CMW Night 3: The Balconies, Rah Rah and Two Hours Traffic at Lee’s Palace & More

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Canadian Music Week 2013

Robyn Dell’Unto – 8pm @ Annex Wreckroom

Robyn Dell’Unto kicked things off at the Annex Wreckroom. Unfortunately, because it was so early, she didn’t draw in much of a crowd. However, Dell’Unto made the most of it with her candid stage banter to keep the crowd interested. Dell’Unto has a gorgeous, sweet voice, but her banter is less cute and sweet and much more relatable, as she was almost making fun of herself on stage and revealing dorky details about herself to a crowd where there were certainly some strangers. Her personality is undeniably endearing and it translates on stage. I’d really like to see Dell’Unto again in a more intimate venue that lends itself much better to her singer-songwriter sound.

CMW: Robyn Dell'Unto @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Robyn Dell'Unto @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Robyn Dell'Unto @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Robyn Dell'Unto @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13


Sidney York – 9pm @ Annex Wreckroom

If you’ve never seen Calgary’s Sidney York, then you may have never seen what happens when you combine an opera singer and a bassoonist (among many other unconventional instruments that find their way into their songs). Brandi Sidoryk, who is joined by bassoonist Krista Wodelet, fronts the band, but they’ve enlisted many other musicians to help them achieve their avant-pop sound. The song that stands out most is the catchy “Dick & Jane,” which seems to be their most accessible, but all of their songs combine an element of cheerfulness with sexiness. While the band played an early set to a relatively empty Annex Wreckroom, but that didn’t stop them from delivering an energetic performance, full of quirkiness and an endearing bubbly pop sound.

CMW: Sidney York @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Sidney York @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Sidney York @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Sidney York @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Sidney York @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Sidney York @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13 CMW: Sidney York @ Annex Wreckroom, 21-03-13


The Balconies – 10pm @ Lee’s Palace

As Toronto-based The Balconies took the stage at Lee’s Palace, it was immediately evident that all their touring produced a significant lineup change. Liam Jaeger, who you would previously find behind the kit, was now up front playing guitar alongside lead singer Jacquie Neville and bassist Stephen Neville. The Balconies were touring relentlessly before CMW and the band is still touring, as they released their Kill Count EP in Europe earlier this month.

Now a 4-piece, the band rocks louder and perhaps Jacquie is now able to truly shine as she relinquishes some of her guitar-duties to Jaeger. Jacquie absolutely commands the stage, with her signature hair-whips and vibrant facial expressions. There’s a fiery passion in her that truly shines on stage, but there seems to be growth for each of the musicians that translates as growth for the band as a whole. “Serious Bedtime” has received a makeover and songs like “Kill Count” have just gotten stronger and stronger with time. We’re looking forward The Balconies’ full-length that they’ve been working on between tours and judging by all of their fans that crowded the stage at Lee’s Palace, The Balconies have a lot of fans excited for more.

CMW: The Balconies @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: The Balconies @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: The Balconies @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: The Balconies @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: The Balconies @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: The Balconies @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13


Rah Rah – 11pm @ Lee’s Palace

We’ve seen Rah Rah a handful of times, but it felt like it had been a long while since Rah Rah was touring their 2010 release Breaking Hearts. It’s still an album I personally love and I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Rah Rah since they released The Poet’s Dead in late 2012. The band always seems to have fun on stage and this translates so well to the audience. Even as the band ages with time, their sets are still injected with youthful exuberance and quirkiness that make a Rah Rah set so much fun. This night was no exception.

The band is known to switch instruments throughout the set, but they also don’t have a set lead vocalist. Each vocalist brings his/her own personality to the songs. Perhaps the highlight of the set was “Duet for Emmylou and the Grievous Angel,” which is from their 2008’s Going Steady and juxtaposes Marshall Burns’ slightly out of key vocals with Erin Passmore’s smooth and sultry voice. But Kristina Hedlund was adorable as she took over lead vocals for “20s.” While it’s a small collective, Rah Rah is certainly a collective. As the band ended their set with “First Kiss,” the band released three balloons into the audience that spelled out “RAH.” And with that, they reminded Toronto that they’re back and they’re still just as delightful as we all remember them.

CMW: Rah Rah @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Rah Rah @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Rah Rah @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Rah Rah @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Rah Rah @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Rah Rah @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Rah Rah @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13


Two Hours Traffic – 12am @ Lee’s Palace

Charlottetown, P.E.I.’s Two Hours Traffic played to a packed Lee’s Palace. While many in the crowd were surely there to see the following band, July Talk, it seemed as though a majority of the crowd were there to celebrate the release of Foolish Blood with the East Coasters. Foolish Blood was a much-anticipated release, after a bit of a hiatus from the release of Territory in 2009 and the 2011 departure of guitarist Alec O’Hanley. Thoughts that the band would split were quickly quashed and fans were treated to an EP to tide fans over until the full-length release in February of this year.

The 4-piece, led by frontman Liam Corcoran, certainly knows how to write catchy pop songs that encourage fans to sing along at their shows. While Two Hours Traffic played a whole slew of songs from their latest release, long-time fans were able to enjoy and sing along to favourites from Territory and, in particular, Little Jabs. Those songs that made the 4-piece so easy to fall in love with really shone on this night. While Two Hours Traffic isn’t about show-stopping antics, their straightforward live show is more about invoking those cheerful feelings you’d experience with a crush or new relationship. If you can embrace these pop songs, they’ll quickly envelop you in a mist of happiness. What more can you ask of a pop song? | CL

CMW: Two Hours Traffic @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Two Hours Traffic @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Two Hours Traffic @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Two Hours Traffic @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Two Hours Traffic @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13 CMW: Two Hours Traffic @ Lee's Palace, 21-03-13

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Categories: Canadian Music Week 2013, Live Music

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