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Canadian Music Fest 2009 Wrapup

By Lenny Stoute     Mar 16, 2009 in Entertainment
Wank Punter brought their best glam game, Digging Roots re-imagined the blues, Bella Clava made the keyboards beg for mercy and Malajube proved music is truly the universal language. All this and more from CMW 2009 in Toronto.
Just like last year, CMW's opening night was cold as a lap dancer when the music stops. What was noticeably different was the crowd size, smallish ones being very much the case this year.
Even the usually packed out Montreal showcase at El Mocambo weren't packed, despite the presence of marquee acts like We Are Wolves and Malajube. It didn't stop the latter for making their strong case for being Canada's rock'n' roll band. Why? Well, they sing in one of the two official languages in this case understood by maybe 10% of the house yet there was never a communication breakdown between band and audience.
Never a problems telling whether the hairsome foursome was on about getting some, doing some or fighting the power some. Malajube's current fusion of garage and classic rock is hook-laden, cleverly put together and would rip the drown of Kings Of Leon.
Zipped up to the Bovine Sex Club for a quick Jaeger and usually enjoyable gal garage cutups Machetes. For whatever reason, there was no chemistry between they and I this night and at the suggestion of Ian, in town from da 'Peg, rolled over to the Silver Dollar for little known Mother Murder. Too young to even know from retro and too full of juice to care, they swaggered and swung through a handful of well-crafted garage rock tunes to a wildly appreciative group of friends who managed to work up the moxie to rush the stage and attempt a de-pantsing of the lead singer. This is why you go to opening night: for the little bands which create such outbreaks of pure rock'n'roll.
Wank Punter made the most of its prime slot at the Hard Rock.The full house was primed, the energy level was throbbing as Joey Bigapini and the crew ripped through the material from the Unlubricated debut album. With new backing singer and Tina Fey lookalike Cherry Poppins settling into her role and smoother choreography from the Fabulous Wankettes, the band showed the beneficial effects of the its recent T.Dot club tour. They've tightened up and become more invested in the live dynamic without losing that sexy funhouse thing they do so well. Strangest development in the Wank Punter camp has been the emergence of Discombobulator as an unlikely sex symbol. For whatever reason mask-lovin' reasons, the big guy's become a babe magnet. Given his size, make that a fridge magnet.
By Saturday, the crowds were back to usual all lineups, all the time standards , which meant a goodly crowd on hand for the T.Dot debut of Digging Roots at the Hard Rock Cafe.. The core of the quintet is ShoShona Kish and Raven Kanatakta and the material's written from a First Nations perspective. The sound breaks down roughly into reggae and blues derived tunes and while the former is the band's bread and butter dancefloor stuff, the Berklee trained Kanatakta has some very radical approaches to blues. With atonals aplenty and call and response vocals leads between himself and the diminutive and fiery Kish, songs like the epic "Seeds" can take you into gripping and unexpected territory. Digging Roots are flirting with a sound that s at once deeply primal and contemporary catchy..If they can hold together, this crew can go far.
The pink and black Jeager-soaked ambiance of the Rok Boutique is not for the faint of heart at the best of times but was the perfect venue for aspiring Metal Queen Basia Lyjak. Backed by a pedigreed pack of hired guns fronted by former Edwin guitarist Ron Bechard, Lyjack served up fierce, tight classic rock tunes with just enough quirk and didn't hang around long enough to bore you. Tough set, showed promise but didn't hear that one hot single the lady's gonna need to get to the next level.
Next, the Rox Botique morphed into a most decadent art bar for minimalist trio Bella Clava. The array of bustiers now peppered with balaclava-wearing fans, mirroring the mannequin onstage in red dress and balaclava. This Thunder Bay act has one speed, full forward with chugging guitar, manic keyboards, relentless drumming and the frantic vocals of Caitlin Cady. While this crew had no trouble maintaining the energy level and have worthy tunes like "Didn't Come Here To Love You " and "Eve Drop" a touch of variety in the song structure wouldn't have been a bad thing ether.
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