May 28 2012 – Toronto is blessed with a very active indie rock scene. Being a megalopolis of well over 5 million people it should be no suprise that on any given night some very talented local musicians take stages in bars and clubs all over the city. We recap three bands that we saw in a 5 day span.
May 19, 2012– Ever since Matt Groopie and the Bandits were featured in an Emerging Artist Spotlight as part of our Canadian Music Week coverage in March, we’ve been trying to get a chance to see Groopie live. We were covering the Indie Awards at the Royal York Hotel while Matt Groopie and the Bandits were playing at the Underground Garage. Since then whenever he was playing we had other commitments. On May 19th I caught up with Matt at The Sister at 1554 Queen West. However this time it wasn’t Matt Groopie and the Bandits, it was the King Beez, Groopie’s surf band. Playing primarily original instrumental surf songs, the band played a high energy set that sounded like a soundtrack to a Tarantino movie. This is a sound from the early 60’s that was hugely influential to everything that followed, including Jimmy Page as seen in “It Might Get Loud”.
Also on the bill that night were TNG and The Lad Classic, two very promising bands that we’ll be following in the future. The Lad Classic plays The Hideout on Thursday, June 14th at 10pm as part of NXNE.
Matt Groopie – Photo by Marissa Tiel taken from www.mattgroopie.com
May 22, 2012 – We saw a lot of bands during Canada Music Week. One that really stood out was Windsor’s The Blue Stones who played The Sister on March 22nd. The Blue Stones is the duo of Tarek Jafar on vocals and guitar and Justin Tessier on drums. The Black Keys are an obvious influence, but Tarek told me the the Arkells, Kings of Leon and Sam Roberts are other influences. The Blue Stones have been playing together for about 5 years and performing together for the last two.
Justin Tessier from The Blue Stones
The band played a great show of blues rock. For a band without a bass player, Jafar and Tessier combine to form a surprisingly big sound, aided on some songs by a backing loop laid down by Jafar. They closed the show with an incredible version of “I’m a Stereo” (link: http://thebluestones.bandcamp.com/track/im-a-stereo-2). Tessier’s drums seemed to have survived his assault but I wouldn’t put a high resale value on them at this point as they’ve been thoroughly thrashed. Tessier is one of the most dynamic drummers I’ve seen in a long time. The Blue Stones will be playing The Sister again as part of NXNE on Friday June 15th at 11pm and I’ll definitely be there to see them. If you’re a fan of the The Black Keys you shouldn’t miss The Blue Stones. Look for more on The Blue Stones in an upcoming Emerging Artist Spotlight.
Tarek Jafar of The Blue Stones
May 23, 2012 – A Primitive Evolution played the Bovine Sex Club on a bill with Kether and Hard Honey. APE is Brett Carruthers on lead vocals and Guitar, Stephany Seki on bass and backup vocals, Stu Dead on drums. They’re a heavy alt-rock with an emphasis on heavy. The subtleties of their studio work was somewhat lost in the intense show. Looking forward to see the band play live again to get a better chance to appreciate their compelling alt rock songs.