With a spot at the coveted Virgin Festival stage up for grabs, Sadie May Crash was one of five finalist bands, which means that they got the nod from chairman Sir Richard Branson himself. Sir Richard’s known to have pretty good musical tastes, so it’s no surprise that within a few weeks were booked into the Mod Club for their first performance at that venue.
The Steamwhistle Unsigned concert series featured a collection of concerts, held at Steamwhistle’s beautiful and historic Front street brewery. Each concert in the series served up several up-and-coming indie artists, alongside delightfully cheap and tasty Steamwhistle beer.
Right across the street from the brewery is the Rogers Center, where this night the Boston Red Sox were busy trouncing the Toronto Blue Jays. So getting to the brewery that night was a bit of a zoo — but if you could get past the legions of red or blue fans and their vehicular traffic, you were in for a treat at the brewery.
I’ve been meaning to check out Magneta Lane live for a while, but our schedules never seem to meet. Thus on the even of Virgin Fest I jumped at the chance to see them at the Horseshoe Tavern. I really enjoy the recorded work of this edgy rock trio, and their listening to their cover of “Girl from Mars”, prominently used in a Microsoft advertisement, I was hooked. Hooked!
Packed to the rafters on a Friday night, the trio of Lexi, French, and Nadia brought a crush of people to the edge of the stage, opening with “Constant Lover” and playing a nine song set including crowd-pleasing “Lady Bones” and an energetic “Daggers Out!”. A fun time for all, and I’m hooked, hooked again!
Sunday called for some pretty heavy thunderstorms, and the weather didn’t disappoint. Early in the afternoon, at the Toronto Virgin Festival, the crowds were poncho-equipped and umbrella-bearing.
One of the impressive things about the Toronto Virgin Festival is their focus towards not harming the environment. Throughout the island, “Green Angels” were on hand to help festival-goers recycle. Solar-powered laptops and bicycle-powered cellphone chargers not only were handy, but likely instrumental to educating the masses about the availability of renewable energy. And it was good to know that carbon offsets were purchased on my behalf to offset what they couldn’t reduce!
Separating the main Virgin Mobile stage from the other stages at the Toronto Virgin Festival was a small footbridge, just wide enough for perhaps four people to walk abreast. Starting at about five o’clock this bridge was absolutely packed, with people streaming towards the main stage on Olympic Island, undoubtedly staking out good spots for the remainder of the concert. Headlined by the Foo Fighters, and with big names such as Bloc Party and Against Me!, I don’t blame them. Of course, there was lots of good music to be heard on the other stages too, including Wintersleep and Lights.
Two days, four stages, and fifty-six performances. Center Island rocked on September 6th and September 7th as the Virgin Festival came to Toronto. Headlined by the Foo Fighters and Oasis, and backed by fifty-four other bands ranging from punk-rock ska to house dj sets, the festival offered music for a wide range of aural palettes. In between sets, festival-goers entertained themselves at a multitude of different tents: guitar hero, human scrabble, and an autograph tent, to name a few.
Performing over 150 live acoustic shows over three years has honed the musical talents of John Tayles, a young artist from Mississauga, Ontario. These shows — mostly in London, Ontario while attending university, and a few in Uganda while volunteering there — prepared the singer-songerwriter well for his first major Toronto gig at the historic Horseshoe Tavern on this Wednesday night.
Continue reading this entry »
Toronto band Isle of Thieves got their break in January 2008, with George Stroumboulopoulos (of The Strombo Show) playing on national radio a track off their brand new, two-day old CD. Their debut album, Mostly Human is well produced, featuring angst-filled songwriting from frontman-vocalist Japeth, as well as some pretty incredible cover art, which is amongst the best I’ve seen for independent productions.
I go to more than my fair share of The Framework shows, but I can’t help it: they’re good, addictingly good. I’m not sure what it is about the band that I like the best. Is it the music, catchy hooks and power riffs, set amongst dazzling synths? Or perhaps the charged lyrics, delivered by two talented vocal artists? Or perhaps the way they take the stage, and deliver a dazzlingly energetic performance every night. Whatever it is, this New Wave rock band, heavy with UK rock/pop influences, has got me and a loyal following watching carefully.