With her floral headband on and a ghost sporting shades at the front of the stage, Kerri Carisse lead The Yips through another stellar set Saturday night.
The Yips deliver a wonderful combination of dark and dancey rock, not an easy pairing to pull off. They make it look easy and a lot of fun. Kerri has an awesome voice and the band’s great chemistry on stage creates an amazing atmosphere.
They played great tunes from their new EP, including one of my favourites “PGLM“. The band’s enthusiasm and the dancing ghost made for quite a contagious mix, it even got the stiffs in the crowd moving.
The band tried to finish with “Blood Meridian”, but after they finished the song the crowd would not let them leave, demanding an encore even as The Yips were putting away their instruments. They pulled them back out and closed with “Sans Nom” with Kerri going down to dance with the crowd a little.
Before The Yips, was Ottawa’s Kings Quest. This was the first time I saw this noisy dance rock five piece and am I ever happy I finally did.
Kings Quest offer a wonderful dynamic that has been missing from Ottawa, dual female vocalists that complement each other extremely well. Pair that with two male voices, that of the guitarist and bass player, while the drummer lays down the rhythm and you have a band you can’t miss. Kings Quest seemed to get stronger as the set went on and had a very cool visual element with an over head projector displaying the crowd on a screen behind the band.
These are two of Ottawa’s hidden gems, but they won’t stay hidden for long. If you want to be able to say you knew them when, get out to their next shows and dance the night away with them.
Opening the night was the mysterious and spacey guitar playing of Toronto’s F Hood. This solo act’s backing band is a cassette player and he plays guitar that will carry you away to a far-away land. F Hood sat down and never said a word. He took us on a journey, nodded to say thank you and walked off the stage.
The dimly lit room at the legion was full for the in your face non-stop punk and hardcore styling of local bands and out of town acts. Friday night’s band were charged with the task of setting the stage for a crazy weekend of afternoon music, bbqs, evening concerts and after-party house shows.
Pregnancy Scares set the tone for the evening. The band with a bunch of veterans of the Ottawa scene know how to put on a show. Following them up was Violent Party from Virginia, a hardcore three-piece who tore it up.
When you play at the legion, you play at the same level as your fans. There is no riser, no good vantage points. But the good thing is the fans get the raw and up close feeling of live music, the way it should be. They also have the chance take liberties sometimes jumping in on the mic to sing a long.
Trioxin 245 played, their first show after a more than two year absence. The threesome from Ottawa played some wicked tunes and capped it all off with “On s’en Calise” after the crowd requested it what seemed like 100 times. Asisle kicked the punk aside and brought a steady dose of hardcore. The pit had had some action for the other bands, but when these local boys launched into their last four songs, people really started moving.
This was much more than just a concert. It was a gathering, a party for the underground. The music might be angry, loud and destructive, but the people attending Ottawa Sucks were all hugs and high-fives. Don’t let the spikes, the leather or the combat boots distort your perspective, there are very nice loving people in the Ottawa punk and hardcore scene.
The most visually stimulating appearance of the evening was Ottawa’s Schizophasia. The guitarist decked in a spiked bra and bullets for a belt, the bass player using a chain for a strap and all three members sporting eery leather masks was quite a sight. They played a pretty short set which ended with the guitarist throwing her axe to the floor and stomping on it to create a chaotic wall of sound. And they all just walked off. They were fast, hard, destructive and addictive.
Montreal’s Proxy took over next. Playing some new material off their latest LP, they stirred the crowd into a frenzy. But fear not, they were ready for battle, as their lead singer sported an old military helmet for protection. They were a nice change of pace away from the hardcore, bringing their gritty punk sound to the Ottawa.
Now that all the can-con had passed, it was time for some international talent to take over. The last two acts of the night were England’s DOOM and Pittsburgh’s Ratface. If the crowd was rambunctious before, they were insane for DOOM! Fist flailing, pit spinning and crowd surfing for the band who is even more musically imposing than their name may suggest. Finishing off the night was the crusty raw punk rock sound of Ratface.
So day one is in the books. Anyone who thinks punk rock is dead is very wrong. The scene is alive and growing, it is just not happening on your TV set. It is happening in small clubs, legion basements, community centers and at house shows. Now go out and support local punk rock by attending any of the four shows going on this weekend for Ottawa Sucks! Details can be found here.
