Here we go: Canadian Music Week has arrived! The expansive festival can be found all over Toronto’s clubs and venues for the remainder of the week and there’s plenty to see, so don’t be afraid to get out there and explore. But if you don’t have the time or cash to hit up everything on the schedule, or simply want a couple of recommendations prior to venturing on your own, then look no further! Here’s what we think may be good, or at least looks neat, for Thursday the 20th.
1. & 2. Whitehorse and Tanya Tagaq
Where? Phoenix Concert Theatre
When? 11:50 PM and 10:40 PM respectively, doors 7:30 PM
How Much? $34.50
There’s been a lot of buzz about both these acts, and for good reason. Whitehorse and Tanya Tagaq are both unique Canadian artists well worth witnessing, and their smouldering popularity reflects that. Whitehorse’s acoustic husband/wife duo creatively use loop pedals to turn their performance into a fantastic wall of sound – something to absolutely see live. Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk throat singer from Nunavut that’s picked up all kinds of accolades for her traditional craft, and beautifully reflects a sector of Canadian music that is often overlooked by the public. Both these acts are well worth the visit, and don’t let the price scare you – an intimate evening with the two is priceless.
3. Sebadoh (but for supporting acts Walrus, The Zoobombs, and Billy Moon)
Where? Horseshoe Tavern
When? Doors 7:30 PM (10 PM, 12 AM, and 2 AM respectively for supporting acts)
How Much? $20
No offence to Sebadoh (whom I’ve never heard of before), but it’s actually the supporting acts in this lineup that draw my attention. While studying recently in Halifax, locals Walrus have been big blips on my radar for quite a while. The group has been getting all kinds of Nova Scotian attention and are being hailed as the next big east coast thing – which is worth deciding yourself. Japanese indie rockers The Zoobombs are also on this bill, so if you missed them Tuesday you get another chance. And finally, Billy Moon is another Halifax act that has since made their way to Toronto. I saw the group play at NXNE last summer and really enjoyed them, and they’ve since released some great tracks that I keep coming back to.
4. Aussie Night Out
When? Doors 6 PM
How Much? $10
Maybe it’s my attraction to the accents, maybe it’s my affinity for raunchy Australian TV, or maybe it’s my obsession with the Mad Max franchise, but the Aussie Night Out showcase really piques my interest. I’ve never heard of any of the artists before, but with ten (!!!) acts playing rapid-fire sets over the course of the night, I can’t help but think there’s bound to be some neat musical acts from Down Under that’ll feed into my obsession with the country. And come on, you’re literally paying one dollar per band. That in and of itself is a draw!
5. A Taste of Reggae, Reggaeton, and Dance Hall
Where? May Cafe
When? Doors 8 PM
How Much? $10
Another instance where I haven’t heard of the artists, but I’m more interested in the general show itself. Featuring acts from Jamaica, Mexico, and Canada, the evening looks like a great crash course in island-influenced genres. I’m personally a big fan of ska, the mish-mash of British rock with Jamaican reggae, so it’s always exciting to see how other music spheres collide to see what they produce. This showcase is the perfect chance to see it happening on Canadian soil, so it’s definitely an intriguing show! And if you like dancing, this is definitely the place to be – reggae’s really got a way of getting people bopping.