Canadian Music Week: The 10 day-long event is over and Torontonians have surely filled their iPods with some new finds, washed the beer out of their clothes and have posted their bruises from mosh pits onto Instagram. Some bands were good, some were great and others knocked you flat… (some physically) and left you wondering what you had just seen. However, none were more noteworthy than these bands.
T w i n P e a k s
The best performers, Twin Peaks, had to be the rowdiest group of 20-year-olds from Chicago. The boy scored some of the highest showcases of the week. Performing before the highly anticipated King Tuff at Lee’s Palace and then on Friday before Fat White Family and GOASTT, the boys— (vocals) Cadien Lake James, (guitar) Clay Frankel, (bass) Jack Dolan and (drums) Connor Brodne—made it clear they weren’t anyone’s openers. They’ve been around since 2009 and perform like seasoned pros. Their high-energy sets of punk-rock took over each stage and guaranteed that if you weren’t a fan before the set began, you would be after.
H o w q u a
The Best solo artist—coming from Australia t,o take the stage at Sneaky Dee’s with his soulful voice and acoustic guitar, was Howqua. His well written, powerful songs stunned the venue to silence. The ambient folk possess an honesty rarely seen so truthfully in an artist. The ability to draw attention from an entire room with only a guitar, soulful voice and a poetic set of songs made his set an experience.
T o r a
The ones to watch: Tora—as the young men walk onto stage, you admire the innocence on their faces. Once they begin, it’s very clear that these are serious musicians that are soon to be the next big thing. The electro-rock of Tora is a genre all of its own. The Australian boys, Tobias Tsounis, Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, and Shaun Johnston have created something that is uniquely their own and quite the stir among those who hadn’t heard their music before. With the attention surrounding them, they’re still some of the most modest boys you’ll meet.
B e t t y & O s w a l d
The perfect duo: Betty & Oswald—these two are stunning to watch live. They can draw unfamiliar audiences from the back of any old bar to the front with a single song. The chemistry between the two and their passion for music makes their stage presence almost hypnotizing. Their style of blues mixed with Mediterranean influence is often mixed with Pete’s (Oswald) stories building up to the chimera of each song. The end of their performance always leaves you wanting more.
Now with hundreds of bands performing, they couldn’t all be stellar superstars in the making. Some bands were amazing on stage but they quickly faded from your memory as the next performers began tuning their gear. Overall, these bands were pretty damn memorable…but not exactly for their music.
T h i s S h i p
This Ship (left) had great stage presence that sent the photographers into frenzy. Decked out in sequence, and one of the members in drag, the band had an unnatural cohesion that made them something to see. Their sound was good and their odd attire didn’t take away from their actual presence or music.
The Killer Wails weren’t on my list of bands to see, but they won’t be soon forgotten. Between venues, I decided to stop in for a look and see what was on stage at Rancho Relaxo…the last thing expected to be seen was a sweaty man in nothing but socks and his underwear which were wet in some unfortunate places (thankfully because of beer). At my arrival, the lead jumped from the stage and “danced” his way over to the young lady manning the door and gyrated his nearly naked body for her. As I was trapped in the doorway at the time, I could only stand and watch in shock as he trotted away back to the stage where he kept gallivanting around. The show finished as he dived into the entertained audience and thrust himself on the floor. Their music may have been good, but my brain was too busy trying to put together what I had just witnessed to notice.
L e s M a r i n e l l i s
Les Marinellis (right) —the lead, Cedric, took the stage shoeless, shirtless but the sequence jacket and hat made up for it all. The flipping around and the upside down gyration at the end on the stage caught some looks from the crowd. Though their genre of music was lost to me, the little man in sequence was not. —Searching them afterwards, an interesting blend French-psychedelic rock with some punk mixed in made for some decent tunes. Being better prepared and having an overall sense of the bands, let’s say, style? They’d definitely be ones to check out in the future.
So overall, some shocked, some dazzled and some just…were. CMW brought out some impressive, odd and interesting talents to watch and gave a glimpse at some of the upcoming talent sure to be seen more of in future day.