Ottawa Bluesfest has made its name as one of the best music festivals in Canada, if not North America. Over two weeks, the festival attracts over 300,000 people to Lebretton Flats where top musicians form all over the world play. Festival organizers have done a reasonably good job at getting a good mix of musicians and genres, particularly this year where headliners range from Rush to B.B. King. As the festival continues to grow in size and popularity, the number of big-name acts seems to increase as well.
However, Bluesfest organizers have also succeeded in another way. A number of local artists are included on the bill every year, giving those attending the opportunity to get to know some of Ottawa has to offer. Not only is this really important for the musicians to have a chance at getting some more exposure, but it also gives them a chance to get out of the small clubs and play a set on a larger scale. While participants and winners of The Big Money Shot normally get a spot, there are so many other great acts from Ottawa that get a shot at playing.
In the months leading up to Bluesfest, we here at Ottawa Showbox will be previewing some of these local acts and giving you some samples of their stuff to listen to. We’re hoping to do this weekly, so we hope you find your new favourite Ottawa band or musician to see at the festival!
One of Ottawa’s top musical exports at the moment, these “Pow-wow step” innovators hardly need an introduction. When Ian Campeau (a.k.a DJ NDN) and Bear Witness started throwing epic dance parties (Electric Pow Wow) in 2008, little did they know that their music would be nominated for the Polaris Music Prize Long List in 2012. Now with DJ Shub on board, ATCR shows no sign of slowing down.
This 4-piece noise rock outfit is one of my absolute favourites in Ottawa. They are one of those bands that have the ability to transform a normal space into a sweaty, eardrum-ruining mess. Their recent release of the Hiss EP, a 6-track cassette of monumental proportions, as well as playing festivals like Arboretum and Bluesfest, marks the next phase for this band who have made big waves in Ottawa’s underground scene.
Started in 2009, this 7-person band has gained a lot of momentum with their two albums Expansion Forces (2010) and Fire Poems (2012). They charted at #2 on CBC Radio 3’s R3-30 weekly playlist and got spots at POP Montreal, NXNE, JUNOfest, Ottawa Bluesfest, and have toured extensively in light of their recent success.
One of the most talented, soulful acts Ottawa has to offer, Jack Pine & The Fire brings foot-stomping roots music that bleeds originality. The band has gained some notoriety in recent months as having recorded the Movember anthem “Mustache is King”. You may find yourself drinking sips of whiskey through a mustache listening to these guys.
The Ottawa group, lead by the eclectic and energetic Mehdi Hamdad, rattled off great tunes, new and old. Some things you can count on at a Mehdi Cayenne Club show are: great dance moves, disappointment towards Canadian politics and the state of our democracy and a set of songs filled with emotion. Anthems such as “Les zamers zindiens” and the oh so catchy “Ô Canada,” hammer the political nail on the head.
Mehdi Cayenne Club shows are so refreshing because not only does the music span many genres, but the concerts are bilingual. In fact, many of the songs played are sung entirely in French or in both English and French. This is rather rare to find, even in this bilingual town. This is just another element which ensures that no Mehdi Cayenne Club show is the same as the last.
The wonderful set also had flashes of awesome electric organ solos from François Gravel, some of which had an 8-bit sound to them, which I found very cool. The band is working on a new album which set to be released at the end of May. And if this Saturday night was a sign of things to come, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
Mehdi Cayenne Club is definitely a great act to see live. Don’t believe me, well maybe the fact that they have been invited to play Bluesfest will sway the argument in my favour. Speaking of which, don’t miss our previews of the many great local acts playing Bluesfest, Mehdi Cayenne Club shall surely be featured.
Big Money Shot 2012 winners The Strain (Photo: Scott Martin Visuals)
The Big Money Shotis a great opportunity to get to know some great musicians on the local scene here in Ottawa, and this year is no exception. Ritual is hosting this years competition which is full of some of Ottawa’s best. There’s also a hint of excitement in possibly finding your next favourite local act. Everyone has to come out to Ritual and be involved in choosing this year’s big winner!
The music industry has gone through a series of significant changes with respect to how music is sold, consumed and shared. While many of us were just becoming cognizant of music’s appeal before MP3s existed, the structure of the industry was, in a lot of ways, fundamentally different than it is today. We spent many hours wandering the record store isles to find the newest Offspring album, or got a hold of our favourite zine to see what’s new (as an alternative to Much Music). Of course, indie labels existed, but not on the scale they do today with many thousands popping up all around the world.
