Sandman Viper Command kicking off my compilation release party Labour Day Weekend 2009! Photo by Terri Coles
As a music promoter who has been at a while, I take pleasure in seeing the success — both in Canada and worldwide — of the many acts who’ve passed through our TWM home at Rancho Relaxo over the years. By no means do I take responsibility for any act getting into a festival like HPX, but I am much more likely to seek out their showcase to support them as they’ve done for us in the past.
With that in mind, here is my list of 10 acts that TWM is proud to see playing Halifax Pop Explosion — and whom I will do my darndest to check out!
Deadhorse: To be honest Toronto didn’t do Deadhorse much justice when they came through Rancho. It was a pretty big disappointment because they were one of the best live bands I have seen in the last couple of years. They call their style swamp-rock, which basically means they play rock music with some garage, some blues, even some country influences — but dirty as hell. Think of what a swamp might sound like and apply it to a rock band; then you are getting the idea. They’ll be at Tribeca next Thursday night at 8 PM on a stacked bill featuring Toronto’s Wildlife as the headliner.
Glory Glory: Not even in the slightest could TWM claim to have helped Glory Glory get into the festival. They are a Halifax band, after all! But we are their Toronto home — whenever the band does a tour, Rancho Relaxo is a stop. We’ve gotten to know them quite well over the years and watched them evolve from a band that had a ton in common with others, to a band with swirling indie-rock-goes-post-rock influences and a sound of their very own. Wouldn’t miss them for the world! Friday at 9:30 PM at the Legendary Seahorse Tavern is where you can find Glory Glory.
Honheehonhee live from the Officially Unofficial TWM/Buying Shots NXNE After Party. Photo by Rachel Gordon.
Honheehonhee: TWM gave Montreal’s Honheehonhee their first Toronto show, and then the rest of the country immediately took notice. This summer they played Sled Island, they just finished playing Pop Montreal, and now off they go to Halifax Pop before returning to headline my birthday shindig! Not bad, right? I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Honheehonhee are the best new indie music coming out of Montreal right now. That’s a statement I don’t make lightly. And lo and behold, Honheehonhee will take the stage at 10:30 on Friday at the Seahorse, right after Glory Glory!
More Or Les: More or Les is a staple at the Rancho Relaxo — about every five or six Thursdays, he and Wordburglar join forces to put on the best regular rap series Toronto has to offer. Others might claim to be the best, but none of them have an atmosphere where fans of any type of music can come out and enjoy an awesome hip-hop show. A fantastic MC with a great sense of humour and a tremendous stage presence, More or Les is never to be missed. Les will be at Reflections Cabaret on Saturday at 9:00, right after our good friend Ghettosocks.
Papermaps: There is no band on HPX that TWM loves more than Papermaps. We’ve been working them since their humble beginnings as Dean Marino’s solo project as Ex~po. I was able to help with their Toronto release party and the subsequent tour of their most recent album, which has done so well that they are playing both CMJ and Halifax Pop next week! Couldn’t happen to nicer people and to be frank, it’s nice to see what might be the best indie-pop album Toronto has released in a few years get the due it justly deserves. You can either catch them for free at the Grand Parade w/ Carmen Townsend, Plants & Animals, and Stars at 2 PM on Saturday, or catch their second play at the Music Room on Friday at 7:30.
Sandman Viper Command: By now you surely know Sandman Viper Command. They’ve accomplished a ton and received a whack of press, thanks to the good work of those at Audio Blood Media. But before all of that, TWM featured Sandman Viper Command on one of my compilations, and they actually did their debut album release at Rancho. They’re great guys, hardworkers, and a band that has earned and deserved all they’ve got. Their set is at the Seahorse on Weds at 11:30 with a couple Toronto locals, These Electric Lives and Wildlife, plus a great Halifax band we had a few months back called Hind Legs.
The Darcys: Unless you live under a rock (or I guess don’t pay attention to what’s what with Toronto indie) you’ve heard that the Darcys were recently signed to Arts & Crafts! This is proof that good things come to those who wait, as the Darcys have been playing great — and packed — shows for several years now but watched for the right opportunity to take things to the next level. Arts & Crafts is almost certainly that opportunity. They have several vinyl releases scheduled to come out over the next while, and a lot of it starts with their performance in Halifax, where the band went to school a few years back. They’ll be at the North Street Church on Friday at midnight.
The Paint Movement: The Paint Movement has evolved a bit over the years, and that evolution has brought great success, with multiple extended Canadian tours and positive press galore. But before all that, when the Paint Movement were a band still figuring it all out, we used to regularly host them at the Rancho. And while the band was on a bit of hiatus while writing, a new jam side project of the Paint Movement came through for a couple of neat shows. We knew they had something then, but even I didn’t know just how big of a something that was. It’ll be great to be able to see just how far they’ve come 11:30 on Tuesday at the Seahorse.