canadian music week

CMW Review: Handsome Furs, Mar 12, El Mocambo

Posted on by Mark in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 4 Comments

Handsome_Furs_El_Mocambo_March_12_2010

Toronto – As we’ve mentioned before, at music festivals like CMW, it’s likely that you’ll only catch parts of certain sets. Especially if you are busy hopping from venue to venue. For the first time in 28 years, CMW was completely sold out this year. As the festival has grown, the fans have become more plentiful. Sold out shows have made venue-hopping increasingly difficult. Throughout the week I’ve ran into a number of frustrated fans who were unable to see the bands they wanted because of lineups and capacity crowds. Unfortunately it seems like CMW has become a victim of its own success, despite the cold and wet weather thrown our way.

But CMW is about discovering and enjoying Canadian talent, so let’s get to the music. It’s not entirely fair that I cover the Handsome Furs show last Friday at the El Mocambo because I only caught the last 20 minutes of it. Not surprisingly, it was a much hyped and very sold out show. However, it was such an amazing experience that it deserves mention. Montreal-based Handsome Furs consists of guitarist singer Dan Coeckner (from Wolf Parade) and his wife Alexei Perry. They play a supremely charged and intense electro indie rock that is insanely infectious.

Since it was the last night of the show, they got the opportunity to perform a festival rarity by playing an encore. It was the most intensely charged 20 minutes of music I heard at CMW this year; I will be jumping at the opportunity to see them live again.

CMW Review: Plants & Animals, Mar 12, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Mark in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 2 Comments

Panic Manual (Plants & Animals Lee's Palace March 12 2010)

Toronto – Montreal-based Plants & Animals played an energetic show at Lee’s Palace last Friday to a packed audience. In 2008, they released Parc Avenue, a lush sounding album with plenty of orchestral padding. Their upcoming album La La Land is scheduled to release in April. The show consisted of a mix of both new and old material; giving their fans a taste of what’s to come, and also spinning out sing-along friendly hits like Faerie Dance and Bye Bye Bye.

What’s so interesting about seeing Plants & Animals live is just how different it is from the album experience.  Until seeing them live, I wasn’t aware that the band consisted of a mere three members. When you listen to Parc Avenue, you hear backup vocals, strings, and brass. It’s easy to assume that you’re dealing with a huge Arcade Fire sized outfit. But Plants & Animals is a brainchild that resides in the minds of two east-coasters and a French Canadian.

With just the three of them, the live show certainly doesn’t have that lush sound heard in the album. However, what they lack in padding they more than make up for in energy. These three musicians definitely have a special live synergy. The entire band was dripping with sweat within 20 minutes of their relatively short CMW set. One concert first for me was seeing lead singer Warren Spicer replace a broken string on his guitar in between songs. I guess he really liked playing that particular guitar.

I waited in line for the better part of an hour and made it into Lee’s with mere minutes to spare before Plants & Animals played their first chord. It was well worth the wait and this show is on my highlight reel for CMW this year. I’d be curious to see what they would sound like if you were to combine their raw live energy with their entourage of beautiful backing vocals and brass.

Concert Review: CMW Chart Attack Showcase, March 14, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by guestwriter in Concerts | 1 Comment

I’m sure it’s happened to you… you open the refrigerator and get a whiff of leftovers you’ve forgotten about.  Some you lament over because the meal was delicious and you really should have done it justice by finishing it.  And others… well you wonder why you took them home anyway.  

Same goes for the Chart Attack Showcase, waaaay back on March 14 during Canadian Music Week.  As we move into summer– the season of concerts and parties, I’m duly noting some of these Chart Attack Showcase bands which will likely be featured at some festival, bar or club in the city.  To go or not to go?

 

Two Hours Traffic  

Two Hours Traffic

Two Hours Traffic

These PEI musicians play music that is cheerful, upbeat and catchy.  Simple melodies, riffs and choruses that will always get the crowd singing along.  This band is one to see if you want to relax and hang out with friends, have a few cold beers and have good Canadian rock to bop your head to.  Latest album, Little Jabs, was once again produced by the ever growing Canadian icon, Joel Plaskett.  They played a solid set, definitely a pleasant discovery during CMW.  Rating: 4/5 

 

Golden Dogs

The Golden Dogs

The Golden Dogs

Fronted by husband and wife duo, Dave Azzolini and Jessica Grassia, they played a relatively decent show in front of an audience that had waited through a gazillion band set to see them play.  Following Two Hours Traffic, their sound didn’t seem as polished or well put together.  While they played crowd pleasers such as, “Construction Worker”, I think I was satisfied after the second song.  Lost in the muddle were the catchy hooks that you pick up on in their recorded music.  Worth catching?  Yes, I think good enough that you ought to give them a try.  Rating 3.5/5 

 

Hexes and Ohs

Hexes and Ohs

Hexes and Ohs

With a lot of hype following this sweet heart duo now located in Montreal, their blend of rock, electro synth pop has got everyone talking.  I saw a lot of bands I wanted to see during CMW, but they were one I was really looking forward to.  Their music is cute, poppy, and on the brink of nerd-dom.  A soft spot in my heart?  Yes, I dare say it is.  I stood in front of the stage ready to dance, but instead stood baffled, lost in the sound that they were trying to reproduce from their album.  I was disappointed and shocked by their performance.  While I appreciate their music and the sound they’re going for, I can’t say they’ve made it up to quite the same level in their live shows.  At least the live show I saw.  I’m sure over time, the transition from recorded music to live stage will become more smooth and we’ll see more of the Hexes and Ohs flair that we hear in their album.  Rating 2.5/5


CMW March 14: Hey Rosetta! at the Indies, Royal York Hotel

Posted on by guestwriter in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 3 Comments

Hey Rosetta!

Toronto – If you’ve never heard of Hey Rosetta!, I strongly suggest you head over to their website or myspace page to listen to some of their music. I don’t just rant and rave about them because they hail from the Mudderland (also known as Newfoundland, which is also known as the best place in the world), but that they play a kind of rock that hasn’t made me this excited in a long time. Their music is a contradiction between simple and complex. Their songs take you on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, manipulating you with intense crescendos and decrescendos of instrument and voice.

I caught them for the second time opening the Indie Awards at the Royal York Hotel for the last night of Canadian Music Week—a fitting slot for a band which has been causing quite a stir on the Indie front since their first album release Plan Your Escape. Most recently, this quiet and humble six piece hailing from St. Johns, Newfoundland, swept three awards at the East Coast Music Awards—garnering big prizes for Group Recording, Recording of the Year and Alternative Recording for their second release Into Your Lungs, produced by Hawksley Workman.

They kicked off, and much to the delight of the crowd, their three song set with I’ve Been Asleep for a Long, Long Time, they looked as comfortable on a big stage as you might imagine them in a small dark pub on George St. The rhythmic beat of the chords was complimented with violin, and the voice of Tim Baker, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, was overpowering. Tim Baker and company performed A Thousand Suns, engaging the audience through an enthusiastic chorus of hand clapping to finish the song off.

If there was any disappointment with their performance, it wasn’t being able to hear their acoustic music. The performance was to say the least a tease, making you beg for a longer set. Thankfully Hey Rosetta! will be playing at Lee’s Palace on April 24, tickets are $10.


5 freaking cod tongues out of 5!

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