|11-Mar-2007 04:19 pm||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
For day 1 of CMW festivities, my only plan was to start out at the Neutral Lounge to see a band called Jen Militia, and then head over to The Silver Dollar to see the The High Dials. But once I got to The Silver Dollar, I stayed there and got to see two amazing additional performances by Uncut, and Les Breastfeeders.
10:00 PM - Jen Militia @ Neutral LoungeThe Neutral Lounge is a bar that you can easily walk right past since its street address matches a single black door squished between stores in the strip along College St. The real entrance is around the corner on Augusta. The bar is located in a basement, with a concrete floor and low ceilings (but they serve good beer so don't take my comments the wrong way). The small stage is stuck in a corner and is dimly lit. The bar was fairly empty when I arrived, but the crowd slowly built as Jen Militia prepared to take the stage. Although not packed, there was a descent showing, including a group of women that danced near the stage for the entire set.
Jen Militia has just recently released their third full length album, Berlin Boot Camp, and probably the best way to describe it is rock-punk-hip-hop. The lead track, and best song on the album, is This Is Not A Test, a song that Jen Militia chose to play 3rd in their set. By that point, though, the lead guitarist had already broken a string and didn't appear to have any spares available, so the rest of the set was played with a 5 string guitar.
Info: Jen Militia | Connect: MySpace
11:00 PM - The High Dials @ The Silver DollarI don't know much about The High Dials, but I heard one of their songs on the [excellent] CBC Radio 3 Podcast and liked it. CMW is all about getting to hear new bands, so I decided to make my way to The Silver Dollar to catch their set. The High Dials are a Montreal based band, and they've got a very likeable Canadian indie rock sound.
Info: The High Dials | Connect: MySpace
12:00 AM - Uncut - The Silver DollarI got the schedule mixed up in my head and I thought Les Breastfeeders would be coming on after The High Dials. But, in fact, there was another band called Uncut scheduled to play inbetween. I spoke briefly to a few musicians in the crowd and they gave me the impression that Uncut was definitely worth hanging out for, so I flipped my camera back on and moved up to the stage again.
Uncut is one of those bands that makes these kind of events so worthwhile. Until Thursday I hadn't heard of them, but the moment they hit the stage they started rocking out, and because I completely dug their performance they are now on my radar. Definitely a band to check out further... I'll be tracking down their recorded material to give it a listen.
Info: Uncut | Connect: MySpace
1:00 AM - Les Breastfeeders @ The Silver DollarI'd seen Les Breastfeeders back as part of the CBC Radio 3 See Vous Play show. They are a Francophone group out of Montreal, Quebec and so all songs are sung in French. For me, their performance at the Koolhaus was all about Johnny the tambourine player, which is basically all I wrote about for that set. I had pretty much made up my mind on them and will admit that I wasn't completely interested in staying for their set. But I had some desire to watch the antics of Johnny again, so I decided to stick it out at The Silver Dollar for just one or two songs and then head home. But that was a useless plan, because I ended up staying for the entire set. See, for whatever reason, I missed the point at The Koolhaus. Les Breastfeeders are completely off the hook - the set was amazingly energetic, and their performance changed my mind about them.
They've got a few musical affectations that don't completely agree with me, but forget it, this band rocks. I guess there was something about the stage at The Silver Dollar that just combined well with the way they play, and the sound mixing was excellent, emphasizing the right parts of their music. It didn't hurt that there was some serious fans right up at the stage, but that wasn't the deciding factor. They played a great set. In addition to the all rock, they played one psychedelic number where Johnny took the mic and performed a variety of strange vocals manoeuvres... it was partly amusing, and mostly amazing. Which basically sums up their entire show. Given the chance, I will go see them again.
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