Getting your demo in the hands of major labels is no longer a major concern for indie musicians , as alternatives have blossomed with technological progress. The DIY approach to music has become a dominant force in the industry, not only with respect to recording technology and self-recording demos, but also the PR and distribution side of the business. While indie labels have exploded in number over the last decade, many musicians are still vying for doing business their way (particularly in the initial breakout stage). “Distribution” has an entirely new meaning all together now than it did 15 years ago. For artists, it’s not so much about getting your album into people’s hands as much as it’s about getting your music into their ears – one way or another. Most indie artists stream their albums online, making ease of access to the end product that much easier.
With artists taking a more hands-on approach to the business side of things, there’s one piece of the puzzle that still needs to be figured out. The Nielsen study released atSXSW this year included a survey of 4,000 music consumers and looked at the degree to which different types of consumers connect with artists through exclusive content. It was found that there could be potential incremental revenue of $450 million to $2.6 billion if artists, managers and labels offered a better set of products and experiences to fans. Essentially, fans want more and they desire unique experiences from the artist, not just the final product of an album.
I spoke with Benji Rogers, founder and CEO of PledgeMusic at Canadian Music Week in March of this year. PledgeMusic is a direct-to-fan version of crowdfunding (not unlike Indiegogo or Kickstarter, but unique in it’s own way) that can engage musicians, fans, and the industry all at once. The company has worked with Canadian artists such as The Balconies(Ottawa/Toronto) and Ben Caplan (Halifax) to give their fans a different experience with their music while raising funds for their respective projects (each of whom have surpassed their goal). With PledgeMusic’s Canadian debut at Canadian Music Week, Benji had a lot to say about how his platform works, and what it can offer Canadian musicians as technology evolves and a changing dynamic in the way music consumption occurs. Read the interview below.
Interview with Benji Rogers, CEO of PledgeMusic
Can you describe how PledgeMusic works as a concept, and how it can benefit indie musicians?
Well, the way artists used to put music out was either make it themselves and try to sell it to people at shows, or, try and get a record deal and then sell your album through stores. What crowdfunding has done is provide artists with an alternative method of raising money. PledgeMusic is a version of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is when an artists asks for “x” amount of money, and once they achieve their funding goal they go make an album. That’s all well and good, but what I saw was artists had to publicly show how much money they raised, and a lot of people weren’t comfortable with that.
So what we did is we spun it. Instead of saying “give us this money and then we’ll go do”, we said “pledge here to be a part of the making of the album”, and from day one pledgers will get access to video blogs, demos, early takes, all the crazy shit that goes on before things are done. By the end of the campaign, we’ll deliver the record to you and part of the profits can be given to a charity of your choice. So a local band would approach our team, either in person or by email, and sign up on the platform. One of us will look at the project and say whether they are trying to raise to much or too little, and then look at how much they need to get their project where they need it to be. We want to make the maximum number of campaigns to succeed.
When you start an internet business, most of the time the goal is just to get as many users as possible. Many crowdfunding platforms were set up to launch millions of campaigns. We weren’t. We were meant to launch the right campaigns, and see those campaigns through without just being a “buy” button on the internet. There are millions of those and they don’t work well at all. So, if the artists embraces the concept of allowing pledgers to be a part of the making of the album, or the tour, or whatever it is – the fans can be a part of the process as it progresses. Artists can get into this horrible trend of “pre-order my album, buy my album, and have you bought my album”? When you get to have you bought my album then you have a problem.
What our hybrid of crowdfunding and direct-to-fan has done is opened up a way to say “we’re going to do something cool, and you can be a part of the story”. That can be through an iPhone app, a video blog, tracking what’s happening in the studio, giving the
updates that fans want. You’re allowing the fans buy the journey and not just the end result. That’s a really big change in the way people are thinking about music. Looking at Neilson’s soundscan data, there’s a half-billion to 2 billion dollars a year in the US alone on the table that fans could buy into. Not buy things, but buy into – a very important distinction. Being a part of that journey for 30 days, 60 days, 5 years, fans can be along for the ride.
Crowdfunding also showed the financial target, we don’t. What I didn’t want to do was have the amount of money to taint the perception of the music. If you’re in a band and your target is $30,000 and you’re struggling to make $3,000 then people might start to think your band sucks. You may also just have a shitty manager who tried to get you to launch something that just wasn’t going to work. So if you hide the financials, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re the Headstones or a no-name indie band that no one knows – it’s all about the quality of the project. Your challenge is to make your release as compelling and interesting as possible, on top of making a great album.
What do you think the Canadian music industry can gain from PledgeMusic coming here? Is there anything in particular that you are excited about expanding into Canada?
