There’s a lot of festival competition in the Toronto region these days, CMW, NXNE, TURF, Field Trip, WayHome and more. It’s really getting all the festivals to step up and define themselves with their programming. This year’s CMW pleased music lovers with its great mix of up-and-coming buzz bands, and barely-known-but-should-be-known Canadian talent. Here are five of my favorites, between the bands I did get to catch, and the bands I didn’t.
You always remember the moment you find magic. When I stumbled upon a Leon Bridges song a few months ago, his pared down live version of Lisa Sawyer actually brought me to tears. The second coming of Sam Cooke. So naturally, like at least one thousand other people, when I heard he was opening CMW at the intimate Drake Hotel, I contemplated selling my soul and meager assets to attend. Sadly I did not get to, but if you were there, yes we heard what an other-worldly experience it was, and yes, I am still bitter. If you haven’t heard Leon Bridges, I suggest you get on it immediately.
One of my favorite albums and debuts of the last few years, Solids do with 2 people, what punk bands with 5 or 6 fail to. They’re loud, hard, fast and you will walk away dizzy from banging your head too much.
Any band whose name serves in part (or fully) as an homage to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, is a band I automatically want to like. Add in some epically fun rock n’ roll, and baby, you got yourself a stew.
I was pretty intoxicated when I went to see these guys, and desperately needed some happiness after seeing the Kurt Cobain doc Montage of Heck. Luckily, their blend of cock-rock and pop-punk, was just what the psychiatrist ordered. Dude is such an amazing guitarist I was overcome with a primal urge to jump in the pit, and that’s just what I did. For one song, I recaptured my youth. Then I got hit in the face by a poorly timed crowd surf and retreated. Oh, and their bassist reminded me of 70’s era Mick Fleetwood. I don’t know why.
To this day, The Antlers are the only band I’ve ever seen groups of men cry at whilst watching. Their ability to invoke absolute emotion from everything in their arrangements to their lyrics is a feat. You will be overwhelmed when watching them live, whether they’re singing about death, the loss of love, or a dreamy underwater song from that underwater EP.
Metz – I know these guys should be higher on my list, and I’m working on that.
Cloud Nothings – These guys have come a long way in their live sets and destroyed at Lee’s. I think you can see a pattern in the genre I much prefer lately.