CMW 2014: Wednesday Pt. 2

By Marko Cindric

This year, my personal Canadian Music Week experience was inaugurated by Wednesday night’s show at the Garrison, a co-presentation between Wavelength and M for Montreal featuring a lineup of five artists all beginning with the letter M. In spite of a large number of in-and-outs and a relatively sparse crowd, the show ultimately served as a well-curated showcasing of talent and sonic diversity.

Moonwood performing at CMW 2014.

Moonwood performing at CMW 2014.

Kicking off the night with a journey to the outskirts of the galaxy were Toronto space rock outfit Moonwood. Formed as a collaborative effort between Jakob Rehlinger and Mandi Hardi, the band’s krautrock-influenced catalogue was made all the stronger with the presence of a bassist and drummer, both of whom displayed an impressively high level of stamina as the band charged through a vast landscape of spiralling jams. The group’s performance served as a perfect accentuation of the tension one might expect to experience during the earliest moments of a show.

Mannerisms, another Toronto band, were next to take the stage with their smooth brand of ‘post-jazz-rock’ and ‘astrobeat.’ Following Moonwood’s lead, the band immediately burst into an evolving blend of lengthy jam tunes with a laid-back vibe. Perhaps most impressive about Mannerisms as a whole was the tightness of their performance, a true testament to each member’s musical proficiency. However, the absence of vocals led to a slight drop in energy following the more directly engaging performance delivered by Moonwood. Despite the consequently backgrounded nature of their set, Mannerisms were able to charge through without faltering, and ultimately impressed, though their talents may have shone through more effectively in a different lineup.

Most People performing at CMW 2014.

Most People performing at CMW 2014.

Toronto musical veterans Most People took the stage next, blasting through a fun, high-energy set complimented by a number of video projections including imagery of space, Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf, and edited scenes from the original Degrassi. Playing a diverse set of old, new (see: their newly released EP), and currently unreleased songs, the duo were lucky enough to play to the largest crowd of the night and caused many an infectious dance party. With the precision of their vocal and instrumental ability, and incredibly catchy melodies to boot, it’s no surprise that Most People are often regarded as an essential component of the Toronto music scene.

Following Most People, Mas Aya, the solo project of Toronto’s Brandon Valdivia, took the stage by storm with a specialized blend of world and electronic music alongside special guest Lido Pimienta. Despite the thinning crowd, the performance packed an impressive punch with its booming electronic drums and on-the-fly loops, and those who lingered were most certainly dancing as Pimienta jumped around the stage and Valdivia expertly shaped his instrumentals.

Closing off the night was Montreal’s own Mozart’s Sister, the solo, sharp-edged synthpop project of Caila Thompson-Hannant, who recently appended a keyboardist to her live performances. Having just wrapped up a widespread north American tour with Trust, Mozart’s Sister showed no lack of energy as the increasingly smaller crowd was met with yet another unfaltering, dance-inducing set of ‘80s-inspired synth soundscapes. The quality of the set was only amplified by the visible enjoyment in Thompson-Hannant’s face as she performed, and the new tracks are more than telling that her debut album (whose release is slated for late summer) is certainly something to be excited for.

The unfortunate absence of a packed room was not enough to kill the energy of this impressive lineup of musicians. Stay tuned for more Demo coverage of Canadian Music Week!


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