Absolutely. People in the Canadian music scene help each other (although many will deny it). A lot of bands in New York will step over each other in the sidewalk to get where they want to go. In Canada, it’s more of a community. And the government embraces it too, which is so fundamental in giving these artists a leg-up because you have that support mechanism. Secondly, because everything is so spread out, each region has its own scene and they will support each other because they’re in it together. What you end up with is a sense of community and ownership of those artists. All we’re doing is giving those fans a chance to be part of the larger story. Canadian artists are always trying to break out over the border and play SXSW, but what they should be doing is coming to their fans and asking them to pledge towards their trip to SXSW. “Take the fans along the journey and we’ll bring you back a live album.” Then your local community of fans will get to experience the journey, you’ll meet new fans there and bring back something special. So artists can leave without leaving. Fans are desperate for this kind of connection.
The label structures and the distribution structures are also different here, which means there is huge opportunity. What we want to do as a company is hire someone to cover this territory and also engage with the government to ensure what we do is applicable. It should be a piece of it that Canadian artists own, and they should be a part of it. I’ve seen some phenomenal music out here, and we as a company have been embraced. We were invited into this country and now our job is to deliver.
You mentioned the Neilsen Study that was presented at SXSW recently. Are there any other revelations from that study that really blew you away?
They divided people so that 40% were fans, and 60% were consumers. The 40% of fans we’re talking about are aficionado fans, real music geeks who are big into digital music, as well as big box fans that go to the music store to buy records. Those 40% of people, the aficionado fans, buy over 75% of all recorded music. That’s a huge chunk. So why are we sending them to Spotify? Not to say anything against those services, but it’s a very relevant point. What was amazing was that consumers, the other 60%, wanted to be part of pledge campaigns and spend more money. However, they didn’t know these campaigns existed. So it’s up to the industry to explain that you don’t just need to buy music in stores or stream it online. People can engage with the artists in new ways, and they want to.
So, if I’m a hardcore Canadian music fan and I spend an average of over $65 every transaction involved with purchasing music, you’re telling me my only options are to go to music stores or iTunes to buy a band’s latest album? I don’t want the usual stuff. If a band doesn’t offer those extra things, I can’t get them. The reason why this opportunity is so great is because artists just need to provide fans the opportunity to come along, and they will join in. There’s a bunch of “consumers” out there that would become fans if they were able to have access to it.
The Neilsen data basically confirmed what I had been thinking for years. It matched our internal metrics, even though it was risky to let them use our data I knew our fans were having a great time (and they were).
Do you see crowdfunding and direct-to-fan platforms like PledgeMusic as the inevitable next step for the music industry – not only in the US, but globally? Are these platforms compatible with traditional thinking within the institutions of the music industry?
Crowdfunding will have a limited shelf life if it doesn’t address certain fundamental things. We’re already starting to see “donor fatigue” occur, where so many people are giving money and nothing is arriving. One of the things we do at Pledge, and one of the reasons I separate us from crowdfunding is because crowdfunding is basically “give me money, I’ll go make”. Direct-to-consumer is “here’s some shit to buy on a website”. Direct-to-fan/crowdfunding is the journey I’ve been talking about. The reason I don’t classify us as crowdfunding per se is because we don’t do that. There is a funding element to what we do, but it’s not the same.
The industry can’t really work with crowdfunding because it’s all about asking for funding, then making the product. What we’ve done is make a hybrid, we have the “be a part of it” factor. The label can be a part of that, engaging with fans in different ways. Labels are full of creative and passionate people who often aren’t given the tools they need to sell albums the way they want. Instead of doing a 6-week campaign, why not do a 5-month campaign? The label can become part of the conversation. Because we have pieces like soundscan that are already built-in, we are a way that the fans can be a part of the process and the label as well.
I designed a tool, from inception, that the industry can use. My parents were managers, and so I thought, “what do managers need”? They need analytics, they need data, and they need money and fans. If we are to be what I want us to be, which is the iTunes of the pledging experience, then the manager and label have the control because they are able to access their customers directly and they can deliver it.
Do you worry about donor fatigue affecting your platform, or is it more resilient to those effects?
Let me say this about donor fatigue. You can only experience donor fatigue if you are asking for donations. If you create a campaign and don’t offer a great experience, they might get campaign fatigue. However, if you offer a phenomenal journey, then that all changes. This relates to concerns for artists worried about running multiple campaigns, ie. how many times can you go back to the well before it is dry? It’s not that hard. You can do everything you need to do on a phone! The more you combine the artist with that fan experience the better. Think of it this way, if a band has a huge first album and then has to come up with number two and disappears for a year, what happens? They show up and expect people to open their wallets? You’ve changed as an artist without allowing fans to evolve with you. Pledge Music offers fans to help bridge that gap and be a part of it. What consumers will end up with is a physical manifestation of that journey in the end.
