FRIDAE’S 2012 CANADIAN MUSIC FEST ADVENTURES!
By: Fridae Mattas
As the last batch of videos from CMW are rendering I am laughing to myself at the memories of the 2012 Canadian Music Week adventures. Many lessons learned, always trust your intuition because it will save you a lot of hassle. Canadian Music Week is known for its plethora of musical choices, films and this year they brought some comedy to the festivities. Unfortunately I did not get to check out any films or comedy we just couldn’t squeeze any in. I wanted one of my team members to review Chris Kattan but he cancelled a few days before the festivities commenced and the other comedians were on at the same time as many of the bands so naturally the music comes first. As I finished editing all of my shots I noticed I am missing a chunk of Saturday and the memory card is nowhere to be found.
Now to fit everything CMW in one editorial, Wednesday night was day one for a lot of people including the FridaeTV team! My first stop was to check out Abstract Artform a Hip Hop group from Winnipeg, Manitoba at the Comfort Zone. They took over that place as soon as they hit the stage, their songs need work but the flow is actually pretty smooth and they know how to keep a crowd entertained. ‘Kid A’ lead Vocalist/MC for the group barely stayed on the stage, he was always on the floor with the crowd performing for them getting up close and personal as every Front Man should. It was a fantastic little set, my camera hated the lighting at this venue and everyone’s flash was not helping, I definitely need to check this group out again at a better venue. Next I was off to see what was going down at the EL Mocambo (ELMO), the plan was to pop into every club that was between venues because sometimes that’s where you find the diamonds in the rough. This time around nothing special, the same bands I have seen over and over again maybe the Horseshoe, Bovine or Velvet Underground would have something new and different?
I personally have not seen them live in a long time! They have stepped up their game, the only thing they need to work on is the songs, majority of the tracks have similar chords and melodies, they need to step outside the box. Daniel Grandinetti lead Vox has improved a great deal but a little more training is required, we all have to continually hone our crafts and skills. Guitarist Chris Bundas is always amusing to watch because it looks like he enjoys being on the stage and plays his Axe very well. Brother Bundas on the Drums Matt had the look; the yes I am a drummer now watch me smash these cans look and in due time he will become an incredible drummer. David Grandinetti on Bass has also come out of his shell utilizing the stage to the best of his abilities and it looked like he was having fun, which is the most important part of performing, having fun! When you don’t have fun anymore that is when you need to take a break and reignite the passion, to see if there is a spark left. The set was very good, the fans were loving it and many of you rock fans will like, so go to an MRO show.
I filmed a few tracks using a new camera and I have come to find that it doesn’t record instruments very well, more specifically bass and percussion. From this day forward, everything musical filmed I tried to use my trusty old camcorder with amazing sound recording capabilities, thanks to it’s Dolby digital sound. Every camera needs to up step with Dolby even if you use an external mic. Right before MRO finished their set I left to wander, Bovine was first and a band called DZ Deathrays were on. The place was jammed and there was no way in hell I was going to even attempt to shoot anything because I could barely get past the door! I have never seen this band before in my life but I really want to see them again, interesting and different from what I had heard all night. Stayed for one track and off it was to Cherry Cola’s to see what was popping over there before migrating home to recharge everything and do it all over again!
I love gathering with people and friends from different Countries and Provinces during these festivals, we always have such fun times! Definitely amazing anyone gets work done but that’s how we roll in this business, partying is how you network. I still find it a little weird to just walk up to someone and jibber their face off, I can be shy.
On with the shows! Thursday was the calmest day because the next day was an early busy long day that would probably turn into three! I have been to a lot of boring parties and some pretty phenomenal events but the craziest this CMW was definitley the Saturday night house party everyone went to. If you missed it, that is really too bad. Back to Thursday, I wanted to cover the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards but like every year it just doesn’t work out, maybe next year will be the year it happens! Playing it by ear with two possible destinations: the Tattoo Rock Parlour and The Hideout, I had the team covering other bands so I could discover some new ones. We started out at the Tattoo to check out “Before The Curtain” who are signed to indie label Sludge Factory Records, which is Three Days Grace Front Man Adam Gontier’s new record label and they are his first signing.
