If you’ve never been to Canadian Music Week, your first time can be a little overwhelming. From the headliners, like Tegan and Sara or Bob Mould or even Collective Soul, to the local bands, there’s a lot to cover and consider. For myself, it’s my third time attending Canadian Music Week, but my first time covering it for CONFRONT. So, while I’m no veteran, I would consider myself pretty well-versed in navigating what can easily be an overwhelming musical experience.
My strategy this year is to just try new things. It’s sort of easy to check out the bands you know are going to be awesome in some of the bigger venues, but personally, I like the challenge of checking out the smaller bands in some of the smaller venues. The shows are more intimate, the bands are a little more raw, but you have a great opportunity to see bands that are on cusp of (possibly, and in some cases probably) doing great things. So in this Canadian Music Week Diaries feature, I’m going to walk you through some of the bands I had the pleasure of covering at Canadian Music Week 2016, and you might just find your next favourite band.
So onto the important stuff: the music. On my first night of Canadian Music Week 2016, I went a little off the board and headed over to The Silver Dollar Room to hear Ready The Prince and Wild Rivers. They’re both local bands, and in both cases, promoting their first releases.
Ready The Prince is a good, old fashioned alternative rock band with a twist. The twist is the soulful singing of bassist/vocalist Stephen DeCiantis, who exists in that grey area between classic rock and garage rock. Full of headbanging, guitar solos and complex beats, Ready The Prince were energetic while still retaining some hooky charm. Their lead single, “Drunk Without A Drug” was particularly explosive, and I’d urge you to watch the video here. The band released their RTP EP in Summer 2015, and is looking to record a full-length sometime in 2016. Their set was high-energy, and a perfect way to kick off a crazy week.
In an interesting line-up choice, the rocking elements of Ready The Prince were followed by the melodic, finger-picked acoustic indie folk of Wild Rivers. This is not a criticism of either band, it just kind of seemed like an odd pairing at the time. What the bands lack in genre similarities, they do share in stage presence. Wild Rivers may have been charismatically unassuming with an aw-shucks demeanour, but the band commanded the stage pretty effectively. Pairing indie-folk acoustic guitar strumming with duelling male and female vocals, Wild Rivers is a good band for people who like Twin Forks, for example – but without the banjo. Apparently, the band used to perform as a two-piece called Devan & Khalid but have recently fleshed out into a full-band. One of the can’t-miss tracks from their set was “Heart Attack”, and notably, the band has just released their debut full-length record. Their set was really very good, and this band showed a lot of promise. It’s always hard to do with smaller shows, but they seemed to draw a decent crowd too. Oh, and they’re heading out for a show in Oshawa next week with one of our faves, CAIRO. Save yourself some time, and get to know ’em now.