But what is the Fun-Boy Clubhouse? Well, you know you’re there when you see Fun-Boy Clubhouse painted on a couch on the front lawn and the toy horse hanging in front of the balcony. With every room painted a different colour, ranging from pink to green, and a sick mural by local artist Ben Jensen honouring the New Swears in the kitchen, there is no better venue for a rock show. Walking down into the basement you find a low ceilings, one mural depicting The Beatles and super heroes, another with the Fun-Boy Clubhouse logo, a TV behind the bar playing original Scooby-Doo cartoons and a spider man head that lights up with the kick drum…yup doesn’t get much better than this folks.
Beers cans and broken glass littered all over floor, Christmas lights draped all over the ceiling and through a thick wall of cigarette smoke, Peach Kelli Pop hit the stage in the basement of the Fun-Boy Clubhouse on March 29th. The band from Ottawa played a great fun set of dancey upstroke surfer style rock. Heck don’t just take my word for it, the crowd liked them so much they hollered and chanted for “one more song,” when the band finished. They got what they wanted and more as the party kept going with a 2 song encore. Peach Kelli Pop are in the midst of a huge tour, check them out in a city near you, here are the dates.
The Girlfriends played second, and no offense to Peach Kelli Pop who played an awesome set, The Girlfriends stole the show for me. Dressed in lingerie, the boys took over the basement for this extremely special occasion, their reunion show and tape release. The Girlfriends incited the crowd into a near riot. Non stop crowd-surfing beneath the 8 foot ceiling and a pit that never slowed was complemented by some great grooving in your face rock. Topping it off with confetti and silly string, as well as taking requests, The Girlfriend tore it up.
Advertised as 25 minutes of dial tone, Voicemail delivered much more than that as the opener. Using old records to prop up the mic stand this Ottawa four piece brought a great garage punk sound to the crowd. An excellent way to kick off an amazingly rambunctious night.
House shows have always had a very special place in my heart, ever since seeing the likes of The Sickfits and Robot Kill City play Powel house years ago as a young teen. Those who hosted shows at Powell would be very proud of the sheer chaos and epicness of the Fun-Boy Clubhouse.
One of Ottawa’s finest exports, Souljazz tore it up with their triple saxophone onslaught. Their latin-afro-funkadelic-soul stylings never disappoint. A stellar set from start to finish with great songs off their latest album Solidarity and some older tunes for the “old school Babylon” faithful. My night was complete when they dropped “Freedom no go die,” my favourite track. They even found time to have Gary “Slim” Moore, from New York, join them on stage Kingpin.
As always Pierre Chrétien, keys, and Philippe Lafrenière, drums, kept the band on track never missing a beat. Marielle Rivard treated the Francophones in the room signing a beautiful French number. All in all, you should never miss a Souljazz Orchestra show, and I am sure the sellout crowd would agree with me.
I wished for everyone to be early, not only so they could get in, but to check out Ikebe Shakedown. One of the most refreshing opening acts that I have seen in a long time. If you don’t want to dance to their funky trombone driven tunes, your are not alive. This seven piece from Brooklyn is so electric and contagious, with members from Lee Fields’ and Charles Bradley’s touring bands. Nadav Nirenberg laid down some mind blowing solos on the trombone. The band offers tons of unexpected beauty, like a flute solo on one track. And not to be outdone the bongos and sax unloaded on us to wrap up their set.
Fire and Neon have released their new track “Good Intentions” in advance of their new album to be released May 3rd. The track is a great mix of synth-driven layers with well-placed guitar riffs and explosive percussion throughout. The song is a departure from previous material in the sense that it seems more matured – the band has come into its own a little bit more, and really developed their sound since their first Like Dance EP released in 2011. Another big announcement for the band was their Album Release partyannouncement, where they will be playing at Ritual on May 3rd with Ottawa heroes The Love Machine and Zoo Legacy.
