Snow drifting just enough to remind you that spring was still weeks away. There is something about the gray last weeks of March that make you want to huddle on the couch rather than trudge through the city on the hunt for musical inspiration. But whether the acts were stellar, or not, Canadian Music Week 2013 was an amazing 6 days.
Bob Marley meets Korea! It was a mix I had to see. It could have been a real miss but far from being a karaoke novelty act the band from Seoul, Windy City, brought authentic love and style to Reggae.
Translating the spirit of the late great Marley, and the legendary 70’s reggae he spearheaded, the band infused it with Latin energy and sang exclusively in Korean. Already icons in their homeland, they are now getting the chance to take their sound to reggae lovers beyond their borders.
Many may have come to see their Lula Lounge performance out of mere curiosity but just as many left believers.
The Courthouse’s fire places were lit. The lights were dim. And the cushy black couches created just the right vibe for an intimate night of jazz.
Ottawa based Jazz singer, Renée Yoxon, put on a fantastic performance at the Courthouse (she was the inaugural 2013 CMW act).
An old soul with an Indie look, the young jazz vocalist sang beautifully from her new album, Here We Go Again. As a jazz lover, first and foremost, it is great to see fresh talented voices showing love to this wonderful genre.
Shannon Funchess, the lead singer of Light Asylum, is a lightning bolt of pure POWER! The Brooklyn synth duo have hardcore fans that showed up to both their shows (Wrongbar & the Garrison).
Blazing vocals, tribal sound, an itchy chaotic performance style that is best described as “cracked-out” (in the most amazing way), Funchess is intense, and unlike any other singer out there.
Tied with Kool Thing for my best of the fest, Light Asylum is simply unbelievable.
A fantastic voice and thoughtful lyrics, Chad Price threw himself into his set with confidence. Unfortunately, his performance at the Piston was filled with friends and family that while heartwarming, did him a disservice.
It was evident that his friends and family come out to every show and didn’t get that CMW is quite a big deal. It became distracting to hear his friends carry on conversations, playfully mimic Price after he introduced one of his songs as “sad,” and even stand, clueless, in front of others as they tried to take pictures.
Blue Venus brought spunk and full-fledged energy to their Velvet Underground show. While their Latin tinged songs had me all in, at times their genre mixing style was a little too haphazard to keep me in the zone.
The stunning Toronto based singer-songwriter was one of the most anticipated CMW performers of the week. Besides the band, Boy, her 2nd show at the El Mocambo had the most amount of journalists and photographers I had seen all week. Feist, Joni Mitchell, she’s being compared to the best of the best but there’s no one quite like her.
She’s about to blow up and you’ll learn why (and more about her CMW performance) next month because Charles is the “In the Winehouse” May feature artist.
Reveling in their first ever show in Canada, the Swiss/German band, Boy, who are actually comprised of two girls, Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass, were really popular with the boys and girls at El Mocambo.
Steiner is a Sarah Jessica Parker/Upper East Side/stripped down Lana Del Rey looking girl who is endlessly pursing her pretty lips and batting her lashes. She is possibly the “true” indie singer-songwriter that some people felt Del Rey didn’t live up to after,“Video Games.” Her charming bunny overbite and sparkly flirty charisma captured the audience. While Guitarist, Sonja Glass, combined an equally attractive ruffled elegance and quiet mystery to the band.
Their set was plagued by technical difficulties but rather than lose her cool Steiner used the opportunity to win the audience over. “It’s us against this other band downstairs,” she said to the jam packed audience who needed no encouragement. Their rendition of the Black Keys’s “Lonely Boy” had the crowd stomping and singing, effectively overshadowing the band downstairs.
Beautiful voice, folksy sound, and catchy pop songs, when Steiner sings, “drive darling, drive darling, drive darling, darling, drive,” you feel like you’re in the car with her. (Must listen to “Boris” (I think I dated him), “Drive Darling,” and “Little Numbers.” You’ll fall in love with this album!
One of TWM’s Best of The CMW Fest 2013
Starting off with a jazzy rendition of Tracy Chapman’s, “Give Me One Reason,” Mclean’s focus was all about love. Singing a combination of covers and original songs, her Courthouse CMW performance was one of the calm relaxing nights of the fest.
Not a rich or powerful voice, Mclean’s talent lies in bringing her sweet fluttery tone to pretty songs such as “Make You Feel My Love,” “Sing Your Song,” and “Don’t Know Why.”
Emma Louise’s voice is fantastic! And her song, “Jungle,” is an amazing song.
Eyes closed, curled into herself, her free hand constantly reaching outwards, you can see that she gets totally lost in each song. And her performance at the Garrison revealed a singer deeply committed to her music.
Unfortunately, at times her pronunciation lost the clarity achieved on the album. If you didn’t know the lyrics of her songs before the show it was impossible to understand them there.
But when you stopped caring about the words the sound did all the talking.
Learn more about some of these artists in the upcoming months! With TWM’s, “In the Winehouse With…,” Q & A’s and more…