Canadian Music Week, like most multi-venue festivals, adheres to the same rules as Disney Land: don’t try to go on all the rides or you will throw up.
If I’d had my way, Saturday evening would have been filled with Ria Mae, Wintersleep, Soho Ghetto, The Sheepdogs, Rich Aucoin, Passion Pit, and a few turns on the Tilt-A-Whirl. While I wasn’t able to cram all that goodness into an evening, the acts I saw did not disappoint.
Delta and Music Nova Scotia's Tiki Stage at The Rivoli brought some of Nova Scotia’s best talent out to play. The last time I was at The Rivoli was to see Peter Elkas play, and in between sets he baked something for the crowd. Saturday night featured less baking but more music. Good trade-off.
6-9 p.m. was an invite only crowd, most likely packed with industry big wigs jonesing for a taste of Mo Kenney, Ben Caplan, Ria Mae, The Mountains & The Trees, and Mike O’Neill. I’m sad I’m not more important, or I’d be able to attend. Afterwards Ria Mae tells me it went well, which I hope is musician code for “Everybody ate lobster and got signed.”
After 9pm the venue became a free-for-all, and was quickly packed to the Christmas-light-adorned rafters. I’m too late (again) to see Molly Thomason, but based on the applause it was another solid show.
All you Torontonians feel free to laugh at the following statement: After leaving the Rivoli I jumped in a cab to make a quick getaway to The Royal York. That’s right. I got in a cab. On Queen Street West. At 10:30pm on a Saturday. In the rain. EXPECTING TO GET SOMEWHERE FAST.
Oh, and the hockey game had just gotten out. I went nowhere.
After 40 minutes of my cab dodging inebriated blue and white revelers, I decided to cut my losses. I tossed the cabbie a 20 and hightailed it the remaining few blocks. When I heard the Indie Awards would play out at The Fairmont Royal York, I half expected to enter the lobby and find Rich Aucoin’s brilliantly colored parachute taking flight, the concierge manning the confetti canons while bellboys danced with abandon. While my lobby-dance-party fantasy didn’t materialize, the setup in the Canadian Room of the Royal York was sufficiently awesome.
“Rich, that sounds like a hernia. Or a broken rib.”
“Yeah, it’s a little sore.”
“Are you going to the hospital?”
“Nope. Going dancing.”
Way to show them how it’s done, sir.
The final act to take the stage was Passion Pit, the 5-piece indie–dance outfit from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lead singer Michael Angelakos declared, “We’re going to give you the best of Passion Pit!”
By the Poor Young Things took the stage the crowd had swelled, and I’d been relocated to the front room where listening took a backseat to conversations and congratulations. I finished the night with a theme-park-calibre veggie dog, and eavesdropped on a group on Jersey-Shore inspired dudes who could have done with wearing more shirt.
So yeah, it’s a lot like Disney Land.