CMW’s new early summer positioning may make the weather more pleasant for club-hopping and seeing bands around town, but it’s had impacts in other ways, too—some of which we covered in our post about the heightened rivalry with NXNE. Chief among those is the loss of bands coming here directly from Austin, Texas’s SXSW festival, which used to align date-wise with CMW. So while the bulk of the rock and roll bands taking part in CMW were always locals and near-locals from in or around the Golden Horseshoe, that’s even more true now—save for the few high-profile acts whose tours bring them to town when CMW is on, and a few notable exceptions, like showcases programmed by Pop Montreal and NEXT, or a cultural showcase by Hearing Taiwan.
So among all these grinding indie rock bands, which ones should you make an effort to see? We’ve combed through the schedule to pick out some reliably entertaining choices, plus one legendary band worth lining up early for.
Wednesday, May 7, 9 p.m.
Velvet Underground (508 Queen Street West)
Local outfit PAPERMAPS—a band that describes themselves simply as a rock band, rooted in “classic rock“— inadvertently became CMW poster children after speaking out on social media against NXNE’s new radius clause. Forced to choose between the two festivals, PAPERMAPS went with CMW and are maximizing their festival exposure; in addition to Wednesday’s set on CMW’s official opening night, there’s a 1 a.m. set on Saturday, May 10, at Rancho Relaxo, plus a solo set by frontman Dean Marino at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, at Charlie’s Gallery.
Thursday, May 8, 9 p.m.
Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West)
We’re longtime fans of this manic pixie musical dreamweaver and her dance-pop imbued with sexy retro funk, disco, and soul. She’s been absent from Toronto stages in the last while, owing partly to a tour in Japan, solo travelling, and her Ark Analog project with Woodhands’ Dan Werb. Just because she hasn’t been playing concerts, though, doesn’t mean Todd has been idle; she created and showcased a “Ghetto Gladiator” experience at the Long Winter series, and a series of fun fitness classes was developed based on her “Aerobics in Space” video. We’ll be interested to see which of her many Maylees will be showing up for her show at the ‘Shoe.
Friday, May 8, 11 p.m.
Handlebar (159 Augusta Avenue)
Since they released their sophomore album Hot Noise last summer, local indie rockers Jane’s Party have been keeping their noses to the grindstone, touring the album in Ontario, doing several residency months at the Cameron House, and headlining Steamwhistle’s Unsigned series last month. They’re perennially the local band that other local bands like The Elwins and The Balconies big-up, and this might be the year that all that goodwill raises their profile.
Saturday, May 10, 8:30 p.m.
Phoenix Concert Theatre (410 Sherbourne Street)
That wristband of yours will get you in to see Television only if you line up absurdly early outside the Phoenix or already have your ticket. It’ll be worth it, though. Television—whose contemporaries included The Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, and The Ramones—were one of the most seminal indie rock outfits of the ’70s. In the past year, they began touring again after nearly a decade’s silence, and they’re even finishing up a new album. Most of the other big-name acts here for CMW, including Neko Case at Massey Hall, Tegan and Sara at Kool Haus, and Owen Pallett at the Danforth Music Hall, will be back again soon, but there are no guarantees for Television, whose two most recent Toronto dates were in 2006 and 1993.
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