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article imageCanadian Music Week takes over Toronto March 9 to 13

By Bryen Dunn     Mar 9, 2011 in Entertainment
Toronto - Toronto is about to get a lot more musical over the next few days, as performers and music industry types from across the globe descend upon the city for Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2011.
For the past couple of years it's been quite common for many bands and professionals to make a pit stop in Toronto on their way to the much larger South-by-Southwest (SXSW) that takes place next weekend in Austin, Texas.
Using SXSW as somewhat of a model of success, it seems CMW is gradually moving more toward a full on festival, with invite-only parties, a growing film screening series, and (indoor) BBQ's. While Austin is ablaze with outdoor stages and packed indoor venues almost 24-7, Toronto is still within the Canadian boundary, and therefore CMW is bound by our somewhat archaic alcohol and gaming commission, as well as our winter climate.
I've done up a short list of a few shows, events and happenings that I'm going to try and hit up over the next five days, which I've shared below. It may seem somewhat ambitious, but I've actually left quite a bit of space for random discoveries,which I've always found to be one of the best plans of attack at festivals such as this.
Wednesday March 9th
Start the festivities off slow with a fun night of pop and roll from Rouge (Waterloo), Creature (Montreal), and Gentlemen Reg (Toronto) 9pm- Gladstone Hotel
Thursday March 10th
Stop by The Great Hall 9pm to catch Toronto trio Young Empires, along with Yukon Blonde from Vancouver. Great venue and awesome music will make for a smooth transition into the weekend.
Friday March 11th
This is when it really starts to heat up and the streets get jammed. Arrive early if you want to get in to anything specific, even if you have a wristband. The Pack AD from Vancouver are once again in town to show us how girls are suppose to rock. Second stop is the Underground Garage for Nightbox, Sebastien Grainger's chosen ones, and These Electric Lives, who always put on a great performance.
Note: The Sirius Satellite Secret Showcase just announced is legendary Canuck rockers Bachman and Turner (without the Overdrive) playing at the Mod Club with local crooners The Sadies, who just released a CD with X key man John Doe.
Saturday March 12th
Getting to bed at a somewhat decent hour means you get to partake in some of the daytime shows happening this year as well. The Bait Shop over in Parkdale has a truly amazing line-up happening starting at around 3 in the afternoon with Toronto's own hardcore outfit Diemonds. The rest of the 'Daylight Riot' showcase presented by Scion & The Musebox sees the crazy antics of the Zoobombs, rockers Dinosaur Bones, and headliners The Russian Futurists closing out at 5pm.
If you prefer to remain closer to the downtown core, check out the Aussie BBQ at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern happening between noon and 6pm with a total of 9 bands. The Sounds Australia Showcase spotlights Stone Parade, The On Fires, The Resignators, Rocket Surgery, Mayfield, Drawn From Bees, WAGONS, Hungry Kids of Hungary, and Blue King Brown. Best of all, it's only five bucks for those without a wristband. You might also want to hope between here and the El Mocombo just up Spadina to catch Misteur Valaire at 2pm as part of the M for Montreal daytime showcase.
Saturday night could be a good opportunity to try something a bit swankier by hitting up the Royal York Hotel Canadian Room for The Indie Awards. Desperate Union, Hannah Georges, Bombay Bicycle Club, Hollerado, Shad, and Janelle Monae perform starting at 7pm with tickets available at the door, and wristbands accepted.
Sunday March 13th
If you still have energy left on Sunday, there are plenty of places to head out to including the Bovine's annual closing party, which also happens to be the end of their own 20th anniversary party celebrations. The Gladstone hosts a more low key affair starting at 8pm with Gay, and Will Currie and the Country French.
Big names in town include Melissa Etheridge at Massey Hall on Friday night and Janet Jackson at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on both Saturday and Sunday nights. You might also want to try and catch a couple of the films playing at the new Bell Lightbox, and maybe one of the celebrity interviews with Nikki Sixx, Sammy Hagar and Melissa Etheridge.
Other (Unofficial) Highlights
Sonic Boom Reconds on Bloor Street plays host to three days of intimate performances with many of the bands you won't be able to get into at the clubs. Check out their website for a full listing and be sure to get there early! Thurs 4pm to 9pm, Fri - Sat 1pm to 11pm
Here's another great find. Each day from 2-6pm, the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music will be hosting intimate, stripped down performances by bands performing at CMW. Thurs to Sat 2pm to 6pm. Presented by TA2 Music, The Musebox, Live in Bellwoods, and Spinner.
Finally, my one DJ pick is Triple-X spinning four solid hours of CanCon music from the 50's to today at Lot 16 on Queen West on Saturday night starting at 10pm. Might make for a good break between The Drake, The Gladstone, Cadillac Lounge and Parts and Labor. No Cover.
Visit the Canadian Music Fest site for all the info on tickets, venues, performances and set times.
Now go have fun kids!
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