Category Archives: Live

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.


(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.


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.


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


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.

Hidden Gem of CMW: The Bandicoots

Bandicoots - 2jpg_edited-1The Bandicoots—this little surprise came on the second night that was spent at, for all the punkers in Toronto, one of the most anticipated shows at CMW: the Fidlar show at the Horseshoe Tavern. If you live in Toronto and like music, you probably know the venue well. It’s the introduction into Toronto’s music scene. Not so tucked away on Queen West, the scene alternatively sticks out among the various tourist spots. The attraction may come from the good music and catching interior, or it may be that everyone in there is so much cooler than you, thus you become cool by default. Whatever it may be, the trendy depths of the Horseshoe always brings out stellar music. The audience, of course, was shouting and anxious to see Fidlar even before the doors had opened. The head banging and jamming in the merch line was previewing the night to come. Going in without knowledge of the other bands playing brought a pleasant surprise. Continue reading Hidden Gem of CMW: The Bandicoots