First time I have ever seen this band, I heard a few demo tracks in the past but my ears did not like those. My first observation was the band needs a lot of work on their individual sound! As catchy as their debut single “I Want It All” is, the song had Three Days Grace written all over it. If this band is to succeed in today’s market they have to individualize themselves and get the lead singer Adam Haggerty extensive vocal training because even with the voice box he was off key, a lot. Haggerty has a unique sounding voice that can be polished but he has to work on it and not just use the voice box all the time. So called “Singers” these days are too lazy to work on their sound and just want a short cut to fame. People want something new, not another Three Days Grace or another Nickelback (Many of us don’t even want the existing Nickelback but they’ll keep making redundant formulaic music as long as people are still buying it.) The rest of the band played well and rocked the stage, they do need to spruce up their image and add a little more enthusiasm to the stage performance. In time I am sure they can shape up and do very well if they stick to the grunge sound that came off in a few of the tracks because Haggerty’s vocals aren’t gritty enough to do hard rock.
Gontier was at the show supporting the band and was one of the lucky ones to get some fresh FridaeTV stickers after the bands set because they were busy packing up. At first I was a little hesitant to approach him because you never know what mood a person in this industry will be in…Thankfully, he was one of the chill people. I will check “Before The Curtain” out in the future to see how they progress because the sound wasn’t that bad they just need to find their niche. For the life of me I could not remember the band’s name, repeatedly calling them behind the curtain, I can’t help it! There are too many bands in my brain and not all of them stick to it but I remember them now especially after listening to “I Want it All”, I get it. Festival showcases are always a hit and miss when it comes to crowds and sounds because there are literally hundreds of bands performing at venues all over the city of Toronto. It was amazing that I made half the bands I covered because it gets hard to leave a place when you find an intriguing band you want to watch but can’t stay for the whole set. I wanted to catch Monster Truck at the Horseshoe and when we got there this new band to my ears “The Pack A.D.” was playing, they also performed at the Indie Awards on Saturday the 24th. The Shoe was rammed as usual at these events, I couldn’t see what the band looked like but I could hear the lead vocalist who had this deep and distinctive tone. I honestly thought it was a male but when a few of the super tall people moved a bit I could see that it was a female vocalist. Her voice was very interesting but the songs didn’t do it for me. After a few more tracks Monster Truck hit the stage, this was my first time seeing them and I already determined there was no way I could film or shoot anything, it was just too packed. They put on a fantastic set but did not blow me away as people have told me they would. However, it was the best heartfelt performance I saw the whole week and will have to hit another Monster Truck show to capture them in their element to share with all of you. After that set it was to the Hideout to try and catch Tim Chaisson and Morning Fold who I have seen once before. Didn’t make it on time for his set, oh well maybe I’ll catch him at NXNE like all of the other artists I missed; they’re always back for NXNE.
Fridae March 23rd was the busiest day, starting with an interview scheduled for 11am with Toronto’s Neverest. They were fun to work with; all have great personalities even in the morning and are genuinely nice, down to earth, talented young fellas. You can watch the interview with them here. After Neverest’s interview the FridaeTV crew split up, Anthony and I hit up the Slash Celebrity interview done by Dave Bookman and Joanna was hitting up the Canadian Radio Music Awards where we were to join her after this interview to catch a few performances. This time around Dave Bookman spoke with Slash, asking informative, coherent questions; about various different subjects including the second solo album Slash is dropping “Apocalyptic Love” with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. There were moments when Bookman was a little nervous but that’s okay it gave the chat more personality. You can check out a clip of the interview here, apologies to all the Slash fans waiting for show clips and shots, I did not cover the show but we shall see what I can do when Slash and his crew come back to Toronto on tour this summer. If you don’t know who Slash or Dave Bookman are Google search because really?
The Canadian Radio Music Awards we made to just in time to catch Neverest’s performance, in the meantime they won an award for Favorite Pop Artist or Group of the Year and when I got there they won the award for Mainstream AC, I caught at least one of the awards. Dragonette performed and won a slew of awards, they have improved incredibly, you don’t even know unless you’ve seen them in the past. They put on a great show because Front Woman, Martina Sorbara knows how to entertain! She doesn’t over act, has an interesting voice, songs are catchy and she looks very natural when she is on the stage. Nothing more you could ask for in a performer, Dragonette has everything needed to be the next big Canadian band, Martina’s voice is more appealing to my ears than Metric Vox. Among the performances The SheepDogs also threw it down and won a bunch of awards, they did pretty well! This was the first time I have seen them live, wish I could share the footage but it sounds like shit filmed with new camera. I pulled the Dragonette clip for that reason, I was not happy with the audio. Not to worry I will eventually check them out again! Fefe Dobson performed and won a few awards, I caught her performance in the media room totally forgot she was performing thankfully Joanna was taking shots. From what I saw Fefe has come a long way, the CRMA performance being one of her best that I have seen. All photos and footage of CMW 2012 can be found here and here.
