CMW 2013 Days 1 &2: The Briefest of Roundups

I am behind the gun.

I have no idea what I am going to see today and I am already late to check out what is happening at the Church of the Holy Trinity.

But I just wanted to do a quick roundup of what I have seen so far….

I am constantly overwhelmed by the incredible number of bands in town for the six days of music fest. I resolved to try to see bands that will likely not come back unless something crazy (awesome) happens, so I will be neglecting local and local-ish bands. I will also try not to see bands I have seen before but no guarantees. (I love you Grapes of Wrath.)

Another consideration was whether or not my wristband would guarantee access (I skipped Stars last night since only a limited number of wristbands would be allowed in, strike one). The location, especially its proximity to other bands that may have potential is a huge factor (sorry Stars, The Danforth Music Hall is in a bit of a no man’s land as far as Canadian Music Week goes, strike two) and if I hate the venue (hello bar whose name resembles the man Kate Winslet recently married), not good.

I started Day 1 late because I had a class to make up. I decided on a band from Norway (duh). They were playing at Clinton’s (super easy to get to from where I was starting out).

Sandra Kolstad and her band were 22 minutes. I almost walked out but I had waited almost half an hour and I needed some sort of payoff. There was a lot of feedback when the percussionist started to talk…. and talk…. I wanted music. I didn’t love their first song but Kolstad’s vocals are interesting enough that I stayed for three more songs.  I will give her a listen online but I can’t see me going back for another show. This tired me out and I made it short night.

Day 2 started at Clinton’s again, this time for the Japan showcase. I was more than a little apprehensive and dragged my butt getting out. OF COURSE, the first band was good but I only caught the last two songs. Pirates Canoe plays country folk music filtered through a Japanese esthetic- a little eccentric (slightly odd harmonies at times) but charming. Their music would have been right at home on Joss Whedon’s defunct series Firefly (let us hang our heads in a moment of silence, sigh). If you know the show, you will understand. If you don’t know the show, WHY THE HELL NOT???

The next band  was Josy. Honestly, they hurt me. They started with a cover of Louis Armstrong’s signature song “What a Wonderful World”. It’s delivery (namely the interruption of the song to introduce themselves and greet the attendees) was very cruise ship. The keyboards on song three were interesting, some funk action happening but it wasn’t enough. I was expecting something interesting (they were dressed very Tokyo cool) but I was wrong. I wanted more of the folky fiddle/mandolin/acoustc guitar stylings of Pirates Canoe but I will have to settle for finding them online since the girls said it was unlikely they would be back in Toronto anytime soon. Boo!

I booted over to The Mod Club and caught the last song by Diana, a moody atmospheric band from Toronto. They made me wish I did not give Josy the 11 minutes that felt like an eternity. They are super local so I will look for them.

Chvrches headlined. A much buzzed about band from Scotland that I chose over Stars (see above). Really good. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry has one of those powerhouse “little girl” voices that you either love or hate. Lucky for me, I loved. She actually reminded me a little of Emily Haines from Metric. Synth-pop music with a heavy dance beat. What is not to love? The soap bubbles and closing with the Prince cover “I Would Die 4 You” was all kinds of awesome!

Energized again, I walked over to The Garrison, a venue with which I have a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship. First up was Shiny Darkly, a moody band from Denmark. I like their 80’s harder edged alt-rock vibe but I felt they were undone by the crappy sound system. A music aficionado read my whine over my shoulder and explained that the lack of bodies causes the sound to bounce off the walls and distort our listening pleasure. He also made a comment about how the lead singer set up his mic (too technical for me) to sound a certain way because he’s a wanna-be Joy Division. There are worse things to want to be like, but I’ll take his word for it on the tech.

The next band, Apparat Organ Quartet from Iceland, started off with a song that was synth-death metal with a dash of stadium rock thrown in. Then they did a 180 with a trippy Space Invader influence song the droogs in “A Clockwork Orange” would have listened to if they had been properly reeducated. I was so confused but I was okay with that. They were, in a word, hilarious and their songs were surpisingly danceable.

Next up was The Painted Lady just around the corner. Not my usual hangout but I had missed a cool French band there last year so you never know. I had no idea who it was because they were playing before 1am but it turned out to be the band I wanted to see, Pull My Strings from Spain. (I wonder if they are big Dead Kennedys fans???) The place was a bit of a ghosttwon and I felt sorry for them because they were awesome! Indie Rock in the best sense of the phrase. Catchy tunes, good vocals- what more do you want. I bought their CD, a bargain at $10. These guys might just my favourite band so far. They play again Saturday at Global Village Backpackers on King and Spadina- another intimate venue. Go!! You won’t be disappointed.

I have to run and get ready for the day…. Oops, I guess this didn’t end up being a brief summary of what I’ve seen to date. If you want more info, let me know, I have more to dish on these bands- just not right now!!!

I still don’t know what I’ll see tonight but I’ll figure it out in the subway….

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~ by angryegg on March 21, 2013.

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