Rewind: Indie Week 2012 10/13/12

There comes a time in every person’s life where she sits back, examines all of the projects she’s taken on, and promptly decides that she is far beyond “busy”.  No, she is working four jobs and squeezing in a social life, and she doesn’t sleep.

In spite of the new challenges of my many hats, I still managed to take in a good chunk of the Indie Week proceedings – just not as much as I would have hoped.  Let’s rewind and take a look at the performances I caught along the way, using my own little judging system… one without any weight given to “how many friends did they bring to scream at the bar?”

First You Get The Sugar

Kicking off my festivities was Montreal’s danceable rock suppliers, First You Get The Sugar.  Making la belle province proud, the band delivers gorgeous harmonies that lull you into a false soothing sway, only to be shocked away by power riffs and punchy drums.  Moments of prog rock permeate the melodic stylings of this four-piece and their enthusiasm on stage made it easy to see why they made it to the semi-finals.

Engagement Level:  4.5
Unique ‘Voice’: 
4
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
5
Cerebral Captivation: 
4
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
4.5

Total Score:  22/25

You can check out this retro-riffic grooving band at their official website.

Waxmen
(Photo via MySpace)

WAXMEN

Next on the menu was a quick walk down the street to catch the rocking rhythms of WAXMEN.  With their new EP freshly released into the wild, you could definitely say it was a good week for the trio.  Their performance didn’t disappoint, of course:  I still remain enthralled by the intricate guitar work of Bear Zak and marvel at the gritty power of James Stefanuk’s voice.  I’ve already spoken at length about the band’s “Smells Like (My) Teen (Years) Spirit” and I’m really digging new tune “Shadow”.  Why don’t you just trust me and check them out?

Set:  Go It Alone; Shadow; Lost In The Park

Engagement Level:  4.5
Unique ‘Voice’: 
4.5
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
5
Cerebral Captivation: 
4.5
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
4.5

Total Score:  23/25

You can learn the details of the band and their new EP Shadow at their official home on Facebook.

Breached

Next up, I found my university self doing a backflip of glee as Breached took the stage.  Remember when Incubus used to rock hard, circa Make Yourself?  Hell, just remember the early 2000s and the alt/hard rock scene in general?  Breached has bottled that delicious era of “hit you in the heart” rock and brought it back to unleash on audiences.  A very fitting pairing with WAXMEN, methinks.  Melodic hard rock does it best here to keep up with the power vocals, almost like a duel to sonic death.  Tour suggestion:  Breached, WAXMEN and Animal Confession.  Make it so, men.

Engagement Level:  5
Unique ‘Voice’: 
4.5
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
5
Cerebral Captivation: 
4.5
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
5

Total Score:  24/25

Learn more about Breached at their official website.

The Lucy Grays

With a hop, bus and a rainy walk, I made my way over to the East Coast Showcase at the Underground Garage, sliding in the door mid-set for Halifax’s The Lucy Grays.  Self-described as a blend of Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse, I’m happy to concur without the tweak of guilt that inevitably comes when violin=Arcade Fire for me.  Off the top, let me say this:  the sample Show Gopher had posted did not do this band justice.  I wasn’t seeking to catch them at all, and am very glad I did.  I even snagged their EP after the set.  A groove-heavy rock with the flair of, say, Ashley MacIsaac, you really can’t go wrong with a band touting a song called “Zombies”.

Engagement Level:  4
Unique ‘Voice’: 
4
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
4.5
Cerebral Captivation: 
4.5
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
5

Total Score:  22/25

You, too, can acquire their EP over at the band’s official website.

Matthew Pickup & The Movement

Another of Halifax’s fine offerings, Matthew Pickup & The Movement are that band you want to play at the best house party you’ve ever thrown, where a Julia Stiles is dancing on the table and people are playing strip poker while copious amounts of booze are imbibed.  This isn’t to diminish the quality of the band’s straight-up rock; it’s merely to convey the energy they’re out to pump through your veins.  Blues and even a little funk creep in between the lines as shredded guitars give way to more playful composition (“Trouble City” was a definite highlight).  Add in the stage banter about lying waitresses at Jack Astor’s and the glory of boob shots on the walls, and you have the right ingredients for a good time.

