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CMW 2016: early Wednesday at Drake One Fifty and Adelaide Hall – 4th of May 2016

By on Tuesday, 17th May 2016 at 2:00 pm

Most of the band performances at Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016 wouldn’t take place until after the sun went down. However, conference delegates and anyone else curious were welcome to partake in a series of free late afternoon shows at an outdoor stage outside Drake One Fifty, a chi-chi restaurant and a bar a mere block away from the hub of convention activity at the Sheraton Centre Toronto hotel. On Wednesday, I made it just in time to for all three acts and while it was chilly, it was sunny, and with CAN$5 Bud Light and sangria, a good time was had by all.

Woodes CMW 2016 at Drake One Fifty Wednesday

First up on this afternoon was Melbourne-based producer, singer and songwriter Elle Graham, who performs under the name Woodes. The tall blond 23-year old with amazing braids cut a dramatic figure in front of her small table of synths and controllers. I really enjoyed Graham’s vocals, expressive yet also fragile in their beauty. Paired with her syncopated beats such as on her track ‘Daggers and Knives’, she gave a winning performance.

Alex Flovent CMW 2016 at Drake One Fifty Wednesday

For a different change of pace, Woodes was followed by entertainment from a chillier locale on the opposite side of the globe from Oz. Axel Flovent is from a Northern fishing town in Iceland and during his short set at Drake One Fifty, he cracked jokes about the sun not shining (much) back home. Judging from the titles of his songs like ‘Snow’, he clearly has a fixation on the inclement weather of his homeland. Check out a live performance of the song below to fully appreciate the warm, gorgeous tones of Flovent’s voice. I imagine his singer/songwriter style will do very well in the UK and America.

Violet Skies CMW 2016 at Drake One Fifty Wednesday

Welsh singer/songwriter Violet Skies closed out Drake One Fifty’s afternoon programming. We here at TGTF are no stranger to her music, as we covered her at the Monday night Trackd and at the Friday afternoon Cerdd Cymru / Music Wales showcases. Her silvery-lilac hair was stark against her usual black garb, which was less flowy and outrageous and more street than in Austin. Her setup at Drake One Fifty was stripped back from her usual live performances. What hadn’t changed was her soulful vocal delivery and her cutting lyrics from her personal life, including a cutting commentary about a past horrible boss in ‘Liar’.

After a quick dinner and an unsuccessful queueing up for a ridiculous ice cream at Sweet Jesus (I mean, seriously, look at these monsters), it was time to finally see a band from England. As many of you who have met me in person know, England has always felt more like home to me than America ever has. I feel most connected to the North, and when I saw a band from the North East that Martin had covered for us at Deer Shed a few years ago, I knew I had to go and represent. Smoove and Turrell, purveyors of “Northern coal music” with plenty of soul thrown in for good measure, were to perform live at Adelaide Hall.

Smoove and Turrell CMW 2016 at Adelaide Hall Wednesday

Delaying their set by half an hour allowed more punters to filter in to the city centre venue, much to the delight of John Turrell, who admirably led the Tyneside band through a series of groovy numbers that got punters’ arses shaking. I mean, how could you not get into it as their band’s keyboardist was playing his Nord with his feet? However, there was plenty of music west of the city centre for me to partake in during the rest of the evening.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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