From March 9 to 13, Torontoist is covering the crap out of Canadian Music Week, with daily concert and film previews, reviews of the latest action, words with your favourite and soon-to-be-favourite bands, and more.
Miracle Fortress at Lee’s Palace. Photo by Corbin Smith/Torontoist.
Did you make it out to CMW day two last night? We did, and here’s what we saw.
The Wilderness of Manitoba
Despite the throng of photographers at the stage, there was a decent amount of foot-stomping and clapping for the Wilderness of Manitoba. At some point it was announced that vocalist Will’s mom had, decades ago, written the song that the band was playing. This made Will laugh, his bandmate said, and go “speechless,” at which point someone in the audience cracked, just loud enough to hear: “So was his mom.” So, good times. A very solid set. Wilderness of Manitoba are like Canada’s answer to Mumford and Sons.
Miracle Fortress mastermind Graham Van Pelt came to Lee’s with a drummer (Woodhands-type setup), and heaps of tech (loops and modifiers). Their first song looked and sounded like Holy Fuck-meets-Woodhands-meets-Gary Numan’s “Cars”… in space. Hella versatile. It was a party by the end of the set.
Memphis, the project featuring Stars’ Torquil Campbell, is lots of fun; much more in-your-face than Stars. The newcomers’ songs were very narrative, and Campbell gave a great, emotive, visceral performance.
Sometimes the Darcys sound a lot like the Dears, and sometimes they sound like the Darcys. The latter is when they’re great. The Silver Dollar was packed, and the crowd clearly anticipated the local quartet’s set, responding to the bigger, deeper new material with the same attention and movement as the old familiars. The Darcys—aside from the actual music—have a really important thing down, and that’s playing like they give a damn.
Listed only as “special guest” on the Canadian Music Week roster, singer-songwriter Nick Teehan proved a pleasant surprise with his piano-powered pop, paced by the steady thump of his brother Rob on sousaphone. Teehan’s band—sounding something like Ben Folds-meets-Matt Dusk with a wacky twist—also featured drums, guitar, and trumpet, and offered heartfelt melodies on the very serious topics of romance with Portuguese mannequins and welcoming our new robot overlords.
Saidah Baba Talibah
This show was dripping with sex and syncopated rhythms before it even got out of the gate. A beautiful woman with powerhouse pipes, the never-bashful Saidah was styled like Little Richard-meets-Jabba’s Lair-era Princess Leia, owning the crowd with the soulful, powerful, and energetic songs that have made her S(Cream) album a solid listen front to back. The bounty of CMW had unfortunately taken its toll on her band, with shredder extraordinaire Donna Grantis absent to play another show. That said, the songs sounded great, the band was tight, and Saidah once again delivered the fully engaging experience her shows are known for.
We originally refered to Memphis as a “new” project which, as it happens, they are not. Apologies, Memphis!