Congrats to all of the musical performers who wooed judges and fans all the way to the Indie Week finals Sunday October 20th at the Tattoo Rock Parlour. Indie Week has matured into the tightest lineup of talent to date for what is now known as the Toronto fall festival. There were some under twenties that are so much more than high school bands and seasoned indie entertainers. The stops along the way from club to club didn’t suffer any dry spells of forgettable music. Indie Week is ten years old, which may be a prerequisite for credibility for some onlookers, but for those of us who have watched it grow more confident each year there is little doubt that this fall festival is on a trajectory to rival Canadian Music Week and North By North East.
|An interview with Handsome Distraction, listen in on the DIY pannel with Indie Week founder Darryl Hurs and Dearly Beloved's Rob Higgins, hear the winner announced + Alert the Medic, Norway's viseMenn, Mad June, Blackdog Ballroom, The Bloody Five, Sumo Cyco, Slyde and Jordan Klassen||
Episode 351 (download)
LISTEN to 351 (stream)
|From the Indie Week finals, we hear from Open Air and The Turks + Serena Ryder, The Rick Parnell Band, Dinosaur Bones, Flash Lightning, Poor Young Things, Deep Dark Woods and Don Bronwrigg.||
Episode 352 (download)
LISTEN to 352 (stream)
Performing at Tattoo Rock Parlour Sunday were bands that won their way there. New City Kings headlined the show by winning Indie Week Ireland. The winner of the Best Guitarist award, presented by My Darkest Day’s Sal Costa was Maneli Jamal, a classical picker that no amount of hooks and effects could touch. He won the Free Times Café competition. The Turks, not old enough to stay in the concert venue because of their not-yet-reached drinking ages, won over the judges at The Supermarket. Open Air won the Alberta leg of Road to Indie Week and also made the over-all final from their performance at The Hide Out. Halifax’s best was Srapes who also won the Undergroud Garage finals. Toronto’s Sumo Cyco won at the Velvet Underground, The Oohh Baby Gimme Mores won at this year’s new venue, The Cage, Here Below won Cherry Colas, Raquel Cole won from The Cadillac Lounge and The Ending To This Story was given the news at Czehoski’s.
I will say this: There was a case to be made for every performer winning this thing. How one compares Classical Music discipline to Death Metal, Singer/ Songwriter and Rock music, I do not know. The overall winner was Sumo Cyco (Toronto ON) which means a trip to Indie Week Ireland is in the cards. IndieCan fans have been following Skye Sweetnam for years now and we with the cycos all the best. (picture by Wendy L. Rombough)
Raquel Cole (Vernon BC) came second and Open Air from (Calgary AB) came third. The Oooh Baby Gimme More clearly won the crowd that night, if not the judges. The Scraps and Turks impressed me as some of the best songwriters that night.
So what wins a judge over? One thing is for sure, that no matter what the fan’s score card read, most would agree that the three winners gave flawless performances. The musicianship was professional, the voices and song-craft were those of true contenders and all three are ready to be touring in support of big-ticket acts. The only two female fronted bands won first and second place. Does that tell us anything about the taste-maker’s preferences? I don’t know. What a tough job. All of these finalists have the talent to still being in the music game when Indie Week 20 rolls around. We all know “Rock and Roll is a vicious game” mind you, and remarkable Canadian musical talents hang up their guns ever year.
Indie Week now has a film festival component to it. The Door’s John Desmore was the biggest name at Indie Week 2013, signing books and introducing a feature length film, Window of Opportunity. Avi Federgreen is the executive director of Reel Independent Film Festival which is a natural fit for Indie Week, drawing from, in Ari’s words, the “emotion, passion dedication and love of film and music.”
There were panels, mentoring sessions and all the schmoozing that emerging music and film creators and buffs could ask for. Indie Week 2013 ran from October 16th to the 20th and my only wish was that it ran all month so I could take more of it in. I am sure the fans, bands and industry feel the same way.
In upcoming IndieCan radio we will take you backstage and front-row-centre for the best of the festival. Exclusive interviews with our favorites for the week along with some new tunage will fill the IndieCan Radio airwaves on Sirius/XM The Verge (SXM Radio), our college/community FM partners and podcasted to the world. Pictures, pictures, pictures are bellow. Film reviews and more commentary will follow. Congrats to the sponsors, volunteers and Indie Week staff for showing everyone a memorable Toronto good time.
The Road to the Indie Week Finals:
The kick off to Indie Week featured shows at the Hide Out and Rivoli. We kicked off the serious business of musical act-stocking Thursday. We saw Air Marshall Landing and Handsome Distraction (pictured), both of which you will hear from on IndieCan Radio. At Free Times Cafe, Ivan Nicholas, Epic Rain, Emily Rupp and Indie Week winner finalist and winner of the Best Guitarist 2013, Maneli Jamal. At the Silver Dollar, Lad Classic, the C'MONS and Kulus rocked the joint. We went shopping for music at The Supermarket and enjoyed Glen Horblast, Les Mosquitos and Juice. One of the new venues this year was College Street's The Cage where we saw JOJETO and Shift D. Also features in this slideshow is pole-dancing, street-art and downtown night scenes. See IndieCan's Indie Week Thursday
Friday on the Indie Week trail included another 20+ bands. We captured images of Trouble & Daughter at the Soho, who we also saw at the Rivoli, The Mandevilles, Secret Brodcast, The Unchained, Bad Catain, Blank Bullets, Lunberjunk, Casino, Little Foot, who won Best Demo 2013, Oyane (pictured), New Design and Broken Sons. Another new venue for Indie Week, Adelaide Hall had Rurral Alberta Advantage, The Little Black Dress, Still Life Still and Magneta Lane which we saw but no pics. Snoop around IndieCan.com and you'll find some pics of these acts. See Indie Week Friday
Saturday pics coming soon.
