Canadian Music Week kicked off this past Tuesday, and Toronto has flooded with interesting acts from all over the world. It’s my favourite time of year specifically because I never fail to find new and exciting artists to watch. While most people are crowding into the big shows, I can be found holed up in the tiny back rooms and basement venues of the city, looking for new music. So, here are three acts we bet you missed, but lucky you – AMBY’s got you covered.
Wednesday night, the Drake Underground played host to some very special bands for the Music from Ireland showcase: Ailbhe Reddy, who may be small, but Lord is she mighty. The singer/songwriter stole the first half of the show with her jokes, a powerful voice, and equally impressive songwriting chops. Her haunting renditions of her latest single “Relent” and a heartbreaking song called “Coffee” both blew me away. I’m newly obsessed with this girl, so much so that she’s been my subway soundtrack for the past two days.
BARQ, a band I discovered the last time I took a trip to Ireland, brought the crowd right up to the stage with their “agrosoul” tunes. The lead singer/lyricist Jess Kavanagh is electric. She commands the room and teases her audience. Jess vibes to her music as much as the audience, and it is a rare treat to see her brand of enthusiastic, no-holds-barred performance. The funky arrangements of their three singles, especially “That Thing You Love,” had the crowd totally involved.
Closing out my night was Bitch Falcon, a hardcore rock band I’ve only ever seen play once. I should preface this by stating hardcore is not a scene to which I usually subscribe. Bitch Falcon has me converted. Not only are the lyrics incredibly poignant, lead vocalist Lizzie Fitzpatrick has a voice that could cut glass. Most importantly, they are tight musicians. The hardcore aspect works because they are so organized and seamless onstage.
All these acts might be vastly different in terms of genre, but the common threads are their extremely relevant songwriting, and that each band is helmed by dynamic women.
Indulge in AMBY’s exclusive premiere for Bear by BARQ here.
Review and Photos by Tanis Smither | @Tanisquinn