FEATURE EDITORIAL REVIEW
By: Fridae Mattas
This year Indie Week was a little different, I missed half of it because I was on vacation in Cuba taking in a whole different musical culture. I was a Judge last year and that hindered the ability to be my usual wandering self. Normally I float from club to club to see if there are any good new bands. This year was back to normal, meaning I was not obligated to stay at one club majority of the night. I made my rounds, trying to cover majority of the venues but ended up at the same sweet spots like The Hideout, Velvet Underground, Horseshoe, EL Mocambo, Bovine and Cherry Cola’s! They always have the best Indie bands at any festival without being over run by hipsters like many other live music venues in the city.
Queen street was cool, it has now faded to what the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles was a few years ago until they began to restore the music scene trying to relive its glory days. Maybe Toronto should take note of this Hollywood trend and try to refresh the music scene on the Queen Street Strip. We definitely need a Roxy in Toronto, I would be the Talent booker and General Manager in a second, maybe even go behind the bar and make some drinkies for everyone, all of my friends will agree I am the mix queen!
The first artist that made the cut was the always fabulous indie artist Angela Saini. As I said last year, why is she not signed? She has talent, stage presence, charisma and the comfortability factor, she looks right at home on the stage. Yes, her vocals need some work as do her songs but she is so much better than the many similar female singer-songwriters who are signed. I only caught a few of Angela’s tracks but I have seen her perform before, she always gives it her all! A few more venues I migrated to that evening but nothing really stood out enough to mention. Saturday was a brand new day of floatings and I was still trying to catch up with emails. A week away without internet access and then a music festival is brutal, I missed so many bands! Almost caught up, just a page of press releases to go and that keeps growing with more news…
Saturday I was happy that Breached were playing again because I missed their first set at the Bovine on the 11th. They always put on a good show and their music is getting better and better. For a band who has only been around about two years, they have accomplished quite a bit. In order for Breached to make it big, the songs need more of commercial mainstream appeal, unless of course they want to stay indie. As usual you can find more photos and videos of Breached and all of the artists here and here.
After being rocked by Breached for a few tunes, it was time to wander off to different venues before heading to see Atlantis Blueprint at the Hideout. I have not seen them play in a while, they added a new guitar player and a new drummer. Atlantis Blueprint has improved greatly since I saw them perform last and I hope to see them rock out some new tunes soon. The bands set times were pushed back so it made my coverage of Atlantis Blueprint shorter than I anticipated.
Managed to hit the Horseshoe with enough time to check out the last two tracks of The Suburbians set and a drum solo where lead vocalist Mark Konstantinovic joined drummer Ben Nyari for a minute. Unfortunately the track I filmed did not make the cut , I could not hear him then and cannot hear him on playback. The vocal mic needed to be louder, the guitars were drowning him out. Other than the mic levels, this band is as tight as their pants! Why are they not signed? Hopefully they cross the pond in the future, so I can enjoy their music live in the city once again.
I believe we migrated to the EL Mocambo next, August of this year Sam Grosso and partner Marco Petrucci bought the El Mocambo with the intention of restoring the venue. The bands I was checking at the Elmo were Nixon formerly Tiny Dinza who were signed to Wind Up shortly after winning Indie Week last year. They are always a breath of fresh air, but the songs are a little mediocre, they need to step up their game, now that they are signed the real work begins.
The other band I wanted to see was the super fantastique Rebel Emergency, haven’t seen them jam in a while. I’m hoping to hear new material from them in the future, they always put on an exciting set and have irie tunes. I’m in the process of reviewing Roddy’s first solo record “The Little Things“, which is now available. I could not stay for all of Rebel’s set because I wanted to check a few bands on the Queen St. strip. I was still looking for new bands to blow my mind…Did any new bands accomplish that? Nope.
There were a few bands I really wanted to see “In My Coma” and “West Memphis Suicide“. I was not able film In My Coma’s set because my battery died twenty-five seconds into filming the first WMS tune and their set was just before. West Memphis Suicide put on a high energy set that got the crowd pumped, they were having a blasty blast past 2am. I will have to hit up future sets of both these bands as should you because they are definitely worth checking out.
There were a few other bands that made it to the finals like Cai.ro and Left Turn City. I have never seen Cai.ro live, I have always missed their sets. The band is a collection of incredible musicians with a folk rock pop sound. I was interested in the music and not bored to death with their stage performance, keeping me and the audience entertained. I do have to say they all need to let loose a little.
The final band I caught before my memory card filled up was Left Turn City. I couldn’t believe that it was full! I swear I put all of the previous coverage onto my computer. I discovered when transfering the new coverage there were Cuba photos on the same card, I couldn’t see them on my DSLR because they were shot with another camera. I need to break this cycle of forgetfullness at festivals, I was so busy I forgot my back ups except of course my Homie, Photographer/Security D who took some pretty awesome shots and kept the creeperellos away, thank you D! Back to Left Turn City at the Indie Week finals, of all the bands I saw that weekend they have improved the most but work is still needed to be done. The songs need to be catchier if they want to take it to the next level and catch the attention of a rock label. I give them credit for still persevering and improving while others simply have just given up. Without the passion, commitment and the continued development of your craft you are wasting your time.
Indie Week was fun as it always is, Darryl Hurs the creator of Indie Week is always floating around the venues, Darryl is a stand up guy, one person that actually cares about the indie scene and continues to be an advocate. More people should support the indie scene but most of all, the bands need to support each other a little more! I hope to one day check out Indie Week Ireland, but until then we always have Indie Week Canada, see you next year! www.INDIEWEEK.com