Photographs by Neil Van.
Lee’s Palace hosted an incredible bill of bands signed to Buzz Records during the final showcases of the Canadian Music Week. Closing the festival with great acts all native to Toronto’s punk and DIY scene, each band was fronted by girls. The night was filled with girl power, shoe gaze and great vibes.
Opening the night was PONY. Self described as a “Glitter-Pop band”; I couldn’t help but think they belonged in a soundtrack to an 80’s teen film. A bit nervous during the first couple of songs, the band filled the room with punk infused pop tunes. Using their latest EP as the tier, Crushed (2015), as well as their newest singles “Alone Tonight” and “DIY”; fans danced and swayed around to the fun filled roaster of songs. A personal favorite of mine was “My Only One” a surf-y pop song that reminded me of how close the summer season is.
Next up was Twist. Fronted by producer and multi instrumentalist, Laura Herminston, their set explored grungy old school sounds. The band’s sound was a mix of 90s grunge meets 70s rock and roll. With rhythmic and creative riffs, the band was nothing short from awesome. Their latest LP, Spectral (2016), had one song, “To Much Trouble”, which caught my ears; as the drums become the star of the song, the lyrics found home a singer who produced positive affirmation through it.
Vallen, a band that blends gothic sounds with shoe-gaze, took stage next. Although not signed directly to Buzz Records, the band felt fitting to the general theme of the night. With a darker and spookier presence and highly distorted guitars filling the venue, lead vocalist, Robyn Phillips, sings with power and angst. Starting as a small project, Robyn, focuses her music through a lived experience as female in our society. Their current album, Consent (2016), which was released last year through Hand Drawn Dracula Records, allowed the band to showcase a different vibe than presented previously during the night. A bit more on the heavier side, “Devour” and “Tennessee Haze” were just some of my favorites songs during the night.
Right before the headliners was Casper Skulls. A post punk band from Toronto with crunchy and heavier vibes began to blare through the speakers of the venue. Their latest EP, Lips & Skull (2016), released late last year provided songs like “Devotion” and “Errands” which I enjoyed immensely. The duo-singers sang and shared both lead and relief moments during their set. The band brought a strong presence that kept the crowd jumping and alert at all times.
The night came to close with headliners, Weaves. The packed venue applauded and howled in elation. Fresh from Juno Fest, the band brought their full flame to stage. Lead singer, Jasmyn, whose stage presence is the most interesting and pivotal component to the band aside from their refreshingly peculiar sound, was extremely excited to be supporting her record label. Never short from showing love to Toronto, the band thanked each band that had taken the stage previously. You never know what you will get a Weaves show and it’s never the same thing and this time Jasmyn, brought more fun and funk in every word she sang. Probably one of the best bands in Toronto’s DIY scene, Weaves is a MUST to see live as everyone was completely off their feet with full joy.
Thanks for the wonderful night Buzz Records and Canadian Music Week!