Canadian Music Week 2008 Roundup

Posted Mar 11, 2008 by Lenny Stoute
Music fans brave massive T.Dot blizzard, swarm downtown clubs to watch bands from Cambodia to Finland, Alberta to Ajax at Canadian Music Week's annual throwdown. Overall, a better year for rhythm based heavy acts and not so much for indie rock.
White Cowbell Oklahoma tear up The Horseshoe Saturday night.
White Cowbell Oklahoma tear up The Horseshoe Saturday night.
You know you're in Toronto for a music festival when the TTC kicks a couple of guys off the subway for making music. This happened Friday night despite the presence of a large and appreciative group on the platform. This wasn't any out of tune singing either, these dudes clearly knew their way round a syncopated pattern or two and hey, they were entertaining folk waiting for the train.
The irony-deficient TTC troll then escorted the offending musicians off the property, lest they drum iagain.
Later that same night Slim Twig Twig's nouveau punkabilly jacked up the swagger factor at the Drake. Pretty much wrecked Winter Gloves more thoughtful, layered set.
A packed house showed at the Horseshoe for the prog folk sounds of Plants And Animals. Maybe it was the time slot but while the band has a individual sound with a fair scattering of hooks, they didn't really capture the house although those who liked them really applauded their mittens off.
Montreal's The Sainte Catherines took a two-faced approach to the CMW and showed 'em both on successive nights at the Bovine Sex Club.
The SC proper sound like The Band and The Pogues jamming In a beater driven by Tom Waites down some black iced highway. They kicked ass Friday, then did an about face and showed up Saturday as Yesterdays' King, their countrified side project, which, while a good kick at the country-punk can, lacked the hellbent urgency of The SC's.
Slogging through the hipster-deep snow for a total change of pace at The Cameron, Folk uber babe Catherine MClellan was seducing the back room with elegant melodies, spare guitar lines and a voice that could sell you anything, especially relating to matters of the heart.
Rootsy punker Tim Armstrong took time out from his solo career to show at the Horseshoe with his side project, The Saint Avila Cartel. Tricky and with an oddly appealing side of tropical rhythms in the sound, the Cartel had enough good tunes to keep a crowd to whom they were largely unknown nailed in place.
That all fell apart and the room turned swamp and funky when local stetson swingers White Cowbell Oklahoma hit the stage with seven members, two dancing girls and no waiting. Right off the edge with the first song, a teeth-grinding, bayou soaked, snake handling rip off Casa Diablo that rightly set the tone soon to be destroyed. As far as mad crazy sweaty booozy crowd rockin', this was the peak for the 'Shoe this night.
Following WCO is one tough gig and Sarah Sin, the petite frontgal for The Creepshow got shot with her own gun doing it. She chose to make us forget WCO with sheer volume. Sarah was up to it for the first three tunes, then the wattage wore her out and the vocals were never heard from again. Except in the between songs patter. At press time, The Creepshow remains very much a work in progress.
To get a better grounding in the modern punk game, The Creepshow should have been at The Bovine Sex Club when Hell Yeah, Fuck Yeah stormed onstage for the ragged glory of rock'n'roll. And into an opening that would have killed a lesser band. Right off the bass bins went for a crap, came together for the Tarantino-inspired "Dusk To Dawn", then went for an extended period back into the crapper.. Which left frontguy Al to keep the crowd's attention which was kind of like watching Andrew WK do stand up.
Once the sonics came together, it was all rock'n'roll with spit, passion and fatback bass riffage through crowd faves like the "Show Your Face" and "The Ghost of Jim Carey".
With the Southern fried punk of "Everything Evil Is Good Again" shivering the timbers in the Bovine's venerable ceiling, it was off to join the leathered up, toqued out throng at the Hard Rock Cafe to catch the T.Dot debut of Alberta buzzkids The Travezty. The dual fguitar lineup didnt disappoint in power chordage and big bass lines all over "Nothing Less" and "Enemy" and the backline was solid metal. Vocalist Scott Robinson hasn't quite found his own voice;, although :Seven Days" and "Transparent" are good indicators of what's to come. On occasion, he wanders over into Chad Kroeger territory, an awfull thing to happen to a young singer trying to make his mark. Once his banmdmates have beaten the Nickelbacxk put of Robinson, we'll be hearing from The Travezty.