CMW Review: Praises, Strands, Buddy McNeil and the Magic Mirrors, May 8


These days, it’s practically standard operating procedure for members of Toronto indie bands to have one or more side projects on the go. In keeping with this, The Silver Dollar played host to two acts on the third night of CMW which featured members of other bands who have been making a bit of a name for themselves in the scene – Strands (featuring Jasmyn Burke of Weaves) and Praises (featuring Jesse Crow of Beliefs).

“This is a very minimal set. I am Strands … of the Weaves.” said Burke by way of introduction as she took to the stage. It was indeed minimal, just Burke and a sampler. The show started late, which was curious seeing as how I saw Burke soundchecking everything about 20 minutes before she went onstage, but The Silver Dollar has been known to run behind schedule at these club level festivals before, so maybe that was by design. Regardless, when Strands did get started, all was pretty much forgiven. She’s got an interesting sound, based mostly around looped vocal samples and minimalist beats and she made up for the lack of a band with some endearingly goofy dance moves onstage that mostly consisted of her shuffling back and forth. She ended things off with a reworked version of a Weaves song. Never having seen Weaves before, it felt a bit odd to be checking out the solo side project first, but it certainly got me interested in checking out the full band sometime soon.

Following Weaves was Praises, who offered up some poppy, shoegazey tunes.  While their original tunes sounded great, the moment that stood out for me was their cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which managed to sound both dirgelike and uplifting at the same time.  Definitely one of the highlights of the week.

Immediately before Praises and Weaves, I managed to see Buddy McNeil and the Magic Mirrors, a garage rock band from Montreal who were playing the 8:00 slot at Rancho Relaxo.  From past experience, I know that this often means playing to a sparse crowd, yet the Magic Mirrors played to a small but decent sized audience and impressed with some fun, straight up rock n’ roll that hearkened back to the sounds of the 1960s.  While McNeil and his soulful shout most often took the lead, it’s worth noting that all five members had a mic and each contributed vocals.  Near the end of their set, the drummer said to the crowd, “It’s not too early to dance,” and while no one really got out there and busted a move, there was certainly a little bit of head bobbing and foot tapping at the very least.  Good times.

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week