CMW Review: Swervedriver, SIANspheric, Little You Little Me, May 6, Horseshoe Tavern

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


An open letter to the guy trying to start a moshpit during Swervedriver’s set:

Look, I get it. You probably haven’t been to a show in awhile. Maybe you drove in from the ‘burbs and you and your bros are totally stoked for this show – you don’t get out to shows much anymore, but you still like to get drunk on the weekends and stuff and dude, it’s Swervedriver. I get it. But you’ve got to feel out the kind of crowd you’re in, because from where I stood, no one was having any of that, especially when your buddy tried to crowdsurf and failed. Take the hint.

Anyways, now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s talk about the show. Starting things off was Saint John, NB based band Little You Little Me, who, while they may have stood out from the other bands on the bill by being a bit younger, definitely seemed to mesh in terms of sound, with a lot of ’90s influences being heard in their music. There was a strong East Coast ’90s influence to be heard, with hints of Eric’s Trip, Hardship Post and Thrush Hermit coming through.

Up next was SIANspheric. There was definitely a solid contingent of fans looking forward to seeing the Hamilton psych/shoegaze crew do their thing again and singer/guitarist Sean Ramsay seemed to take some comfort in this fact. After hearing a few “whoos,” he encouraged the crowd to continue, asking if he could get a few more “Give’rs.” It was an impressive set, full of lots of ambient passages and effects pedal-fueled sonics.

During their set, Ramsay gave a shout out to Little You Little Me as well as the headliners. “And you know who’s coming on next … those guys.” Those guys, of course, are Swervedriver. Though they reunited a few years back, they’ve only now gotten around to recording a new album and the songs from that album, I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, managed to fit in seamlessly with the older tracks to make for an ultimately satisfying show. The highlight for me was their performance of “Rave Down” and a lyric from that song could serve as a decent summation of the show: “Like the sharp hard hit of a car crash in a dream.”

Works for me.

CMW Review: Noel Gallagher and His Birds, Sony Centre, May 3

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

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Noel G as you may know, was one of the two G brothers that composed of the known members of Oasis. They broke up awhile ago and we have all yet still to recover.

In between now and when they reunite at Coachella in a few years, we have the distinct pleasure of watching their solo acts. I have yet to see Beady Eye, but on the strength of Noel G’s latest pretty good effort and dirt cheap stub hub tickets (21 dollas for amazing seats!) I convinced myself to go out yet another night.

Sunday night’s Noel G show showered upon me a whole wreath of emotions. This is normal for an artist of such magnitude, but I was still surprised. Here are the feels that I experienced on Sunday night, and why I experienced it. That’s all I’m gonna give you this post.

Humor – Noel G’s a funny dude. Besides making fun of a dad for being cheap or yelling at a guy for wearing flip flops, you can see Noel still hasn’t stopped being a bit of a prick at his old age. Best line of the night was him saying “If you bought tickets to tomorrow night’s show…it’s gonna be the exact same as tonight’s show!”

Serenity – Champagne Supernova. Such a great track. I think everyone in the crowd was a bit uptight until Noel G busted out this track about twenty minutes in. Then the theatre lit up and everyone sang along with Noel G. The visualizations for this song was like a Windows 95 screensaver too, so that took everyone way back.

Annoyance – What’s with the crowd. Middle aged drunk Englishman yelling out random stuff for no reason through out the show. We get it, you are English, you are rowdy, you like football. Why do you yell? You think Noel G’s gonna change his set list cos you screamed out MOOOOORRRNNNNIIING GLOOOOORRRYYY at him? You gotta be off your bollocks you wanker. Go sit back in your seat, have a cup of tea and think about leaving the house.

Boredom – I enjoy Noel G’s latest record, but something about his live show made a lot of his songs sound very … similar. I think it’s the drummer. He plays the same beat for every song, and Noel G follows a very traditional way of song writing – verse bridge chorus repeat. On their own, the sounds are good but together, they melt together. It’s like a fondue – you can have ten different types of cheese that on it’s own or as part of a cheese plate, taste differently. You put them all in a bowl and melt the shit out of it, it’ll taste like cheese.

