Friday, March 11, 2011

CMW Day 2: Domestic Crisis Group, Kalle Mattson, The Folk, Jean-Paul DeRoover

Day 2 of Canadian Music Week means it's time for me to ramp things up after a leisurely opening night.

The first stop of the night was The Piston to catch Montreal's Domestic Crisis Group, a show that was rescheduled at the last minute.  I believe this was the duo's first appearance in Toronto, and hopefully not their last.  Showcasing their self-described "melancountry" they reinforced what I learned from their EP: they write some damn good songs.  Between Gen Blouin's surprisingly soulful vocals and Dane Ratliff's crisp guitar, they've got a strong formula which gets even better on those rare occasions when they rock out.  The band are planning to release their debut album later this year.  You can catch them again on Saturday night at Czehoski at 1:00am.

Next it was over to Mitzi's Sister for the norther Ontario showcase.  The first act was Sault Ste Marie's Kalle Mattson, a group that has just put their second stunning album under their belts.  The group spike their folk rock with just enough feedback and other guitar effects to keep audiences on their toes.  Lead singer Kalle Wainio is not an imposing presence, but his demur manner is perfectly suited for these well-written, thoughtful songs.  The performance wasn't quite as sharp as their appearance last year, and I would've liked to hear more selections from their debut record, but it's understandable that they would want to focus on the new one.

The Folk were up next.  The group played melodic, up tempo rock for the most part.  They seem very close to hitting on something, but there's just a little bit lacking still.  The hooks have promise and are just shy of infectious.  They aren't ready for prime time quite yet, but The Folk are definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.

I was intrigued to see Thunder Bay's Jean-Paul DeRoover.  His poppy songs, and a great video, built the anticipation.  It was also a chance to see an artist use live looping.  On this night the technique proved to be better as a concept than it was in reality.  As it stood live, DeRoover's songs simply didn't have the same charm, often feeling generic and sterile.  Judging from his recorded work I'm going to give him some slack.  Hopefully either he or I was having a bad night.

Tonight it looks like I'm going to split my time between The Hideout (for Australia's The On Fires) and Velvet Underground for the party that is Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots).

Domestic Crisis Group's website
Kalle Mattson's website
The Folk's Myspace
Jean-Paul DeRoover

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