Canadian Music Week: Friday
|13-Mar-2008 06:07 pm||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
By the time Friday night rolled around, it had started to snow in Toronto. But the snow was wasn't heavy yet, so the roads were only lightly covered, even if quite slippery. This was the only night of CMW that went (nearly) exactly as planned. The plan was this: Start at Tattoo Rock Parlour for Joshua Bartholomew, then get myself up to The Mod Club for illScarlett while Tom goes to see Drowning Girl and Vesta Varo at Kathedral, then we meet up at The Horseshoe for The Arkells and a few songs of Inward Eye before heading back to the Tattoo Rock Parlour to close the night with Hey Ocean! and Dearly Beloved. And that's more or less how it went. Sadly, this plan meant missing We Are The Take at Lee's Palace and The Dunes at El Mocambo, two shows that I would've liked to be at.
Joshua BartholomewJoshua was scheduled to start at 7:45 PM, but the sound check was really late and by the time they got on stage they were over 30 minutes behind. This was followed by a bit of a false start due to a technical issue, but got back going again within a few minutes. My schedule was such that I needed to run out at 8:30 PM, and even though I stuck around for 5 extra minutes or so, I really only got to hear two songs, so I don't think I got to see his full potential.
Info: Joshua Bartholomew | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
illScarlettAs I was walking past the side of The Mod Club toward the front doors, I could hear illScarlett inside had just started their all-acoustic set. The place was packed out, with the crowd pushed up right to the stage. Conspicuously absent was Swav's extremely cool green drum kit, and it was replaced with a smaller kit appropriate for the mood. The acoustic arrangements all sounded great, and it was a nice change of pace, but I'll admit that their high energy plugged-in 'n' loud performances are the shows really get me going with this band, partly because they make for more challenging and interesting photography (yes, it's all about me). Still, it was definitely cool to hear them play at a different pace, one that emphasizes their skill as musicians, and from what I could tell it went over pretty well with the audience.
Info & Connect: illScarlett on MySpace, Facebook
Drowning Girl, Vesta VarroI saw Drowning Girl on the opening night of Tattoo Rock Parlour, and liked the sound they projected in a live show setting. The report from Tom was that everything I said still sticks, but it sounds like the CMW set at Kathedral may have been a little stronger than what I saw at the Tattoo.
Info: Drowning Girl | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
The next band up was Vesta Varro, a band from Ireland here in Toronto for CMW, and Tom wasn't the only person to go on about their set. All reports indicate that they were just excellent. The good news is that if you missed their show during CMW, you can check them out at quite a few scheduled dates coming up in Canada. Check their MySpace page for details.
Info & Connect: Vesta Varro on MySpace, Facebook
ArkellsBack down at The Horseshoe, the Arkells were setting up while the festival goers started to fill in the room. The Arkells are a 5 piece band out of Hamilton, Ontario that recently signed Dine Alone Records not too long ago, and released their first EP entitled Deadlines on March 6th, the day before this showcase. (Incidentally, it's available for the very fair price of $3.99, so why not buy it? I did.) Before the show, I had heard only a few clips of their stuff, but it was enough to get me out to the show. They play rough rock with driving grooves and vocal power that reminds me of The Constantines, but with less beer and spit. The set was amazing. Most notable song was called Oh, The Boss Is Coming!, which clearly a song about working for the man, but based a comment made by Max Kerman (vocals, guitar) I suspect it may also be an indirect reference to Bruce Springsteen. Easily a 5-star song for my collection. There was one point, where they all congregated around the drummer for a mighty rock-out session. Oh yes, this is what I need. Give me more Arkells!
Info & Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Inward EyeNext up at The Horseshoe was Inward Eye from Winnipeg. Visually, they were a fun to watch. Lots of jumping and other off-balance moves, and none of it looked forced or contrived, it just looked like they were having a great time. But we only had time to stick around for a few songs because we wanted to get back over to the Tattoo Rock Parlour for Hey Ocean!
Info & Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Hey Ocean!Hey Ocean! is based out of Vancouver, but the members of the band grew up in various places, which means they seem to have fans all across the country. So when we arrived back at the Tattoo Rock Parlour, there was an extensive line-up outside. Fortunately, we managed to get ourselves inside pretty quick and I made sure to grab a spot near the stage along side of friends and fans of the band. The band is fronted by Ashleigh Ball (vocals, flute) with songwriter David Beckingham (guitar, vocals) leading the melodies. The music is a blend of funky indie-folk pop with moments of jazzy vocals, so basically a big pot of stuff mixed together, but even so their songs so have some consistency to them. The standout number for me was Fish, a song that seemed to elicit the most inward focus and externally visible passion from both Ashleigh and the rest of the band.
Info: Hey Ocean! | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Dearly BelovedHere's a band that I've been meaning to get out to see for well over a year now, but the timing just never fell into place. I have both of their full-length CDs, You Are The Jaguar (2006) and Repo Repo Repo (due out March 18, 2008), and both albums are solid. They opened the set with a song off their first album called All Points Bulletin, but then launched in Candy Coated, a song that is easily the most infectious track on their new album, and also seems destined to be a hit at campus bars and clubs, with its male/female vocal parts that are filled with sexual tension. Rob Higgins (vocals, bass) and Niva Chow (vocals) are the majority of the show with their dynamic actions, playing off each other, creating music-based theatrics that exude rock. By this point in the night, alcohol was definitely a factor in the crowd and since the most internally-soaked fans were drawn toward the stage, there was some serious off-balance rocking out happening throughout the entire set. This band created a stage show well worth watching and songs that are so catchy that I'm still singing them to myself while writing this. It's a wicked combination.
Info: Dearly Beloved | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
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