Sunday at Tattoo Rock Parlour. The set times were 7:00 PM Maneli Jamal, who won Best Guitarist 2013, 7:25 The Turks where the teenage contenders and will be guests on IndieCan Radio, 7:50 The Ending To This Story, 8:15 Raquel Cole from Vernon BC who won 2nd Place, 8:40 Sumo Cyco who won the grand prize for 1ndie Week 2013, 9:05 Here Below, 9:30 Halifax Road to Indie Week winner, Scrapes, 9:55 The band who missed the podeum but won the crowd as their favorite oOOH BABY GIMME MORES, 10:20 Open Air who won the Alberta Road to Indie Week and came in 3rd overall. Hear the conversation back stage with this up and coming seventies inflicted Rock quintet. The winners of Indie Week Ireland were the headlines; New City Kings delivered a solid performance with the swagger of success. Indie Week Sunday
John Densmore, drummer for the Doors kicked off Indie Week panels Thurday at 11 AM with a book, a movie and time for some Q & A. There were demos listened to, smoozing, indie movie know-how and music mentoring at the Eaton Chelsea, headquarters for Indie Week 2013. For emerging artists or want-to-be managers and publicists there was expertise shared on merch, youtube, production, social media and funding. The best of the panel fest for me was Saturday's DIY panel. Andreas Weiss of The Rabid Whole filled in along with Dearly Beloved's Rob Higgins, Marky Ray (Butthole Surfers, Jim Rose Circus, NIN) who was back at Indie Week, along with Indie Week creator Darryl Hurs. The theme turned out to be Ready, Fire, Aim. They talked about how preperation matters, how minding your manners and fostering relationships makes a difference and they shared what has worked and what has gone wrong on the Rock 'n' Roll highway. But the main point was made by Rob Higgings, "Follow your gut, becuase you don't know where things will lead you." It is impossible to plan results so just focus on the effort and let the fickle finger of fate have her way with you.
Visit Indie Week HERE.
North by North East is getting bigger and better. There were many achievements in 2013. the 19th edition of North By.
Let’s start with something that IndieCan sometimes passes over: The 7th annual NXNE Put The Boot In charity soccer match raised a$16,000 for Right to Play charity. Musicians, media and celebs pair off on the Rockers vs. the Rollers. For the record the Rollers rolled over the Rockers, 5 goals to 2. This event sounds right up IndieCan’s alley but we have never been able to pace ourselves. The shows end after 2:00 AM, sometimes running until 4:00 and while others sleep, we are editing pics, audio and other content. There’s just no steam in the tank, come Sunday morning. But let us praise and acknowledge those who do. Way to go Rockers and Rollers!
Visitors to Toronto by air were greeting to NXNE at YYZ Terminal 1. Mamabolao, Blinker The Star and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (remember Kids in the Halls? This is where the surf-rock tunage came from). The Pearson International Airport stage was on the arrivals level, right across from Tim Horton’s—Holy Canadian Power Play, Batman!
Yonge/Dundas Square (YDS) is becoming one of the defining characteristics of NNXE. IndieCan, of course, prefer grinding it out in the clubs in search of unknown newness and goodness. However, YDS is free and fun and it gets people on the fringe in the know of, and/or interested in, NXNE who would otherwise have missed the whole thing.
This year, Ludacris and Brooklyn’s Joey Bad A$$ polished off the YDS week in an all-urban-Sunday finale. Social Distortion, The National and Billy Talent headlined a mostly dry four day event that included but was not limited to, Teenage Kicks, Steve Hill, Hayden, CTZENSHIP, The Flatliners, Old Man Markley and Smif N’ Wessun. Moon King, which includes Daniel Benjamin and Maddy Wilde from Spiral Beach, played one of three shows at YDS along with Wrong Bar and The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern.
By the numbers: During the 7-day festival, June 10-16, 2013, 1000 bands played over 60 venues across the city, including a combined audience of 145,000. One of the pleasures of Toronto life is our venues. In a franchise dominated city that wouldn’t give an east-ender anything new to see in the west-end or visa-versa, every venue in Toronto is its own subculture. All of the Atlantic Provinces may not have 60 live music venues. I don’t know if there would be that many clubs West of Winnipeg, either; lucky T.Dot. The downside is that it takes a festival like this to fill most of them on the same night. In a town that worships big with MLB, NHL, NBA and CFL to name a few, the mainstream media doesn’t have time to be part of fostering organic growth in culture. Big Box Media work for their sponsors. It’s a tough spot to be in.
The NXNE Film Festival is just 13 years old and it is still a work in progress. That said, movies broke attendance records by 50%. The Bloor Documentary Cinema, in its refurbished glory, is part of the improvement. It’s a pretty cozy place, easy to find and close to the rest of the festival action. On IndieCan Radio we chat about the new Rolling Stones move from found footage from a 1965 Irish tour when Brian Jones was still alive.
We were psyched about the comedy flicks, Alone Up There and A Universal Language, to name two. Speaking of paying homage to popular music’s roots, who doesn’t have time for a movie dedicated to B.B. King? I loved when Bono of U2 talks about doing “When Love Comes to Town.” Bono started singing it and then when B.B. King took the microphone, “I felt like a girl,” Bono confessed. Did you know that most American whitey rockers learned about USA blues music from the British acts who covered them? Shameful but true. A great exception is Johnny Winter who followed the blues King from club to club. B.B. tells the story of meeting an eager Johnny Winter in Chicago. B.B. wasn’t impressed; in fact, he owed the IRA a ton of doe and he thought Mr. scrawny albino was a tax collector in disguise. But near the end of his show, he invited him on stage to see what the kid’s got. He kept changing keys and couldn’t shake the young axe-man by the name of Winter—bar for bar, note for note Johnny kept up with the King. The movies called The Life of Riley and if you don’t see it, you are missing a big piece of the popular music puzzle. Young bands can learn a thing or two from B.B. King who works over 300 nights a year.
COULD BE THE LAST CHANCE TO SEE THIS BAD A$$ PLAYING SMALL CLUBS by Sam Bowman
At 1am two Saturday nights ago a stream of about a dozen kids from Brooklyn snaked their way through a packed crowd at WrongBar to take the stage. Joey Bada$$ (née Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott) is the 18 year-old emcee who, bucket-hat pulled low, led fellow members of the hip hop collective The Pro Era to meet his DJ and frequent producer Statik Selektah in front of a sweaty, PBR-soaked crowd.
Joey’s been gaining steam steadily since last summer when he released his mixtape 1999. This was quickly followed by Rejex, a varied collection of tracks that didn’t make the cut for the first tape. Since then he’s been a frequent presence on music blogs and has worked with newly-established rappers like A$AP Rocky, Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar. Its this recent success that led him through a pumped up NXNE crowd to serve as the finale to a long night of quality hip hop. Known for his lyrical density and a choppy flow that calls back to the “conscious” rappers of the early and mid-90s coupled with a fondness for a Boom Bap-style production that calls back to East Coast hip hop at its peak. In a generation of talented yet chopped, screwed and electro-saturated performers Joey’s dedication to a deep-rooted aesthetic coupled with some of the cleanest and most engaging prose in hip hop today has allowed him to carve a niche for himself while he has begun to experiment with style and tone. The night’s set covered a number of tracks from 1999 including “World Domination” and “Survival Tactics” where he was supported by fellow Pro Era rapper Kirk Knight (in place of the late Pro Era member Capital Steez). Some highlights of the night included renditions of recent singles “Unorthodox” and “95 Til’ Infinity,” Joey kicking security staff off the stage during an attempt to seize a joint from the crowd, a blistering acappella freestyle, and the premiere of a still-unreleased track produced by MF DOOM.
