Wednesday, March 30, 2011

British Sea Power, A Classic Education @ Lee's Palace, Toronto (March 24, 2011)

  British Sea Power: photo by Michael Ligon

Not counting Canadian Musicfest, last week's British Sea Power show at Lee's Palace was just my second real concert of the year. Off to a slow start you might say, but quality over quantity, my friends. The last time British Sea Power played Toronto was in May 2008 when they played Lee's Palace in celebration of their then-new disc Do You Like Rock Music? and in the same fashion the band were again back in Toronto to promote their new record Valhalla Dancehall.

Openers for the night were a band from Bologna, Italy called A Classic Education. This was a band I'd seen briefly during CMJ in New York City this past October but even given my brief encouter with the band I'd already been impressed with the band's music. It was a real treat to see the band live again given how much I already liked them. A random patron shouted out "Welcome back to Canada" alluding to the fact that the band's vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Jonathan Clancy is from here - in fact, Clancy revealed this was their first time playing in Toronto, and he also mentioned that he used to go to school at a school on Lawrence Ave. The 5-member lineup in addition to Clancy on vocals/guitar included a girl on keyboards, and gentlemen on lead guitar, bass and drums. Given Clancy's Canadian roots, there is indeed something distinctly European about the band's approach to pop music - the band do possess a certain level of pop sophistication that I just don't hear in most North American indie acts. Clancy's swooning vocals and the band's lead guitarist melodic guitar lines are by far the best elements of the band's sound, but the songs themselves are indeed wonderfully crafted pop tunes, drenched in a bit of reverb and sounding every bit as classic as the word classic in their band name alludes to. Songs such as the summery "Gone To Sea" and especially "What My Life Could Have Been" are some of the most fantastic pop songs I've heard in recent memory, and on that alone I recommend them highly. To show a raunchier more playful side, the band also played a cover(L'il Red Riding Hood?) of a song by 1960's Tex-Mex rock 'n' roll band Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Delightful.

As with every other visit to Toronto by British Sea Power, introducing them to the audience was Toronto resident, British ex-pat, and the terminably ageless Kayvon who in his hyper-kinetic talk rambling non-sensically, integrating references to the band's albums then introducing the band on to the stage. For this show, the band was less chaotic and whimiscal overall than on previous visits, but the band was as musically as satisfying as ever through a main set and even breaking tradition with no encore and playing not one, but two encores. Even with a new album to promote, there was quite an equitable representation of all the band's four albums (Valhalla Dancehall, Do You Like Rock Music?, Open Season, The Decline of British Sea Power) and also a smattering of songs from some of their EP's. For a Thursday night it was a healthy crowd, but given that Lee's Palace has been their resident venue every time they've come to Toronto, and that this show wasn't sold out, one wonders what's preventing them from reaching the next level. Musically their urgent, slightly orchestral pop-rock is as exhilirating as ever, and while some of the band's earlier material is a bit more eccentric, much of their more recent material is exciting yet accessible.

Breaking the tradition of no encores, the band played not one but two encores, the first encore including their stupendous single "Waving Flags" and the instrumental interlude "The Great Skua", plus a few others and then coming back surprisingly on the enthusiastic prompting of our host Kayvon to play the eccentric, garage-rock of "Apologies To Insect Life". During this last song lead singer Yan had picked up Kayvon and plopped him onto his shoulders for most of the song before dumping him into the front rows of the crowd on the floor. At this point even, other Wilkinson brother Hamilton (who Yan had mentioned had lost his voice) was even making attempts to do some back-up vocals. Multri-instrumentalist Phil Sumner was quietly impressive throughout the night playing a range of instruments including guitar, horns and keyboards while, drummer Wood and violinist Abi Fry provided consistently augmentation to the band's sound. Guitarist Hamilton was perhaps the most energetic onstage with his guitar playing and at the conclusion of the second encore, after the rest of the band left, fell over into the audience for a bit of body surfing. It was a great show overall that will hopefully increase the client's fanbase in Toronto and if that means playing a bigger venue, I will totally be okay with that. Really.

