Young Galaxy at Lee’s Palace and Teenage Kicks at Sneaky Dee’s (CMW 2011) – Review and photos

March 13, 2011
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Teenage Kick at Sneaky Dee's, Toronto, 10 March 2011 - photo by Caroline Aksich, Music Vice

The Gig: Young Galaxy with Imaginary Cities and Miracle Fortress (part of Canadian Music Fest 2011)
Where: Lee’s Palace, Toronto, Ontario
When: 10 March 2011
In One Word:  Surprising

The Young Galaxy lineup at Lee’s on Thursday was chalk full of surprises. Some delightful, others less so. The night opened with Miracle Fortress, which was definitely one of the highlights of the night, showcasing Graham Van Pelt on guitar and synth with a percussion back-up. The show was drastically different from the dreamy, ambient sounds explored on the Five Roses album that secured Van Pelt a Polaris long list nomination. Van Pelt’s involvement with Think About Life may have something to do with this new direction, and with Miracle Fortress set to drop a new album shortly, I think it’s safe to say dancing will soon become emblematic of Miracle Fortress shows.

Imaginary Cities too, in their own way, we’re surprising. A band, in previous experience, that had been more enjoyable recorded than live, they came out refined and with more swagger. And there’s a damn good reason their confidence is boosted: for Imaginary Cities everything is coming up Milhouse. With 2011’s release of Temporary Resident and recently signing to Hidden Pony Records, the band have garnered a lot of well earned buzz. Marti Sarbit has gussied up, donning a black cocktail dress and heels rather than jeans and chucks, while Rusty Matyas is as rough cut and swoon worthy as ever. The band may be refining their appearance and their sound as they prepare to walk onto
a bigger stage when they open for the Pixies in their upcoming 2011 tour.

Imaginary Cities were tight, they were fun, and Sarbit’s dynamic voice enchanted the audience with its range from talk-singing to channeling the powerhouse vocal stylings of Amy Winehouse. While she lacks the range of Winehouse, you could hear a distinct maturity in her voice that had previously been lacking.

First of all: Catherine McCandless is hugely pregnant. That was a little bit surprising. So, I can imagine that Young Galaxy is probably going to go on the back burner for a bit as she tries to rear a sentient being. And with 2011’s Shapeshifting only recently released, the band still seemed a little inchoate. Any errors were attributed by Stephen Ramsay to the band redefining themselves. And with two new members and a new direction, towards dreamscape, it’s no wonder there were a few kinks to work out. The Young Galaxy set was the most disappointing of the night. It seemed as though the crowd echoed my sentiments as they slowly trickled out to brave the rain in search of other CMW deliciousness. But while I wasn’t thrilled with Young Galaxy, it was neat to watch them as they redefined themselves and their sound.

All in all, a great lineup that made staying put, rather than venue hoping in the pouring rain, a pleasure rather than an ultimatum enforced by the weather. After Young Galaxy, I hopped down to College Street to catch the Teenage Kicks. A pretty pleasing night cap. Nothing too noteworthy, but definitely a young Toronto band to keep an eye on.

In sum: Miracle Fortress moves up tempo, while Young Galaxy takes it down a notch; Imaginary Cities are on the up and up as they tighten and amplify their sound; and the Teenage Kicks who, when they get over their classic rock worshiping, could be awesome.  Give or take three years.

© Caroline Aksich, Music Vice

Pictures of Young Galaxy and Teenage Kicks:

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