Category Archives: Live

Grace Potter and Iron & Wine @ Osheaga

Grace Potter Osheaga

She ripped the main stage apart with a glamorously gritty show—Grace Potter smiled while she partied for the crowds. Like a true rock star the singer, somehow magically managed, to have her hair and clothing blowing despite the lacking wind. She came, ravaged the over-heated audience, and even played a new song released that day, “Delirious”, which fans seemed overjoyed to have heard first live. The show ended with a heavy drum solo featuring four drummers. On her knees in the barrage of instruments, Potter joined in by shaking her hair and banging the first drum she could get her hands on.Grace Potter @ Osheaga 2

Iron & Wine @ Osheaga

“We’ve got a lot to play, but not a lot of time. Let’s get to it. I’ll see you on the other side,” Samuel “Sam” Beam said. They played the main stage for a hefty crowd brave enough to swelter it out in the sun.

Iron & Wine @ Osheaga 2

Show Stealers, Stage Grinding and Cowboy Boots: Inside Pistol George Warren’s Album Release Party

Meanwood @ The Horseshoe
Belle of Meanwood

Sudbury’s Pistol George Warren took over The Horseshoe Tavern with locals Stan Simon & The Hotel Bible, Meanwood and Beans, to celebrate the release of their newest album Oceapur 9. The evening was filled with cowboy boots, swearing and plenty of excitement. It’s rather captivating when the opening bands only put, but also consume it for the time they’re up, making you forget who you came to see in the first place.

Doing just that was Stan Simon & The Hotel Bible. They began the show by showing what Western from hell sounds like. Haunting may be the only way to describe them; emotion bleeds from Simon’s finger tips to the soulful harmonica laced at his mouth. The ominous tone captivated the audience until the last note struck and the appraisal brought humbling smiles to the band. With dark lyrics and lingering menacing vocals laced into the sound, Stan Simon knows how to scare the hell out of you and make you love it.

Next up, a tiny little thing with the voice of a whisky-drinking angel took the stage in cowboy boots and a look that promised trouble. The show stealers took on the Horseshoe with arm tattooed arms.

“I’d have some banter for the crowd, but I always get in trouble by the band for saying something inappropriate,” singer Viktoria Belle said. So instead of talking, Belle whipped her hair, pealed off her jacket mid-set and groaned on the floor. In short, Meanwood destroyed the Horseshoe. If you don’t know their name before, you sure won’t forget it afterwards. Meanwood is the band to watch, it takes one song and you’re entrapped in their world which is a dark collection of rock, blues and heavy 60’s influence. Belting out a sweetly, sinful raspy voice, Belle performs with her all. The girl is a rock star waiting to be discovered.

Helping audience’s calm from the excitement, Beams played their mix of country-folk that was for a specific musical taste. Their sound was rounded, and their songs were well rehearsed, but their set lay a tad too run of the mill. Taking time to enjoy their big debut, Pistol George Warren didn’t lack energy as they played venue. The eight-member set filled up the stage with four singers dancing about in the small spaces left between bodies, instruments and microphones. The entire band was more of a focus than their music. Their sound is 70’s funk heard mainly in the guitar, rock, and an underlying country-tone from their choice of their backup vocals and the members were dressed as if from each genre all at once. With a futuristic-retro-modern personas and some more stuff going on in the back, they put on a show, but they were more memorable than anything they played.

Live: Maybelleen with Do Tell & A Listers

Maybelleen @ The Cavern 2

With their beers on the stage’s edge and their shoes forgotten somewhere backstage, Do Tell ended the night by sending good southern vibes into the crowd with their foot-stomping, hand-clapping, rockabilly-folk set. From the modest stage they struck the room with their pure intent to have a good time by laughing with one another, dancing and cracking jokes at and with the crowd. The six-member set up, including three singers, managed to insert their positive energy into the room while impressing all who hadn’t heard of them with rich harmonies by vocalists Emma Schnurr and Caitlin Comeau-Jarvis. While on guitar, vocalist Steven Herman got cheeky with the crowd and faded into the back until it was time for him to unleash his rounded, raspy voice unto the audience. The room fed off the band’s energy by taking a seat in front of the stage, raising their beers or by letting out their best moves in the back.

Earlier in the evening Maybelleen, Peter and Charles Camiré from Montreal, took the stage. After a bumpy start with a few technical difficulties, the French boys played a great set. Focusing on playing songs from their latest EP, Stereotypes, the brothers sent good vibes into the crowd. Their interaction with the audience was minimal, but their eye catching attire and unique stage presence spoke for them.

The youngin’s on the block, A Listers, opened the show. With an interesting stage presence, including a saxophonist, they had range of genres from blues, rock to funk. The crowd jammed with them and while their set wasn’t particularly as clean sounding as it could have been, the crowd had fun showing them their love.

The Sticky Fingers @ The Garrison

The Sticky Fingers @ The Garrison

Looking like they just walked off the set of ‘70s porno, The Sticky Fingers graced The Garrison. After meeting in an unusual manner, a drunken haze in Newtown years ago, the band is now walking on stage to chants of “Sticky”. The five Australian’s, Dylan Frost (vocals), Paddy Cornwall (bass), Seamus Coyle (guitar), Beaker Best (drums/percussion) and Freddy Crabs (keys/synth) greeted fans with wide smiles and waves before beginning their set. They took their places with their designated instruments and let the crowd drink in the confusing scene that had just taken the stage.—From Frost decked out in a porno-stache, and his whitest sneakers, to Crabs, who was sporting sideburns wicked enough to put Ron Burgundy to shame and wearing nothing but a pair of green boxer-briefs. While the rest of the band looked like they fell from a Trans Am. Straightaway, you fully understand that these boys don’t take themselves too seriously.

Fans on the other hand were quite the opposite. The people at the show were die-hard Sticky Finger fans. They welcomed the band with adoring eyes and dancing to each song. Most knew the words and even if they didn’t, that didn’t stop them from having a great time by just enjoying the evening with the band. Frost even made it his duty to cheers whoever welcomed it in the front row. –I would love to insert a quote, of some of the (what I’m sure was) witty banter of the singer, but I couldn’t quite understand what Frost was mumbling into the microphone. If the rest of crowd had the same issue, they sported their best Canadian hospitality and nodded along anyway.

Once you get past their get-ups your mind goes through a few stages. As Frost begins gyrating all over the stage you think one thing “yeah, these guys sound like The Arctic Monkey’s. “ Then the next song begins. You keep listening to realize that The Sticky Fingers are quite far apart from any other band. Falling somewhere (both in and out) of the realms of reggae, rock, pop, and hip-hop, their sound may not be distinguishable. Frost is a multi-talent himself; changing paces from a slow number, into a rap, then diving into heavy alternative rock without missing a beat, makes you realize that these boys are seriously talented musicians. What is most impressive about the wide-range that these boys have achieved is that they aren’t a band trying things out to see what works or musically putting on a front to appeal to however many people they can. They trust themselves and know that the haphazardness of their sound is their sound.

Touring is nothing new for the chart-toppers. Their debut, Caress Your Soul (2013),  began their journey on the road with an Australian and European tour. The band is currently touring for their latest release, sophomore album, Land of Pleasure. Released just about a year ago, the popularity of, Land of Pleasure, still has fans waiting in line for sold out shows hoping to get a little bit sticky.

Inside the Final Show: Happyness w/ Michael Rault and Juan Waters

Michael Rault @ A hall2

Taking over Adeliade Hall for the last night of their tour was Michael Rault, Juan Waters and Happyness. The three performances couldn’t have been more unalike. First up was Michael Rault. Dressed to impress in blue jeans, T-shirt and sneakers that have seen better days, the seasons musician drew the biggest crowd and delivered a great rock performance that had the crowd wondering why they hadn’t heard of him before.

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Juan Wauter’s decided to draw on a little theatrics for his set. With a sheet duck taped to two mic stands, and light blub acting as a spotlight controlled by a men hidden behind the sheet, the act was interesting to say the least. The crowd danced along to his set that had the charm of a high schooler performing at a talent show for the first time. It was awkward, enjoyable, had the crowd in lightened spirits.

