So begins another crazy year at Canadian Music Week in Toronto and I have to wonder: Will the first night deteriorate into a booze filled nightmarish dream leading to liver damage and a splitting hangover? Or will the music prevail and carry this evening out to the elation of national pride?
The Dirty Nil @ The Cherry Cola Rock N’ Rolla Cabaret
The night began innocently enough at The Cherry Cola Rock N’ Rolla Cabaret. I decided when I started off on this Toronto musical journey that I wouldn’t get lost trying to find The Great Hall like last year. I didn’t want to be overwhelmed on my first night, and with the intention of settling in I decided that I would intentionally get lost, in the music. What bands would I see? and would they be any good? It could have been a disastrous evening, however luck was on my side as most of the bands had great, if not, triumphant stage performances.
Settling into Canadian Music Week, I went to the venue closest to to my hostel to see The Dirty Nil. The band was rocking high strung shinny nineties tunes. They made me feel dirty with their raw grungy guitar licks that kept the crowd bopping on this very warm March evening.
They’re a three piece that liked to scream and howl and belt out fuzzy distorted grunge, but with catchy songs that power through pop rhythms. It was one grungy experience in the very cool, red-themed Cherry Cola venue. Give a listen to their track Fucking Up Young. Grab your old Weezer T-shirt and mosh around your room.
Galaxie and Half Moon Run @ El Mocambo
Afterward, I went to El Mocambo on Spadina to check out the Belle Province Showcase. The event sponsored by Sirius and CBC radio 3 brought out a full contingent of bands from Quebec. The featured headliners were The Dears and Martha Wainwright, big names that pop up on local radio stations from time to time.
But there were two bands that really stood out:
Galaxie put on a very impressive show, starting off with some ambient noise before breaking into some wicked poppy riffs. This trippy Quebecois garage troupe brought on some new singers that really helped the band capture the audience.
The highlight of the Quebec show was Half Moon Run which knocked me in my corner beside the wall, where I usually like to hide and take notes. Their textured riffs along with impressive guitar playing kept the audience on their feet and moving around. Cerebral at times, rocking at others, this band created emotional states and moved the audience through them all. Listen to Full Circle, a great song from this up and coming band.
Teenage Kicks and Tim Chaisson and the Morning Fold @ The Hideout
One thing I noticed throughout the evening was the resurgence of nineties rock. It seemed that grunge and early nineties hard rock never died here in Toronto to the ecstasy of this music critic’s ear. Dirty Nil, brought the grunge but Teenage Kicks brought the hard rock sound of the nineties to a packed crowd at The Hideout.
The venue was packed tighter than a can of spam. The crowd got to see a rock star performance from a band that played the nineties riffs while the signer’s distinct singing style made the music come alive. Those boys just looked like they were having fun on stage and the pleasure of playing came out. Please feel free to rock out to Setting Son.
The last act of the evening was Tim Chaisson and the Morning Fold, hailing from PEI. They made me remember all my east coast friends. Tim’s gentle Maritime sound seemed to bring many east-coasters to the show and he’ll be playing at the East Coast Showcase. Checkout their tune Would You Go So Far.
Everything seemed to be going so well. The randomness was working. I was buzzing around from venue to venue. And I almost made it through the weekend without a “shit show”. That was until 3 a.m.
Let’s just say the end of the night deteriorated into a boozy concoction of madness and elation. I won’t get into the details but imagine the room-service scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas without the room-service.
Now that I’m recovering, expect to see more from me on Day 2.
This is Jerry signing off from Canadian Music Week.
Galaxie photo by Adam Bunch of The Little Red Umbrella
Other photos by Chris Zacchia
For the rest of our CMW coverage.