Any concerns that Joey Bad’s phonetic dexterity or energy might not translate to the stage were quickly put to bed as he soaked through his sweatshirt in front of an ecstatic crowd, all at least a year his senior. This all goes to say that Joey Bada$$ and The Pro Era have easily lived up to all of their hype and as a result this was probably the last time Toronto will see them in a venue this small. His upcoming mixtape Summer Knights is expected on July 1 to be followed by his debut LP B4.Da.$$ sometime in early 2014.
Bad A$$ pics by Jesse Beatson, More on Facebook
Getting all Canadian again Authentic: Young Rival’s Journey Through Canada, Is a well told story of a Hamilton band (first introduced to IndieCan fans as their high school name, Ride Theory), on a X-CAN trip with friends Hollerado. When this flick is available, get the DVD; you’ll want to show it to your friends. Global Groove Network celebrated DJ culture which a good way to catch the drift without hanging out in obscure warehouses until 10:00 the next morning, tripping on club drugs or Red Bull.
Tune into IndieCan Radio to hear from J. Jolly about a cool new project to help upstart film careers get the kick-start needed. He will branch out into TV and music but check out CineCoup. Don’t wait; I find these panels and keynotes overwhelming and over stimulating which tends to prompt paralysis. So, I am calling CineCoup the find of the festival, so check it out and follow along at home.
There were exhibitors. Bandzoogle, the easy band website for bands who aren’t nerds from Montreal was in the NXNE house. Songwriters Association of Canada were evaluating demos and mentoring many. Canadian Musician Magazine, which should get an award for still existing, was selling books (yes I still read them) and talking shop with subscribers, strangers and industry. Moe Berg, Alan Cross, Carole Pope, Jake Gold, and other usual suspects from YouTube, Kobo, SOCAN and FACTOR were all on hand for artists that were smart enough not to schmooze until sunrise and sleep until sundown every day.
Start thinking about the 20th NXNE. If your hearing is fading, the art and comedy festival are at a lower decibel level so be sure to take some of it in. Although NXNE is still half the size of sister SXSW in Austin Texas every March, the Canadian cousin is growing. Other than an important feature on one of today’s prolific street poet’s Joey Bad ASS which IndieCan left to young Jesse Beatson and Sam Bowman to cover, we won’t talk about what music and when radio and pictures can do it so much better.
Be sure to enjoy our photo gallery and listen to all the NXNE 2013 IndieCan Radio shows for some new finds and behind the scenes snippets. We have producer Moe Berg (NXNE interactive presenter/producer) and James Clark who was performing his third NXNE in a row with The James Clark Institute. Producer and artists sit down with you and us to talk about the artist/producer relationship and how songs progress through the recording and mixing process. As always, you’ll hear the best music you’ve never heard. Thanks for being an IndieCan fan. See it and hear it: Pictures courtesy of Wendy L. Rombough Photography.
|Wedneday June 12th kicks off North By Norh East so far. As seen above, top row: Tommy Brunett, The Hyatt, NXNE Home base, Mad Anthony. Second Row: Ungrateful Children, This Hisses, Bailiff. Bottom Row: More This Hisses, Caiiro Forster and Adam Stokes. Click for more pics|
|Thursday June 13th through the eyes of Wendy L. Rombough at Lee’s Palace, Free Times, The Silver Dollar Tavern, Rancho Relaxo and The Supermarket, including Shred Kelly, Static and Snow, White Cowbell Oklahoma, D-Sisive, Dylan Hennessy, Public Animal and Red Wanting Blue.|
|Friday June 14th Includes Sloan and Superfriendz at the Great Hall, Absolutely Free and Pearls at the Drake and Kayla Luky at the Cameron House as part of the Music Manitoba showcase, plus some random pics including the Wrong Bar at the wrong time, the music fan’s grid lock look at getting into downtown Toronto|
|Saturday June 15th on Queen Street including Broken Bricks, Mamabolo, Levi Stephens, Kevin McWha Steele, Daniel Ellsworth, Dangerband and Catl (pronounced Cattle).|
|See Yonge/Dundas Square with bands, fans and fun including Moon King, Billy Talent, Big Black Delta, Millencolin, Teenage Kicks and some of the strangest things you'll even see in Toronto.|
|INDIECAN RADIO (NXNE Coverage) Episode 332 with The Elwins, The Hisses, In Flight Safety, Dinosaur Bones, Sloan and much more. Episode 333 including interviews with Lawyer and NXNEi presenter, Sarah Farrell + Film Producer J. Jolly of CineCoup, Dearly Beloved, Hot Panda, Tommy Brunett, White Willow, Shred Kelly and more. Episode 334 with Broken Bricks, Lee Harvey Osmond, Young Rival, Elsa, an interview with artist James Clarke and producer Moe Berg, talking about the new James Clark Institute 7” single. See more pics of North By North East on IndieCan’s FACEBOOK.|
NXNE 2014 artist and film submissions open in September 2013. Visit NXNE year-round to stay posted.
The official start to Spring in Canada is Canadian Music Week in Toronto. This is IndieCan's coverage of CMW 2013 March 20th to 24th. Here are a dozen cool things that happend at the Kool Haus Friday at the SiriusXM Indie Music Awards: From top left to bottom right, Matt Mayes, Shad, Merianas Trench, Jeff Leake, Canailles, Diamond Rings, Yukon Blonde, Metric, Cadence Weapon, Never Ending White Light, Cold Specks and The Wooden Sky.
“The very act of congregating is an exceptionally powerful stimulant. Once the individuals are gathered together, a sort of electricity is generated from their closeness and quickly launches them to an extraordinary height of exaltation.” Émile Durkheim (1858 – 1917)
Canadian Music Week’s Theme was social music so Durkheim’s commentary is so apropos this year. Social media and music were hot for each other at first sight. Some of the big guns brought in to talk about blogging, community, fandom and outreach included but was not limited to people you have heard from on IndieCan Radio such as Bob Lefsetz, Alan Cross, Dave Cool, Sari Delmar, Greg Simpson, Chris Budd, John Smith of Young Rival and Carole Pope, plus we listened very closely to Brendan Canning, CD Baby’s Tony Van Veen, Ralph Simon, Gary Schwartz, Rob Lane and Chad Hutchings, from Sticky Magazine.