The crowd dwindled as Juan said goodbye, but for those who stuck around to see Happyness, the three lads from London, Jonny Allan (Guitar-Bass-Voice), Benji Compston (Guitar-Voice) and Ash Cooper (Drums), saw a mellow type of alternative rock. Technical difficulties kept stalling the band, but the crowd waited patiently as the band joked off the interruptions drawing more laughs from the crowd than dance moves.

Inside Panamania: BADBADNOTGOOD & Death From Above 1979 Take Down Nathan Philips SquareBa

DFA @ PanAm 2015

Panamania is the month long event that has taken over downtown TO for Pan Am. Free concerts have music lovers flocking to Nathan Philips Square for a glimpse of some highly anticipated artists. The big names include Mariana’s Trench, Serena Ryder, Dragonette and the band I was excited to see, Death From Above 1979.

Playing before the finale of DFA was the very pleasing BADBADNOTGOOD.

BADBADNOTGOOD

(Photo courtesy of Devin Ouellette Photography)

After hearing them I’m ashamed to say, at first I had no idea who they were.–Beginning in Toronto, Matthew Tavares (keys), Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) came together over their love of hip hop and created something special. They’ve worked with Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean and earlier this year released an album with Ghostface Killah.

BADBADNOTGOOD @ PanAm 2015 1

The jazz trio touches on some different genres and creates a space and sound with the versatility to please almost any musical pallet. Their set held no lyrics yet, held the crowds attention until the end. Their rich harmonies and perfected rhythm are in a class of their own. They had no issue amping up the crowd and even stealing a bit of focus.

BADBADNOTGOOD @PanAm2015

Death From Above, you sweet, sweet men, you sure know how not to disappoint. Cheering “DFA” long before the show began fans waiting impatiently for the duo, Sebastien Grainger (vocals, drums) and Jesse F. Keeler (guitar) to take the stage.

DFA @ PanAm2015

With a long set to leave an impression, the two tore up the stage with songs from both of their albums, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine (2004), though focused laid heavily on latest release, The Physical World (2014).  In short, they came, played their hits and left the crowd fully satisfied

DFA1979 PanAm2015(Photo courtesy of Devin Ouellette Photography) 

The Most Memorable of Canadian Music Week

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

Twin Peaks @ Lee's Palace

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

Howqua

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

Tora @ The Horseshoe

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 

Betty & Oswald@ Jonny Jackson

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

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.

K i l l e r  W a i l sThe Killer Wails @ Rancho Relaxo

 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 sLes Marinellis @ Sneaky Dees

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.

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The Grotesque (and unavoidable) Things You’ll Experience When Front Row @ Fat White Family

Fat White Family

Ah yes, cheers to some good old rock music. The energy is high and the music of Fat White Family is pretty damn sick, both positively (and negatively). Being front row is an experience that had some covering their eyes; backing away in disgust and relishing in Saudi’s (lead) sweat-shower. The London-based band Lias Saudi (vocals), Saul Adamczewski (vocals, guitar), Adam J Harmer (guitar), Nathan Saudi (organ), Joseph Pancucci (bass) and Dan Lyons (drums) played The Horseshoe Tavern before GOASST for CMW. As everyone was packed as tightly to the stage as possible, anticipating Sean Lennon, they got more than a few surprises from FWF. If you ever get a chance to experience this band, here’s a little warning for those front row lovers and an insight into what can only be described as an experience too rude for Canadians.

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Oh Hi, Yeah, Women Can Be Bad Ass Too.

Remember these faces. Their genres are all worlds apart but the thing that these ladies have in common is that they rock the hell out of a stage. The ladies focused on during Canadian Music Week’s: Toronto Women of Music showcase brought out some of the city’s best talent you need to check out. The showcase took place at the intimate Garrison on Dundas West. The venue was the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the future of Toronto’s music scene.

Continue reading Oh Hi, Yeah, Women Can Be Bad Ass Too.