Oh, what a whirlwind Canadian Music Week was — especially Friday and Saturday. I’ve compiled both nights into one post, so I’ll get right to the goods instead of going on about how the weather took a nose-dive after Wednesday and Thursday (brrr!).
Friday, March 23rd:
Cousin (9pm @ Sneaky Dee’s): After a small mix-up in my schedule at the El Mocambo, I headed to Sneaky Dee’s to check out Cousin — who hail from Niagara Falls — at the Young Lions Music Club showcase. These dudes played pretty solid slacker-indie-pop-rock, bringing to mind any number of 90s bands — Pavement and Archers of Loaf included. One thing I wasn’t loving was the inclusion of horns in the live show. The arrangements themselves sound like they’ll make sense on record, but I wasn’t feeling them live, and I think it might have just been my issue. Their album is good stuff though, and well worth checking out.
Pow Wows (10pm @ The Dollar): Pow Wows came next, and brought their psych-garage insanity to the Silver Dollar. These guys were LOUD, and it definitely suited their style which blended surf and punk-rock with psychedelic walls of sound. After a while it was easy to feel worn down by their set, but they sold me on it for the most part.
Meanwood (11pm @ Rancho Relaxo): Meanwood was one of my most anticipated sets of the festival, because their record really is legitimately fantastic. I was hoping that their live show would live up to the album, and I’m happy to report that it did in every way. Viktoria’s powerful vocals mixed perfectly live with the band’s super tight instrumentals — everyone put out energetic, honest-to-goodness top-notch performances. Definitely one of the best sets of the festival.
Parlovr (12am @ El Mocambo): I haven’t seen Parlovr in quite some time — maybe years in fact. I’ve been a big fan of their debut LP since they released it independently, and seeing the band get signed and rise in popularity has been great to see. Parlovr played a tight set of songs I wasn’t so familiar with, but the room had great energy and the crowd loved every minute of it. I’m waiting with bated breath for their next full length, all signs point to it being a game changer.
Wild Domestic (2am @ Rancho Relaxo): After some pizza and more beers, I finally got the chance to see Wild Domestic. I’ve heard their album on Bandcamp and have some friends who raved about their live show, so I’ve been waiting for this opportunity a while now. Their show was a lot more math-rock than I had expected, which was great because I loved the technical guitar interplay they had going on. Like their album, they really shift between loud and soft — as well as instrumental passages and those with vocals — with ease. They were totally worthy of their hype.
Saturday, March 24th:
I had another issue on Saturday that messed my evening up. I attempted to see Furguson at the Gladstone to start my night off, but read some false information about their set starting at 9pm when in reality it was 8pm. So I totally missed them, which sucks because they sounded great online. Anyway, by the time I got to Rancho Relaxo, The Skirt Chasers were deep into their extra long set that lead right into The Speaking Tongues — which made for perfect drinking music.
Little City (11pm @ The Silver Dollar) – Up next was Little City, a folk-collective from the Toronto area who reminded me a little bit of slow-core style boy-girl folk in the same vein as A Weather. Little City did crank it up a little though as well, as power-pop influences bled through during the second half of their set. I saw a lot of slightly more aggressive music this year, so Little City were a welcome respite from it all.
Last Year’s Men (12am @ The Silver Dollar) – Yes, I saw them a second time, and they were even better on Saturday — their last set of the festival before returning to the United States. This time they dressed up in costumes, and their lead guitarist smashed his guitar into a million pieces at the end of the set. Seriously, I told you in my last write-up that you needed to check these dudes out, and if you didn’t — well goddamnit I told you so. You missed out if you didn’t see Last Year’s Men and that’s all there is to say.
It was at this point in my evening when I returned to Rancho, took a seat at the bar and the rest of the night becomes un-reviewable. I spent it cracking jokes and having drinks among friends, which is how I hope most of you spent your final evening of the festival.
Until next year!