On the last evening of Canadian Music Week, I walked into the packed Sirius XM Indies at the Kool Haus in the midst of the Mounties’ set. The band is a newly formed rock supergroup consisting of veteran musicians Steve Bays of Hot Hot Heat, guitarist Ryan Dahle of Limblifter, and drummer Hawsley Workman.
The Mounties set was full of high-energy power pop-rock songs. Dahle’s riffs howled, Workman pounded on the drums and Bay practically made love to his keyboard while consistently pushing the energy forward with his machine gun vocals.
Near the end of the set, Bay was on such full assault, moving haphazardly around the stage, that he dropped the mic prompting him to dive down with it and sing while lying on his back. It was the type of sight that only happens when a band is just laying it all out there and the Mounties, who are still newbies in terms of performing live as a unit, sure as hell did just that. They went on to win Best Emerging Band later on in the night.
A couple of pop rock groups followed with Hollorado and Born Ruffians. Both bands had the teen girls screeching throughout their respective 40-minute sets. Hollorado later won Live Group of the Year, while Born Ruffians took home the award for Must Follow Group of the Year. There is no denying their infectious energy on stage and their connection with the audience.
Both groups’ music had a plethora of catchy melodies and riffs, but aside from that, they did not give anything all too memorable on Saturday evening – it was all standard, high-energy rock pop.
It wasn’t until The Hidden Cameras hit the stage that things started to get really interesting. The Cameras, who have been together since 2001, describe their music as “gay church folk music.” Though not entirely encapsulating what it was like watching them perform in the literal sense, the WTF response that most would surely get from that description is what one would feel when watching them live.
Coming out in drab, goth-inspired clothing, the band began their set playing a low-key, symphonic indie pop song complete with a string section of violins and guitar, as well as keyboard. They had an almost death metal feeling to them, but then all of a sudden a brass section was introduced, complete with trumpet, french horn and trombone. This seemingly symphonic goth band were playing upbeat jazz tunes and jumping around the stage, re-engaging a once motionless crowd.
Their multi-layered sound, which mixed such diverse genres and instruments together, shouldn’t work, but it did and it is no wonder they have been able to find growing success over these nine years. The Hidden Cameras, a symphonic death metal jazz indie pop gay church folk rock band or whatever you want to call them, are definitely one group that must be seen live. Oh, and they represent Toronto, too!
On the awards side of the Sirius XM Indies, big winners included Arcade Fire for Album of the Year for Reflektor, City and Colour for Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for ‘The Lonely Life’, while Half Moon Run won Group of the Year. Moreover, Basia Bulat and Sebastien Grainger won Female and Male Artist of the Year, respectively. Below is a list of the rest of the winners on Saturday evening.
For photos from the Indies, click here!
Songwriter of the Year – Mother Mother (Last Gang Records)
Video of the Year – Arcade Fire: ‘Reflektor’ (Merge Records)
Collaboration of the Year – Classified ft. David Myles: ‘Inner Ninja’ (Half Life Records)
Most Played Independent Artist/Group of the Year – City and Colour (Dine Alone Records)
Best-Selling Independent Release of the Year – Arcade Fire: Reflektor (Merge Records)
Alternative Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – July Talk (July Talk / Sleepless Records)
Blues Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – MonkeyJunk (Stony Plain Records)
Children’s Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Splash’N Boots (Independent)
Country Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Dean Brody (Open Road Recordings)
Dance Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Rosette (Ultra Music)
Electronic Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – A Tribe Called Red (Pirates Blend Records)
Folk/Roost Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – The Strumbellas (Six Shooter Records)
Francophone Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Karim Ouellet (Coyote Records / Abuzive Muzik)
Jazz Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Colin Stetson (Constellation)
Metal Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Kataklysm (Nuclear Blast / Fontana North)
Pop Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Fast Romantics (Pipe & Hat)
Punk/Hardcore Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – PUP (Royal Mountain Records)
Rap/Hip-Hop Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Shad (Black Box Recordings)
Rock Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Wildlife (Wax Records)
Soul/R&B Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Chloe Charles (Athena Music International)
World Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – Sultans of String (Independent)
International Group/Duo of the Year – Vampire Weekend (XL Recordings)
International Artist of the Year – Janelle Monáe (Wondaland Art Society / Bad Boy Records)
International Album of the Year – Arctic Monkeys: AM (Domino)
International Single of the Year – Arctic Monkeys: ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ (Domino)
International Breakthrough Artist/Group/Duo of the Year – CHVRCHES (Glassnote Records)
International Video of the Year – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: ‘Can’t Hold Us’ (Macklemore)
Sirius XM Emerging Artist of the Year (French) – Ponctuation (Bonsound)