Canadian Music Week Preview
Canadian Music Week descends on Toronto this week. Moved from the unforgiving month of March, the fest this year is hardly limited to Canadian acts. Most of the city’s biggest and best venues are offering showcases and big-ticket headliners all week (my almost-tix to Neko Case slipped away before I knew what was happening), although I can’t promise improved weather from what we normally see in March. Bundle up, grab your wristbands at the CMW site, and head down to some of these venues. Should be a good time.
Tuesday, May 6
Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave.)
If you’re into country and roots, the Dakota should already be one of your first Toronto destinations; they’ll be offering much of that – and more – this week. Tuesday starts with indie group Field Study, followed by The Swaying Tuesdays, The Provincial Archive, and Brooklyn’s Yellerkin. Lush, acoustic indie-pop (is that a thing?) fans will be rooted to the Dakota’s zero-cell reception basement all night. And you won’t even notice that you haven’t gotten any texts for six hours.
I’m mostly excited about Toronto’s Rucksack Willies, on at midnight.
Wednesday, May 7
Cameron House – Back Room (408 Queen St. W)
Spend a night checking out artists you may not know in this CMW showcase; from Norway to Australia, these acts will offer a cool eclectic mix. I’m curious about Marie Munroe and Germany’s The Jason Serious Band:
Thursday, May 8
Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen St. W)
Aaaah, I can’t help it, I finally get to see Jr Gone Wild play, after hoping for the last ten years that they’d reunite. Here they are at the Horseshoe at midnight, in the middle of the bill with Toronto’s Maylee Todd, alt-country rockers Three O’Clock Train, and singer-songwriter Tanika Charles. If you miss JGW on Thursday, they’re also at the Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave.) Friday night.
You might want to jump between the Horseshoe and the Rivoli (334 Queen St. W), only a few doors down, on Thursday night. The Riv’s got a quieter set going on, with folky songwriter Jeremy Fisher and Toronto’s The Heartbroken. Tough choice.
Friday, May 9
Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St. W)
Alberta Music and SaskMusic Showcase
I’d be remiss to not spent Friday night with my peeps, so I’ll probably head over to this Western Canadian showcase. I suspect it will be pretty great: indie acts Astral Swans, Port Juvee, and Close Talker are on the bill with more country/folk artists like Keiffer and the Curiosity Club and Mumford and Sons-esque The Dead South.
Most of these acts have other shows through the week; check the schedule on the CMW site for details.
Saturday, May 10
Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen St. W)
If you’ve been putting off seeing Big Tobacco & The Pickers for too long, like I have, here’s your chance – and they’re grouped with a slew of other killer country acts for the eve. I’m curious about Victoria sisters Carli and Julie Kennedy, who will start things off with some picking:
Rounding out the Western Canada side of things are Calgary-based J.J. Shiplett, who’s also on at the Gladstone Friday night, and The Tumblin’ Dice from Victoria. More along the lines of new country (what they’re calling “Ass Kicking Country”) is London, Ontario’s River Junction Band, on at 10 (I’m liking their lush vocal harmonies), and Stettler group Domino.