Happiness – Don’t Look Back In Anger is a wonderful sing along and a happy time for everyone. It’s a special tune and just a reminder of how wonderful everything was back in the day, which leads me to my last emotion …

Anticipation – I appreciate Noel and Liam branching out on their own to explore their own lives but sooner or later, they’ll realize the error of their ways and reform. I’ll be there when that happens, singing my heart out.

CMW 2015 Mega Preview Part 2

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


Canadian Music Week is here and we continue with the Panic Manual`s preview of bands playing the festival, picking up where we left off in our selection of a band for each letter of the alphabet. Check out Part One here.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy

Is it possible to have a more Irish name than singer-songwriter Ryan O’Shaughnessy? The only way he could seem more Irish is if he had a shamrock neck tattoo, was covered head to toe in the colour green and started talking about his lucky charms. Regardless of my blatant use of cultural stereotypes, if gentle acoustic fare is your thing, he`ll be playing a few shows around town during the week.

Scott Weiland

Because let`s face it, we`re all kind of curious to see if this happens again:

Taggart And Torrens

Not actually a musical act and despite their accompnaying promo pic, also not a group made up of 1980s era Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson. Instead, it’s comedian Jonathan Torrens and Our Lady Peace drummer Jeremy Taggart doing a live version of their “Canadianity” themed podcast to the stage. Yes, apparently they have a podcast. You learn something new every day.


Montreal band specializing in heavy psychedelic rock. Also, their name is kind of fun to say out loud.


Whoa, Richie Valens is playing CMW? I thought he died years ago. Oh, hang on … Vallens is actually the project of Toronto`s Robyn Phillips, inspired by the likes of Roland S Howard, Sonic Youth, Wire, and Portishead? OK, that sounds pretty cool, too.


Much Like Uubbuurruu, these Scottish indie noise punkers have a name that’s kind of fun to say out loud and they sound like they would also be fun to see live.

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations


Hippie jam band fans will be rejoicing over the return of Xavier Rudd and fans of international diplomacy surely must be impressed that he`s collaborating with the entire United Nations. Man, I can`t wait to hear Ban Ki-moon’s didgeridoo solo. It`s gonna be sick!

Young Liars

This Vancouver based band plays a brand of electro pop that they refer to as Summertime synth and while it`s not quite summertime yet, it’s pretty warm outside so you might as well get in a summery mood with them.

Zoe Keating

Described as a one woman orchestra, San Francisco based Zoe Keating performs solo cello accompanied by samples from her foot-controlled laptop, which sounds like it could be interesting. Furthermore, she’s playing at the Church Of The Holy Trinity, which is always an impressive venue for live music.

And there you have it – one band for each letter of the alphabet. The whole alphabet! Happy CMW.

CMW 2015 Mega Preview: 26 Bands 1 for every letter (Part 1/?)

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment


The first of May brings along many traditions – Canadian Music Week is not one of them, but with a stellar lineup, maybe this will be a tradition in due time. Unless they move it again. Often seen as the ignored stepsister to NXNE in the Toronto music festival family, CMW hopes to hit it big this year with a more weather friendly time (not in the middle of freakin March, after SXSW) and some big names, like John Mellencamp.

Without any real creative plans and a need to push content out the door, I have decided to preview a band for every letter in the alphabet. The real question is, will this actually happen? lets go!


It’s been a good year for Alvvays. More importantly, I can use the picture Derek took of them at SXSW one more time. Alvvays are great. You probably have seen them already if you live in Toronto. They are at the Sheraton Center on Saturday so you can do your shopping and then go see them again before hitting up the clubs in the etnertainment district. Haha who are we kidding, no one who goes to CMW goes clubbing.

Ben Lee
The only thing I know about Ben Lee was that he used to date Claire Danes. In my silly youth I thought, well I should listen to him since he dates Clare Danes and she was in My So Called Life. I remember listening to his album Breathing Tornados and it was okay. They then broke up and he was dead to me, until this year. Apparently he was on the Voice in Australia. He plays the Great Hall on the 7th and the Garrison on the 8th. Maybe Hugh Dancy will show up.

Colbie Callat
I remember feigning interest in Colbie Caillat once because a girl I was interested in liked her, but I couldn’t over come my general disinterest in her music after awhile. I do enjoy the fact that she had a music video where it took place in Hong Kong and I love anything that has to do with Hong Kong. I’m not going to bother looking up the video but the fact that she is at Canadian Music Week in 2015 can only mean that she has been able prolong her career and probably been successful despite my own indifference. That’s worth checking out in itself.

