Canadian Music Week 2011 – Festival battle plan and picks

March 8, 2011

Protest The Hero - photo by Brian Banks, Music Vice

Protest The Hero – one of our picks of Canadian Music Week 2011

Canadian Music Week is here! Which also means Canadian Music Fest is here! Yes, essentially two names for the same thing but don’t be confused.. “CMW” is what most people on the streets of Toronto will be calling it as from Wednesday 9 March until Sunday 13 March a reported 800 artists [who’s keeping score in the CMW versus NXNE who-can-get-the-most-bands battle? what next, 900?!] will play in 55 venues across the city. Brilliant.

Canadian Music Fest Battleplan

So, how do you make the most of all this music? First off, if you plan to go out every night of the festival then go buy yourself a wristband here – saving $8 or $10 cover at the door of every venue will mean that the wristband will soon pay for itself. (Or if you’re “with the band” or have some awesome music biz friends then you should have already done whatever it takes to blag yourself a free wristband or pass… if you didn’t, then it’s too late now.)

Once you’ve got your wristband the next step is to decide on you’re strategy for the week. You essentially have two strategies which we have outlined below as Plan A and Plan B. Music Vice will have a total of five writers and photographers at Canadian Music Week 2011 – four of which will be using the Plan A option, whereas myself, the editor, will be going with Plan B. Choose your own path:

Plan ABe a nerd. Make a chart. Plan lots.
This is a very common but totally nerdy festival strategy. Here is the step-by-step guide for the plan-what-to-see approach to Canadian Music Fest 2011.
How to do it:
* Visit and spend hours researching and planning what bands you would like to see
* Get a piece of paper and draw out a festival week-planner chart with all the set times and locations of the bands you’d like to see
* Laminate your chart and keep it in your pocket – better still, tie it around your neck for maximum music festival geek points
*Stick to your plan to military precision and finish the festival with a smug sense of satisfaction with the knowledge that all your forward planning paid-off big time as you got to see a gazillion great bands and still had time for bed-time cocoa and marshmallows each night

If you need some inspiration, here is Music Vice writer Natascha Malta’s planner, fully loaded with band picks:
Canadian Music Week 2011 festival planner chart

Plan B – Don’t plan at all! Be rock and roll and go with the flow!

Who needs a plan? It’s a music festival… what’s to plan? I personally never have the time or thought to plan out my week at music festivals. At most I pick one or two must-see bands on any night that but other than that I will just bounce from venue to venue and make the most of the luxury of having access to any show thanks to the magic pass/wristband. Just follow your ears and stop when you find something that you dig.

How to do it:
* Grab your pass/wristband and go!

So Plan B is what what I’ll be doing – below are a few of my nightly picks but other than that I’ll be going from venue to venue taking in all the music that I can and hopefully discovering a few new favourite bands.

Editor’s Canadian Music Week 2011 nightly top picks:

Wednesday 9 March – Berlin Brides (Greece) at Neutral, 1AM – Greco-Deutsch Europop kitsch. They were fantastic at Indie Week 2010 last Autumn in Toronto. Definitely worth staying up until 1am on a Wedneday night for. They also play at midnight on Friday at the Painted Lady and on Sunday they will be my guest on Radio Wunderbar, this Sunday 13 March live at 5pm EST on Indie Love radio.

Thursday 10 March – Billy The Kid (Canada) at Dakota Tavern, 11pm – If you haven’t seen or heard about Billy The Kid yet, then now is your chance. Never heard anyone say a bad word about her shows. Too mellow? Alternatively, check out the Experimental Metal Showcase with the line-up including Hunter City Madness and Crooked Valentine, two good heavy bands.

Friday 11 March – Protest The Hero (Canada) at Bovine Sex Club, midnight – A safe bet if ever I saw one. Bovine will be rammed so good luck getting in for this one. I’ll be warming up for Protest by checking out J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) at The Great Hall (11pm) who will perform his first solo acoustic gig in Canada. Friday night is the busy night – alternatively I also recommend Toronto’s Pick A Piper at Rancho Relaxo, 10pm or Lee’s Palace where the line-up includes British band Bombay Bicycle Club who we have covered before in the UK –  worth a look if British indie is your thing.

Saturday 12 March – The Fucked Up DJ set at Parts & Labour. Mike Halichuch and Jonah Falco spin girl groups and soul… could be the best option for a CMW chill-down/dance festival weekend-ender.

That’s it folks – pick a plan, go out, hit the bars and find yourself some great music. Have a great CMW! Stay tuned to Music Vice for CMW 2011 coverage.

© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice

Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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6 Responses to Canadian Music Week 2011 – Festival battle plan and picks

  1. Alexis on March 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Plan B all the way but using your chart for a cheat sheet!

  2. Ted on March 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Nice job MV

  3. Danny Crombie on March 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I can’t recommend Cherie Lily enough, maybe Andrew WK and Nardwuar will make an appearance!

  4. DO IT on March 9, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Make sure you catch A Primitive Evolution at the Bovine Sex Club on Saturday March 12th at 11PM!!!

  5. Natascha Malta on March 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    AHHHHH!!!! You say Nardwuar the human serviette will be there? My icon!! I must make an appearance then.

    One small correction to my chart- last week’s Radio Wunderbar guests The Nate Daniels Band will be on at midnight and not at 1 on Sunday night.

  6. Danny C on March 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I’m not saying that at all but Andrew WK is Cherie Lily’s husband and Nardwuar has been known to do A LOT with AWK….it’s a strong possibility!

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