Neeext! You can see how short and condensed this editorial is compared to previous years, I am trying to be as direct as possible. Once the awards wrapped it was time to eat some real food, recharge and hit up some parties…The Night time fun began with people saying no to FridaeTV Slash coverage even after I confirmed. Anyways, time is of the essence and it was still early so we could catch a lot of bands as we headed from the crack park end of the city to where the fun was. Queen, King, Dundas, Spadina, College and Bathurst, the only streets you need to know for bar hopping. If you want a dance club the streets where all the club action is on the; Richmond, Adelaide and Peter areas. We decided to drop by the Elmo to see if The Dinosaur Bones were still rocking the stage and they were! Always missed their sets so this time I arrived to catch three songs at the end of the set, but I did see them. The band is good but I don’t get the hype, they aren’t anything I would have submitted for a recording contract in my scouting days. It also depends on what you like; they are more on the folky mellow side of things which I have noticed is a Canadian industry favorite. I don’t know if I would go see them again because they were a little too boring but it was cool he busted out a tambourine.
Off to the Bovine! On stage when we arrived was Victim Party who had some great energy and a packed house to entertain, will check them out again in the future but I couldn’t stay in the shoebox tight squeeze of a venue but Joanna stuck around to capture some stills. I was kind of glad that I didn’t stay at the Phoenix for the Slash set even though I was welcome to watch I just couldn’t shoot. If I had stayed I would have missed some pretty good bands like The Suburbians who won Indie Week Ireland 2011, making their first trip over the pond in October 2011 for Indie Week Canada. This was their second visit to Toronto and am glad they came back because they are such a good band. The Suburbians are: Mark Konstantinovic – Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keys, Ben Konstantinovic – Vocals/Lead Guitar, Charlie Roberts – Bass/Vocals and Ben Nyari on the Drums. Vocals are what draw you in, Mark has such a strong voice, with a fantastic tone and his stage presence exudes confidence, not arrogance. With time and work this band will become a force to be reckoned with, if I had my own label or still scouted, this band would be on the top of my list to sign.
The last band I checked out that mattered at 2am Friday night / Saturday morning was The Nearly Deads from Tampa, Florida. Wow they got the crowd to go crazy, it wasn’t hard the fact lead vocalist of the band “TJ” is a hot chick who can perform and sing. The whole band was so into it, they are: Steve – Guitar, Cory – Drums, Kevin – Bass and Brandon also on the Axe. Labels…If you have not seen this band, go run like the wind, send one of your scouts to wherever they are and sign them because they have that unique potential you rarely find. Music fans go check them out if you can! They are worth your time even when you are not drunk, their post-grunge sound with a modern punk punch is a must listen.
Saturday! Was The Indies…Okay well I ended up leaving about half an hour after I arrived to wander the hotel and find other music instead of repeats from the CRMA’s. It was boring to me as all award shows are. I have seen all of the bands that performed, most were at the CRMA’s the day before except the last band, who I cannot recall because I just popped back to catch a few minutes before heading out for the newly restructured evening adventure. After debating on where to hit we ended up at The Cadillac Lounge where I was hoping to catch Stacey McKitrick’s set, I interviewed her the day before after the CRMA’s, she was a sweetheart and I was of course curious to see how she performed especially because she is a Country Music artist and I am not at all a fan of Country.
My mind is open to anything, if my ears like it regardless of my personal preferences I will share it with the world to see how they like it. We missed Stacey’s set but next up was Default Front Man turned Country artist Dallas Smith debuting his Country material off his soon to be released album “Jumped Right In” available May 22nd. I was wondering how this would sound like, haven’t seen Default since a boonfest a few years back which I am never trekking to again. I was pretty surprised when he played his songs with his band, he doesn’t sound too bad as a Country artist, there is this yodelly twang to his voice that helps him fit right in. He seemed a little nervous, it didn’t help that he forgot half of one of the biggest tracks in his career, shit happens! The fans didn’t care because they were there to support him and I am sure he won over some new ones in the extremely condensed crowd of the Cadillac Lounge. I honestly would not have noticed if he didn’t point it out but when I ran through my footage it was obvious. Minus that mishap, he did amazing, his vocals are incredible and he can hold some pretty long notes for a while. His band is awesome especially the guitarist he clearly loves rocking the axe even if it is a banjo some of the time.
That my friend’s is the end of what I will share…Until next year enjoy all the footage and photos! Major thanks to the amazing people at Planet 3!
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- April 8, 2012 / 10:41 am
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