CMW was interactive and we aren’t talking technology – we are talking people. Mentor’s Café was a chance for neophytes in music to speed-date labels, publicists, pop stars, festival curators, managers, promoters, authors, and TV and Movie music buyers. Paul Williams and Ralph Murphy of ASCAP were back to talk about songwriting, rights and royalties as well as music production. From north of the 49th Songwriters and Publishers also heard from SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste, Canadian Music Publishers Association’s Catharine Saxberg, Mark Jowett from Nettwerk, Helen Britton of Six Shooter and Ralph James from The Agency Group.
Music production wisdom came in the form of a keynote with Bob Ezrin and then Ralph Murphy held court with six producers including Justin Gray, Brad Kohn and Brian Moncarz.
THE COOLEST THING SAID @ CMW 2013: “There used to be hundreds of people making millions of dollars in our business and now there are millions of people making hundreds of dollars.”
|Friday Indie Music Award (presenters)||CLICK HERE|
|Friday Indie Music Awards (performers)||CLICK HERE|
|Wedneday Night March 20||CLICK HERE|
|Thursday Night March 21||CLICK HERE|
|Saturday Night March 23||CLICK HERE|
|Sunday Night March 24||CLICK HERE|
There were some performances that you had to be lucky to see: Nick Cave, Heart and The Pursuit of Happiness for starters. I couldn’t get into Colin James at Lee’s and I know the bar tender. Lee Harvey Osmond (Tom Wilson) played the Great Hall along with his son, bass player and singer for Harlan Pepper as well as Colin Linden, peeps from The Sky Diggers, Cowboy Junkies and more.
There were some changes this year. The venue moved from the Royal York Hotel to the Marriott which seemed smaller. Not that the music festival was smaller. The music festival boasted 1000 bands/artists over six days. The Kool Haus became the awards venue. That’s likely better for fans with more room and cheaper beer than the Royal York Hotel. The Indie Music Awards were there, once again hosted by Sirius/XM Emcee, Jeff Leake. Many of the performers were also the winners so didn’t that just work out great. Performing was Metric, Matt Mays, Diamond Rings, Yukon Blonde with special guest, Surb Superb, Cold Specks, The Wooden Sky, Canailles on the francophone and 360 and Cadence Weapon hipping and hopping. Other big winners were Poor Young Things, Carly Rae Jepsen, Japandroids, Marianas Trench and Said the Whale.
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interviews with ASCAP President, Paul Williams, artists Mo Kenny, The Stanfields & Steven MacDougal, producer Gordie Sampson and the best music you've never heard with Poor Young Things, Yukon Blonde, The Balconies, A Primitive Evolution, 100 Mile House, Said The Wale, Ariane Moffatt, The Zolas and more.
Indie Week 2012 has continued to grow through the years. This year, from October 10 to the finals on October 14th, 175 bands playing five days in nineteen venues. Each venue was home to a panel of judged that picked their favorites Wednesday through Friday for playoffs Saturday night at the Hideout, Bovine Sex Club, The Underground Garage, Cherry Cola’s, Velvet Underground, El Mocombo, Czehoski, Annex Live, the Peacock, the Cameron House and Free Times Café. Saturday, Indie Week filtered the best down to the best ten. Left standing on Sunday at Tattoo Rock Parlour for the finas were Left Turn City, Kingdom of Few, The Bright Road, Beyond the Mountain, SAVANAH, Pistol Geroge Warren, Nitemarket, Unbottoned and The Bright Road, who all succumbed to third place folk rock Cai.ro, second place rock ‘n’ roll The Stogies and first place death metal Burning the Day.
One area where Indie Week has really grown into a contender with NXNE and Canadian Music Week is their growing industry panels and workshops that were hosted at Long & McQuade headquarters on Bloor Street West. From Digital Media to Radio, Indie Band insurance, Publicity and demo critiques from pros like Bob Segarini, Vic Branco, Eric Alcock, Sean Kelly and Troy Arsenault, artists were able to hear it from the experts and talk amongst themselves.
The weather needs to be on her best behavior in October for a great bar-hopping event and this year we didn’t do too badly. The gails of November remembered to wait her turn. There is enough moodiness with the judges who have to compare hip-hop acts to female singer/songwriters to punk bands. I don’t know about competitive art to begin with. I was talking about it with the drummer for First You Get The Sugar, who played the Annex Live on Friday night. Get this: He recalls a “battle of the bands” in Montreal where he and his friends bands finished first and second respectively, leaving Arcade Fire in third place. It just goes to show that what a panel of judges think on any given Sunday, is no measure of an artist’s viability.
The great thing about this formula is bands get several showcases on different nights in different venues. So, if you consider the winning to be a lottery, more than a vote of confidence, then Indie Week is a way to make new fans and network with bands and industry that will have a lot more to do with a future that makes music your day job, than happening to play to judge’s sweet-spots on any given night. Kingdom of Few bassist, told me, “We played three shows in twenty-two hours which just doesn’t happen in Calgary,” a town that suffers for venues that don’t stack their roster with cover-bands. “We booked our flights here and then our lead singer couldn’t make it. His mom had to go into the hospital. So I called a friend who sings in my old band and he basically learned the songs on the plane. We played Sneaky Dees, The Velvet Underground, the Hideout and now we’re playing Tattoo Rock Parlour. We could never have a week like this in Calgary. This event has been great for us.”
Pictured above (Wendy L. Rombough) from top to bottom, Tattoo Rock Parlour Sunday October 14th, The Stogies, Meredith Shaw. See all of what we saw at the Finals Sunday. See the events leading up to the finals: Gallery One, Abstract Artform, Breached, Beyond the Mountain, Deanna Catea, Eli T, The Elwins, Femapco, In My Coma, Invermeir, Polarity, Sumo Cyco, and Sydney Delong, Gallery Two: Blind Race, G5, Georgia Germein, Like a Fire, Meredith Shaw, Roby, Secret Broadcast, Starkik and Twelve Step.
Follow Indie Week all year round.
