After an exhaustive three days of Canadian Music Week, we bring you a recap of some of the bands Torontoist had a chance to take in. (You can also read another writer’s take on the festival.)
Thursday: After doing the requisite Myspace-browsing, Sneaky Dee’s seemed like a safe bet. Torontoist first caught The Nymphets (right) at 10 PM and they were far better than their small audience of 30 people suggested. The drummer for the Montreal band wore a Ramones t-shirt, and it’s a fitting comparison to make: they charged through countless songs in roughly 20 minutes. Their first words to the audience came near the end of the set (“This is our last song”) and didn’t even let a mid-song breaking of guitar strap slow them down. Lots of energy and definitely a live act to check out.
The short set left a lot of downtime before the next band, Bits and Bats, took the stage. To their credit, they picked up the energy again and managed to hold the audience. The singer’s style was from the Joy Division/Talking Heads school of vocal delivery and seemed a little out of place. The audience enjoyed them a lot though.
The last band we stayed for was Comic Book Fever, who seemed more concerned with their appearance than anything else. Singer Zion Lee announced before one song, “This next one’s on the radio— you love it and we’re sick of it.” No one seemed to know what he was talking about. Too bad for drummer Jahmal Tonge, who’s in need of a band that better suits his talents.
Torontoist made sure to stop by Neutral before Your Band Sucks took the stage. By 1 AM the audience was dwindling, but you would never tell by the way band performed; Your Band Sucks gave the kind of energetic performance usually reserved for a packed room. Between their song “Teach Your Pets To Smoke” and a cover of Wesley Willis’s “Rock’n’Roll McDonalds,” it was a memorable set.
Friday:We first caught Peter Elkas at Horseshoe Tavern. The crowd was enthusiastic (at some point during his set, the venue reached capacity) and Elkas expertly involved them in singalongs. But some people, expecting a sound similar to the Local Rabbits, were disappointed.
We proceeded to the El Mocambo to see the Arts&Crafts showcase and was one of several people told that they were at capacity for pass holders. Not a problem. Is there a line-up? Will more people be let in as other people with passes leave? “Like, you can wait around if you want.” OK, is there a line-up then? “I don’t know.”
Torontoist returned to the reliable Sneaky Dee’s, where the Norwegian band, Harmonica, was already mid-set. Their mix of punk-pop and Gwen Stefani-style rapping pleased everyone in the large crowd.
Next, over at the Silver Dollar, United Steelworkers of Montreal were putting on an old-fashioned bluegrass show, right down to the antique microphone. The wall of sound created by the multiple guitars, upright bass, and banjo gave a solid backing to the powerful, exorcism of a vocal delivery by their two singers.
Lastly, we crept into the back of the Savannah Room where- in contrast to the raucous at the Silver Dollar- you probably could’ve heard a pin drop. As Ryan Waye finished his solo acoustic set, the audience enthusiastically broke their silence.
Saturday: We arrived at the Horseshoe a little early, knowing it’d be busy. The venue was at capacity for pass holders, but the man at the door pointed me to a line-up; it moved rather quickly as other media left the building. (*cough*) Torontoist arrived during the set by Halifax natives In-Flight Safety and the band clearly had a hold over the audience. They made the best out of the multiple misstarts to their last song by having the audience count them in— repeatedly. Hometown heroes The Golden Dogs took the stage at 12 PM and shook the Horseshow— literally made the building shake from side to side, emitting cartoon music notes from the windows— and the audience was completely cool with it. Better yet, it was exactly what they’d been expecting.