We can’t quite put away our coverage of CMW without letting you in on some great music that went on Saturday night. Thousands of people milled about town on the busiest night of the festival, and that made it even more difficult to decide which bands to go see. People lined up around the block for the city’s hottest events, such as the songwriter’s showcase starring Bedouin Soundclash and Jim Cuddy at The Mod Club.
Another big line-up was at The Reverb, with one of the few all-ages CMW nights. Teeny boppers wearing far too much eye makeup were lining up in droves to see Johnny Truant deliver a kickass show that was pure entertainment. The performance of all band members was fantastic, with fast guitar work and especially fast drumming to deliver a really hard sound. Frontman Olly Mitchell loomed over the audience and delivered his trademark roar, screaming lyrics so fiercely that he spat onto the underaged faces gazing up at him from the crowded moshpit. The music was raw, it was powerful, it was metal.
On to something slightly quieter on the rock and roll spectrum, we headed up to Clinton’s. Loudlove were playing the last three songs of their set, and delivered a fantastic rock and roll sound while looking like they were having the time of their lives up on stage. Audience members were dancing at their tables, and the entire bar was bobbing along with the music. Now that’s a good time.
Up next was Santa Dog from Bristol, UK. Their sound was stereotypical Brit-pop-rock, with Rowena Dugdale quietly singing along to Rob Williams’ plucky guitar work. Every once in a while Dugdale would start wailing and her delicate frame appeared so overtaken by emotion it seemed it would implode. Luckily, it didn’t, and Dugdale swiftly returned to playing her bright yellow guitar and stealing flirty looks from the audience. Cute.
The Coast appeared on stage shortly thereafter. This foursome from Toronto have had no musical training, and sadly, it shows. Frontman Benjamin Spurr’s voice was often flat, especially during ballads that were otherwise powerful. The entire band seemed apprehensive, and needed to relax a bit to let the audience in. Their style is very familiar, sounding like U2 and The Smiths, but with softer vocals and an overuse of the echo maker. With lyrics that are often thematically linked to farewells, it makes the audience wonder why the band always has one foot out the door. How about a hello?
Finally, one of the hardest working bands involved in Canadian Music Week, Reily stormed the stage. With two keyboards, four guitars, two tambourines, a xylophone, drums, and a grand total of five people in the band, their carefully constructed songs are a mix of whichever instruments compliment the emotions at hand. One would think that all these various instruments would drown out the lyrics, but with three vocalists at the helm, the well-written lyrics are just as powerful as the music that cushions them. The result is powerful and soulful rock music that you’ll just have to hear for yourself.
Photo of Johnny Truant by Razorcandy and photo of Reily by QuadB from Flickr.