CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK 2010
Another year but a new decade, Canadian Music Week hits Toronto yet again, only this time its 2010!
How time flies its crazy! The year 2000 was ten years ago, it seems like a long time but still so fresh in my mind. This CMW was a little different, as every year there are over 500 bands playing at different venues throughout the city but this year we were missing three key music venues in Toronto. This was the first festival I have ever attended without “The BIG BOP Entertainment Complex”. The Big Bop opened its doors in 1985 as a Top 40 dance club but was struggling once the club district developed and took all the clubbers to Richmond Street. In 1996 Dominic Tassielli bought the Bathurst and Queen building and turned it into a three venued landmark and sadly was shut down earlier this year on January 31st. For those that don’t know The Big Bop Entertainment Complex housed three venues: The Kathedral, The Reverb and Holy Joe’s. Each of them had their own distinct vibes and personalities. It was where the best indie rock and metal could be found. I have seen so many great bands and had so many good times at those venues! It was sad that another venue on the musical Queen Street Strip closed down.
The Toronto live music scene is dying fast and it’s up to us Torontonians and transplants to save it. Trust me, if I had the money to buy it back I so would! One of my new goals is to one day buy back that southeast Queen and Bathurst corner joint and resurrect the venues within! It bothers me that they are turning it into a furniture store! Some people are like “Big deal, it was a shit hole anyway!” To all of you who weren’t born and raised in Toronto it’s not a big deal but to me as a Toronto native who always could count on the Reverb or Kathedral to bring my ears some great tunes, it will never be the same. Every time I migrated to the Bovine this CMW it was very strange to not wander across the street to the Reverb, run upstairs to Holy Joe’s or drop into the Kathedral on my way out! It never matters where you are; it’s who you are kickin’ it with. It’s just sad to see another one bite the dust and a piece of Toronto’s music history being erased. Our future children will never get to check a band at The Big Bop. The only bonus is they made the property a historical landmark, that way they can’t turn it into condos.
Okay now let’s get to the music! So many options but this year I was going to take it easy! Yeah right! I was stressing balls on reaching every band I chose, but as always some bands I did not reach. Wednesday night was a pretty good music night, first band I caught was “The Rebellion” from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan the band is: Josh Palmer – Vocals/Piano/Guitar, Silviu Moldovan – Guitar/Piano/Backup Vox, Christian Kongawi – Drums/Back up Vox and Ryan Shultz on Bass and backup vocals. They were a part of the Thorny Bleeder Records showcase at the Hideout that night. I only caught the last couple of tunes, from what I heard they were satisfactory. A few common issues like the singers diction I could barely understand what he was saying but nothing practice can’t fix. They had lots of energy, Palmer seemed a bit eccentric I don’t know when he took of his shoes but he wasn’t wearing any when I reached. At least he believed in his art, so into the tunes the enthusiasm showed. Need to catch them again to get a full feel.
TV Heart Attack was the band I wanted to see “The Rebellion” was a bonus. I have never seen “TV Heart Attack” live and I was hoping my ears weren’t going to cry. Once the band dealt with some technical issues they started to play. TV Heart Attack consists of four dudes from Yaletown, British Columbia; Jason Corbett – Vox/Guitar, Art Guest – Guitar/Keys/Backup Vox, Ryan McDonell – Bass/Backup Vox and Dominic Coletta on Thee Drums. They sounded a little 70’s British rock popish and were pulling it off considering the technical difficulties. During one of tunes, I believe it was “AO” the current single off their latest EP “Lost In The Sway” the guitars and vocal harmonies sounded off, someone was out of tune and every time I think of it I cringe. At that point in the set I was standing nearest to the guitarist. By the end of the set I was standing on a bench offside near the back of the crowd they were getting wild, guitars were being smashed (I assume it was Guest’s axe that was shattered) everyone was having a great time. I definitely have to check them out live again.
TV HEART ATTACK
The whole night I was floating in and out of the last venues standing on the Queen St. strip between Spadina and Bathurst, from The Tatt to the Hideout, Velvet to the Bovine. Once TV Heart Attack wrapped I wandered over to the Tattoo where Much Music was having their “Disband” Showcase. “Disband” is a show on Canada’s Much Music station. Bands audition, perform and are told whether or not they should stay together or disband by industry professionals. I stayed maybe seven minutes and had to leave before my ears started to scream, it was not a good performance, don’t know the name of the band I walked in on and I really don’t care. The vocals were disgusting, I could not distinguish if those twenty or so people were deaf or not because there was no way I could stay for a full set. All the people at the venue were either affiliated to the bands, Much Music staff or a part of the “Disband” show; sadly some of that garbage will get signed as it has in the past. Had to get out of the Tattoo, my ears were popping like they were switching altitudes. As I ran over to the Bovine; finally my ears could calm down and stop reacting to the traumatic events they just encountered. It was almost time to check the next band “Sixteen Layers” four larries from Ireland who I first saw during Indie Week 2009 at the Reverb, I was semi drunk, ok I lied I was polluted but my ears liked what they were hearing! I had to check them out again sober, although when I’m drunk I can hear things clearer, those pitchy notes are like daggers to my ears after a few beers! The band was still setting up, so a smoke break it was. For the first time ever it was not snowing during Canadian Music Week, very good for the festival more people were coming out to hear some fresh tunes in the mild Toronto weather. I loved it, no slush trekking this year! Thank you Lord!
Sixteen Layers hit the stage they are Niall Donnelly – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, John Colbert –Bass/Backup Vox, Dom Muldoon – Lead Axe and Tim McGrath on Drums. From The Reverb how they stepped up their game and brought it at the Bovine. Vocals were sturdier, stage presence was more prominent and they sounded much tighter as a band musically. The sound is alternative grungy rock pop and they looked as if they were enjoying the stage and loved the songs they were playing. Sixteen Layers didn’t mission all the way here from Ireland for nothing! Everything I wanted to see from them transpired; if you ever get the chance to check them out live go do that! After Sixteen Layers work time was over the next band I was not feeling at all so a few drinks later I called it a night. I had to get ready for the next day which was to be an early start with Slash as the first scheduled for coverage. Keep it locked for the second half!!!
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