Canadian Music Week

CMW Review: It It Anita, May 10, Supermarket

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Playing as part of the early evening Bonsound Booking Bash show at Supermarket, Belgian noise rockers It It Anita put on a show that was hard to ignore. I don’t just mean that their performance was brash and in your face, alternately noisy and melodic, (it was) but also that it was literally hard to ignore – these guys play loud.

The Liege-based band lists the likes of Fugazi, Metz, Sonic Youth, and Pavement as influences and the sonic touchstones of all of those acts were definitely there in their sound – the way that the members traded off vocals within songs especially brought Fugazi’s live dynamic to mind – though there was also a definite Sabbath-meets-post-rock vibe to one extended number they did near the end of their set.

With the band setting up onstage in a configuration wherein all the members were facing each other as they played, it was almost like you were sitting in on an intimate session in the band’s practice space rather than a show. That intimacy worked in their favour and made for a memorable show.

CMW Review: Loma, May 9, The Garrison

Posted on by Ricky in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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After Avengers Infinity War, Loma is one of the most ambitious cross-overs in history, melding in Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg with the band Cross Record.

Well, it really isn’t but time was running out for me to attempt to leverage that meme and so here it is. Loma, as you know by now, is a merging of several members from different bands. They released their debut record earlier this year and even though it received much acclaim, the word clearly didn’t get out as the band debuted to a rather small crowd at The Garrison.

Set up in a semi circle around singer Emily Cross, the group laid down their atmospheric tracks over the course of an hour, buoyed by Emily’s vocals and surprising energy. I had been warned prior to the show that the band’s music trended on “mellow” and every time you hear about a band that has the word atmospheric mentioned with their music, you aren’t expecting music you can dance to. Yet throughout the night, Emily was able to take the music of Loma and translate it into a physical medium, whether it be dancing or fake jogging on stage, which added an additional element to the show. The band even brought their own light show, which I was impressed with. For a band whose music could totally have made for a show where everyone just sat around, the additional effort was noted, and appreciated.

CMW Review: Slow, The Dirty Nil, May 9, The Phoenix

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Midway through their set at The Phoenix as part of Canadian Music Week, Slow singer Tom Anselmi introduced their song “Have Not Been The Same” as “a classic from the annals of Canadian rock history.” The statement was meant to be somewhat self deprecating but was also kind of true – “Have Not Been The Same” is definitely a cult classic among Canadian rock fans of a certain age, a groundbreaking and influential enough tune to make it the namesake of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995, a book which detailed the development of the Canadian alternative rock scene of the 1980s and 1990s, thus cementing their place in CanRock history.

On the other hand, Slow, while beloved by fans, never reached the same level of fame and notoriety of some of the other bands featured in that book, which might account for the sparse turnout at The Phoenix on Wednesday night. Though the band may never have reached a certain level of fame, they certainly helped to pave the way for later bands such as openers Single Mothers and The Dirty Nil. Sadly, many of the fans who showed up for those bands weren’t really all that interested in seeing a bunch of old timers, making it seem almost like two different shows in the same venue on the same night. A few of the youngsters stuck around, but there were definitely no moshpits happening for the headliners.

While they may have overshot a little on the size of the venue, Slow still put on a fun show and Anselmi’s still a great, engaging, energetic frontman. Perhaps because they’ve been away for so long, the band played like a band maybe half their age, still displaying some of the attitude that inspired their infamous Expo ’86 performance. And though they didn’t quite get the same type of youthfully exuberant fan response as The Dirty Nil did for their set, Slow still put on a show that absolutely satisfied the dedicated fans who stuck around.

CMW Review: B-17, Zoobombs, April 22, Silver Dollar

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Is is possible to feel nostalgia for something that hasn’t even gone away yet? If so, that would explain why I made the kind of dumb decision to stay out til late night/early morning on the last full night of CMW to take in the last few acts of the night. After all, only nostalgia for the days when a 4:00 am last call and bands playing almost all night long seemed more appealing than an early night in with a good book could explain why I’d be willing to stay out ’til all hours. That and the fact that the Silver Dollar will soon be no more than a memory.

Following sets earlier in the night from Japanese Breakfast, Liam Betson, and others, B-17 took to the stage for the 2:00 am slot. The Toronto psych rockers gave a shout out to Dan Burke for “making this shithole the best place in the city for the past 15 years,” adding that they’ve played “literally hundreds” of shows there over the years. The band ran through a raucous set of tunes from their latest album Goodbye before saying their own goodbye to the Silver Dollar. “Alright this is it. The moment that us as a band don’t play here anymore. You’re gonna feel foolish if you don’t dance.” said singer/bassist Clint Rogerson as he introduced the band’s last song, a fantastic version of The 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” A fitting farewell to the Dollar.

Following them for the last set of the night were Japan’s Zoobombs, the undisputed MVPs of Canadian Music Week. Having already played The Silver Dollar earlier in the week (as well as a couple of other CMW shows elsewhere), the band was back for one more show at their Toronto home. After wishing the crowd a good morning, Don Matsuo added, “This is why we love Toronto. 3 am! Such a crowd. Such a stupid crowd.” He’s got a point – it is a bit stupid to take in a rock show at three in the morning, but they absolutely made it worth our while, and if anything’s going to keep you awake at that time of night, it’s The Zoobombs.