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Indie Week 2008

15-Oct-2008 12:30 am Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Vesta Varro

Toronto, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Indie Week 2008
Vesta Varro, The Dunes
Saigon Hookers, Fred
The Matthews Brothers
October 8 and 10, 2008
Full Photo Set (30 photos)

To kick off Indie Week 2008, an opening night party (presented by was held at Tattoo Rock Parlour and featured five independent acts: Fred (from Ireland), Vesta Varro (also from Ireland and winners of Indie Week 2007), Saigon Hookers, The Dunes, and Larry Bagby. Now in its 5th year, Indie Week is gaining momentum with a number of foreign independent acts as well many local bands participating. One of the most notable differences between Indie Week and other Toronto festivals is that Indie Week has a battle-of-the-bands aspect to it in the sense that one band wins a prize (including a press photo shoot by mrchgirl and a photographer that you may already be familiar with). And the winner of Indie Week 2008 is...

    Walter Mitty and the Realists
    Info & Connect: MySpace

Although I didn't get to see Walter Mitty and the Realists perform, I have already heard a few good words about their show. In fact, I didn't make it out to much of Indie Week, but I did manage to get out to the launch party as well as to The Horseshoe for a set by The Matthews Brothers on Friday, October 10th.

Vesta Varro

It was good to see last year's Indie Week winners Vesta Varro back in Toronto so that I could watch Damien Drea pour his soul out all over the stage again. The thing that gets me every time with this band is how they burst into their show full-steam. It's wild, passionate, and really the only way to experience this band for the first time, especially since the recorded material (to date) just doesn't have quite the same impact on me. That may be resolved in the coming year, though, because I heard some rumours of a few big names in the recording industry that may be working on their next album. In the meantime, if you watch MuchMusic, you might catch their video for one of their current songs Believe.

Vesta Varro  Vesta Varro  Vesta Varro

Vesta Varro  Vesta Varro

Info: Vesta Varro | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

The Dunes

Although The Dunes completed recording a full-length album that has been ready to go since March of this year, the recordings have unfortunately been tied up in a legal battle. Kevin Pullen (vocals, guitar) says that it has now been sorted out and we should be able to hear the result of their hard work early next year. I've seen them on stage a few times now, and I've been impressed with songs that they've identified as new material. There's been a small change in the line-up since last time, with a new bass player that played it like he'd been there from the start. This was definitely the best set I've seen them play, and it got me looking forward to hearing the new CD when it finally arrives.

The Dunes  The Dunes  The Dunes

The Dunes  The Dunes  The Dunes

Info: The Dunes | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

Saigon Hookers

The hard rock portion of the evening was contributed by Saigon Hookers, with Tommy Smokes (vocals, guitar) pulling out some classic guitar-rock moves with his hand painted Gibson Explorer. With influences such as Motorhead, AC/DC, and some old-school punk-rock attitude, they blasted out their music to a crowd that seemed largely unprepared for their super-loud style.

Saigon Hookers  Saigon Hookers  Saigon Hookers

Saigon Hookers  Saigon Hookers  Saigon Hookers

Info: Saigon Hookers | Connect: MySpace, Facebook


Like Vesta Varro, the tersely (and a slightly amusingly) named band, Fred, also hails from Ireland and was over in Toronto for Indie Week. They played upbeat pop-rock with the most notable song being a song called Skyscrapers.

Fred  Fred 

Fred  Fred  Fred

Info: Fred | Connect: MySpace

The Matthews Brothers

Due to other commitments, I didn't make it out to much else during Indie Week, but I didn't manage to stop by The Horseshoe on Friday night and catch the first act of the evening, The Matthews Brothers. As you might imagine, the core of the band is made up of two brothers, Rob Matthews (keyboards, guitar, vocals) and Cole Matthews (vocals, guitar), as well as two non-Matthews on the drums (Max Smith) and bass (Dave Rodrigues). They play smooth rock with a slight folk twist, clean vocals, and compositions that reflect their classical music training, occasionally reminding me of Elton John. Their performance was fairly straight-forward in terms of presentation, but the music was a good listen.

The Matthews Brothers  The Matthews Brothers  The Matthews Brothers

Info: The Matthews Brothers | Connect: MySpace, Facebook


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