Canadian Music Week is one of the most exciting points of my year. There are two components to CMW: the festival and the conference. This year, I was able to snag a sweet festival wristband for week-long access to some amazing shows. The festival is held in bars and venues all throughout downtown Toronto. This year, the festival was held from May 2-8 and featured some Vault friends and favourites: Billy Moon, Blve Hills, Ivory Hours, Royal Canoe, The Kents, Lost Cousins, and Wild Rivers (to name a few).
Tuesday night started out strong with a jam-packed Silver Dollar Room featuring two of Kingston’s favourites, Wild Rivers, and Lost Cousins. These shows never fail to pull a huge Kingston crowd, and everywhere you looked you’d see a familiar face. Both of the bands treated us with a mix of our favourite tunes with some fun covers mixed in. This crew was definitely a great way to kick off an amazing festival.
When I first saw the CMW lineup, I saw that Royal Canoe was playing on a Wednesday evening at the MOD Club, and I was ecstatic! Hailing from Winnipeg, this band released one of my absolute favourite albums of all time, Today We’re Believers, released in 2013. Their live show was just as amazing as the album because rather than using extensive backing tracks, the band plays every part to every song live every single time. The crowd was lucky to get the chance to hear a set that mixed their older favourites in with a few glimpses of upcoming tracks. The new songs had a heavier vibe but stuck to the electronic weirdness feel that we all know and love. Needless to say, it has been too long and it’s time for some new Royal Canoe. They’re definitely going to deliver.
During Canadian Music Week, the festival had bars open and serving until 4am, with huge showcases guaranteed to make any music lover happy. With such an amazing lineup of artists on CMW’s bill, they needed all the time they could get and it’s not surprising that on a Thursday night at the ungodly hour of 1:30am concert-goers were dancing into the early morning. The sounds of Ivory Hours playing at the Horseshoe Tavern had people enjoying being up way past their bedtimes. After a successful tour across Canada in April these boys still had an amazing energy to put on a great show. Make sure to check out their full-length album Morning Light and maybe grab one of those new new vinyl!
Friday night was a huge night for CMW, with a sold-out show at the Opera House featuring Busty and the Bass. Recently signed with Indica Records, Busty and the Bass were eager to release some new tunes. Their new single titled Miss Judge that was released at the end of April, is a sneak peek of what’s to come with their newest EP at some point in June. I was amazed at the number of people that filled the venue, all with “a passion for good times and great music,” as the band would describe it. They encored with a sweet cover of I Try by Macy Gray, which had the entire crowd singing at the top of their lungs.
Little India showed up on my ‘Discover Weekly’ on Spotify not too long ago and ever since I’ve been hooked. They are a group of four guys from Vancouver, BC performed twice during CMW. The show I went to was on Saturday night at a little place called the 300 College Club that serves all of their drinks in classy red cups. Little India’s creative riffs and harmonies had a nostalgic rock vibe with an 80’s pop feeling. Despite apparently “singing too hard at karaoke” the night before, they still had a huge sound and played an impressive set.
After the Little India show I ran to the Dakota Tavern to see the Vault’s very own, The Kents, play a sold-out show. With a line down the block I almost didn’t think I would get in! Once I got in I caught an amazing Prince tribute and their new single, The Stakes. Make sure to check out their new Waking – EP, that comes out on June 1st!
One of the best things I learned this year at CMW: getting a wristband and being able to go to multiple shows in one night while avoiding shelling out your life savings on cover is well worth the initial investment. If you don’t want to go to as many shows as I do (I want to go to them all), the cover you pay at the door help support the artists, festival, and the conference. Canadian Music Week is an amazing opportunity for artists to get their name out there and play some shows and for fans to be able to see their favourite bands live.