Editorial – Amber Waves; Photography – J.J. Deogracias
OTM rounded off the first night of the festival at The Annex Live, an unfortunate venue for the bands in question. It has to be said, as a patron of live music venues throughout the city, big and small: this venue is not up to standards, particularly for major events like CMW. The soundchecks run on, plagued by issues that leave artists looking baffled. From a comfort perspective, having two of three stalls out of order in the women’s washroom from moment one is just plain awful.
Sigh. At least the music was enjoyable! Let’s take a look at that now.
41st and Home
It seems as though Arcade Fire has made the violin cool again — a must-have band member, these days, or so we noted during our night. I’m not complaining: as Emilie Autumn proved with Opheliac, strings of all sorts can shred. Even the classic composers knew that.
41st and Home puts theirs to good use, layering on evocative notes to expand their sound from its garage rock core. One almost senses this is akin to the grown-up version of the frick-awesome kids of School of Rock: Jack Black’s been ditched and the compositions are more post-modern than the classic rock they teethed on under his tutelage.
It works well, although part of me wanted more crashing keys of the Andrew McMahon variety. No matter: 41st and Home manages to be at turns symphonic and sly. It’s a brew worth imbibing.
The Danger Bees
There’s something about lanky guys with dark, short hair and glasses in this industry.
Whether looking at Ben Folds, Rivers Cuomo or David Macmichael, front man of The Danger Bees, they tend to have a sardonic, self-deprecating approach to songwriting. Be it Folds’ “One Angry Dwarf & Two Hundred Solemn Faces”, Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” or the latest single from The Danger Bees, “Standing Still (The Girls I Call Don’t Answer Anymore)”, they seem to enjoy turning life’s downers around and willingly becoming the punch line of their own joke. It’s humanizing and also endearing — after all, who hasn’t been kicked into the proverbial dirt when it comes to love?
It’s that desire to cheer for the underdog that amplifies the likeability of a garage rock band riffing through tunes with the hook factor of a pop hit. Not only are the choruses crafted to encourage singing along, it’s hard to look a plaintive “Soy un perdedor” guy in the eye and not want to hand the guy a beer with a smile. It’s a winning combination, even if The Danger Bees branding suggests a loser at the helm.
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Much more to come in our Farewell to CMW 2013, coming next week!