Engagement Level:  4.5
Unique ‘Voice’: 
4
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
4.5
Cerebral Captivation: 
4
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
4.5

Total Score:  21.5/25

You can take a swing by their official website to learn more (and perhaps buy enough tunes so they can upgrade it a bit…)

The Stogies

A decent hype circled this band during the fest:  they won the Road To Indie Week for starters, while other bands touted their greatness.  Ironically, this band – and their consequential success at the fest – affirmed my nagging suspicions that the fest judges were giving a lot of attention to crowd noise and mainstream sound.

The Stogies have honed a 70s classic rock sound, right down to the uber curls of lead singer Blake Johnston evoking Robert Plant.  Belted shouts blend into the bluesy guitars in a standard rock song construction, all in all.  Don’t get me wrong:  in terms of technical skill, this band has the chops, sure.  In terms of standing out and bringing their own flavour to the table… I just didn’t see it.  The hype was not deserved.  Were I to head out for the night and find they were playing a set, I’d listen.  Would I actively seek them out?  Not at all.  I honestly felt like I was watching School Of Rock:  All Growed Up.  I can get that on the mainstream rock radio stations anytime.  I expect better quality from indies.

Engagement Level:  3.5
Unique ‘Voice’: 
3
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
4
Cerebral Captivation: 
3.5
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
3.5

Total Score:  17.5/25

You can learn more about The Stogies (and maybe you’ll gush over them like so many seemed to this weekend) at their official site.

Arrows In The Air

If Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” is an earworm you enjoy and you like a little old school punk in your indie rock, this is the band for you to check out.  Charlottetown, P.E.I.’s Arrows In The Air brought a little more pop to the table than the rest of the line-up, but it was the welcome variety.  Head bobbing goodness in a sassy package, shaken (not stirred) with the grittier feel of Sam Roberts.  Cool points bonus:  riffing Queen’s “Under Pressure” and being grateful the band was cited by the crowd, rather than Vanilla Ice.  We were rewarded with the former for our good taste in what was a well-played cover moment.  “Firecracker” and “Poor Little Bastard” were also great fun to rock to.

Engagement Level:  4
Unique ‘Voice’: 
4
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
4.5
Cerebral Captivation: 
4
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
4.5

Total Score:  21/25

Dig up the dirt on Arrows In the Air via their MySpace page.

Animal Talk

That’s right:  I centered my entire night around one act, and it wasn’t Glen Matlock (whose sound was utterly pooched by the Bovine, my coworker reported unhappily).  No, I was determined to have another dance rock party with Boston’s Animal Talk.  Easily one of the highlights of my NXNE 2012 experience, this band is impossible not to move to.  I defy anyone with even a twinge of 80s baby in them to not dance along.  It’s like the best of the current indie electro-rock scene in a blender with what made the 80s brilliant.  Definitely digging the new tune “Mama Was A Teenage Rocker” and will never tire of “Can’t Dance With It”.  Minor sound issues at the venue were a bit of a downer, but the cover of Billy Ocean classic “Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)” had me running from the back of the venue to front stage to fangirl in awe.

Engagement Level:  5
Unique ‘Voice’: 
4.5
‘Make You Move’ Factor: 
5
Cerebral Captivation: 
4.5
Desire To Acquire A CD/See Again: 
5

Total Score:  24/25

Behold the wonder that is Animal Talk (cheers guys, for citing my past review!) at their official website.

And that’s a wrap on my Saturday night at the festival!  Stay tuned for a rundown on (most of) the Finals!

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One thought on “Rewind: Indie Week 2012 10/13/12

  1. Pingback: Rewind: Indie Week 2012 10/14/12 | Open 'Til Midnight

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