This year Canadian Music Week came in like a lion and left like a hurricane – and by that I mean the destruction and debris it left behind in the form of sleep deprived, hungover bodies. It really couldn’t have been any better of a week, with the change from March to May, this year’s festival was not only filled with amazing music but also with 20 degree weather (the first time this year)! And if that wasn’t enough, this year was the first year that I actually worked in the festival on a showcase for the TV show that I work for BRBR, on the French language network TFO.
My CMW started off when I was one of the few lucky people to be given a wristband via lottery to see M.I.A. in concert on Saturday, May 3rd at an exclusive show. It was a rare opportunity to see the British rapper in such an intimate setting. Some of the highlights include: Maya walking on the bar singing (and letting her fans sing) her songs, then going into the middle of the room and singing the hit track Bad Girls acapella with the help of her fans. To be honest, this concert may have been the best in my life to date and yes, I almost cried. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to have a camera at this exclusive event but you can check out my photo on Instagram here, and my videos here & here.
My next CMW event would be the one that I helped work on, Le French Tickler. This was the second year in a row that BRBR held a showcase during CMW, and another year that we put together a showcase with quality Francophone acts, as well as our talented headliner Kandle. This showcase included: Antoine Corriveau, Pandaléon, Jimmy Hunt, Les Hay babies, and as mentioned before Kandle. It was a great showcase for Francophones living in Toronto to experience music they hear online but don’t always get to see live, and a great moment for English speakers and Francophiles to experience something new. Les Hay babies, for example, are a great Acadian act that just came out with a new album that you should be listening to. Kandle also just came out with her first album, In Flames, and is an artist that absolutely must be on your radar!
My Friday evening was also marked with mainly Franco-Canadian acts.
The Seasons are a band from Québec City and performed for the first time ever in Toronto during CMW. They are headed by two brothers Hubert et Julien Chiasson. Besides being cute and charming with a sense of humour, these boys have pitch perfect voices – must be in dem genes! I liked them before but after their performance in Kensington Market on Friday I am a fan!
After seeing The Seasons, I went over to the M for Montréal showcase at Sneaky Dee’s to see another one of my favourite Acadian acts, Lisa Leblanc. Similarly, it was also her first time performing in Toronto, which shocked me a little because she is huge in the east coast. Anyways, I was glad she was FINALLY here and that I got to see her first show. She performed mainly her English tracks for the audience, despite most of the crowd being from Montréal.
*CUTE STORY ALERT*: While waiting for Lisa to perform I was talking to a young couple who told me that when they first started dating they went on a trip to Mt. Tremblant. While there they went to a free concert and they happened to catch Lisa perform. Ever since then they have been in love with each other and in love with Lisa too. They were so excited to see her come on. Oh, young love!
I ended my CMW on Saturday evening by catching my friend Chloe Charles perform at The Drake. She just came back from a whirlwind European tour and is about to record her second full-length album. Although the room was not full (YOUR LOSS BTW!) this was possibly one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen her perform. She was accompanied by two of her European band members and three of her North American band members – the result was a rich full sound. But on top of that, Chloe actually gets better every single time I see her. I am looking forward to what is expected to be a more personal, emotional, and successful second album.
Honourable mentions: Rich Aucoin DJ set and Random Recipe.
Avoid: HIGHS and Wildlife (unless you’re a 20 year old straight boy – then you go enjoy that… you enjoy that good).