CMW 2013: Thursday

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.

The Breaks at Cadillac Lounge

Alex Beraldo of The Breaks

Alex Beraldo of The Breaks at Cadillac Lounge

I headed over to Cadillac Lounge to begin my third night of Canadian Music Week. I saw The Breaks, a band that rocks a blues-y sound mixed with country to put on an enjoyable, foot-stomping show. In typical blues-country fashion, the content of their music talked about whoever had done them wrong, and their choice of liquor: whiskey, gin, and rum.

The lead singer, Alex Beraldo, removed his guitar pick from his mouth, took a sip of beer, and launched the band into their third song. At this point, the crowd was pounding their feet and cheering. I was nodding my head and scribbling down some notes about the tastefully refrained drumbeat when a man sat beside me. He introduced himself as Uncle Tim, whose nephew was the bassist, Darcy Waffle. He informed me of the band’s initial meeting in school, and their beginnings in London, Ontario.

We were interrupted as Alex shredded into his guitar, and the band began jumping between slow and fast tempos with ease. I found myself thinking that this was the type of music that you listen to after a long day of work, when all you want to do is kick back on your porch with a beer. And, although this type of music has been done over and over again, The Breaks are clearly a fun-loving, welcome addition to the blues-country genre. 

Trouble & Daughter at Czehoski

Trouble & Daughter kicked off their set on a folksy note to a full crowd. After finishing their first number, the female singer, Jenni Pleau, asked the audience to move to the front and people quickly complied as bunches ran forward. The band happily moved onto their next song, which, despite interesting song construction, exemplified that they could use some work on their three-part vocal harmonies.

Trouble & Daughter at Czehoski

Trouble & Daughter at Czehoski

As the set moved on, their music gained more of a rock edge from the bass involvement and heavy drums. Instead of typical acoustic folk, this added a welcome harder sound to their music that makes this band a lot more interesting to listen to than the average folk music out there.

The band truly starting warming up when they were five songs deep, as Jenni started flexing her vocal chords through vocal riffs, and the unique construction of their songs was demonstrated through unexpected stops and starts, tempo changes, and more.

Trouble & Daughter put on a set that was fun to listen to, as they joked with the audience and ensured everyone was enjoying themselves. They even joked that they needed a cigarette to sing “Gimme All Your Money” and someone actually threw a pack of Belmonts on stage, much to the disbelief of the band.

At the end of the set, they humbly thanked everyone for coming, dedicated “The Lucky Ones” to the audience, and then thanked Czehoski. I quickly came to the conclusion that, despite how overdone folk music is these days, Trouble & Daughter differentiated themselves well from the now-typical folk music that is sold in front of the cash at Starbucks.

The Names are Known at The Crawford

My last show of the night was at The Crawford to see The Names are Known, a rap duo. Once their set began, I.James.Jones told the audience that NaNa, his partner, had lost his voice that morning. That did not seem to stop their show as they took the time they were given on stage and made the absolute most of it.

NaNa of The Names are Known at The Crawford

NaNa of The Names are Known at The Crawford

I.James.Jones was the star of the night with his unbearably good flow and perfect delivery throughout all of his verses. He spat out rhymes into the microphone with a passion that I have not seen at many rap concerts yet, and, despite technical difficulties, managed to give a performance that was absolutely astounding.

Rich Kidd performing with The Names are Known at The Crawford

Rich Kidd performing with The Names are Known at The Crawford

The technical difficulties throughout their set definitely hindered the duo, as they jumped over microphone chords to avoid tripping and ended up sharing one microphone between the two of them for a whole song. However, once that was worked out, NaNa and I.James.Jones put on an electrifying performance that had a surprise twist: Rich Kidd, the “big brother” to The Names are Known, stepped on stage and gave a performance of “SYKE” that could have easily overshadowed the performance of any other rapper. But The Names are Known held their own and finished off with two songs to complete an amazing set that established them as heavyweights in the Canadian hip-hop scene.

My night was all over the musical map, with blues-country starting my night, rap and hip-hop ending my night, and folk-rock being sandwiched between the two. As I ran from venue to venue, I could not help but think that this is what makes Canadian Music Week so fantastic: a multi-genre loving music aficionado such as myself can get their blues-y guitar solo craving satisfied, catch an up-and-coming folk-rock group, and then get moving to some amazing rap music…all in one night.

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

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