MonkeyJunk (Blues/Rock) www.monkeyjunkband.com
The El Mocambo, May 9th 2014
There is a reason that the blues is the foundation for a huge amount of modern music. Put simply, this is a musical format that will never cease to satisfy the human soul. MonkeyJunk is a power trio consisting of Steve Mariner on guitar, harmonica and lead vocals, Tony D on guitar, slide guitar and vocals and Matt Sobb was on drums and vocals. Mariner has a classic blues timbre to his voice and plays an epic harp. Tony D is an Ottawa blues legend and Sob is emphatic and metronomic. A thunderous and tight band they are a mix of classic electric blues and classic rock. A perfect band for the classic blues local of Toronto’s El Mocambo. This Ottawa gem has been slaying audiences since 2008. MonkeyJunk is a Juno award-winning band, they have also brought in 15 maple blues awards. My favorite two parts of the show where their amazing cover of Muddy Waters ‘Tiger in Your Tank’ and when they decided to just ‘jam’. If you are looking for some seasoned roots rock blues music these guys are your band.
Public Animal (Rock) www.facebook.com/thepublicanimal
The Hideout, May 9th 2014
Formed in 2012 Public Animal is a Toronto band made up of very seasoned that simply wants to blow your face off. Their sound is grungy with a twist of psychedelia and some strait up hard rock. Caitlin Dacey’s (Bella Clava) organ playing contributes heavily to the intense wall of sound. Ian Blurton’s last band C’mon was a power trio so this band has a very different attack plan. Both Ian and Caitlin sing heavy, howling southern seventies rock vocals.
An amazing moment was when Blurton climbed on tables through the audience and made out with a guy in the audience whilst soloing the whole time. Ian Blurton is a fearsome guitarist with a gorgeously dirty 70’s tone. Ian Blurton is also a renowned producer in Toronto.
There was another very rock and roll moment when Blurton grabbed my friends zoom recorder off the stage and turned it off saying ‘this isn’t for you this is for them right here right now’, he later apologized when he realized it was his friend making a documentary on him. All the same it was an awesome moment. Keep track of these super charged rockers if you like being engulfed in your music, they like it loud.
The Lion The Bear The Fox (Folk/Rock) www.thelionthebearthefox.com
The Rivoli, May 9th 2014
The Lion The Bear The Fox are a powerhouse trio. They take a blues and folk-pop melodies and make them distinct with their own brand of intense harmonization and resourceful compositional style. This is compounded by the fact that all three of them both sing and write songs.
The Lion The Bear The Fox hail from Vancouver. They met touring as individual songwriters and decided to collaborate as a single band. The Lion is, The Bear is, The Fox is, Christopher Arruda (The Lion) plays percussion and keys, Woodward (The Bear) plays electric guitar and Ryan McMahon (The Fox) plays acoustic guitar and they all sing lead and backup vocals.
This band has a lot of love in it, made explicitly clear by the last song of the set ‘home’ in which Christopher Arruda explained that the song is a love ballad to the other two members of the band. In order to perform this track the guys unplugged and got offstage, having the audience circle them. It was a gorgeous moment. Pay attention to these guys if you love good songwriting and amazing voices.
Transit (Hip Hop) www.transithiphop.com
The Painted Lady, May 10th 2014
The Painted lady was packed on the last night of CMW. It is no wonder as Transit, who creates genuinely poignant and hilarious hip hop, does not often visit us in Toronto. Born in Victoria, Transit has hailed from Calgary since 2007. Thus far he has collaborated with Madchild, Jann Arden, Kyprios and Grieves to drop a few names. Transit’s latest album ‘stale’ was released in January of 2013 and reached #4 on the Canadian itunes hip hop charts. In other words, he is a rising star.
Transit has an intense staccato flow and deeply sincere lyrics that should be archetypical of good hip hop. He had one amazing song about poor people in the club, where he definitely dropped ‘groupon’. Another really funny part of the show was after doing so himself Transit comically recommended that no one in the audience write an alliterative verse using the letter ‘P’, especially if it is a small room and you have bad breath.
Transit is currently working on his fourth album. This man has some serious talent and yet he is humble enough to not take himself that seriously. This formula definitely makes for catchy and inspiring tracks. Keep your eye’s peeled
Be sure to check out all these great artists. Next Years festival is already in the works for May 5-9, 2014. Details and more can be found on their website.
Also you can find out which other artists and events are at the festival and more on Canadian Music Week at www.cmw.net.