First night of CMW saw Swollen Members & Co.
Usually this week was held during the month of March, but this year they decided to push it off a bit in an effort to attract more concertgoers and tourism, even more bands and attractions.
CMW runs from May 6-10 across the city taking over dozens of venues big and small. Scouring through the acts of the first evening, Martyr decided to start of with some classic Canadian hip-hop at The Opera House, where Swollen Members from B.C. were headlining. There were many openers along with them, most notably Animal Nation also of the west coast, Slaine from Boston, and many more local supporters.
Animal Nation’s DJ Mike Armitage warmed up the stage right before Animal Nation came on and played through about a dozen songs. In contrast to the last time we saw the m in Toronto at the 3030 Dundas West, they had a larger stage to play on and added ambiance with a guitar player and back up vocalist Jeff Waters.Garnet Clare of Animal Nation dazzled the crowd by rapping extremely fast at one point, and then also created a beat for one of their songs on the spot which they then added the live guitar too and Armitage proceeded to mix it up on the ones and twos in between verses.
After Animal Nation slayed their set, it was time for another slayer to hit the stage, and that man was Slaine from Boston. Large and in charge, he rocked his set playing some of his trademark raps like “Cocaine and Whiskey” that got the crowd singing along, same with “99 Bottles” that he dedicated to everyone wasted in the crowd having a drink held high.Madchild was slated to go on solo first before S&M hit the stage as one, but the show kept getting pushed a little back due to a lot of contributing acts (local supporters like Trash Gordon & Molly Gruesome, Marmel Entertainment, and The Sick Kids ‘Spesh K & Tiggz’) and some entertaining stage banter and acapella rhymes from the female host Stacee Brizzle. But that didn’t stop Mad from dropping a couple solo tracks during the S&M set, where he played “Dick Head” and “Prefontaine” from his previous solo album Dopesick. This got the crowd riled up and singing along with him which really pumped the stage up for Swollen.
Prevail was energetic and on point as the seasoned veteran of Canadian hip-hop should be. They played hits from way back in the day including “Bring it Home” and “Red Dragon,” two tracks that included long time friend and previous member Moka Only, with his vocal samples still like and in effect. That part of the show was very nostalgic.
Rob the Viking was behind the decks starting with Slaine’s set, then of course with his fellow Battle Axe Warriors Madchild and Prevail, who exchanged verses and sides of the stage with flawless transitions and grace. Not that fans have come to expect anything less from the legendary Canadian Duo of Mad and Prev.Halfway through Swollen Members’ set, Slaine also came back out to do a live duet with Madchild, on their collaborative tune “Chainsaw” that they just recently released a video for together, a single off of Madchild’s latest album Lawnmower Man.
The crowd was huge during the Swollen set and they rapped on until about 1 a.m. when they shut down the Opera House and left fans wanting more. For the first night of CMW this was definitely a perfect warm up and the rest of the week has much more in store, so stay tuned.