On the first night of Canadian music Week/Canadian Music Fest (CMW! CMF! So many acronyms! Can we just compromise and call it CMWF – Canadian Music Wrestling Federation?), I based my decisions on what to see entirely on geography and band names – the bands with the most interesting names playing in the closest proximity to home won the lottery for the night.
In the case of Japanese rockers Jake Stone Garage, geography also factored in in terms of where they were from. After all, in my books, a Japanese band with the word “garage” in their name seem like a pretty safe bet. The band’s music was a blend of bluesy garage rock and some numbers that seemed a bit more radio friendly, with most of the lyrics being in Japanese, though they did offer up a mid-set cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The drummer bonded with the crowd by pointing out the similarities between Toronto and his hometown. “My hometown is very cold. Toronto … same cold.”
From there, my geography and band name rule led me to the next closet venue, The Annex Wreck Room ,where i caught a set by the interestingly monikered Fake Shark-Real Zombie! FSRZ singer Kevvy Mental (who likes to wear a t-shirt with his own name on it) mentioned how their bass player was in Hot Tub Time Machine. That’s fitting since they sounded like they took a time machine back to the late 80s/early 90s to hang out with Faith No More and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I guess enough time has passed that those bands are pretty much classic rock at this point (classic alternative?) so it’s not too surprising that younger bands would take inspiration from them.
At one point in their set, Kevvy introduced a song called “Fuck Kevvy,” ostensibly about the bands haters. I wouldn’t exactly count myself in the haters section; they’re obviously talented musicians and Kevvy Mental is an enthusiastic frontman, but in the end it wasn’t doing all that much for me. The bands newer, poppier material (such as “Girls,” cowritten with one of the guys from Hot Hot Heat) was more interesting than the FNM/RHCP-esque tracks. Which is not entirely unsurprising, since in his other life, Kevvy is apparently a producer for acts like Carlie Rae Jepsen and Marianas Trench. What these guys are doing might appeal to a fan of those bands who are looking for something a little more adventurous, but for someone who heard similar stuff back in the day, I’m kind of over it.