Hillside Music Festival (Guelph Ontario July 27 - 29, 2012) has become, over their 29 years, the event that artists want to be included in. The earthy culture, the workshops of random collectives of artists and the music loving sell-out crowds are what many people dream of when they first strum a guitar, beat a drum or press down on piano keys. Joel Plaskett says, “I know so many people who have played here. I wondered why they never asked me to play Hillside." However, when the call came, it was to close out Episode 29 on Sunday Night along with Great Lake Swimmers, Bahamas and the Be Good Tanyas.
|Pictured above, Dan Griffen and the Regrets, Joe Pug and the "Everything is Broken" Lake Stage performance, exhibitors and crowds. Scroll down for more galleries of Hillside 29|
Hillside 29 kicked off July 27th with a stage that made Winnipeg look like a big city, The Crooked Brothers and Transistor 66 label mates, The Magnificent 7s crammed together on the Lake Stage, like commuters on a Tokyo train platform, to pump out some punk/roots/blues (grass)/rockabilly. Can you picture what that is? It's way easier to listen to than explain. Hear it for yourself on IndieCan Radio Episode 290. Later, on the same stage Joe Pug, Chad VanGaalen, Geoff Berner and Birds of Chicogo snuggled in together. Joel Plaskett was scheduled to join them but he was nursing a sinus infection with his mind to his Sunday night Hillside finale with his band, Emergency. Later on the same stage, maybe Hillside over did it a wee when Selina Martin, Elephant Revival, Lucy Wainwright-Roche and The Be Good Tanya clanged stringed instrument heads together for a sound check that took longer than the sing-song-but what a combo.
The Friday night Main Stage included Hillside returnees, The Bombay Bicycle Club, Kathleen Edwards and the Arkells. Kathleen Edwards reminded the capacity crowd that it means something to Canadian songwriters that people show up at clubs and festivals and buy albums and say, "Thank you for writing that song." Max of the Arkells had the stage presence to get the crowd to recognize the volunteers and the architects of anti-corporate, green-thumb Hillside culture. As apropos as both those tributes were, these comments were applauded by yesterday's taste-makers, today's "steady job and bills to pay" music fan who is the Main Stage Hillside veteran.
Tastemakers of 2012 who are converting what's new to what's hip and following bands from gritty venue to gritty venue, were at the Island Stage. The millennial generation was listening to The Deep Dark Woods, Young Empires and Walk Off The Earth (pictured left). This is where the crowd surfing was, this is where lineups of hopefuls settled for listening but not seeing, this is the crowd that gave Walk Off The Earth 130 million views on YouTube.
IndieCan Radio will include the Deep Dark Woods talking to us about Dawson City Music Festival, 6,118 km away which they were at only a weekend ago. We talk to Tony Decker about returning to Hillside, just back from Europe-a mere 5,710 km away. Hillside regulars, first-timers, staff, performers and volunteers are excited about Fridays kick-off to a great weekend. You can feel it on the island. Friday night, like the whole weekend, has been sold out for weeks. IndieCan would recommend that anyone hoping to get in on the 30th Hillside might want to plan now.
Three-time Grammy winner, Mickey Hart—and I must add that they aren't all last century with his work as drummer for Grateful Dead—was the closing bill for the drum enthusiastic Hillside crowd. If you don't know, every night at Hillside, you can hear drum circles beating away in a hipster-meets-tribal ceremony that goes deep in the the dawn. Hart did play some tunes for the Dead Heads in the crowd but he was showcasing his new album entitled Mysterium Tremendum, his first in five years and follow up to the 2007 Grammy award winning Global Drum Project. "I have always thought of life, the world at large, as music," says Hart. "This work is a representation of that notion. I have combined sonic images of the formation of our universe with sounds drawn from musical instruments. It's all about the vibrations that make up the infinite universe. In this case, they began as light waves and these light waves are still washing over us. Scientists at Penn State, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and Meyer Sound have transformed these light waves into sound waves. These musical excursions transport me to wonderful and strange new places filled with rhythms for a new day. The combination of music from the whole earth and the sounds of the planets, the stars, the events that formed our universe, is intoxicating and points toward an awareness of what music is, could be, and where it comes from. "
For this new work Hart joined by Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Grammy winning percussionist and longtime band mate Sikiru Adepoju, Tony Award winning vocalist Crystal Monee Hall, singer Tim Hockenberry, drummer Ian "Inx" Herman, guitarist Gawain Matthews, and keyboardist, Ben Yonas. Long time Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter is in the project as well.
Getting back to the Canadian content, Juno award winner Valdy added the agelessness of the Hillside scene. Saturday saw The Bright Light Social Hour on stage with the Arkells. How's that for pop-rock-ery? If you remember from IndieCan Radio Episode 189, the BLSH had their gear stolen in Saskatoon and they are making a plea to fans to help fund the $15,000 loss of custom guitars, turn-tables etc.
Rich Aucoin and Zeus ensured that the scene didn't get too sentimental. On the world-beat ticket Talavya from Indie would grace the main stage. The following day Malian singer/guitarist Sidi Toure would play the same mid-day Main Stage slot. While you're scanning the pictures of Hillside 29, you'll see that both acts got shuffled into the mix with other musical acts this weekend. Elliott Brood time slots have moved from side stage to Main Stage main bill, as they performed just before the Mickey Hart Band. Pop Montreal brought The Sin & the Swoon, Canailles and Jennifer Castle out for a show case and other notables would be Doldrums, Chad VanGaalen, Imaginary Cities and Lucy Wainwritght-Roche
Sunday at Hillside is like no other. The Gospel hour this year included The Be Good Tanyas, Birds of Chicago and Elephant Revival, Tom Power hosting, and an always notorious house band. The Wooden Sky was starting the day with Ohbijou and on the Sun Stage (pictured left), Toronto and Guelph poets were slamming it, setting the stage for Tanya Davis's poetry and songs as well as (Rheostatic) Dave Bidini who was reading from his 10th non-award-winning book, a comical tribute to Gordon Lightfoot. Imaginary Cities would get teamed up with Memoryhouse, on the Island stage while Great Lake Swimmers and Cold Specks jammed out another Hillside one-of-a-kind experience on the Lake Stage. Great new finds for Hillside 2012 include some of the Sunday Island Stage line up: Rival Boys, BADBADNOTGOOD and Elephant Rival really surprised. In the even better live than on record, I would have to include The Strumbellas, The Crooked Brothers who closed out the Island Stage, The Bidini Band and New Country Rehab.
Click Here for a Gallery of The Deep Dark Woods, Kathleen Edwards (main stage) Manitoba Madness with The Crooked Brothers and The Magnificent 7s, Maylee Todd and Stereo Kid.
