Supermarket is one of those Toronto venues that you’ve either never heard of or love. I keep forgetting about it, which is great because I can fall in love with it all over again – and that’s just what I did on Friday night.
Indie Week took over the bar for the third night (or fourth, if you count the Launch Party) of the festival. Up for the competition portion were Chasing Jane, Burning the Louvre, The Howll and Aaron Pollock.
Chasing Jane took the stage first, and under terrible circumstances. The guitarist left for a new gig in Japan, and the drummer had a family emergency. So, on short notice, Ryan Hargrave found replacements – who did a phenomenal job.
The group decided to put together an acoustic set, which worked really well. Their bluesy-grunge sound paired with surprisingly poignant lyrics, like “All my friends left me for the cookie jar”.
They commanded the stage, even from their stools, and they weren’t afraid to take it there.
The bar has been set high, folks.
That bar, in my opinion, was obliterated by The Howll, which followed Chasing Jane. The powerful and commanding vocals evoked the badassery of Cassandra from Wayne’s World, while the drums thump hard and fast and the guitar screeches with expert precision. It’s fun rock-out music.
The details in the songs are astonishing, and the band brings a phenomenal energy. Heck, they even put the Beatles to shame with their rendition of ‘Helter Skelter’. There’s a reason they’re called the Howll, and there’s a reason they’ve got two Ls.
Burn the Louvre were up next. They were a younger band than the others, and that showed. (They were also in the unfortunate position of having to follow the Howll.)
They pulled together as their set progressed, and found their footing with a kind of British Invasion type sound. Musically, they’re tight and obviously talented, but their vocals didn’t seem to do it justice. Still, I look forward to more from the band.
Last up was Aaron Pollock, who produced an amazingly big sound for such a small group. Pollock pulls funky instruments and insane guitar solos to round out his tight sound. He’s not afraid to step into other genres – from country to grunge – and he pulls it off, thanks largely to his complete mastery of the music.
At the night’s end, it was a tight race between Pollock and the Howll, and it was The Howll that pulled through to advance to the next round.