It’s that time — Canadian Music Week has finally arrived and is taking over just about every decent music venue in the city for the next four days, starting tonight with the Indie Awards at The Docks. Planning on checking some shows out, but can’t make heads or tails of the overwhelming number of bands playing? We’re here to help. We’ve scoured the list of over 500 bands to seek out some of the shows we hope will blow us away, and we want to share them with you. Over the next few days, we’ll be previewing each night of the festival in hope that it will help you decide to either find a venue to nestle into for the night or put on your comfy shoes for an evening of club hopping.
Tickets can be purchased in limited numbers for each showcase, or you can pick up a festival wristband for $35 on TicketBreak or Ticketmaster, which will allow you access to (almost) all shows throughout the week.
See Thursday’s preview after the jump.
Recommendations for Thursday, March 8
* Schedule may change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the CMW website.
Montreal’s Les Breastfeeders first entered Toronto’s radar when they played CBC Radio 3’s ‘See Vous Play’ show back in the fall. Many people agreed that they were the highlight of the night, and with good reason. This 5-piece garage band, who sing in French, have one helluva high energy stage presence, mainly due to the insane tambourine player, Johnny Maldoror. He alone is reason enough to catch these guys live — you haven’t seen tambourine playin’ until you’ve seen this guy slithering his way around the stage and through the legs of his bandmates. The venue is small and Toronto’s Uncut will be on right before them, so you’ll want to get there early. — Carrie Musgrave
1 a.m. @ Silver Dollar (486 Spadina Ave.) w/ Autodrone, Locksley, Moi Caprice, The High Dials, Uncut, $10
Emily Weedon & Delta
If you haven’t seen Emily Weedon or Delta yet, there’s no time like the present. A regular performer at the Cameron House, Weedon’s voice is stunningly beautiful. Delta play heart-wrenching, soulful country music that’s easily comparable to Neko Case, or even greats like Loretta Lynn. May cause you to drown your sorrows…heavily. — Kate Robertson
12:30 am @ Hideout (484 Queen St. W.), w/ The Jimmyriggers, Drowning Girl and Lodger, $6
Five Blank Pages
Brampton’s Five Blank Pages won’t win many points for originality, but when you describe your band as “melodic indie-pop,” you’re probably not trying to reinvent the wheel. That being said, their songs show promise and room to expand around the sub-genre they’ve pigeon-holed themselves into. They’ve got their harmonies down, a necessity for indie-popsters, and hopefully they’re working on their Chris Murphy scissor-kicks. — Mike Warner
9:30 p.m. @ Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W.) w/ Unbelievers, Shannon Lee Briggs, The Brown Hornets, Staggered Crossing, Staylefish, $7
Ladies of the Canyon
Named for a Joni Mitchell song, the Ladies of the Canyon are part of a great Montreal roots showcase happening at the Rancho Relaxo. The female four piece emphasize song-writing and harmonies over ornate instrumentation, which means you’ll have ample opportunities to hear their voices soar. Their songs, especially “In The Riverbed,” form a wonderful bridge between the folk and soul genres. — Mike Warner
12 a.m. @ Rancho Relaxo (300 College St.) w/ United Steel Workers of Montreal, Two Dollar Bash, Ryan Shearing, Lee Mellor, $8
Take a few cute Japanese girls and put them on a stage in sexy school girl outfits wielding guitars and you’ve got the world’s greatest marketing ploy. However, add a punk attitude with some horn-throwing and behind-the-back guitar gestering, and you’ve got a band of girls who can rock out with the best of them. Megababe are back in Toronto for their second festival (last year at NXNE), and while they may look innocent and sweet, they really just want to rip your face off with their intense performance. They don’t speak very much English, which makes their album name ‘Speak Japanese or Die’ quite apt, but once you see them play, you won’t really care if you understand the lyrics or not. — Carrie Musgrave
11 p.m. @ Bovine Sex Club (542 Queen St. West) w/ Minority, The Taste, Domenica, Latebirds, The Emeralds, $10
The Nymphets are a Montreal punk-rock band with 60s British pop sensibilities. They swear a lot, but it’s clear that they’re actually a bunch of softies, and not tough guys (and girl) at all. Fast-paced but not frantic, with simple and catchy melodies, if this band doesn’t get you dancing, you will at least be bopping your head (which is practically dancing in this great city of ours). — Kate Robertson
10 p.m. @ Sneaky Dee’s (431 College St.), w/ Sproll, Bit by Bats, Comic Book Fever, Leaders & Dreamers, $8
Orangutan is probably not the best name to give yourself, but one listen to “Miles Away” will be enough to make most listeners forgive the misjudgment. These low-key, subtly layered songs would probably sound great on repeat, performing a slow burn through the remaining long nights of winter. — Mike Warner
10 p.m. @ Savannah Room (294 College St.) w/ Sarah Burton, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, The ory no’man too, $8
It’s hard to describe what 8-piece Denmark band
Under Byen (pronounced Oh’nah Boon) sound like without mentioning Bjork, and maybe adding a small touch of Sigur Ros. That said, they have quite a unique sound of their own. It’s eerie and beautiful, and it really doesn’t matter that we can’t understand a single word of it (unless you speak Danish, of course). There are so many layers and interesting sounds infused into their songs, which gel perfectly with the soft voice of singer Henriette Sennenvaldt. Because of the music’s ability to put you into a dreamy state, it may be tough to stay vertical during the show, but it’s certainly not to be missed. Sweden’s Frida Hyvonen will be opening, along with Toronto’s Ohbijou. — Carrie Musgrave
9 p.m. @ Mod Club (722 College St.) w/ Ohbijou, Frida Hyvonen, $12 adv/ $15 door
Your Band Sucks
Lead by Doc Pickles, co-founder of Toronto’s Wavelength music series, Your Band Sucks are a playful, quirky and melodic band who toy with as many instruments as possible: organ, electric drums, accordion, clarinet and keyboards all make appearances on tracks. With a lo-fi production approach and an emphasis on vocals, they’re comparable to the Russian Futurists or the ironic lyrical stylings of Ben Folds. With tracks like “TeachYourPetsToSmoke”, and songs about sports networks, they’re funny too. — Kate Robertson
1 a.m. @ Neutral Lounge (349a College St.), w/ Fake Reality, Jen Militia, Million Dollar Marxists, The Vulcan Dub Squad, $8.
With so many bands, we’re sure we missed others worthy of a preview. Know of any? Let us know in the comments.
Banner courtesy of CMW, photo of Les Breastfeeders, Megababe and Your Band Sucks by Carrie Musgrave.