This was by far the most memorable and most fun Toronto music fest I’ve been to in a while. Going on my second Indie Week, I have to say that when you mix talent with great venues, plus an amazing party atmosphere and cheap booze thanks to sponsors – you’ve got yourself one hell of a shindig!
Kicking off my Indie Week was my own Blankfest Toronto, co-organized with Indie Week and Serving Charity. Blankfest is a charity show I first brought to Montreal two years ago that began in NYC in 1997. It was founded by Kenn Rowell of The Baghdaddios to help collect blankets for the homeless during the winter months.
This was an amazing event as bands from all across came out to support Toronto’s homeless and Indie Week. The lineup was just phenomenal and had a great mix of punk, hard rock and my personal favourite genre of balls-deep metal!
The Baghddadios kicked off the night as Kenn Rowell came all the way up to Tdot from NYC to perform and support the cause. They brought an old-school eff you mentality of good old punk, which I loved! Other bands that personally stood out for me were Falling Anvils from Montreal – incredible vocals and sound! Best track “Mother’s Milk” – and All Else Fails out of Edmonton were so good that Indie Week asked them to play another show the next night! They were awesome and are one of the hardest working bands on the road right now. And out of all the bands that stole my heart for the week, Crooked Valentine ripped it out and ran away with it, making me a new fan. They are a one-of-a-kind band that you can’t miss live. Frontwomans Lindsay Robins can belt and give you a stage performance you won’t soon forget! And that huge lighted heart they hang just above their ass kicking female drummer is perfect stage propping.
Next up was Friday, which I reserved for one of my favourite Montreal bands – Vinyl Hero. The venue they performed at wasn’t the greatest, but they put on one hell of a show. Just an incredibly solid and entertaining band, I got a copy of their EP and their track “The Blues” is a must-have on the iPod. That same night, the only other band I got the check out was Vancouver’s Static in Stars at The Hideout. My word on these guys: They’re going places.
I have to admit that the distraction of cheap booze offered by Indie Week’s alcohol sponsors, tons of industry to mingle with and a wrestling match in between couldn’t be passed up on Friday! And here came Saturday: A little hung over, a little bit bruised and with crooked glasses – I think I lost the wrestling match?
I made my way to the Drake Hotel, along with Rock and Roll Report editor Barbara Pavone, for Indie Week’s industry panels where we participated in the Publicity and Promotions panel alongside Canada’s top music PR professionals; Eric Alper (Entertainment One Group), Paula Danyelevich (Hype Music), Jane Harbury (Jane Harbury Publicity) and Meg Gamble (Rock Me Joe Publicity). This was an awesome event to participate in as we discussed various topics with artists in an intimate group setting. This is a must do for artists as Indie Week’s industry panels cover a range of topics to help the indie artist.
To finally end my adventure and my last night at Indie Week, I ventured to Cherry Cola to check out Courage My Love who made me melt with their song “River.” Fronted by twin sisters Mercedes (Vocals, Guitar) and Phoenix (Drums, Vocals) and a “brother” thrown in to the mix on bass, this family trio is sure to make waves on the Canadian rock scene in the coming years. Following that puppy love moment, I went to get my manly music back and check out the Ascot Royals, who have one of the most skilled guitarists I’ve seen in long time, at The Hideout. I’ve seen these guys a few times now and they just get more incredible every time. If only I was a record label, I’d sign them!
At the end of it all, it was unfortunate how I left Indie Week a day shy of the finals and I really wished I could have stayed to see who won (These Electric Lives) as I found myself having too much fun. So if you’re in the Toronto area, or planning on visiting Toronto, Indie Week is a must on the checklist for the year. So reserve October on next year’s calendar and trust me when I say it’s more fun than CMW and NXNE (except for the backyard BBQ parties ha.)
For all the latest on Indie Week: http://www.indieweek.com/
Join the Blankfest Community:
Blankfest Quebec – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blankfest-Quebec/124607864221341
Blankfest Toronto – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blankfest-Toronto/116868475022196