This year, Toronto sees Canadian Music Week shift from March to May, making it the ultimate kick-off to a long summer full of festivals in the city. CMW begins Tuesday, May 6th and runs until Saturday, May 10th (mark your calendars, clear your schedules). Here are the top six reasons why you should be running around Toronto like a maniac that week!
6. Big Names and Headliners
While the thriving music scene keeps growing in Toronto, CMW pulls out some of the bigger names in not only Canadian music, but internationally known acts as well. This includes:
The 1975 – Tuesday, May 6th at the Kool Haus, at 10:00 p.m.
Brody Dalle – Wednesday, May 7th at the Horseshoe Tavern, 11:00 p.m.
Tegan and Sara with Ellie Goulding – Friday, May 9th at the Kool Haus, at 6:00 p.m.
City and Colour – Friday, May 9th at the Air Canada Centre, at 9:30 p.m.
Kardinal Offishall – Friday, May 9th at Revival, 12:30 a.m.
Bedouin Soundclash with The Trews – Saturday, May 10th at the Horseshoe Tavern, at 8:30 p.m.
Mastodon with Gojira – Saturday, May 10th at Sound Academy, starting at 6:30 p.m.
The two that I’m personally most excited to see on the list of performers this year are Brendan Canning (of Broken Social Scene) and Owen Pallett (of Final Fantasy). Both native to Toronto, these artists are featuring their extensive and impressive solo work.
Brendan Canning (to ease you through the indefinite Broken Social Scene hiatus) will play two shows for CMW: Thursday, May 8th at Lee’s Palace, at 11:00 p.m. and the Phoenix Concert Theatre Saturday May 10th, at 7:30 p.m.
Owen Pallett will play the Danforth Music Hall on Saturday, May 10th, starting at 9:30 p.m.
5. There’s something for everyone
Maybe you’re crazy about indie and folk; maybe you think hip hop trumps it. Perhaps you like your bones rattling with metal, or you think punk is alive and well.
No matter what your musical taste is, there is an artist featured in every genre.
Toronto’s D-Pryde (pictured above) is a hip hop/rap musician, playing at Adelaide Hall on Wednesday, May 7th, starting at 8:30 p.m.
Grounders are an alternative/indie-rock outfit, playing the Silver Dollar at 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10th.
Electronic/Psychedelic artist, Zoo Owl, will be playing two shows – Wednesday, May 7th at the Painted Lady at 10:00 p.m. and again at the Silver Dollar at 3:00 a.m. on Friday, May 9th.
Hardcore band Counterparts will be at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club on May 9th, playing at 9:15 p.m.
That is barely scratching the surface of how many different types of musicians there are.
4. CMW features more than just Canadian and local musicians, but many musicians worldwide.
While this festival is one of the keys in promoting and experiencing what Canadian music has to offer, there are several musicians from around the world performing in Toronto. Between Afghanistan’s hip hop/rap group, 143Band (playing Parts and Labour at 2:30 a.m. May 9th), the U.K.’s alt-folk/indie Aaron Wright (Lounge Bar inside the Marriott Hotel at 11:30 p.m. on May 10th) to Switzerland’s funk/jazz outfit Journeys (May 7th at the Orbit Room, 9:00 p.m. and May 10th downstairs at El Mocambo at 12:30 a.m.), there is no shortage of worldwide musicianship.
3. Did you know there’s an awesome film festival included?
The film festival has a great blend of music-centric documentaries, including those about Jimi Hendrix, and Elliot Smith. There are also a few non-documentaries, including the sneak preview of Lukas Moodyson’s Swedish film, “We are the Best!” (pic above), a film exploring the lives of three 13-year-old girls in 1982 Stockholm who decide to start a punk band in an effort to deal with their confusing and weird adolescence. The film is an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, and expected to make some waves.
2. The price is right
A wristband for all five days of the festival comes out to about $90. That is five full nights of live music for as much (or less) than a ticket at some of the major shows happening this summer (Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Beyonce and Jay-Z…). You’re not saddled to buying the wristbands either (though, you’d be crazy not to), individual tickets are being sold for each show as well.
1. You get to support some incredible local and otherwise under-the-radar acts
While the big names have the immediate draw, there are hundreds of independent and under-the-radar acts being featured all over the city, including Sun Stone Revolvers (May 9th, Baltic Avenue, 1:00 a.m.), Ginger Ale & the Monowhales (May 9th, Velvet Underground, 10:00 p.m.), Future History (May 9th, Cameron House, 11:00 p.m.) and Rory Taillon & the Old Souls (May 10th, The Central, 2:00 p.m.) You can scope out new music while supporting local musicians – and finding that next band whose gigs you’ll attend from here on out. It’s a win-win.
Can’t wait until next week? Well, if you have a wristband then you have a chance to attend the CMW kick-off party with M.I.A. at Tattoo on Queen West, Saturday night May 3rd. Doors are at 8:00 pm and M.I.A. goes on at 11:00. Enter CMW’s concert lottery for a chance to get a spot on the list for this party.
The entire schedule can be found on the CMW website here. Look out for plenty of reviews, interviews and photos on Music Vice – we’ll see you out at the gigs! Plan accordingly, go forth and conquer!
© Megan Rach, Music Vice
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