Photos: British Sea Power, A Classic Education @ Lee's Palace, Toronto (March 24, 2011)
MySpace: A Classic Education
MySpace: British Sea Power

Monday, March 21, 2011

Digits, The Einar Flaa Academy, Bonjay, The Zoobombs, The Peelies, Katie Goes To Tokyo, The Pack A.D. @ Canadian Musicfest, Toronto (March 12-13 2011)

  The Pack A.D.: photo by Michael Ligon

Update [March 26, 2011, 11:14 am]: Review now up.

Continuing on with the Canadian Musicfest coverage, I went full tilt on the Saturday night and even made it out to the Sunday night of the festival for a few shows. Digits is the stage name of Toronto's Alt Altman, a one-man electro-pop artist whose set I began Saturday night of Canadian Musicfest. An admirable effort at best, but unfortunately it didn't feel quite essential at least compared to other artists such as fellow Canadians Junior Boys who create music in a similar vein. Digits handled all duties himself - vocals, synth, programming duties and even a bit of bass and there were bright spots occassionally, especially in some of the programming, beats and synth arrangements but not enough overall to convert me wholeheartedly. But perhaps I was just turned off by a lack of visuals and stage presence, making it a bit of a boring experience. Surprisingly for an early set, the venue drew in a larger crowd than expected - not packed by an means, but nor did it remain empty as I thought it might be.

Next up, I jumped onto the Spadina south streetcar on my way to Global Village Backpackers Hostel down the street to catch Norweigan folk-pop band The Einar Flaa Academy. Named after the band's singer and songwriter, this live set was a stripped down acoustic performance with Einar Flaa on vocals and acoustic guitar sitting on a stool with Ole Marksten on vocals, sax and glockenspiel, and Monika May on vocals both also seated. The performance had very much a living room feel with the band set up within the hostel's sunken intimate bar area. As I understand Einar and Ole are full-time members of The Einar Flaa Academy but I think Monika May[a musical artist in her own right] was only a guest that night, but from the wonderful performance they gave, you'd have sworn that Ms. May was a full-time member. Monika's soulful vocals blended nicely with Einar's more folkish vocals and with Einar's acoustic guitar playing augmented by Ole's instrumental contributions with glockenspiel and saxophone it was an understated performance punctuated by well-written songs. Disappointly, it was a rather disinterested crowd on-hand it seemed(at the very least giving some polite applause), although I hope that didn't discourage the band from coming back to Canada.

My plans to see Nashville's Heavy Cream at Wrongbar were foiled, and not because I didn't get in to the venue, but because once I got in I found out the sets were running half an hour behind schedule. I caught the tail-end of The Pack A.D.'s set, chatted with Joe from Mechanical Sound Forest for a bit but then had to jet for the next band I hoped to see which was Toronto's Bonjay who were playing The Mod Club about a quarter after midnight. Indie rockers/hipsters beware but The Mod Club on a Saturday night is definitely a place you should NOT be - it's a Saturday night dance party featuring clubby music and not the good stuff it seems. At times, I just felt like I was in an episode of Jersey Shore. This would not bode well for Bonjay - it was the first time I'd heard the band live and I was totally digging their ragga / electro / r n' b 'ish tunes but except for a few select souls near the front, most of the crowd seemed disinterested or distracted. Bonjay's vocalist Alanna Stuart expressed a few times to the crowd that the crowd was too quiet but the crowd never seemed to really get into it like they should have. Alanna and the band(including producer Pho on synth as well as a live drummer) made a valiant effort, but the crowd plain sucked.

And so to end off the Saturday night of Canadian Musicfest, I took in a double shot of garage rock goodness, first with Japan's The Zoobombs at The Comfort Zone, and then with all-girl female quartet, Montreal's The Peelies playing at Silver Dollar. The Zoobombs, who I've seen during past visits to the city, are at this point beyond review, except to say they are just about the most rockin' band out of Japan ever, their mix of garage-y, r n'b rock, mixed with squelches of keyboard and sleazy guitar playing, is always a good time, kind of like experiencing a band who musically seem like a mixture between The Rolling Stones and Iggy and The Stooges. The Peelies brand of garage-y pop-rock was more subtle than The Zoobombs but was satisfying nonetheless, with the girls alternating vocals/instruments between songs, and performing from an amateurist angle but overall with a sense of fun and non-chalance.

