoba, The Garrison, October 29

Toronto – When I think of the Wilderness of Manitoba, I think of cold winters, barren wasteland of leafless trees and polar bears everywhere. Think Fargo. So when I’m listening to the band The Wilderness of Manitoba, that is exactly the thing that pops up in my mind. Am I making any sense? Is this too meta? I don’t even know. Anyways, the band the Wilderness of Manitoba is a five piece band out of Toronto. They are so new, no obsessive fan has bothered to make a Wikipedia page for them yet. Their sound is folkish harmonics, I guess similar to Fleet Foxes. It’s for the most part, mellow stuff that is quite suitable for winter time hot chocolate sipping situations.

The show at the Garrison was part of the No Shame series and in promotion of their recently released debut EP – Hymns of Love and Spirits. I actually think I was at their cd release party a few months ago, at the lead singer dude’s house. Strangely, he’s almost my neighbor now if I think about it. Anyways, the show is at the Garrison, the new hotspot of the town and the new home for the Toronto music series Wavelengths. So basically, if you want to meet (or stab) your favorite Stillepost poster, there’s a good chance that the person is at the Garrison on any given night.

The Garrison is right in the middle of the hipster hot spot known as Dundas and Ossington. This area needs a name, how about Soconoquwoba (South of College North of Queen West of Bathurst). Isn’t that how the New Yorkers do it? Fellow PMer Paul noted that this used to be a sports bar and definitely, the interior of the Garrison while repainted (into blood red) and decorated, still looks a bit like a sports bar. I can imagine a bunch of old Portuguese men in the back room doing some offtrack betting, eating Sardinha chicken and swearing or something. The music area is quite large, and the dimensions of it is definitely more inviting then the bottle necking feel of the Sneaky Dees area. The stage is slightly elevated, which is nice as well. There was a pool table on the side of the room that everyone put their jackets on. It’s a nice feeling to know that I can throw down my jacket there and no one will steal it. Very community feeling.

The interior music area had some cheap beers and I picked up a bottle of PBR for 3.75 or something. After taking a sip of this beer, I pondered to myself – “why the hell am I drinking PBR? has my move to the ossington area rendered me a hipster? am i buying into the marketing? whats going on?” After this brief, yet important self analysis, I concluded that it was because my rent is a lot higher now, and thus, I am cheaper. It’s not a horrible beer, but definitely not something I should regularly consumed. I think hipsters drink PBR because they are poor baristas/used book store cashiers/green peace volunteers/working in a struggling vinyl store types who don’t really have the necessarily the means to buy beers that are like six bucks a pop on a regular basis. American Apparels is pretty expensive these days, gotta save up for that.

The band came out around 10:45. There were five people on stage, one of which was a female vocalist. Three of them were wearing plaid, which I guess, goes well with the band name. They looked like they could have just stepped out of the Wilderness of Manitoba. I was impressed with all the instruments the band used through out the set – guitar, bass, cello, banjo, a midget guitar, drums..and a FREAKIN BOWL. That’s right, for at least two songs, either one of the guys or the girl (named Melissa) used the bowl as an instrument. Either that or they were making breakfast for later on in the night. The band started off, appropriately with track #1 off their album – Bluebirds. It’s a quiet song that nicely blends a cello with the harmonies of the three singers. It’s a good song for a band to start off with, since it’s an instant ‘shut the crowd up’ song due to its quietness. The annoying thing about the show was the crowd kept getting louder and louder as the show progressed to the point where you wanted to turn around and tell everyone to shut the f up. The 40 minute set consisted of songs off of Hymns of Love and Spirits and might have a track that wasn’t on it. I’m not sure, the last track was a bit of a rocker that was a departure from the bands usual quiet, slow pace song and I quite enjoyed it.

The Wilderness of Manitoba is a bit of a departure from what I usually listen to (electro/indie pop/brit rock) but I did enjoy the show. Now if only the people behind me would stop talking.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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