Concert Review: Kiwi Jr, September 9, McMurray Avenue

If you follow Toronto indie rockers Kiwi Jr. on Twitter (Sorry Elon, I refuse to call it “X”), you might have thought they were joking when they recently tweeted out, “played a highschool battle of the bands tonight” but no, they really did play a high school battle of the bands.

Or, if you want to be nitpicky, they technically played after a high school battle of the bands, with the winner of said battle making a triumphant return to the stage to play a brief set right before Kiwi Jr’s headlining set. Singer Jeremy Gaudet gave the winners a shout out from the stage early on (though he did initially get their name wrong, calling them Just June instead of Just July – wrong month, but close enough, I suppose), noting that they had early Sonic Youth vibes and adding that while he has never won nor even participated in a battle of the bands, he did approve of such a Happy Days-style tradition. I’m assuming the high schoolers in attendance had to Google what Happy Days was.

And while, strictly speaking, the band weren’t exactly playing a battle of the bands, they were certainly playing a show that was a bit out of the ordinary, headlining a day of music played at the end of a residential street as part of the Taste of the Junction festival.

Playing a set that was split pretty evenly between songs off their latest album Chopper and some older tracks, Gaudet and his bandmates (Mike Walker, Brohan Moore and Brian Murphy) put on a fun show with standout tracks like “Unspeakable Things,” “The Sound of Music” and “Waiting In Line” showcasing the band’s strong songwriting. Their combo of catchy hooks and clever lyrics full of pop culture references is a winning formula, especially when delivered in Gaudet’s Malkmus-esque vocal style.

And so, while I’ll admit that it was a little weird watching a band play at the end of a street just a few steps away from the local residents’ front doors, it also gave the show a cool, laid back vibe that made for a pretty memorable performance.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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