Ahhhhh, Canadian Music Week has crept upon us yet again: the music, the fun, the friends… and the rain. Just like it does every year, the rain has returned in time to soak all the media bloggers spending their nights hopping from venue to venue. Luckily for me, the TWM crew always spends night number one holed up at Rancho Relaxo to ease ourselves into the festival. So enough with the introductions, let’s get down to what I saw last night.
I’ve seen Lordy Lordy a few times now, so their set wasn’t a super surprising one. I know I’m in the minority here, but so far Lordy Lordy haven’t really blown me away. Their set was a loose (not necessarily a bad thing) grab-bag of 50’s and 60’s roots garage rockers punctuated with a couple slower songs. Their closing track in particular — a sparse almost bluesy number featuring maracas and harmonica in place of full drums — rubbed me the right way. I’d like to hear some more stuff like this from them. All in all though Lordy Lordy are a solid group that I expect will only get better, but as of yet I’m not in love with their sound.
Go for The Eyes were up second, and they sounded kind of like a funky jam band that got thrown in a blender with a dance-punk band. Their songs were aggressively hooky, yet at other times would take a random turn and get jammy and showy. In all honesty I didn’t really dig what they were doing. Every few songs they would do a really interesting riff or get experimental, only to go back to the hooky dance stuff. I don’t have a problem with that kind of a balance, but there was something off about them that I just didn’t like. Clearly they are talented musicians, but it wasn’t for me. Shrug.
I’m fairly certain Ryan Warner has played at Rancho recently but that I missed the set completely. I’m kicking myself for that now, because Ryan’s set was officially the first highlight of the festival for me. They had a pretty typical sound on the surface — country and blues infused rock with a slight modern indie edge to it — but their songs and performances really brought their set up to another level. I was loving the smoky sounding trumpet and harmonium in particular. Very awesome stuff on display here.
Mr. Wolovick talked this band up quite a bit lately, so going in I was a little worried that they might not live up to the hype. I’m here to say that they totally lived up to their reputation. Alcoholic Faith Mission are another band that might look like any other indie-folk-orchestra, but when you look past it they’re so much more. When their songs are downtempo and atmospheric, they’re fantastically arranged and performed just right. The more upbeat numbers prove to be terrifically catchy with memorable lyrics. They’re the whole package really, and you should definitely be checking them out tomorrow night (Midnight on Friday, March 11th at the Dakota Tavern).
All in all, what a great night to kick Canadian Music Week off! Tonight I’ll be hopping all around a bit more, so look back tomorrow and check out what I caught!