Normally I'd have ended the festival on Saturday night but I couldn't resist in the end to catch Swedish band Katie Goes To Tokyo who were playing a set at Bread N' Circus. For a Sunday night there was actual a good turnout for them, although disappointedly everyone was seated although it was rather for comfort than intential disregard for the band as the crowd seemed to enjoy the set. The band were quite in the vein of fellow Swedes The Cardigans (well, mostly early Cardigans), with vocalist/songwriter Kathrine Bergström and her band(including keys, bass, drums, and guitar) playing a set of breezy, sunny pop songs songs like "Little Sister". Especially noteworthy, was that it was Toronto's own Carmen Elle on guitar who did a fantastic job on guitar with her sinewy, melodic guitar lines and on drums was Kathrine's album producer Mårten Tromm who also produced Canadian singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman and which led Workman to co-write a song with Kathrine entitled “Paper Moon”. Kathrine's most recent album My Naked Heart was recorded in Stockholm but mixed and mastered in Toronto, Canada. Small world.

Given that I was already downtown, I decided not to waste the opportunity to catch The Pack A.D. at the Horseshoe Tavern whose set the other night at Wrongbar I'd only caught the tailend of. It was a rockin' good time as the guitar/drums duo wailed through several blues-tinged garage rock. Like, The Zoobombs, and The Peelies the night before, old school rock n' roll will always have a place in this little heart o' mine. Rock n' roll is here to stay, and it will never die. And with that, another Canadian Musicfest in the books - see you next year.

Photos: Digits @ El Mocambo, Toronto (part of Canadian Musicfest, 12 March 2011)
Photos: The Einar Flaa Academy @ Global Village Backpackers, Toronto (part of Canadian Musicfest, 12 March 2011)
Photos: Bonjay @ The Mod Club, Toronto (part of Canadian Musicfest, 12 March 2011)
Photos: The Zoobombs @ Comfort Zone, Toronto (part of Canadian Musicfest, 12 March 2011)
Photos: The Peelies @ Silver Dollar, Toronto (part of Canadian Musicfest, 12 March 2011)
Photos: Katie Goes To Tokyo @ Bread n' Circus, Toronto (part of Canadian Musicfest, 13 March 2011)
Photos: The Pack A.D. @ Horseshoe Tavern Toronto (part of Canadian Musicfest, 13 March 2011)

MySpace: Digits
MySpace: The Einar Flaa Academy
MySpace: Bonjay
MySpace: The Zoobombs
MySpace: The Peelies
MySpace: Katie Goes To Tokyo
MySpace: The Pack A.D.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Karkwa, Esben and the Witch @ Canadian Musicfest, Toronto (March 11, 2011)

Esben and the Witch: photo by Michael Ligon
  Esben and the Witch: photo by Michael Ligon

I guess a Polaris Music Prize win doesn't guarantee a lineup down the block for a band's Canadian Musicfest set that's in a relatively intimate venue, well at least if your Montreal Francophone act Karkwa. I generally didn't line up all that long arriving about half an hour before their scheduled set time and when I got in I found the venue to be have ample elbow room amongst those already inside. Members of the band had actually sauntered past us in line as they arrove and entered the venue through the front door with the person behind me in line saying in jest to Karkwa's drummer as he walked past something along the lines of "thanks for showing up". The humour was somewhat lost on the drummer before he realized the guy was making a joke. Except for the exquisite French-pop of their song "Oublie Pas" which I'd heard on the soundtrack of a Francophone film(whose title escapes me) I wasn't at all familiar with the band's music. A person in the audience I introduced myself too, who happened to work for chartattack, upon me asking her what the band's music was like described them as band who some have described as a French Radiohead. And after hearing Karkwa perform, they didn't really remind me of Radiohead at all - Karkwa were far more conventional when compared to Radiohead's current experimental-sounding output and Karkwa didn't sound at all like old Radiohead in my opinion. However, like Radiohead, I guess Karkwa do possess a certain amount of dramatic tension within their pop-rock tunes. The level of musicianship in the band was exemplary with vocalist/guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier and his band which included two drummers/drumkits, a bassist, and a keyboardist equipped with an arsenal of keyboards. And so while the band defintely has chops, I felt a disconnect overall which had not even so much to do with the fact I don't understand French. It was a good set overall, though not the great set I'd hope would prove to me why they won the Polaris Music Prize.

