Canadian Music Week 2012 — The Highlights

Celebrating 30 years, Canadian Music Week is Canada’s leading annual entertainment event dedicated to the expression and growth of the country’s music, media and entertainment industries. Combining four information-intensive conferences; a trade exposition; a film festival; a comedy festival; four awards shows and the nation’s largest New Music Festival – Canadian Music Fest – CMW spans a five-day period from March 21 to March 25, 2012 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and over 60 various downtown Toronto venues, attracting participants from across the globe.” –

With an overwhelming number of new/established, Canadian/Worldwide acts invading Toronto, Canadian Music Fest is a fantastic event for checking out new bands, known bands, and random bands, all while drinking until 4AM. CMW/CMF is held annually each Spring — an appropriate kickoff to festival season.

Here are the Top Three Live Highlights from Canadian Music Week 2012:

Powerhouse Toronto rock stars Die Mannequin helped bring in CMW with an always fun set on Day One at Revival. Lead singer Care Failure can amp up a mid-week crowd with nothing but her raw vocals and guitar, while Anthony Bleed, Stacy Stray, and Dazzer Scott provide a picturesque setting for their gritty, original rock ‘n’ roll.

Promoting their April movie release for Hard Core Logo 2 — a mocumentary following 1996’s original, they had a solid performance that included Do It Or Die, Candide, and Orson Wells + 2012, three songs off the HCL2 soundtrack.

A new album in the works and plans for touring, this is the year of Die Mannequin. Check out the trailer for Hard Core Logo 2:

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Vancouver-based band The Pack A.D. delivered an explosive set at The Horseshoe Tavern on Day Two. Singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller comprise The Pack, a duo with vibrance that literally overpowered the bar’s sound system and had a tightly-knit mosh pit forming a head-banging pack situation of its own.

The crowd was a mixture of nearly everyone off Queen Street, front row center majority being drunk metal fanboys, thoroughly enjoying the band’s rock/pop/electro-vibe intensity.

With the recent radio success of their single Sirens off fourth album Unpersons, The Pack A.D. are on their way up, evolving from bluesy-rock to slightly catchier hooks, and being compared musically to The Black Keys, The Kills, and The White Stripes. Some melodic similarities aside, this duo has a personality entirely of their making. Bouncing around the stage and climbing speakers armed with her guitar and Joan Jett effervescence, Becky has presence and The Pack A.D.’s music has even greater impact when performed live.

* * *

You will never see Dragonette play in a grungy bar again. Not because they’re too good for getting down and dirty, but the sheer capacity factor of their growing fan base.

Dragonette are Martina Sorbara, Dan Kurtz, and Joel Stouffer — formed in 2005, the Toronto/UK-based trio deliver new and fresh electro-pop effortlessly, without being overtly flashy or gauche. Their music has a wide appeal, staying power, and radio single success. Collaborations with the likes of Kaskade and Martin Solveig have garnered them well-earned mainstream recognition, evident in the the array of audience present at Dragonette’s CMW show at The Hoxton.

The over-an-hour-long set was a compilation of radio hits and singles off their second album, as well a few new forthcoming tracks. Opening with major hit single Hello (by French DJ/producer Martin Solveig), The Hoxton would continue to remain in a perpetual state of vibration — fans old and new, all signing along.

The music continuously flowing, each song blended seamlessly into the next with added beats overtop and between songs. A dubstep breakdown during Big Sunglasses was ingeniously eargasmic. If Dragonette played all night, you would be dancing all night. Under the influence of second-hand happy smoke, the encore featured Okay Dolore and Dragonette’s very first single I Get Around.

In terms of music and sound composition, this was Dragonette’s best Toronto performance to date. The bass was low, synths filthy,  the energy energizing. Exhibiting a varying sound, growth is evident as it leads to musical freshness, well ahead of other electro-pop acts around today.

With a third album in the works, singles are being previewed online. Check out the newly released The Right Woman:

With upcoming North American tour dates, including Coachella, you can bet Dragonette will be making your motor run.

Notable mention: Also playing The Hoxton were Young Empires, another Toronto-based band. Their lively “haute rock” set got the pre-Dragonette crowd amped for the ensuing dance party.

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