Death Cab for Cutie
Before the whole Zooey Deschanel band, Death Cab was known primarily for being Death Cab or Ben Gibbard’s non Postal Service band. Now they have to deal with that AND being Zooey Deschanel’s ex husband’s non Postal Service band. With that much weighing on their shoulder no wonder their music is so emotional.

East India Youth
Talented UK one man show that was very good at SXSW. He blends electronic music with a kickass voice and a sorta scary intensity into his shows.

Fat White Family
Rowdy rock act from London that’s kinda known for taking their clothes off at shows. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Grand Splendid
Montreal band that I reviewed at a festival not too long ago. I didn’t entirely remember that until they reminded me. However now that I retrace the steps of my memory, I do remember liking their show at that place besides McDonalds on Bloor and Ossington. Check them out for they have great memory.

Hot Panda
The first time I saw Hot Panda, they were from Edmonton. Now they are from Vancouver. I can identify with that because I used to say I’m from Edmonton, but now I say I’m from Toronto, unless the situation begs that I say I’m from Hong Kong, in which case I say that. Still, they are a good time from what I remember. Read Wade’s stirring review of the band here.

I Mother Earth
While the Britpop reunions have come with much love, I feel like the great Can Rock revival will come to a halt pretty quickly. Catch I Mother Earth one last time. Is Edwin even fronting this band?

Joey Bada$$
One of the hottest up and coming rappers in the world of rap, Joey Bada$$ impressed me quite a bit at SxSW and he will do the same should you go see him at the Danforth Music Hall on Saturday. He is founder of the Pro Era collective in Brookyln, which to me sounds like a baseball cap company.

Im so out of touch these days I don’t know who Kiesza is. I think she’s famous but I’m not sure if she’s Canada famous or real famous. She, to the best of my knowledge, had a viral video but all I really want is a Kiesza/Kiesha tour. She is playing the Grand Ballroom on Friday for some reason.

Laura & Greg
Laura & Greg sound like two people you invite to check out the latest brunch place on a weekend. Instead, they are a harmonic duo from New York who probably check out a lot of brunch places on the weekend when they aren’t busy touring. They play the Garrison on May 8, which also has Ben Lee on the bill from earlier in my post and so maybe they will go for brunch on Saturday and discuss Claire Danes.

Milk & Bone
Judging from this photo:
and only this photo, I have deduced that Milk & Bone are two sisters from Montreal who moonlight as Calvin Klein models on the side. I would guess that they play music heavily relying on harmonies but since they are from Montreal, it’s probably slightly on the weird side and one of the sisters has a deeper voice because she chain smokes because she’s from Montreal. Like a French Ibeyi, only Ibeyi are kinda French too.

If you name yourself after the nWo you better be fucking good, or be really big wrestling fans. If they don’t play the nWo theme song at their show, I think people would riot and then spray paint other people’s backs and throw chairs around. Did I watch wrestling in my youth? yes.

Of Monsters and Men
If you are from Iceland, you are either cute or weird. Think about it:
Bjork – Weird
Of Monsters and Men – Cute
Sigur Ros – Weird
Gus Gus – Kinda Weird

Why is that? Did you know people in Iceland have an app that tells them whether or not they are related before they hook up? Of Monsters and Men are so damn cute and their debut album Little Talks was massive and I remember attending their shows and it was really charming. This time around they are playing Massey Hall and I am sure this show will be equally charming.

Poor Young Things
A five piece band from Toronto, I can appreciate Poor Young Things because it probably accurately describes who they are as people, because they chose to play music for a living. An honest band name is rare in the music industry, imagine if all bands were this honest. Passion Pit can call themselves “Pleasantly Forgetful”, Best Coast can call themselves “California Copy & Paste” and Imagine Dragons can call themselves “Untalented but Lucky and Rich”.

Quique Escamilla Band
I got excited because I thought this was an international band but then the site says they are from Toronto. I’d like to think they hang out in Kensington market all day and eat empanadas and stuff. They play the Lula Lounge on Thursday.

Part 2 coming tomorrow!