See the Walk Off The Earth set Here
|Friday Gallery II includes Bombay Bicycle Club, Dan Griffin and the Regrets plus mixed sessions including “All About Guelph,” Alana Gurr, Bry Webb, Esther Grey and friends, “Everything is Broken” with Chad VanGaalen, Joe Pug, Geoff Berner, Birds of Chicago and “This is Just the Beginning” with New Country Rehab, Kathleen Edwards and Belle Star.|
Gallery One for Saturday features one of the buzz features of this year’s event, Grateful Dead Drummer, Micky Hart in the Colossal Jam with Sidi and Talavya. We have Dirty Mags and Drumming Café and Canailes. Birds of Chicago work it out musically with Open Hearts Society in a theme called, “Birds of the Heart.”
Gallery Two for Saturday features the “Listen to the Lion” session with Adam Cohen, Selina Martin, Tony Dekker teaming up musically. Joel Plaskett was slotted in but he was resting up for Sunday’s big finale. Wooden Sky and the Deep Dark Woods were the Forest in the Sky Session. “Rock the Joint” paired the Arkells and The Bright Light Social Hour. Also, we have Valdy, Doug Larson/The Story Teller Guitar, The Sin and Swoon, Talavya, Selina Maritn Triplets (Yep, one, two and three) Missing Linx and Joe Pug.
Sunday at Hillside Gallery One includes:
Great Lake Swimmers, Elephant Revival, Cold Specks, Christine Fellows, Chic Gamine, the Bidini Band, BADBADNOTGOOD and Alanna Gurr
Gallery Two of Sunday Hillside includes:
Sagpool, Rival Boys, Minor Empire Joel Plaskett, Memoryhouse, the Tapestries Sesson with Ohbijou and Wooden Sky, the Sunday Morning Gospel Hour with Be Good Tanyas, Elephant Revival, Birds of Chicago and others + Sidi Toure on the Main Stage.
|Sunday Gallery Three includes The Crooked Brothers, The Durants with Doug Larson, The Strumbellas, The Sakadekiqs, The Wooden Sky and Be Good Tanyas on the Main Stage + The Magnificent 7s.|
Tony Decker of the Great Lake Swimmers joins us through Episode 290 and we talk about their album recorded in part in an abandoned Toronto Transit Subway Station, as well as talk Hillside. Joel Plaskett, Rival Boys Deep Dark Woods and Matt from The Crooked Brothers also join us for this segment of Hillside 29
Episode 291 of IndieCan at Hillside 29 includes the Doldrums, Arkells, Rich Aucoin, Zeus, Elliot Brood, Walk Off The Earth, 54-40, Joe Pug, The Mickey Hart Band, some bootleg Sunday Morning Gospel with the Be Good Tanyas and some reading by Dave Bidini.
Catch some random Hillside past that include Mother Mother, The Dears, Julie Doiron, Patrick Watson, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, The Birthday Boys, Justin Rutledge and more. Episode 50, Episode 51, Episode 94, Episode 95, Episode 142, Episode 191, Episode 192 or Episode 193.
Every year IndieCan Radio's Wendy Rombough (WLR Photography) brings you life at Hillside, the people, the workshops, exhibits, lifestyles and one of a kind pics of your favorite artists back stage like you'll never see them again. Enjoy Hillside with Gallery One, Gallery Two and Gallery Three.
Visit our FACEBOOK for hunreds more pics.
Wednesday June 13th 2012 kicks of another North by Norht East music festival. Accompanied by Big Sugar drummer Stephane Beaudin on drums, Gordie Johnson sings, plays guitar and Moog bass pedals for a rousing boot-stomping blues/gospel set that captivated the NXNE audiences for the first time at The Supermarket. Sit Down Servant, Gordie and Stephane’s new act, broke away from their tour with George Thorogood to play the much anticipated Special Guest slot Wednesday night –Kick off night for the NXNE festival. IndieCan overdid day 1 of the festival. We also saw Serena Pryne and the Mandervilles, Bronx Cheerleaders, Ken Tizzard and Bad Intent, Snake and Crane, Say Domino, Portage & Main, Shred Kelly, A Friend in London, Amos the Transparent, Gus & Scout, Hill and the Sky Heroes, Gavin Slate, Enjoy Your Pumas, Canyon, Army Girls, Whitebrow, The Scarlet Fever, Pauly and the Blowbots, Mittenz, Jeff Pinto of Hands and Teeth and Hume.
IndieCan Joe spent Thursday at NXNE headquarters at the Hyatt on King Street where Benrie Finkelstein (pictured right) spoke to music fans and insiders about his book, “True North: A Life in the Music Business,” and Jonathan Holiff (pictured left) who was on site for the world premier of his film, “My Father and the Man in Black.” Just in time for father’s day, this movie ranked near the top of the most gut wrenching events at NXNE and what Ambrose Roche, Film Programmer said was, “The pinnacle of North By North East’s film festival history.” The rest of the day was spent seeing NXNE the Film Festival. See film reviews below. See more on the book TRUE NORTH. See the trailer for MY FATHER and the MAN IN BLACK
Wendy and Brian left the hotel for the clubs to see Always V, Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, The Lad Classic, The Standstills, The Sweet Mack, The Rival Boys, The Black Owls, and take some pics of fans and crowds. See THURSDAYS pics.
Friday was a busy day at the Hyatt on King Street headquarters of North By North East with the rhyme and rhythm savvy artists attending conference and social media savvy techs piled into NXNEi (interactive) panels. Many panels found both the interest of the geek squads and song smiths.
Out on the street, Joe saw Foam Lake from Saskatoon, The Vibrating Beds from Winnipeg, Cousin from Niagara Falls, the Exclaim/Jagermeister BBQ, The NXNE conference and NXNE interactive, Reigning Sound from Asheville NC, Montreal’s Parlovr and Hooded Fang, Ryan O’Reilly from London UK, Ivan Julian from New York City, The Boxing Lesson from Austin TX, Dearly Beloved, Danielle Duval, Future History from Toronto.
Wendy and Brian of WLR Photography were elbow to elbow with fans who took in an evening at Yonge Dundas Square with Matthew Good and Plants and Animals. What a great night for music. WLR Photos
What did we see Saturday at NXNE Saturday? Well here’s part of Team IndieCan’s outing: Wendy saw Reyne, Sean Nicholas Savage, the Dying Art, Our Brother the Native, Jon Mick, Mac DeMarco, Oberhofer, of Montreal, Hollerado, Celebs and every day fans like you and me on the streets and at Yonge/Dundas Square. WENDYS GALLERY
Joe saw My Pet Genius at the Great Hall, Gray and the Jon Cohen Experimental at The Cameron House, SIRIUS/XM with Craig Norris live to air from the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern with one of North By’s infamous “special guests and The Lumineers, Sara Johnston at the Rivoli, The Tudors at the Painted Lady, stopped by Yonge/Dundas Square for Hollerado, went to The Dakota Tavern for The White Buffalo, Elvyn and The Irreverand James & the Critical Mass Choir and spent some time at POP Montreal’s showcase at the Garrison which included Warm Myth, Country, CTZNSHP, and The Belle Comedians and then I stopped by to watch some of the set up for the Much Music Awards on Sunday.
