Canadian Music Week is more than just five days of live music and music-related conferences; it’s a whirlwind week of shows and (at the risk of sounding cliche) experiences that draw thousands of spectators from across the globe to our great city.
Hundreds of artists converge on Toronto to perform for the festival. Big names in music – like Brody Dalle, City and Colour, and M.I.A. – play along side smaller artists – like Andreas, The Roseville Band, and Mia Dyson. In short, it’s music lover’s dream.
For Kollin, the festival started on Tuesday proper, when he took in a show at the Velvet Underground. Glass Ampp, he said, took the classic rock sound and spun their own raw, soulful, bluesy feel into it. Chasing Jane, meanwhile, mixed hip-hop with blues and funk, and define one of a kind.
At the Bovine Sex Club, later that night, Germany’s Booze Bombs powered through an authentic rockabilly sound, while Stellar Lane brought a ’90s grunge and alt-rock set to the club.
For me, The Roseville Band were one among many standouts of the festival. The Welsh group pounded out one amazing song after another at Rancho Relaxo on Wednesday night, blending the poppiness of ’60s brit rock and an indie earnestness, with reverb-heavy guitars and loads of distortion in all its beauty. Scotland’s Jay Miln, who was also at Rancho Relaxo, proved that being a solo artist doesn’t always make for a slow stage show. Miln’s passion and skill as a musician were obvious, but his aptitude as a performer was what really blew me away.
Meanwhile, at the Rivoli on Wednesday night, Kollin says Mia Dyson’s stage presence was one that could not be described in words. Her warm vocals and bluesy musical ride left the packed venue wanting more.
The week rounded out with the Indies, an award show / performance hosted by Sirius XM at the Kool Haus. The Mounties led the performances with high-energy power pop-rock, followed by equally energetic pop-rockers Hollerado and Born Ruffians.
It wasn’t until The Hidden Cameras hit the stage that things really started to get interesting, Kollin said. The band described their sound as “gay church folk music” and Kollin said that those in the audience also had that WTF response to the Cameras’ live performance.
On the awards side of the night, Arcade Fire – unsurprisingly – turned up the big winners, walking away with Album of the Year, Best-Selling Independent Release of the Year, and Video of the Year. Other big winners included Fast Romantics (from Pipe & Hat) for Pop Group of the Year, Chloe Charles for Soul/R&B Artist of the Year, and Arctic Monkeys for International Album of the Year.