The Gig: Indie Week
Where: The Peacok and Hard Luck Bar, Toronto, ON, Canada
When: 14 October 2011
In One Word: Mega
Indie Week 2011 came and went with a blur for me. I saw a couple of dozen bands during the five nights, while also attending Foodstock, Volcano Playground’s gig and my own photography exhibit debut. Busy week. Of all the bands that I saw at Indie Week 2011, there are only two I really want to talk about – I’ll get to them in a moment. First, I’ll stretch it to three bands if I include Courage My Love, who deserve a mention. CML were one of the breakthrough bands from last year and a group who played a storming set to a a packed out crowd at Cherry Cola’s on Saturday night. These teenagers, who are in the Paramore vein of alternative rock, impressed and held a +19 crowd. They gave a very strong showing of themselves; CC’s was rocking. Special note to Mercedes Arn-Horn who melted some faces with a nice bit of tapping which was recognised by judges as she went on to win a guitar for being named best guitarist of the festival.
The first of my two favourite bands of Indie Week 2011 are Pree: a four-piece from the home of hardcore, Washington, DC. They play a vibrant sound of pop rock with tons of variety in direction and tempo, while utilizing a veritable arsenal of eclectic instruments on top of the standard rock gear including a saw, a washboard and a Melodica (you know, one of those funky mini keyboards with a mouth piece.) It was a great set though sadly a lot of their sound was drowned out by a less than attentive crowd of King Street revellers who talked and drank over the band. Pree battled on, with the drumming really thrashing his kit for the last song, perhaps in frustration at the crowd noise. Pree were really fun. I hope they return to play Toronto next time at a venue more suited for a folky-pop rock band with all their subtle nuances – really hard to hear someone play a saw or a uke while there’s a venue full of dickheads talking.
Even more fun were Slyde, a hard rock band from Ottawa, ON who pack a punch with ’80s synthesizer power. I saw them come on close to 2am in the morning at Hard Luck. Justus – another average metal pub band, nothing to write about – had left the stage as I saw the members of Slyde shifting their gear over. Something told me it was going to be worth sticking around to see this band: I saw a long haired metal looking dude with a 5-string bass, an Asian girl with some big keyboards and a dude who looked a bit like Garth from Wayne’s World with some rather nerdy glasses. As soon as Garth took off his glasses and pulled out a Flying V to set-up, I new some cool shit was going to go down. You don’t play a Flying V if you suck. My instincts proved correct. Slyde were absolutely brilliant. So much fun. The mix of chugging hard rock from the rhythm section was countered perfectly with some oh-so-fun upbeat synthesizer with a sound that was reminiscent of Van Halen and video game music. Completing the Slyde package is the front man who was a joy to watch, having so much fun on the stage while singing about the environment and politics with song titles including “Feed The Machine” and “Global Empires Fall”. Awesomely fun, hugely entertaining AND with some meaningful, poltical lyrics? That’s SLYDE! Mega. The atmosphere among the sparse crowd of about a dozen was giddy, and when Slyde finished their set the warmth shown to the band was incredible, as everyone, myself included, stepped up to shake hands and slap shoulders.
Slyde will be the band I remember from Indie Week 2011. Thanks for making it worthwhile guys. Incredible set. Best band of the week by a mile.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
I missed the final of Indie Week 2011 because I was at Foodstock, but the winners were Tiny Danza. Congrats.
Photos of Slyde and Pree: