The Sonic City
CMW: The Sonic City picks for this Weekend
So a number of my readers have been asking who my artist picks for Canadian Music Week (CMW) are. At first, I found this to be a rather difficult question to answer. There is literally so much talent in our city this week that it’s almost hard to keep track of who to go see. Still, I thought it would be fun to do a quick mention of some of my favourite artists that will be performing this weekend. With this in mind, this is in no way is a ranking or ‘critics’ list, but merely a few artists that I would personally recommend checking out. Happy CMW, everyone!
Hailing from my hometown of Oshawa, Mellowkotzen’s eclectic musical fusion described as ‘Quixotic Soul Jazz’ has definitely been picking up steam over the past couple years, playing various venues across Ontario, including Toronto hotspots such as The Horseshoe. I first encountered Mellowkotzen a few years back when I came up with the idea for an ‘Allies for Equality’ fundraiser concert for PFLAG Durham. The concept was to have an evening of music to bring together allies of the LGBTQ community in Oshawa, which was essentially an LGBTQ fundraiser almost entirely of straight allies. With no funding, makeshift sound equipment sitting in my basement, and little more than my word that I could get the event going, a number of performers and venues had doubts about this idea, but Mellowkotzen were among the first to sign-on and dive in. The event would be a great success on both occasions when they headlined, and we all have fond memories from those shows. Definitely a live band to see if you have an interest in any of the musical styles they infuse! On top that, great friends of the LGBTQ community.
Saturday, May 9th – Underground Garage at 10:00PM – Buy Tickets
One of the most interesting bands that I’ve discovered in recent times is Caveboy. While the band was often described as ‘Electronic Tribal Space Rock’ during their tenure as Diamond Bones, they have always been one of those artists with a sound that is incredibly difficult to categorize, but that’s definitely their strength. If their latest single ‘In the Grottos’ is any indication of their bold new direction as Caveboy, there is great potential that we will be watching unfold in the very near future. With an intoxicating live show, you definitely don’t want to miss Caveboy this weekend!
Friday, May 8th – The Virgin Mod Club at 7:20PM – Buy Tickets
Saturday, May 9th, The Cave at 10:00PM – Buy Tickets
Traveling all the way from Australia, Demi Louise has attained considerable attention and success as a young unsigned singer/songwriter. One of my favourite parts of CMW is not only to discover great artists locally and nationally,but also internationally. I highly recommend checking out not only her passionate folk/pop-infused tracks, but also her live sets, which I’m sure will be a highlight!
Saturday, May 9th – The Horseshoe Tavern at 2:10PM – Buy Tickets
Saturday, May 9th – Cameron House (Back Room) at 7:00PM – Buy Tickets
One of my favourite aspects of Toronto’s own Cairo is their creative nature to step out and experiment with the structure of performance in a rock band. Described as ‘orchestral alt pop’, Cairo is particularly unique in their ability to skillfully merge the song structures of pop and rock with strings at the forefront. While I’ve seen many attempt at this feat (especially when studying music in undergrad), not many do it well; I”ll say that much! With violinist Cailtin Grieve playing a prominent role in the band, Cairo definitely makes their mark in this area with an awesome sonic mix to their powerful songwriting! Be sure to catch this act before they embark on their European tour!
Friday, May 8th – Sneaky Dee’s at 12:00am – Buy Tickets
I’m sure all of you have heard of Daniel Lanois, and I’m also sure that I don’t need to provide much of an introduction either. With this said though, the career of Lanois has been nothing sort of fascinating, and I’m always curious to see what he’s working on; not just in the production realm, but also with his own music. He’s one of those figures that always surprises you, whether popping by to casually join U2 on stage at the ACC or through the work with his brother, Bob. Lanois’ latest release Flesh and the Machine is an entirely instrumental album, and I’m quite excited to see what he does during his time at CMW!
Friday, May 8th – The Horseshoe Tavern at 11:00PM – Buy Tickets
About the Author
Casey Robertson is a genderqueer human rights activist, musician ,composer, and graduate student researching musicology and cultural theory. In recent years he has been involved with the committees of LGBTQA projects such as the Durham Pride Prom, Allies for Equality, and Queerstock Canada. He also served as a member of the board of directors for PFLAG Durham Region from 2012-2014, where he was a member of the peer2peer support team and a facilitator for monthly sharing evenings.
Casey currently resides in the Church-Wellesley Village of Toronto and enjoys spending his free time scoring independent film projects and playing with his band Liberty Street, while on the constant search to discover new artists of all expressive forms. Follow Casey on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at CaseyRobertson.net