This past week was Canadian Music Week 2016. After going around the city every night, and sometime during the day, here are some of my favourite acts that I got a chance to see.
I mentioned this French-born, L.A. based singer on my Folk Preview article, as an act to check out. She was completely amazing, blowing me away with her powerful vocals and expert guitar playing. I saw her first on Tuesday, May 3rd at The Paddock Tavern, and was so impressed I made sure to see her again on Thursday, May 5th at Supermarket. Even though she sang primarily in French, with one song in Spanish and a few in English, the raw emotion of each song came through so strong, everyone in the venues were silent.
Another band that I previewed as a must-see, Brooklyn’s Sunflower Bean rocked at both performances that I saw. Their shoegaze garage rock sound blended melodic guitar riffs with noisy bass and rolling drums. They had audiences at Lee’s Palace on Friday, May 6th and Hard Luck Bar on Saturday, May 7th completely transfixed and swaying to their songs.
Mice En Scene
The surf rock band Mise En Scene from Winnipeg keeps up the tradition of really strong, talented music coming out of Manitoba. With powerful guitar and bass riffs, the band pumped up the energy in the Velvet Underground on Thursday, May 5th. The audience definitely felt the cohesiveness in Mise En Scene’s performance, with each member being aware of what the others were doing and delivering a stellar set.
A local band, Mermaids Exist are actually friends of mine from childhood. Their performance at the Cameron House on Monday, May 2nd, was my first time seeing them and were thoroughly impressed. The alternation between guitarist Jason and keyboardist Geoffrey on lead vocals brought two distinct sounds to the band. With Jason, it was more of a country-folk feel and sound, when with Geoffrey, there was more of a classic rock-blues groove. Both sounds work well for the band, so kept the audience of friends, family and CMW-goers entertained.
Death Valley Girls
Closing out this list is actually the last new band I saw of the festival (Sunflower Bean was the final one), California’s Death Valley Girls rocked the Hard Luck Bar with their garage rock and Satanist jokes. Blending garage punk and West Coast rock, the girls showcased great melodic singing and a smooth combination of the instruments. The banter from the lead singer about Satan, the girls looking for “Chris? Doug? Ryan? Michael?” in the crowd and telling a Michael that Satan had told them that he would be there, helped keep things from getting rowdy, like most punk shows.
Overall, I had a great CMW, with awesome acts and showcases. Keep a lookout over the next few weeks for interviews I did with some international artists from India, Australia and New Zealand.