Three bands ending the year off right. The Pick Brothers Band, Ivory Hours and Birds of Bellwoods took over The Mod Club last night for a night of rowdy dancing, mosh-pits and some good ol’ foot-stomping fun. Check out what happened below!
The Phoenix Concert Hall was filled to the brim at the 2015 CASBY Awards was preparing to welcome the final band of the evening. USS was chanted from the crowd as the band was jumping to warm up on the stage side. USS T-shirts were smothered in darkness as the lights went out. The deafening cheers rose, biting through my ear plugs as the band walked on stage ready to end the show.
Unfamiliar to USS, the excitement was still contagious, judging by the crowds reaction, it was the perfect way to end the show. They took their places after waving to the crowd.
And then the beat dropped.
A few moments in to the performance the crowd erupted into cheering, dancing hypnotized party animals. Stage divers were passed up to the front (pissing of security) but pleasing the band. Ash Buchholz and Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons, still beaming from their two wins earlier in the evening, one CASBY for New Favourite Song and the second for their album Advanced Basics going gold in Canada. The band is breathtaking and have just placed themselves as my new favourite band to see live. USS doesn’t just show up and play, they throw a party you just barely recover from.
The CASBY awards are different from other awards shows. The event doesn’t just present awards but they celebrate music. This year, they brought along some of Canada’s best bands to celebrate with them. Monster Truck, The Zolas, USS, Yukon Blonde and The Edge’s Next Big Thing winners, Ivory Hours all performed sets that were different than their usual stage presence. The winners of the evening were Colemen Hell for Best New Artist, Mother Mother for New Favourite Record, Metric for Best Sugar Beach Session, and USS for Favourite New Song. There is a different feel at an awards show, than a show. It’s not that small vacant feeling of too many bands being pressed into a bill at a music festival. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a vibe of togetherness, and the theme of fun.
Opening up the show Monster Truck stepped out of the ’80s decked in jeans, beards and long hair perfect for flipping , and offered an amazing performance that was the perfect start to the show. Guitarist, Jeremy Widerman, couldn’t contain himself from the audience during the set. Jumping over the amps to play with his feet to the crowd at the stages edge.
Familiar to the Zola’s circa 2012, meaning, I love Knot in my Heart. The band came and showcased their newer songs, which are a far more upbeat and uplifting. There is still that darker, Zola feel to them. They came to celebrate, though they didn’t win, and it was hard to not smile while the band covered every part of the stage.
I’m pretty sure Luke Ross might have the happiest best guitar face. Cleary excited to perform Ivory Hours, stepped onto the stage where a little over a month ago they put on a performance that won them their title. A month later, they came back and showed the crowd again, that they’re the ones to watch.
Young Empires have a cool toned down energy to them, that only they could pull off. Performing everything the crowed wanted to hear off of The Gates. Having seen them a few years ago, it was surprising to see them now. Having solidified their sound and the newer refined version of the band they’ve definitely come into their own.
Bringing a few dancers to their set. Yukon Blonde, came and put on a show, that made you forget that you weren’t at one of their concerts. Playing with energy, the band brought out two dancers to match their sound.
The show proved Canada has an epic music scene with dedicated fans. Even if the crowd wasn’t familiar with the band on stage, they cheered, crowd surfed and danced until the night ended. Everyone went home already counting down until next years awards.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and tomorrow the lives of one band will be changed as they’re named The Edge’s Next Big Thing. On Friday, the final 6 bands: The Honest Heart Collective, Midday Swim, Small Town Lungs, Thrifty Kids, Ivory Hours and Spells of Vertigo battled it out for friends, family, and fans at The Phoenix. With $25,000 dollars, gear from Long and McQuade, studio time at the world-renowned Metalworks Studios, and not to mention, airplay on 102.1 the Edge as just a few of the perks awarded to the winners, the artists made sure they played the set of a lifetime.
First up was The Honest Heart Collective. From Thunder Bay, the five-piece band played a mix of indie-rock to a packed-enthusiastic crowd. Able to draw people to the front of the stage with their first song, the band didn’t lack crowd interaction. Slightly nervous, lead Ryan MacDonald praised himself for overcoming the nerves set off by the biggest show the band has ever played.
Slowing things down with their mix of beachy rock, Thrifty Kids, came, dominated and left a lingering note of mystery. They may not be well known just yet, but they left the audience wondering where the young talents came from and how could they hear more. Torontonians need not to worry, singer Sarah Cogan says the band will be Toronto-based in September.
Midday Swim kept the chilled vibes flowing by playing songs from their self-titled EP. The seasoned pros didn’t seem to be bothered by nerves, but rather overthrown with excitement as David Krygier-Baum explained before the show.
“We’re just excited for the energy. We can’t wait to play for friends and family [as well as] to play with some great bands,”
Bringing back classic rock, Spells of Vertigo took the stage. Grunge and hair thrashing oozed from the stage and consumed the audience. The band invited the crowd into their dark world which is made up of skilled guitar and menacing vocals so enticing the crowd couldn’t help but accept their invitation.
The crowd went crazy when Ivory Hours hit the stage. A fan favourite the boys from London, Ont. offered up a high-energy set that enthralled the crowd from beginning to end. Running, jumping and singing up a storm Luke Ross has mastered how to give a great performance.
The final band of the night may have gotten the biggest reaction from the crowd. Adding some dance to the mix, Small Town Lungs played to an adoring crowd that begged for an encore once their set was finished. Backstage singer, Tom Meikle admitted to feeling bit at odds with the competition aspect.
“Sure if we win it’d advance our careers majorly, but in the end we’re still gonna keep going,” he said before their show.
Mastering how to mix textures, layer tones and play the hell out of their instruments, you could never tell that they haven’t played a show this serious previously. It was clear they played to win.
There wasn’t a single downfall or fluke of the night. All six bands played their best show and made it impossible to rank one above the other. Each having mastered their own sounds be it from to pop or alternative rock it’s certain that all the contestants are the next big things in the making.
Tune in to 102.1 The Edge Tomorrow Morning at 10 to find out who will officially receive the title.
It’s time to place your bets and get a front row seat for a chance to watch a “baby” band get discovered. The final 6 bands from The Edge’s Next Big Thing contest will play The Phoenix Concert Hall for a shot to make their names known. It began from hundreds of musicians, but Ivory Hours, The Honest Heart Collective, Small Town Lungs, Spells Of Vertigo, Thrifty Kids, and Midday Swim have fought their way to the finale.
Admit it, there’s something a little enthralling about saying “I remember seeing them before they made it.” Well, tonight is the night to earn those bragging rights and see something special in the making.