INDIECAN Crappy Camera Gallery on Facebook
North By North East is also about movies - movies about music that enrich the soul but sometimes avoid the Hollywood cliche pile.
A few Canadian offerings:
Happy Dysfunctional: The Story of Transistor 66 Records is a big part of the Winnipeg indie world. This is a rockabilly, alt/country, punk, rock ‘n’ roll label pressing vinyl and pumping out CDs in Winterpeg Manitoba. It’s a great story about a devoted dysfunctional family riding post-traumatic gains.
Ballad of Hugh (Saturday at 3 PM so bring three or four generations of your family). This is everything you would expect about a movie about an 82 year old indie artist on the verge of even greater obscurity. It’s dark, it’s tragic, it’s funny, it’s life-affirming. Oh, and the music is really, really witty. I would see it again.
Slaughter Nick for President (shows Saturday night and Sunday afternoon). Rob Stewart, a TV actor from Canada finally goes bust in Hollywood and he and his son pack up for Rob's parents Brampton Ontario basement. As strangeness would have it, this actors 15 minutes of fame from a detective TV drama called “Tropical Heat” made the character Nick Slaughter a cult hero in the former Yugoslavia. You can’t write this stuff; It’s too outrageous. Punk bands are singing songs about him and Serbian boys want to be him. He is an anti-Milosevic dream for disenfranchised youth and this documentary is the story of this unlikeliest of tales. I assure you – you’ll never see anything like it.
From the USA:
Jobriath AD (Saturday, June 16 @ 5:00 PM) is the hype of the festival and I wonder if that’s the last thing it needed. I mean wasn’t uber-maketing that turned fans off the first time around. This is a story people should know. Jobriath was part of the rock opera, Hair and poured into the glam-rock early 1970s when music was theatrical – Alice Cooper, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Bowie, T-Rex et al. This movie is like watching a documentary on the Titanic; you find yourself saying, “Veer left, veer left.” But what happens, happens. If you don’t know the story it will teach you a few things about momentum and the fickle finger of fate—no matter how much talent one has.
Going Deaf For Nothing - The Story of A Rock N' Roll Band is the world premiere of the story of Sacramento's best band you’ve never heard of: Magnolia Thunderfinger. This is the car crash of the year, the accident you know will haunt you if you watch but you won’t be able to help yourself. Many times over, NXNE tells the story that had to be told, of a rock and roll dreamer that was taken out while at the verge of realizing his/her potential. These are tragedies that leave us asking, "What if?" This movie, I am here to say, is the polar-tragic opposite: what happens when an act lives to never make it, to fade away instead of burn out? Ouch. If you’re still touring across the country waiting to make it, don’t go see this film. If you manage bands that do, maybe peek between your fingers with one eye. There are worse “what if’s” than plane crashes and electrocutions on stage. Was this a band that deserved a better fate? That is for you to decide but it’s not the point. Again, the fickle finger of fate and momentum have already had their say. Director Susana Halfon
Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story makes its Canadian premiere Saturday at 1 PM. I promise, no train-wrecks—it has a happy ending. This is the story of the best music teacher grade five students could ever have and a great story of hard work, talent and dedication getting the green light from momentum and fate. The Staten Island teacher posts some choir videos on Youtube and 38 million views later the kids are invited to the Oscars. I got into this story and I cared about the kids. Leave the razor blades at home after all, it’s going to be a great summer.
2012 marks 30 years of Canadian Music Week
Saturday night highlights included the Indie Music Awards with performances from The Pack AD, Dan Mangan, Pavlo, Passion Pit, Rich Aucoin, 4-time winners and performers The Sheepdogs with special guest Paul Rodgers and Indie Hall of Fame inductees, Treble Charger.
During the day the conference continued, the Songwriters Summit included a keynote address from ASCAP CEO and President Paul Williams, a one-on-one with Paul Rodgers and great showcase performances in the hotel and throughout the city.
Always a highlight of CMW is the songwriters sing and tell, this year called the "Kings of Songwriting." Dan Wilson of Semisonic tells us what "Closing Time" is really about. Who knew bar dispersing could be a metaphor for child birth? “Turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl,” “Time for you to go out to the places you will be from,” “This room won’t be open until your brothers and sisters come;” just listen to it again and see if it’s ever the same for you. Don Schitz who will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year, tells the story of writing "The Gambler" and the crown sang along. Alan Frew does Glass Tiger unplugged, George Merrill of Boy Meets Girl remembers Whitney Houston with some tunes he helped launch her career with and Paul Williams and Ralph Murphy hold court for a CMW crowd that enjoyed this once in a lifetime experience. See the gallery HERE.
See pics of The Indies (pictured above) - See Saturday afternoon acoustic sessions, Paul Williams one on one with IndieCan about advocating for the rights of songwriters and a frank discussion about his struggle with drugs and alcohol his new life in recovery and his devotion to the Musicans Assistance Program (MAP) to help other "overly medicated, under insured" artists. In June a documentary of Paul Williams life comes out called, "Paul Williams Still Alive." Paul Rodgers talking about Free, Bad Company, The Firm, Queen and his new song With OUR LOVE, the proceeds of which will go to Horse Sanctuaries. See some random Canadian Music Week pics. See Friday Night March 22, 2012 HERE with The Belle Game, The Lytics, The Matinee, The Suburbands, Direct Influence, Fade, Gold & Youth, Shawn Brady and the Electric Blood Band, Snow Blink Thursday it's Adam and the Amethyst, Ariana Moffat, Ben Caplin and the Casual Smokers, Filligar, Huddle, Labirinto, Lori Nuic, Molly Sweeney, Parks and Rec, Raz Fresco, Sidney York, Sion Russell Jones, Trailhead, Tribes, Wildlife and random pics HERE
Wednesday March 21, 2012 HERE - We have Montreal's Krief, from the Prairies, Abstract Artform and Michael, Rault (pictured right), Canada's "Wilco," Amos the Transparent, Lindsay Broghton, Yahi Como and The Unquiet Dead By the numbers, the 30th Canadian Music Week was record breaking. There was the unusual warm weather outside but inside the 82 participating venues a record 2,445 delegates joined fans to see a record 1054 performers made up of 4743 musicians from 43 countries over more than five days.
