CMW 2013: Tuesday

By Emily Scherzinger

Canadian Music Fest is a music festival featuring artists from all genres in venues across Toronto, running from March 19th to March 24th.

Chris Hau at The Central

I kicked off my Canadian Music Week with a jaunt over to The Central to see Chris Hau’s acoustic set.  I had first heard of Chris through his brainchild, Reel Music Media, a company that “manages talented artists, develops breathtaking music videos, produces songs, promotes live events, and everything else in between” (via Reel Music Media). This company also boasts Samara York, a singer featured in Demo a few months back. Just as Samara had impressed me with her talent, I was prepared for Chris to do the same.

Chris Hau at The Central

Chris Hau at The Central

What I was not prepared for was a breathtakingly personal set from a barefoot performer who looks as though he should be on the California coast, surfing and soaking in sunlight. Instead, he was performing on a stage in the frigid Toronto weather, providing the receptive crowd with a beautiful combination of personal story-telling between songs, followed by even more personal music. Chris pounded on his guitar, belted out songs that brought him and the audience close to tears (“Last Call”), and gave everyone some personal advice, telling us that, “If there is someone out there who makes you happy, chase that shit down.” Chris wove Macklemore-like rap into his acoustic indie sound, and even threw some screaming in there à la Sum 41 (see “Heroes”).

After his set, I managed to catch Chris for a few words and he told me that he is a surfer. I couldn’t help but think, that explains the bare feet.

41st and Home at The Annex Live

I ran over to The Annex Live to catch 41st and Home, a band hailing from Vancouver that has garnered a lot of buzz over their new album, Raised by Wolves. Despite technical difficulties at the beginning of their set, they had hips swaying and feet tapping in no time. They gracefully moved from song to song, producing a wall of sound as the instruments wove together to create an orchestral rock that reminded me of Sigur Rós if they grew up in the woods of Canada. As they launched into the fifth song of their set, one that the lead singer, Thom Kolb, described as a “slow jam,” I could not help but feel that they were playing the music that you listen to as you try to find yourself. If only I knew about this band when I was 13 years old, when I was wondering who I was and who I would become.

Thom Kolb of 41st and Home at The Annex Live

Thom Kolb of 41st and Home at The Annex Live

The band launched into the last song of their set, dancing and singing as though their bodies were on fire. As the song approached the end, the singing stopped and the band turned to their instruments. The lead singer fell to his knees and beat his guitar, the drummer threw his sticks, the keyboardist pounded his keyboard, and the fiddler sawed at her violin. The passion that was relayed as the band members ripped into their instruments was awe-inspiring – the crowd was absolutely silent, many with their mouths hanging open, as the band’s crazed passion came out in their music. Suddenly, it all ended and the lead singer calmly thanked everyone and the band left the stage. There was a moment of amazed silence before the audience returned the favour with their own sounds: applause, cheering, and whistling.

It never ceases to amaze me that there is incredible music out there that many people do not know about. Chris Hau and 41st and Home are just two examples of this, but this is why CMW is so wonderful: it is the perfect opportunity to explore even more wonderful music, as some of Canada’s best indie bands join together in Toronto to put on one hell of a week.

Follow Emily and other Demo contributors during CMW on Twitter and Instagram for live updates.

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