Similarly, UK's trio Esben and the Witch were a generally unknown entity with a lot to prove given all the buzz they've been garnered by the music press. Word is that when the band opened for Foals at Lee's Palace last September, they'd put on a good show. I'd only sampled a bit of their music prior to their show, and it's funny how a came to describe them in my mind as new-goth even before I read a lick of press on them which bandied around the term 'goth' ad nauseum. There was a tangible excitement for the young trio as they took the stage, the band composed of guitarist/keyboardist Thomas Fisher, electronics/guitarist Daniel Copeman, and vocalist/percussionist Rachael Davies. The band concocted an intoxicating mix of stark vocals, dark pop atmospherics, threatening guitar attacks and primal / electronic beats that had the crowd intrigued for the hour and a half or so they'd played. The band's admitted in interview that while everyone likes to describe them as goth(bands like Bauhaus, This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins), it was only after they were compared to them that the band discovered these bands. One wonders where the band did then get their influences, but if it is from within, it is one deep dark place. Intriguing. The band's Matador Records-released debut Violet Cries is out now.

Photos: Karkwa @ Wrongbar, Toronto as part Canadian Musicfest (March 11, 2011)
Photos: Esben and the Witch @ Wrongbar, Toronto as part Canadian Musicfest (March 11, 2011)
MySpace: Karkwa
MySpace: Esben and the Witch

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Brian Borcherdt, Austra, Butterfly Explosion @ Canadian Musicfest, Toronto (March 10, 2011)

Austra @ Wrongbar: photo by Michael Ligon
  Austra @ Wrongbar: photo by Michael Ligon

It's no wonder that I only saw two bands for my second night(on March 11) of Canadian Musicfest as my first night consisted of 6 bands in total, the first three which I reviewed a few days ago. Let's waste no time and continue onward.

Next up for the midnight-and-onward festivities was Brian Borcherdt at The Garrison. Borcherdt is better known in most circles as the frontman of sound/beat manipulators Holy Fuck, but his work as a singer-songwriter was very much an unknown entity for me, although perhaps that unknown given the decent sized crowd that came out for his midnight set. With a forlorness in his vocals, Borcherdt performed an entertaining set of folk / alt-country tinged tunes, accompanying himself on electric guitar. Borcherdt began the set solo but then shortly into the set was joined by a burly gent on violin before he was replaced and joined by a bespectacled indie rock dude on drums. It was particularly disappointing that half the crowd seemed uninterested, chatting non-chalantly the whole time. In any case, it didn't seem to phase Borcherdt one bit and there was at least a few of us that enjoyed the set immensely. So what's next for Borcherdt? A combination of his beat-terrorism and his singer-songwriter mode perhaps? Now that'd be interesting.

From the Garrison, it was back down to Queen St for me and west towards Wrongbar where Toronto's Austra were set to perform. I'd picked up on the fact that Austra was Katie Stelmanis' new project. I'd previously been familiar with Stelmanis' music which combined her stark, dramatic vocals within a post-punk musical framework. There was a good-sized crowd in the venue and a tangible excitement in the air, and Stelmanis and company did not disappoint. Flanked by two dancers/back-up vocalist, a drummer, keyboardist, and a bassist, Stelmanis and company invigorated the crowd with a voluptuous set of electro-synth dance tunes. As a singer, Stelmanis retains her stark, dramatic vocals and against the supple drum beats and synth arrangements I was reminded a bit of Bat For Lashes although less devoted to Kate Bush influences and sounding more clubby. This is defintely music you can dance to, but it was the band's sultry combination of vocals and beats that was almost hypnotic, displayed in Stelmanis and her backup vocalists'/dancers' whose wavy body moments seemed to absorb and reflect every beat. For the crowd at the front of the stage at least, the urge to dance was undeniable, all flailing arms and booty-shaking. I cannot wait to see this band again. Undeniably the best set of this year's Canadian Musicfest, in my opinion. The band's debut album, Feel It Break, featuring drummer Maya Postepski and bassist Dorian Wolf is set to be released this coming May through Paper Bag Records.

