CMW 2015: Day 1 – The Jesus and Mary Chain, Those Gulls, Zoombombs, Redway, The Luke Austin Band

For 2015, Canadian Music Week has expanded to 10 days. Truth be told, that’s a lot of music. It’s a little overwhelming, and the festival itself has definitely crept up on a lot of people – myself included. While I’m normally super prepared for all the musical offerings (and usually try to give a listen to every band that’s coming through town,) this year I’ve taken a more relaxed approach. I’m still getting out to a lot, but I’m kind of flying by the seat of my pants here. I’ve taken a look at the schedule and picked a couple of must-sees, but outside of that I’m pretty much wandering aimlessly. We’ll see how that goes!

So with that disclaimer in mind, here’s what I got up to on the first day (Friday, May 1) of CMW 2015.

Jumping in feet first, I was at the Phoenix Concert Theatre to photograph The Jesus And Mary Chain. Andreas has a proper review of Psychocandy’s 30th anniversary over here. Photo wise, it was just this side of terrible, but they sounded impressive and – as someone who’s legitimately never listened to one of their songs – I can certainly see and hear their lasting impact on rock music. It was a packed show, and for good reason.

I saw about 10 songs and then headed over to the Bovine Sex Club for Ottawa’s Those Gulls. What’s the protocol on telling a band member that their fly is down? I didn’t – but their guitarist definitely needs to check his before getting on stage next time. 

From there, it was up to The Silver Dollar for Tokyo’s Zoobombs. They’re a band whose name I’ve heard tossed around but have never given much though to. Boy oh wow, was I glad to have seen them. As far as rock n’ roll goes, they’re the act that should inform all other acts. If you’re in a band, please be more like the Zoobombs. I can’t say enough good things about them. They were so good, in fact, that the crowd at The Silver Dollar both broke into a fight at one point AND demanded a rare festival encore from the band. You should have been there. We all should have been there.

I headed back down Spadina to get to the Rivoli. I was hoping to catch talented Toronto rapper Tre Mission. I’ve heard plenty of great things about him but have yet to see for myself why he’s the next big thing. Wandering into the venue about half-an-hour past his scheduled set time, it turned out the act before him hadn’t even taken the stage yet. So, instead of Tre, I got a set from Redway. If anything, it was a reminder that a) I have no concept of how timing works at rap shows, and b) boy, am I out of place at a rap show! I did catch a free t-shirt though, so thanks for that, Redway.

From there, it was over to the Horseshoe to end my night with The Luke Austin Band and John Jacob Magistery. Luke Austin and his band are certainly doing their best to emulate fellow country pub-rockers the Zac Brown Band. Mixing their set with pop songs and original creations, they had some diehards in the crowd but admittedly didn’t do much for my non-country tastes.

Between them and John Jacob Magistery, I wandered back to the Rivoli hoping to catch a bit of Tre Mission but by the time I got there he was already done. Dammit, rap shows! How do you work?

Montreal’s John Jacob Magistery proved to be a nice way to end the night, anyhow. Neil took photos of that one and Luke Austin, which you can see here. Sounding like a cross between fellow Canucks Bahamas and Plants and Animals, they brought a big sound to a pretty small crowd. I’m expecting to hear more from them, anyway. It was a good stage show and there’s definitely an audience for their brand of rock music.

Day one of CMW ended with me passing out in my jeans and with my contacts still glued to my eyes. Whoops. So it was certainly a busy start to a marathon of music. See you out there for more of it!

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