Indie Week Canada bolstered a buffet of bands
The highly anticipated 10th annual festival of independent and local music known affectionately to the world as Indie Week Canada, is exactly that. A week’s worth of music schooling during the day, and independent music shows all night. The week took place between Oct. 16-20, and offered up dozens of bands that fought to be there.
The concept behind this week is to give new talent a platform to breakout from. Bands from all around send in tapes and demos to be heard and deemed worthy, should they pass, they perform.
The drummer from legendary rock band The Doors, John Densmore, even stopped by for a guest appearance and keynote speech and the night before there was a Q&A session along with the screening of the Reel Indie Film Fest premier of “Window of Opportunity” that he produced. He also had a book singing for fans to celebrate the release of his Doors expose titled Unhinged.With so many different bands across so many different venues during the week, it was difficult to decide who to see and where to go. Here is a sampling of some of the groups Martyr had a chance to take in:
The Bovine was fueled and on fire with this female fronted nu-metal band. Lead singer Sever’s high intensity and energetic stage presence hits the audience like a hurricane, and you get exactly what you’d expect from the rest of the band to back her up. The independent metal group formed in Toronto in 2011, and has been sharing stages with bands like Hollywood Undead and Finger Eleven. They’ve also produced some pretty wild music videos for their seven singles to date. It’s no wonder how they won last year’s ‘Best Female Fronted Band’ at the Toronto Independent Music Awards and their rightful spot on the Indie Week circuit.
Cherry Cola’s hosted the indie band from the land down under. These rockers from Melbourne, Australia gave a solid impression when listening to them beforehand on record, but their live show was as enthusiastic as their studio production would have you believe. The music wasn’t bad at all, but the band members didn’t seem to quite have that organic wholesomeness that you really want to see from a four piece rock band. They clearly have what it takes to make solid music when they put their minds to it. But on stage, should maybe take their minds off of it a little and get right into the show. Keep an eye out for these guys, they’ll be back on the next wave, washed out and through the ringer.
Blais, out of Calgary, Alta., brought a smooth and welcomed jazzy air to Monarch’s Pub with his own brand of jazz fusion, a cross between jazz and blues. He definitely has a confident stage presence and he has a bond with his backing band. It always translates well if a solo jazz artist has a sense of familiarity with the band adding colour to the live performance, and the giving it the comfortable feel that jazz is meant to have. It’s nice to see a young guy like Blais putting an uplifting tone on the musical intonations of blues. He solidifies his music with his own style of rock flare that makes this guy an auditory treat for fans of almost any genre. He had more than a few shows during Indie Week, and although we couldn’t catch them all, there were dedicated fans that appeared at multiple shows. As Blais says in his profile, he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, he’s just finding a new way to roll it.
The Beaches surfed up at the Rivoli, the all-female alternative rock band what almost lost themselves on stage, entranced and deeply concentrated on their polished technical chops. You can tell the band is still trying to gain their footing, but they’re making steps in the right direction. Every so often during their 35 minutes set they would relax, loosen up and really jive together, other times they showed their stage fright. So for the moment, don’t hold that against them since they are still growing a new band, and they could’ve been having an off night. Their music is definitely tightly wound high energy rock, especially their one song “Loner.” These girls know what they’re doing, and that’s why they were named the breakout band of the 2013 by Toronto’s NXNE festival. 2013 has been a big year for the Beaches, and things are looking sunnier for them every day. Photos by Tee Onek