Ending off the night for me with a 2 am set start time(and thankfully I had the day off work the next day) was Irish shoegaze act Butterfly Explosion. This wasn't the first time the Dublin band had crossed through town, having come to Toronto for some show or two back in April 2007 has documented by Chromewaves. My interest had been piqued back then but for a reason that escapes me, I didn't end up seeing them live. So with this 2 am set there one and only appearance at this year's Canadian Musicfest, I decided to check 'em out, and defer my comfy bed for another few hours. As shoegaze bands go, they weren't as transcendent as say My Bloody Valentine but they were no mere slouches either. In addition to shoegaze, the band was also partially indebted to their post-rock and dream-pop influences. The five-piece featuring Gazz Carr (Guitar, Vocals), John Coman (Drums), Conor Garry (Bass), Jay Carty (Guitar), and Aine McGrath (Keys, Vocals) thanked the crowd for coming out at the late time, then proceeded with a set of varying shades of shoegaze-influenced rock n' roll. While I recall the start of the set being a bit mundane(mostly due to the vocals), the band seemed to get better with every tune, varying their tempo, rhythmic assault, guitar heaviness, and keys accompanient from tune to tune. If anything, the lead vocals seemed to be the weakest element, and perhaps recognizing that maybe that was why much of the set seemd to be instrumental. There was however a tune where Gazz and keyboardist Aine both sang a bit more equitably on which made a strong case for the band to have more songs like that. There wasn't a particularly large crowd on hand, which seemed to get thinner as the hour drew later, and for what few remained, they seemed less interested in the band than in grabbing a last drink, but hey it was close to 3 am and I was ready to call it a night.

Photos: Brian Borcherdt @ The Garrison, Toronto, Canadian Musicfest (March 10, 2011)
Photos: Austra @ Wrongbar, Toronto, Canadian Musicfest (March 10, 2011)
Photos: Butterfly Explosion @ The Hideout, Toronto, Canadian Musicfest (March 10, 2011)
MySpace: Brian Borcherdt
MySpace: Austra
MySpace: Butterfly Explosion

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Memoryhouse, Young Empires, Prussia @ Canadian Musicfest, Toronto (March 10, 2011)

  Memoryhouse: photo by Michael Ligon

Anticipating that The Great Hall might get busy for recently-signed Sub Pop signees' Guelph's Memoryhouse who were playing later in the night, I decided to kick off my Canadian Musicfest early at the venue to check out the opening acts. The venue's lineup for the night was part of The Windish Agency showcase. Detroit's Prussia kicked off the night to a sparse crowd and I didn't have much expectations by the non-descript looking five-piece but I did warm up a bit to the band's skewed indie pop. Lanking vocalist Ryan Spencer's vocals reminded me of a mix of Talking Heads' David Byrne and Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug and if that latter band's recent hiatus was a disappointment to you, Prussia's jaunty eclecticism will perhaps be right up your alley. As sparse as the crowd was, they were generally appreciative of the band's efforts. Or perhaps just of Spencer's contortive dance movements.

For a band who I'd tagged as having one of the best singles of last year I was a bit disappointed with my first experience seeing Toronto dance-rock trio Young Empires when I saw them play Steamwhistle Brewery this past December - they had much energy, and played off the crowd well, but most vocally, sort of lost track that night. In a turnabout, for their Canadian Musicfest set last week, it was the energy of the crowd that was sorely lacking while, vocally and musically they were much more on point. Adept at carving out tunes through a combination of programmed beats and samples with vibrant guitar, bass and vocals, songs like the Ibiza-fueled rhythms of "Rain of Gold" which reminded me of Technique-era New Order, to soaring set-closer indie tune "White Doves" showed Young Empires to be a multi-faceted band, as interested in singing songs as making us dance. It's just too bad that the crowd didn't break out into an all-out dance party. Chalk another one up to Toronto apathy.

