A last look at the melodic mayhem that was CMW 2012.
Rub your eyes, take a big stretch, unplug your ears, and cut off your wristband—for the 2012 Canadian Music Week has come to an end, to the sadness of our dancing feet, but much to the relief of our sleep-deprived brains.
We started out the week by asking “What do we really think about CMW?” As the festival is so often described as the colder, more industry-focused version of NXNE, why do we keep going out year after year for musical acts big and small? With another CMW under our belts, well, it’s impossible to say for sure. Each individual experience varies so greatly, and one person’s disappointment is another person’s triumph—sometimes based solely on uncontrollable factors like weather, timing, or a last-minute cancellation. There does seem to be one constant from year to year, though: umbrellas.
It’s hard to make a “mistake” during CMW, if you choose to participate. There is something for everyone, if you’re willing to look for it. For a music lover in Toronto, really, the only mistake would be to ignore the fest completely. So bring it on, CMW. You’re not perfect, but we would never want a music festival that was.
Last night was the official close to the festival, so here’s what we checked out, along with a summary of our favourite acts of the entire week.
Pre-Show Hype: Notably low. Despite being openers for the Horseshoe’s Closing Night Party, any hoopla over the headliners—antiquated British rocker David Gedge and whatever backing band he is calling The Wedding Present these days—is not what it used to be.
Crowd: Just a small gathering, perhaps owing to the fact that the band hit the stage about 10 minutes prior to the posted start time. Most fans cluttered the front of the room; some emphatically pumped fists.
Performance: First of all, Pinky Piglets are no more. They now call themselves Toquiwa, announcing the name change with a large banner behind the drummer even as a Pinky Piglets sticker on one of their guitars hinted at the band’s former identity. They laid down an infectious confection of punk-pop that veered from easily digestible Go Go’s–style candy to four Japanese girls doing their best Rage Against the Machine. Often, it was hard to distinguish when the singing was in English or Japanese, though every once in a while there was a discernible instruction about moving to the left or the right.
Best Moment: At one point, the lead singer declared she was thirsty, and urged a drink to the stage by adorably cheering, “Come on, beer!”
Miscellaneous: The association with Gedge dates back to taking part in his self-curated Edge of the Sea festivals. When Toquiwa was accepted to play SXSW this year, Gedge invited the band on his North American tour.
Pre-Show Hype: High, as fans of The Elwins had been awaiting the band’s return to Toronto after their US tour.
Crowd: It’s always difficult to get a good crowd out to a Sunday show at Canadian Music Week, let alone to a show that bleeds into Monday morning—which is what makes the fact that Rancho Relaxo had to turn people away at the door that much more impressive.
Performance: The Elwins showed no signs of road-weariness from their tour, and blasted out a fun, high-energy set.
Best Moment: The coordinated audience dance-and-singalong to “Foxtail” at the end of the set.
Miscellaneous: The Elwins were glad to be back home, and we were glad to see them.
Pre-Show Hype: Moderate, but definitely growing.
Crowd: Though a few fans of The Elwins called it a night before Topanga took the stage, the crowd was still pretty packed. Extra points for impromptu mosh pits.
Performance: The shouty-yet-melodic pop-punkish set was definitely turned up to 11 on the energy scale.
Best Moment: Seeing that Topanga was nervous about playing a brand new song as their encore performance, only to have the crowd love it just as much as every other song the band played throughout the night.
Miscellaneous: We’re starting to hear more and more good things about Topanga. Some big CMW acts are big-time supporters of this band, as we were told by both Wildlife and Rich Aucoin that we would not be disappointed by Topanga. They were so right.