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CMW Day Five!

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After a much needed day of rest, it was right back to the Canadian Music Week grind last night (it’s a tough life but someone’s gotta do it!). Heading in, I knew it was going to be an interesting night because I didn’t really know where I was going to go or who I was going to see. Most of the days feature at least one band I know decently well, but Tuesday was not one of them. So I decided to (somewhat) wing it.

First stop was Rancho Relaxo where indie rock band The Fight were already onstage. I’d heard a bit about them and they were on some “Can’t Miss” list or other, so seemed like the place to start. They’re a five piece band from Edmonton (quite the day for their home province yesterday!) with great energy. No affectations, just putting themselves into their music and loving every minute of it. It’s always reassuring to know that the combo of voice, harmonizing guitars, bass, and drums can still create energy that sounds fresh. Singer Bradley Feil had great stage presence, talking it up with the crowd and even hugging some of the more eager fans. Was a great start to the night.

I wasn’t sure what to do after they finished, but while pondering my future, the next band started to set up their gear. Usually a mundane activity, but this was a six piece band setting up more than a few synths and other gadgets. Suffice it to say I was intrigued, especially after the lo fi sound of The Fight. The group ended up being Stegall, the product of three sisters who clearly love to work on their music. Their sound melded classic rock with a more updated dance oriented sensibility, featuring tight three part harmonies and complex arrangements. The keytar even made an appearance! The amount of polish on their music was something you really don’t see too often on a Tuesday night at a bar.

I didn’t stick around to see who was up next because I wanted to head to the Toronto Women In Music showcase going on at The Garrison. Although I didn’t really know them before yesterday afternoon, the one band of the night I really wanted to see was Toronto’s own Programm. I’m a sucker for psychedelic music. Their sound is a jumble of every great psych rock and shoegaze band you’ve ever heard. What the stuff they’ve posted on Soundcloud doesn’t convey though is the amount of groove in their music. During their performance last night a few tracks took off a la Melody’s Echo Chamber or a certain faction of Radiohead songs like These Are My Twisted Words. All I can say is I was really impressed and will definitely be keeping an eye on them!

The last band of the night I caught was one I’d never heard of before, The Dirty Frigs. One of the reasons music is so great is that you can give two groups of people the same instruments and they’ll inevitably get completely different noises out of them. The Dirty Frigs were another voice, two guitars, bass, and drums group, but they sounded nothing like any of the other groups I heard last night. You could even give them the same psych rock label I gave Programm, and yet they couldn’t have been more different. They were much dirtier, melding lo fi psych with punk, which you don’t hear too often. Lead singer Bri Salamena was probably the most charismatic singer of the night, controlling the gaze of the crowd and the several photographers in attendance. The band’s music seemed like it could fall apart at any second, guitarist Duncan Hay Jennings even broke a string on the first song, but of course it didn’t.  Their raw approach was the antithesis of Stegall’s polish. And when they walked off stage, and I considered the variety of sounds I’d been hearing all night and it seemed like perhaps rock music isn’t dead after all.