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.
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.
You voted, you decided, now we wait for the show. Thursday, massive names will pile into The Phoenix Concert centre to claim their awards at the 2015 CASBY Awards, presented by The Edge 102.1. But that’s not the only thing going down. The Zolas, Yukon Blonde and USS are just a few of the bands that will be taking the stage for fans to put on breathtaking performances.
There are some exciting names taking the stage! Just announced, Monster Truck will be opening the show. Amid the excitement, 2015 winners of The Edge’s Next Big Thing competition, Ivory Hours will get their chance to shine.
But I’m waiting to see Young Empires. With the recent release of their newest album, The Gates, the Toronto bound guys have showed off their new chops. And of course who isn’t excited to see one of the biggest bands in the country right now, Yukon Blonde?
Now check out some of the:
For weeks fans have been voting their favourite bands to glory. The Edge also gave away tickets to some of the lucky few who voted their way into the exclusive show. Tomorrow night we’ll find out the results.
Favourite New Record
Favourite New Song
Favourite Sugar Beach Session
Didn’t win tickets? No worries! You can catch the live stream tomorrow night at 8 on The Edge.ca!
They’re coming to… say hello. I know, I know hold back the face palms. Dragonette announced their mini-fall tour dates today which includes an upcoming showcase at The Danforth in Toronto on November 26th. Joining them will be Toronto natives, Young Empires who’ve just released their album The Gates, last month. By far the funnest, loudest, best shows are those of Dragonette, so if you have a moment grab a ticket, buy something with sequence and count down the days.
If the show isn’t enough, they’ve hinted that their fourth upcoming album will be released in early 2016, so if you can’t make the show, another tour is surly around the corner.
Nov. 27 @ Corona Theatre, MONTREAL, QC
Nov. 28 @ Maxwell’s, WATERLOO, ON
Nov. 29 @ Danforth Music Hall, TORONTO, ON
Dec. 05 @ Pyramid, WINNIPEG, MB
Dec. 06 @ O’Brien’s Centre, SASKATOON, SK
Dec. 08 @ Starlite Room, EDMONTON, AB
Dec. 09 @ Marquee, CALGARY, AB
Dec. 11 @ The Vogue, VANCOUVER, BC
Dec. 12 @ Sugar, VICTORIA, BC
Did you know that there are people living in all that space between Toronto and Vancouver? Not only that, but they’re making some tunes, some damn good ones. Repping us prairie folk, Rah Rah is busting back onto the scene after leaving fans with their previous treat, The Poet’s Dead, three long years ago. They have a Mother Mother-ish quality to them. That quirky indie dynamic, smart lyrics, danceable songs that shouldn’t be danceable and that underlying darkness to a campy song that when done just right is perfect. Mixed with the voices of the three vocalists Vanessa Benson, Marshell Burns and Erin Passmore the album offers a delight for everyone.
The album is something special, if you hadn’t heard of the band before hearing Vessels, you’ll instantly fall in love. Beginning with Be Your Man, Marshell Burns will have you planning on how to make him yours. The song is a catchy bunching of gooey indie but there is an overpowering sincerity heard in his voice that makes the song that makes it more than just a catchy song.
The star-track, Chip Off The Heart, is a great follow up. While be your man is a shadow of the band’s previous work, the second single is a shake for fans to look at the new direction the band has taken. Which merges nicely throughout their album. Vamping up guitar, and adding faster paced songs, Rah Rah’s new sound is still laced in what was so loveable about them before. Ten songs in we meet, Surgery, which may be the most out of ordinary thing Rah Rah has done, but is definitely one of the best on the album. It sounds like a drug trip. Bursting with aggression, it’s a rush of energy a song before the album is finished, offering one last surprise before the saccharine ending.
Who would have thought five prairie folk could jam this well.—take a listen and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
*Just In* Young Empires—The Gates
If you didn’t like Young Empires, you will now. The boys from Toronto are proving themselves as ones to watch by showing a completely concentrated energy, sound, and direction that work perfectly. They no longer seem lost in the pairing of sounds and have seem to blossomed into some great emerging musicians. They took what was strong about them and made it their new sound. Ditching the fast pace indie rock heard in early tracks like, White Doves, and Wake All My Youth, the boys have now advanced their sound into a smooth balanced electronic rock.
The album starts off strong with the stunner track Mercy followed by the self-titled track. The two are the gems of the album, but the boys don’t let you down after those. Although the two tracks are definitely a draw in, there is a lot more to love about The Gates.
Step back into the American rock scene with four Australian boys who were clearly far too young to have lived it. High, dwells in the sound of a hazy summer days spent amid allies, parking lots and open field, doing everything and doing nothing. There is a theme of escaping reality, with song titles like My Own Fantasy, High, and Another World which focus on submerging yourself in a comforting place where hypnotic guitar and hushed drums end the day. It’s impressive to say the least, for an album from 2015 to fit perfectly into something from the 70s rock prime.
*Just In* The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily
There is something smoother and more put together about the album. There are elements mirroring the strange pleasure of a carnival. A contrasting darkness laced throughout each sweetly sung track. There is something special about albums with an underlying tone that keeps you a little on edge; playing with layering, story-telling and odd elements grafted into tracks, like a woman moaning. You get the sense that something is building. From start to finish, there isn’t one track that is simply okay each is a new side of Auerbach.
It’s a collection of songs from a man trying to separate himself from his past achievements, an ode to what he does best and a safe risk. It’s hard not to instantly think of The Black Keys when Dan Auerbach’s name is mentioned. For 9 years he’s been the vocalist for the well-known blues-rock band with band mate, Pat Carney. But it’s not hard to get their distinguished sound out of your mind when you’re listening to The Arcs’ debut album, and that’s an achievement in itself. Because let’s be honest, if you love The Black Keys that’s why you’re listening to it in the first place. Sure, his voice is the same, but once it begins a strange warped voice fills the speakers. You check to see if it’s the right album, and as the second song, Outta My Mind, begins and the familiar voice overtakes you, a small comfort carries you to explore the rest of the album, which in the end…I preferred over The Black Keys.
La Luz—Weirdo Shrine
Because if you call an album Weirdo Shrine, “what are they going to say?” said the ladies of La luz. The album name was taken from a song lyric, paired against another title and won out because, really, how are you going to forget a name like Weirdo Shine? And let’s be honest, the word weirdo is something that is awfully familiar to all of us. The figurative La Luz shrine is filled with Beach Boys posters, guitar solos and a dark surf-rock by four quirky female bad-asses, Shana Cleveland – guitar, Marian Li Pino – drums Alice Sandahl – keyboard Lena Simon – bass. Cleveland’s voice is probably what a modern day siren would sound like. Like the girl herself, it’s a haunting, saccharine covered delight dipped in an authoritative undertone. Cleveland lures you in to the hypnotic trance, as her band-mates welcome you with soft hymns and equally as transcending melodies. They take you around a dark psychedelic utopia where you can loose yourself pretty easily and never be satisfied of.