Guelph's Memoryhouse will likely draw comparison's to other Sub Pop "-house" band Beach House, both bands music having a dreamy, melodic quality to it, but Memoryhouse seem even more devoted to that direction, to the pointing of seeming like they'd float off into the stratosphere. Reminiscient of bands like Slowdive and a bit of Cocteau Twins, Memoryhouse's set, while what lacked in general stage presence, was a dream-pop lover's wet dream musically. Having expanded from a duo to a four-piece for this show, the band played most competently. Ringing guitars, subtle keys, bass and drums, and angelic vocals and a good arsenal of tunes drove the short but sweet set but when the band upped-up the tempo ever so slightly on "Heirloom" while still maintaining all the other qualities that make them who they are, Memoryhouse really hit the mark. For the music they play, I don't ever expect them to have much stage presence (although banter, perhaps could help a bit), but I'd hope they'd considering augment their live set with some visual lighting or projections in the future. I do somehow find vocalist Denise Nouvion every bit enchanting because of her dreamy vocals AND despite the fact that all she did was gaze into the audience, or look down to her keyboards the whole time.

Photos: Memoryhouse, Young Empires, Prussia @ Canadian Musicfest, Toronto (March 10, 2011)
MySpace: Prussia
MySpace: Young Empires
MySpace: Memoryhouse

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 Canadian Musicfest Picks (March 12, 2011)


So what will it be tonight for Canadian Musicfest. The garage-punk showcase at Wrongbar looks strong and entertaining - I'll vouch for the 3/4 female Nashville punk outfit Heavy Cream who I saw during CMJ in New York City this past October - crazy, cool vocalist. And Vancouver garage-blues duo The Pack A.D. are also fun to experience. I have a feeling this venue'll be crazy busy. Japan's The Zoobombs always put on a fantastic rock n' roll show and they'll be at The Comfort Zone at 1 am. The music selection that appeals to my tastes are somewhat thin tonight - I don't have that many options for each of the times slots and I just realized I don't even have a 9 pm selection. What I'm almost positive is that I'll be heading to The Mod Club to check out the electro / dancehall / r n'b stylings of Toronto's Bonjay. I only saw two bands yesterday - Montreal's Karkwa and buzzy UK trio Esben and The Witch at Wrongbar, and then ended the night early only because I needed to crash - and I feel like I need to make up for that tonight. Let's do this.

8:00 Alcoholic Faith Mission @ El Mocambo (downstairs)

@ Wrongbar
10:00 The Pack A.D.
11:00 Heavy Cream
12:00 Ty Segall
1:00 Teenanger
2:00 The White Wires

10:00 The Einar Flaa Academy @ Global Village Backpackers

10:00 The Balconies @ Lee's Palace

@ Horseshoe Tavern
10:30 Parlovr
1:30 Rah Rah

@ Silver Dollar
11:00 Neon Windbreaker
12:00 Shortpants Romance
2:00 The Peelies

@ Painted lady
11:00 Kill Krinkle Club
1:00 White White Sisters

@ Rivoli
12:00 The Golden Dogs @ Rivoli
2:00 Fever Fever @ Rivoli

12:00 The Treasures @ The Dakota Tavern

12:00 Terra Lightfoot @ Czehoski

@ Mod Club
12:15 Bonjay
2:30 DVAS

1:00 The Zoobombs @ Comfort Zone

1:00 Kidstreet @ El Mocambo (downstairs)

Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Canadian Musicfest Picks (March 11, 2011)

  Esben and the Witch

I'm so much more uncertain about what to check out tonight during Canadian Musicfest. My first choice would be the J Mascis / Kurt Vile and the Violators / James Vincent McMorrow show at The Great Hall but with it being listed as allowing "Limited wristbands/passes accepted", I don't feel like gambling trying to get into that show. And I don't feel like getting there super early to line up - perhaps if it were June. The remainder of the night is a mixture of the familiar, the acquainted with and other curiosities. The music genres encompassed by the lineup of bands below range from indie folk, indie rock, post-rock, electro-pop, alt-country and so on but above all these bands have intrigued me. My top pick of the night is UK band, Matador Records artist Esben and The Witch who exude a dark, austere atmosphere. Should I classify this has perhaps new-goth? They're definitely intriguing.

