The full lowdown of the early highlights at Indie Week 2010 in Toronto Canada – for the opening night photos click here.
The Gig: Indie Week 2010
Where: The Hideout, Toronto, Canada
When: 13 October 2010
In one word: Electric
It’s the first night of the festival and a friend and I have showed up at The Hideout to register for the week’s festivities. The fest organizers aren’t wasting any time. At the same venue where you sign up for your pass and goodybag, there’s a 10 band show as part of the party to kick off the fest.
The joint is lousy with the shoulder-rubbing of the week’s talent and media. The Whatmans – who earlier this year won a chance to represent Ireland at Toronto’s Indie Week – are on the stage doing their thing. To me the band’s music sounds like something that might have just as easily been heard on a rock and roll dance night at the Velvet Underground or the Dance Cave. The sound is a good part new wave, although the rhythms sound metal influenced at times. And the guitarist sounds as if he’s whiled away the hours listening to U2’s Edge. Comfortable, but the performance seemed lacking in energy and originality. For their last song the band plays their single which is due for an upcoming release “Kiss The Mind”. It’s a song that features a chorus with the unlikely lyrics “ladies get your sex on” as well as a bizarre break into “House Of The Rising Sun” about halfway through the tune. By this point I have already decided that this band is mediocre, and well, this is the deal clincher right here.
The next band up is a band from Poland that manages to catch me by surprise. The lead singer has got a hairstyle that’s a testament to the power of extra strength hairspray and the band is rocking the sunglasses at night look with an air that betrays very little irony. But when L Stadt turn on the amps and start rocking out, I realize that I’m having fun. Sometimes the tone of the band is blues based rock and roll with the guitar solos to go along with it, or sunshiney psychedelia like in “Ciggies” which the lead singer tells us is “a song about the cigarettes”. Other times it takes a turn into the darker waters of punk rock territory, or in some weird instances like song “Death Of A Surfer Girl” both surf and punk rock. It’s kind of an interesting choice of sound considering that Poland is a landlocked country, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun too and I can’t help letting go and dancing to the last song. We pick up an LP to listen to when we get home, but its older material and doesn’t feature many of the songs that we heard at the show – which is a little disappointing.
The last band I catch that night is a band that’s probably breaking their curfew just to play the show – called The Lost Boys. A four-piece of indie youngsters from Northern California, The Lost Boys sound part Silver Chair part The Moffat brothers. I can see how they could have a Jonas Brothers wet-panties effect on 12 year old girls, and the 4 boys have just recorded a video of their single “I’m Not Popular” with Nintendo. But although the kids are catchy, I can’t help but think their music is still, at least for now, child’s play. A fad that sounds like mainstreamed radio alternative from my 90s childhood, but certainly fleeting.
© Natascha Malta, Music Vice
Los Angeles’ Gardening, Not Architecture was my pick from the action over at Bovine Sex Club. An absorbing lo-fi thump was delivered by Sarah Saturday – accompanied only by her bass guitar, a Macbook and a hanging quilt of twinkling lights. A real treat for the small crowd that were lucky/wise enough to find themselves in the Bovine at that particularly moment on a Wednesday night.
As Natascha described above, Poland’s L Stadt had the coolest shades of the night and delivered some high calibre tunes to match. A real surprise package. I expect to see them battling it out in the finals at the end of Indie Week.
“Berlin Brides kick it with Greco-Deutsch europop kitsch. They’re the processed cheese in my Kraftwerk dinner!”
My personal pick for band of the day, Berlin Brides. I don’t think you have to be from Europe to appreciate the this band, but it probably helps. Having a slightly perverted sense of humour will help as well. Dirty and fun lyrics including ‘sitting on your face’ (“Hit And Run”) and all of “Failure To Wank” were delivered with danceable beats and some grin-inducing 2-finger electric keyboard buggery.
After speaking with them post-show, I learned that Berlin Brides arrived in Canada for Indie Week without any North American record label or distribution – that needs to be fixed, fast. Achtung world, prepare to be rubberized! Berlin Brides are coming to spank you sideways. Consider yourself warned and informed.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice