CMW Day/Night 5: Boats, Fine Times, Mac DeMarco & More

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Canadian Music Week 2013

Mac DeMarco – 3pm @ Sonic Boom Records

Meeting up at Sonic Boom, we made it in time to check out much buzzed about Mac DeMarco. Mentioning that they had rolled out of bed just a half hour before their set, the band members were all either hung over or quite possibly still drunk from the night before. From Montreal, DeMarco’s shoe-gazey rock and roll incorporates wailing guitar riffs and a bunch of interesting covers into their set, including but not limited to “Takin’ Care of Business.” The audience was really into it, completely lapping up everything they did, no matter how sloppy it might have been. While DeMarco’s humorous charisma was quite entertaining to watch, I think I would need to see them again to decide whether they are indeed worth all the hype.

MUSI Artist Development/Last Frame Pictures Party – 159 Manning Ave

From there we headed off to the house party jointly put on by MUSI Artist Development and Last Frame Pictures at 159 Manning Ave. Sometimes it takes day parties to finally feel like you are part of a festival rather than just running all around the city every night, and this one was exactly what I needed. By the time we arrived, the Steam Whistle was already flowing, and the narrow hallways of the old house were jammed packed with people. We peeked our heads into the main room to listen to some of Michael Rault’s classic funky and soulful rock, and stuck around to see “secret” guests The Darcys for the second time that week before heading off to our next event. Because really, any chance to the see The Darcys should be taken.

Brighter Brightest – 10pm @ Sneaky Dee’s (Travis Porter)

Aurora’s Brighter Brightest are not the type of band I would normally be into at this point in my life, but their set opening for Lifestory:Monologue’s final show in Toronto back in December – which included a pretty awesome cover of Wave’s “California” – won me over and made me want to see them again. Comprised of Derek Hoffman (vocals, guitar), Kyle Topping (guitar), Alex Westgate (bass, vocals), and Ryan Mansbridge (drums), the venue quickly filled up as they took the stage.

Hoffman expressed his excitement to be playing new songs from their upcoming album for the first time. Judging from the reaction they received, I’d say the crowd was just as excited for the chance to hear them. There was an obvious familial sense between the band and the fans. Their songs meant something to all those in attendance; it made you feel like you were part of something so much bigger than just a show. Reminding me of my pop-punk phase from my younger years, their catchy pop-rock songs are based in honest and relatable lyrics that boost you up and make you feel good about life. I emerged from their set feeling revitalized and young again – there’s not much more you can ask for from a band, now is there? And hey, they even threw in a cover of the incredibly poppy “Closer” by Tegan and Sara, earning them even more points in my books.

Lambs Become Lions – 11pm @ Sneaky Dee’s (Travis Porter)

Carrying on this youthful spirit was St. Catharines band Lambs Become Lions. Having undergone some lineup alterations as of lately, there was a new drummer, Malcolm Sanderson, in place of new father Jesse Ingelevics, plus for tonight they added an additional guitar player, bringing the number of people on stage up to six.

A distinctive yet subtle change in the band’s sound was also immediately evident. Light and airy first song “Lake Ontario” began with a hardcore-infused melodic intro from guitarist Justin Jennings and bassist Rob Paulin before frontman Eric Conlon’s pretty acoustic guitar entered the fray. With the added guitar, the acoustic was no longer always at the forefront, and the added dimension of heaviness worked to their advantage, reducing the extreme sweetness of some of their songs.

Regardless of how many people there knew the band prior to the start of their set, by the time second to last song “Not All Treasure is Silver and Gold” came around, they were all joyously clapping right along. The band closed out their set with the uplifting chase-your-dreams “(They Won’t) Let Me Sleep.” If you ever need a pick me up after a downer day, I’d highly recommend listening to Lambs Become Lions’ latest effort Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.

Boats – 12am @ Rancho Relaxo (Two Way Monologues & GreenShades)

I then headed over to Rancho to see Winnipeg’s Boats. Fronted by Mat Klachefsky (vocals, guitar), the band is rounded out by Rory Ellis (guitar), Ashley Roch (keys, trumpet), Louis Levesque-Cote (bass), and Luke Bergen (drums). Their higher-than-high pop sound is brought to life through a boisterous blend of blippy-bloops and sound effects from the synths, combined with trumpets and the tinkling xylophone. At the heart of the band however is Klachefsky’s just-swallowed-a-litre-of-helium high-pitched vocals. While the shrillness fit their overall sound, it was grating at times.. Not necessarily a band whose record I would choose to listen to, the mounds of energy they displayed made them really entertaining to watch live. Jokingly introducing their last song, “Getting Worst.jpg,” as “the most annoying song in the history of recorded media,” it was good to see that they were able to laugh off the slightly terrible Slagging Off review they had recently garnered. The over-zealous excitement of the longtime fans in attendance likely also helped.

The band’s most recent album, A Fairway Full of Miners, was released in February. Klachefsky made the comment that showing up at a Boats show automatically made you cool – you might want to keep that in mind the next time they are on tour!

The Archives – 1am @ Sneaky Dee’s (Travis Porter)

Making my way back to Sneaky Dee’s, I made it back in time for most of local band The Archives’ greased up rock and roll set. The band underwent some lineup changes back in 2011 and since then, Anthony Menecola (vocals, bass), Crispin Day (guitar), Will Gooch (guitar), and Kevin Cardenas (drums) continue to get better each time I see them.

An older track, “Sheep’s Clothing” remains a highlight of their set every time it gets played. There’s something about the way Menecola’s gritty vocals take full control over the distorted, wailing guitars that just grips me. New single “Mountains” shared a lot of these qualities, making me excited for what’s to come from this band. Having recently released a new 7” entitled Vol. 1, the band is embarking on an East Coast tour throughout May – full details can be found on Facebook. It should be quite the banger!

Fine Times – 2am @ Sneaky Dee’s (Travis Porter)

Having had such a great time at their set the night before, I knew I had to see Vancouver’s Fine Times again. While they played the same setlist, it was no less entertaining the second time around. A large contingent of emo scenesters in the crowd at this hour, the band put on a sweaty pop performance that all but forced the audience to laugh and smile and dance along to their pounding synth-grooves. Frontman Matthew Moldowan’s comment that they were called Nickelback might have helped win the crowd over to their side, but it was more likely their unrestrained energy that was downright contagious.

What could be an anthem for CMW with its lyric “they don’t sleep, don’t sleep, don’t sleep…don’t sleep at all” they closed their set with the punchy “Into the Mechanarium.” Coming to a crashing finish as Moldowan smashed a cymbal with his guitar, so ended their set – and my night. I’m already looking forward to when I can see them again! | CD

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Categories: Canadian Music Week 2013, Live Music


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