@ Drake Underground
8:00 Olenka and the Autumn Lovers
9:00 Adam and the Amethysts
12:00 Holger

@ Comfort Zone
8:00 Halves
9:00 Tennis System
10:00 Hotkid
11:00 The Wilderness
12:00 Powers
1:00 Foxfire

@ Sneaky Dee's
8:00 Nash
9:00 Christien Summers
11:00 Allie Hughes
1:00 The Meligrove Band
2:00 Make Your Exit
3:00 DVAS

8:45 Maylee Todd & Pegwee Power @ Revival

@ Supermarket
9:00 Rebekah Higgs
10:00 Lindi Ortega
10:30 The Treasures
1:00 Maylee Todd & Pegwee Power

@ The Dakota Tavern
9:00 Rob Moir
12:00 Alcoholic Faith Mission
1:00 Racoon Bandit

@ Underground Garage (365 King St West)
9:45 Kill Krinkle Club
10:30 windings

@ Lee's Palace
10:00 The Jezabels
11:00 Dinosaur Bones
12:00 Bombay Bicycle Club
1:00 Parlovr

@ Wrongbar
10:00 Karkwa
11:00 Esben and the Witch
1:00 Bok Bok
2:00 Kingdom

@ Horseshoe Tavern
10:20 Hooded Fang
12:20 Cuff The Duke

10:00 The Pack A.D. @ Bovine Sex Club

10:00 Aidan Knight @ Rivoli

10:00 Holger @ Painted Lady

11:00 Katie Goes To Tokyo @ Mitzi's Sister

2:00 The Lines @ The Hideout

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

2011 Canadian Musicfest Picks (March 9-10, 2011)

  Memoryhouse: photo by Edward Bishop

This year's Canadian Musicfest (as part of the annual Canadian Music Week music industry conference) is about to kick off officially tomorrow night in venues across Toronto. The whole schedule is up here. Tomorrow night will have a number of venues hosting showcases although Canadian Musicfest really kicks into high gear on Thursday night. Check out my picks below [note: the band/artist names are hyperlinked to their respective MySpace sites]:


After a perusal of Wednesday night's schedule, I found I wasn't intrigued by very much unfortunately. I'm non-committal about this night in general but if I do go out, I may check out some of the acts below.

9:00 Lordy Lordy @ Rancho Relaxo

11:00 Snowblink @ Painted Lady

11:30 Gentleman Reg @ Gladstone Hotel

1:00 Sacred Animals @ Painted Lady


I fortunately have the day off work on Friday so if I feel motivated to hit Canadian Musicfest hard on Thursday night, I just may do so. This night in general is a much harder night for me to pin down a schedule because of all the time slot conflicts. Rather than a strict sequential listing of picks below for each time slot, I chose to group some picks by venue which gives a clearer picture of the option of hunkering down in one venue for part or all of the night (see especially my The Opera House, Wrongbar, Silver Dollar and The Great Hall picks below). Memoryhouse are my top choice of the night. Maybe I'll just head to The Great Hall early.

@ Sonic Boom
6:00 - The Balconies
7:00 - Dinosaur Bones
8:00 - The Most Serene Republic

8:30 Modern Superstitions @ Horseshoe Tavern

@ Lee's Palace
8:30 The Wilderness of Manitoba
9:30 Miracle Fortress
11:30 Young Galaxy

@ The Opera House
8:30 Little Scream
9:30 Isis (of Thunderheist)
10:30 Cadence Weapon
12:30 Land of Talk

@ Wrongbar
9:00 Valleys
11:00 Little Girls
12:00 Metz
1:00 Austra
2:00 Monolithium

@ Silver Dollar
9:00 Grounders
10:00 Heartbeat Hotel
12:00 The Russian Futurists
1:00 Silly Kissers

@ The Great Hall
10:00 Young Empires
10:45 Memoryhouse
11:45 Yukon Blonde

@ The Garrison
10:00 Actual Water
12:00 Brian Borcherdt

@ Smiling Buddha
10:00 Orangegrass
11:00 Sugar Plum Ferry

10:00 The R.G. Morrison @ Bread n' Circus

10:00 Kalle Mattson @ Mitzi's Sister

11:00 Chateau Marmont @ Drake Underground

11:00 Bloodgroup @ Rancho Relaxo

@ Clinton's
11:30 Idiotape
12:30 Vidulgi OoyoO
1:30 Mathemagic

@ The Hideout
12:00 Halves
2:00 The Butterfly Explosion