The Indie Music Awards - Canadian Music Week 2012
Canadian musical act Fucked Up was a 2010 Polaris Music prize winner and this year, beat out Feist, Mother Mother, City and Colour and Austra for Album of the Year and not surprisingly wins best Punk/Hardcore. The Sheep Dogs win Single of the Year, Group of the Year, Live Artist of the Year and of course, Rock Group of the Year.
Rich Aucoin was the Emerging Artist of the Year, Elliott Brood is Folk/Roots artists of the Year, Library Voices are the Alternative Group of the Year, Suzie Vinnick is Blues Artist of the Year Dan Mangan wins Solo Act of the Year, Mirianas Trench wins Video of the Year.
Treble Charges gets inducted into the Indie Hall of Fame this year along with previous inductees, Lowest of the Low, Rough Trade, D.O.A., Anvil and The Pursuit of Happiness.
Dan Mangan and Rich Aucoin both got the crowd buzzing with their performances. The Sheepdogs were a crowd favorites and rumors were confirmed as Paul Rodgers came on stage to perform a few numbers including the set closer, a Free song, All Right Now. The crowd was mesmerized. Paul Rogers talked with Jeff Woods in the Ballroom earlier in the day about his recent Canadian citizenship, his past, his plans, his new single, With Our Love, proceeds from which are going towards funding Horse sanctuaries and Paul did an acoustic set of Seagull and Feel Like Making Love. Paul Rogers spoke with IndieCan Radio the day before which will be part of IndieCan Radio Episode 272.
BACK TO POP MONTREAL 2011 - The first double-digit birthday for Pop Montreal (September 21th to 25th 2011) will best be remembered for the 101,000 music fans that gathered to see Arcade Fire perform outside of Place des Arts. It was a remarkable way to celebrate 10 years of “Pop goes La Belle Provence.” Like so many of the other bands who performed on and off the Main (Boulevard St. Laurent) in the 2011 version of Pop, Arcade Fire was nothing but a next-big-thing buzz the last time they played Pop Montreal.
Montreal may have been eclipsed by Toronto as the business hub of the Great White North but so what. Culture and lifestyle is what Montrealers are devoted too. Let Toronto be the “thank god it’s Monday” town. Montreal, and Quebec in general, is about working to live and less so about the other way around.
What is the most remarkable fact about the Arcade Fire show? A) It was free? B) 101,000 people came to see David Bowie’s favorite band? I think it’s C) They all road their bikes to work that day and rode them home after the show. Arcade Fire are still Montrealers and they don’t have to be VIPed by Limo or descend by helicopter. The members of the band still know who they are and that they don’t matter anymore than the rest of the music fans that gathered that night.
Front-man Win Butler, when he did take time to ingratiate himself with the devoted, didn’t talk about the bands Grammy or Juno or Polaris. He encouraged fans to remember that while we partied on the streets of Montreal that people of Haiti were still without basics in the hierarchy of needs and if we felt indebted by the gift of free music, our $100 would have the impact of $10,000 in Port-au-Prince 2822 kilometers south. The band opened with Ready to Start, Keep the Car Running, No Cars Go and then talked about and sang the song Haiti.
There were over 100,000 who enjoy Arcade Fire music more than I do that Thursday night, but I respect the significance of their music and their work ethic. They make great role-models for aspiring musically inclined youth.
I had the chance to have a impromptu round-table debate with Liz Pieries (CKUT Monday morning show) and Dave Cool, Bandzoogle, What is Indie? to no one’s benefit but our own at a café on St. Laurent. We debated if a big show like Arcade Fire / Karkwa takes away from the underground spirit of Pop Montreal and take away from the emerging bands who’s careers depend on turning some heads and getting some press. The consensus: It’s the 10th birthday, that’s a big deal and Arcade Fire represent “what could be” for several of the bands hitting the stage that week in Montreal.
Not that Les Sexareenos expect to be playing to 101,000 any time soon. After seven silent years the garage punk noise of Sex was part of this year’s festival. The band formed at the end of the 20th century and did Japan and European tours before the fuses fried on the band. For Montreal music geeks this was something to be savored. As for this century, the Left-coast’s Tune-Yards had the most buzz I heard from other musicians at Pop Montreal. Ottawa’s the Balconies are a buzz-band of their own right and my host for the event, the Jon in The Jon Cohen Experimental, had to see this California sister of experimentation and looping. Merrill Garbus was one of the Symposium speakers and her and her band played to a packed Ukrainian Federation building. I had to exercise one of closely held arrive-late-room-at-capacity- secret tricks to get in and catch a few songs. If church attendance is down, Montreal music festivals have a way to bring (music) worshippers together in stunning venues with great acoustics.
Dearly Beloved drove in from Toronto to set up on the postage stamp sized stage of the BarFly and they must have plugged into the audience. The place turned on. It was quiet yet polite as Dearly Beloved started, but by song two the place was rocking. That’s the sign of music pros who are in it for the music. 500+ kilometers in a cramped van could have easily spilled out into attititude – “we tour with Franz Ferdenand, Juliette Lewis and Sloan; we’re too good for this,” kind of attitude. Rob Higgins had no pretense. “I hope my bass doesn’t blow the PA like last time, he joked as the five of them set up as best they could with a stage for three and no sound-check. They gave it everything, the audience grew as the set progressed. New friends were made.
Jon Cohen’s Thursday night set meant more to me musically than Arcade Fire. I like Jon’s treatment of his existing catalogue in his one-man-band format of bass, drums, keys and loops (with his Gibson SJ strangely absent). I like his new music that has been specifically written for this arrangement. In the days that followed the show, we talked a lot about performance, his fascination with the technology and creative output from single artists and their looping equipment, and how he is going to go about his next album. He is pondering production, who to record with and how to tour what he creates in the studio.
Jon is my guest on IndieCan Radio for an insider’s perspective. My greatest judgment error was leaving mid-day Sunday. Most festivals are all but over by the wee-hours of Sunday morning but Pop Montreal had some great acts and events that IndieCan Radio listeners had to rely on Jon Cohen for to get the run down. I hope not to make that mistake again.
The Balconies really showed me what they were about with their classical/acoustic treatment of their pop-rock songs in an outdoor show that included Cousins and Charlotte Cornfield. Bass, classical guitar and violin is how we heard songs like Serious Bedtime, Kill Count, et al. Both Charlotte Cornfield and the duo Cousins are on IndieCan Radio Episode 249.
Pop Montreal 2012 will be September 19th to 23rd http://popmontreal.com/
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