Fire and Neon Album Release Party w/ The Love Machine + Zoo Legacy
As the festivities continue here in Toronto, the week seems to be going by pretty fast since there’s always something to do. The whole week started a bit rough, on Wednesday evening my train to Toronto from Ottawa was delayed a grand total of 4 hours because of a freight train derailment along the way. But Thursday proved to be much better, the Marriott Hotel at the Eaton Centre was bustling with bands, industry folk, and media all over the place. It was really exciting to be a part of that. That afternoon I met with PledgeMusic founder and CEO Benji Rogers to speak about the company’s Canadian launch this week at CMW. It was a pleasure to speak with him, as we exchanged our (opposing) views on our respective hockey allegiances and discussed many aspects of the Pledge Music platform. That interview will be posted in the next few days.
Later that eve, I decided to catch some of the Audio Blood showcase at Dakota Tavern. The first band was Cai.ro, a band I had seen recently and spoken with in Ottawa. Seeing and hearing them play to their home crowd was a really good experience, and the sound was (surprisingly) really good. The acclaim they’re getting for their work is well deserved; lead singer Nate Daniel’s vocals are powerful and enthralling, and the band’s backing harmonies and instrumentals are so well put together. Following that performance, I ended up at a small venue/cafe called May on Dundas St. West to check out my pals from Ottawa in Roberta Bondar. As always, their energy and stage presence made that place almost manic, as bassist Gary Franks told the crowd to draw in closer to the stage. Although the sound was not as clear as previous shows I’ve seen of theirs, it was exciting to see them play their Toronto album release to a small crowd of zealous fans wanting more. As the night was winding down, I headed back over to Dakota Tavern to see Ottawa’s indie favourites Amos the Transparent. I was a bit surprised at how many people stayed out, considering the next day was a work day. But, as always, Jonathan Chandler led the way in what was a strong set.
Friday I got the chance to explore some of Queen St. West and the venues around there. I began by heading over to Tequila Bookworm, a small but comfortable atmosphere for music. Pledgemusic was holding a coffeehouse that featured a few artists and delicious coffee. The charming space really set the tone for the afternoon, as a few of us dealt with the lack of seating by sitting our asses down on the floor. I caught the performances at the end of the afternoon, the first of which was Dominique Fricot. Accompanied by a violin and stand-up bass, his performance was very impressive. He included a few stories of his past, bands he was in, and how it all led him to be where he is now as a solo musician recording under his own name. His songs were very refined, and he has some serious skills on guitar. You can tell he’s a seasoned songwriter. The act that could possibly go down as my favourite all weekend was a NY-based group called Lucius. Fronted by two beautiful ladies with incredible vocal talent, the band’s performance actually induced emotional responses from the crowd. Yes, the girl beside me had a few tears. I was absolutely blown away, the band’s raw and animated performance in the cafe really captivated all of us. In particular, the song “Don’t Just Sit There” left us all speechless as the song builds. I recommend this band to all.
That night we headed to The Garrison for drinks and some ear damage from A Place to Bury Strangers. I had been meaning to listen to this band more, since I didn’t really grow up on them like a lot of their loyal fanbase has. I caught a good part of their set, and their instrumental tirades and on-stage madness. It was strangely refreshing to get to see a band with so much energy play the shit out of their instruments, destroy their strings, play with strobe lights (there should have been an epilepsy warning), and send us home with our eardrums bleeding.
Saturday was tons of fun too, starting with a loft party thrown by Audio Blood for Pledge Music. Lots of peeps were there, including Rollie Pemberton (Cadence Weapon), and others in the industry. I finally got to see Acres of Lions play an intimate, yet exciting set that got everyone at the event pretty pumped. After a few drinks, we headed to The Great Hall on Queen W. for Fucked Up’s Long Winter Series finale, a night that I’ll definitely remember. The Sadies were supposed to headline the bill Saturday night, but word on the street is that they ditched because they originally thought Fucked Up was playing. When they found out they weren’t, they dropped out. So it goes. The highlight of that night was Cold Specks playing a beautiful set in the side room of The Great Hall, where she played to a reasonably small group of us. Her voice drowned out everything around us, and proved to be one of the most powerful set of the week for me. The Besnard Lakes took forever to get on stage, and ended up playing a disappointing set. At that point we decided to head home and call it a week, but one can only imagine what the Long Winter night would have been like if Fucked Up had been there. All in all, terrific week!
Here are some photos, I hope no one is offended by how terrible the photography is.
Day 1 at the Marriott Hotel Eaton Centre
Cold Specks @ The Great Hall
Pledge Music Launch loft party presented by Audioblood
Dominique Fricot at the Pledge Music Coffeehouse @ Tequila Bookworm
A Place to Bury Strangers @ The Garrison
Roberta Bondar @ May
Fucked Up’s Long Winter Series finale at The Great Hall