Canadian Music Fest (a.k.a. the music festival part of Canadian Music Week), is go! CMW/CMF kicks off this week, from Tuesday March 19th until Saturday March 24rd in Toronto. Here are 10 reasons why you should care.
1. Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church, “the Voice of an Angel”, is now 27. She’s stopped singing church hymns, and is now creating pop music for Portishead and Bjork fans. She’s gone from “O Holy Night” to “Glitterbombed“. I have no idea what to expect. Don’t tell me you’re not curious.
Playing CMF: Saturday night, 23 March at El Mocambo (downstairs), 8pm.
2. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Super band. Nick Cave is a legend. I’m still digging Lazarus five years later, and the new bad seeds album Push The Sky Away ain’t bad either. Not much of a fan of his novels though… if you’ve ever been tempted to read Nick Cave’s books, I advice you to avoid the Death of Bunny Munro at all costs. I made it to page 27.
Playing CMF: Saturday night at Massey Hall, 9pm (No wristbands… if you don’t have a ticket, you won’t get in)
3. Summer is still three months away
It’s March. Outside of Texas, where else are you going to hear this much music in five days? June is three months away. Canadian Music Week fills a void, and it fills it nicely, with a healthy top up of Vitamin RnR which should keep you scurvy-free until the summer festivals come around. Don’t forget your toque.
Once upon a time… In May 2009 I drove across Canada. After a break-up that tore me up, I hit the road and drove west towards BC. The radio in my National rental car did not work. The only music that I had for my soul-searching journey was Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown album, which had just dropped. That album gave me nothing. Green Day had a huge impact on me as a teenager: albums like Nimrod and Dookie were fantastic records that were the angst-ridden whining soundtracks of millions of kids, myself included. But Green Day had grown old, tired and oversold. Billie Joe Armstrong lost his edge and any authenticity to his message. I’d outgrown the band.
So, after driving over 3,000km to radio silence, I found myself in Calgary, Alberta. I saw a poster for a show. The poster was bright pink and it read Jenny. “Cool poster… this Jenny chick must be rad.” It turned out that Jenny wasn’t a girl, but a band led by a guy called Sean Hamilton and a bunch of his friends. That night, I saw Jenny play at Tubby Dog hotdog shop. It was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to in my life. Sean Hamilton screamed emotion from every pore in his body, as his band played their gleeful shouty-punk pop songs. In 2009 Jenny sung songs about relationships and how we are destroying the planet. Their 2009 Leaving Town album is, to this day, easily one of the best Canadian albums that I have heard. It is youthful, raw, hopeful, fun and authentic. It was just what I needed to hear after 3,000km of nothing but silence and that lame Green Day album.
Now in 2013, Jenny are four guys, still led by Sean Hamilton. Their sound is much more polished now; more produced. I considered Jenny one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. Now they are finally playing a gig in Toronto. I’m curious to see if they will live up to my hype.
Playing CMF: Wednesday at Painted Lady at midnight and Saturday night, 1am at Bovine Sex Club.
5. Protest The Hero
If you don’t know them by now, then where have you been?
Playing CMF: Friday night at the Hoxton at 10pm.
Thus far, the only artist in the 21st century who can be described as jazz that are actually worth listening too. TheyAreActuallyPrettyDamnGood. SeeWhatIDidThere?
Playing CMF: Saturday night at Horseshoe Tavern, just after midnight.
7. A Place To Bury Strangers
Playing CMF: Thursday at Sound Academy, 8pm.
8. Diamond Rings
Four years ago I saw Johnny O’Regan playing a bandshell at a park in Oshawa with The D’Urbervilles. Now, in his glam guise as Diamond Rings, he will play Friday night primetime shows at Kool Haus and Wrongbar at CMF. Progress.
Playing CMF: Friday at Kool Haus, 10pm, and then a DJ set at Wrongbar after 1am.
9. Lucy Rose
Lucy is an utterly charming and delicate performer from the West Midlands. You may have seen her on tour before with Bombay Bicycle Club. To get a glimpse of her talent, listen to the 3D sound recording below that she recently recorded with the BBC. If you like what you hear, come see her in real-life 3D (no movie glasses required) at Lee’s Palace.
Playing CMF: Friday night at Lee’s Palace, 10.30pm.
10. The Vans Warped Tour Documentary
100 minutes of a bunch of bands whining about how hard it is to travel across the United States in summertime playing rock concerts for teenagers? Sounds hilarious!
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman is the special guest for this special ‘sneak preview’ screening of the film, and he’ll be asking your Q&A after.
Playing CMF: Thursday night at Toronto Underground Cinema (186 Spadina Avenue), 7pm.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
Internet link: Canadian Music Fest
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