CMW 2016: easing into Canadian Music Week Tuesday night with Canadians, Irish and Welsh acts – 3rd May 2016

By on Monday, 16th May 2016 at 2:00 pm

Now that you’ve read my introduction to Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016, away we go with the showcase reviews. Because that’s really what you’re here on TGTF for, am I right? Tuesday night was what I considered my easy night, as I only had a handful of bands on my schedule. As far apart as venues are as I mentioned in my intro, it’s a good idea to arrive at least a day before you jump into CMW so you can get the lay of the land, identify where on the street to wait and board a streetcar so you don’t get killed, and start recognising useful landmarks.

After pretty much inhaling an amazing vegetarian dragon bowl at Fresh on Spadina, I headed over to The Hideout on Queen Street, not far from the restaurant. The venue turned out to be one of the best places to catch rock on the harder side of the spectrum for the week. Where I could, I wanted to fit in Canadian acts within my otherwise UK and Irish act-heavy schedule, so my first band were local Torontonians Last Bullet. What I heard and saw on their YouTube prior to coming out to Canada indicated to me that these were guys that liked to rock out hard.

The fans who turned up to see them play songs like recent single ‘Sin’ were more than happy to headbang to their music. As one might expect, there’s a definite cock rock element to their music, so much that Last Bullet frontman Bryan Fontez’s insistence that one of their songs was about sex had me blushing so bad, I left for my next stop of the evening. Still, I’d say they made a lasting impression on me and they’re a perfectly reasonable alternative to AC/DC now that Axl Rose is fronting the Aussie band. Also, who knew the Canadians loved basketball so much?

Last Bullet Tuesday CMW 2016 at the Hideout

We here at TGTF enjoy the live spectacle of Meltybrains? so much, I put them at the top of this post. Well, I think I like them more musically than Carrie does, but she was certainly entertained when she interviewed them last year at SXSW 2015. We’d both seen them that time in Austin, and I think I had the better show of our two, watching the group from Dublin start a conga line at Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room Wednesday night at the Music from Ireland showcase.

Meltybrains? Tuesday CMW 2016 at the Handlebar 1

Even though they were playing several times during the week, the only time I could fit them in was on Tuesday at Handlebar, a venue with an actual bicycle hanging on the wall by the stage. As predicted, they were totally mental, bringing out the conga line again, jumping up on the bar and generally creating havoc. All in the good name of fun! Meltybrains?, never change, please.

HMS Morris CMW 2016 at the Silver Dollar Room

I popped outside and over to the Silver Dollar Room to catch an act that I’d been recommended to see. HMS Morris isn’t the name of a boat, they’re a Welsh band, and a psych rock / pop one at that. Their songs are catchy and just weird enough to feel unique but not so weird that new fans can’t catch on. I felt it was too bad that there weren’t as many people in town for CMW on Tuesday night, as I imagined a full-up venue for a band like this at SXSW. Have a taste of their performance at the BBC Introducing stage Glastonbury 2015 below.

Tigerwing Tuesday CMW 2016 at the Handlebar

I returned to Handlebar for their final act, Windsor’s Tigerwing, aka avant-garde musician Sarah Kelly. While her reliance on electronics puts her firmly and nicely in today’s popular music scene, her style is decidedly not mainstream. Spare, dark, mechanical beats bump in the background as Kelly’s strong voice – bouncing in a non-linear way, mind – soars over the music. My feeling is the purpose of the Tigerwing project is not to stun or shock, but to prove that there are other, far more interesting avenues artistically one can go down when it comes to electronic. More power to her. Imagine EMA, but in her far less poppy modes.

Stay tuned for more of my coverage of CMW 2016 coming soon to TGTF.

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