Figured I’d break this into a three part thing, since it’s A LOT of information.
#34 Fairchild @ Baltic Avenue May 6th 2014 (http://www.fairchildband.net/)
I had no clue who these guys were when my friend Robin & I walked into Baltic Avenue randomly with our CMW wristbands. But they were great! The only reason they’re last on this list: I didn’t know much about them before, and haven’t looked to find out much since. They didn’t blow my socks off, but they weren’t terrible either. (And we saw some weird bands at CMW, so weird I don’t even remember who they were). But I will continue to keep an eye on them as these guys showed a lot of promise.
#33 Do Make Say Think @ Field Trip Day Two June 8th 2014
Meh. I know I am supposed to drool over this band because I love everything on the Arts & Crafts label but I found them to be a bit self-indulgent and it honestly got a little repetitive. Yes the musicianship was fantastic, and I love Julie Penner but that wasn’t enough for me. So really not much more to add is there?
#32 Young the Giant @ Molson Amphitheatre August 5th 2014 (www.youngthegiant.com)
Okay full disclaimer… I missed part of their set because I was in line for the bathroom, and I know that violates my rules. But I needed to include them because they were still fantastic. So the only reason they’re near the bottom is because I missed a bunch of songs… I literally came running out of the bathroom to catch the end of their set and I missed “Cough Syrup”. UGH. But they were good, and next time they are in town I am going and will not be making a pit stop.
#31 Said the Whale @ Edgefest 2 (Echo Beach) July 18th 2014 (http://saidthewhale.com/)
This is a funny one for me. I was impressed by these guys on stage, so much so I bought their album immediately after their set. But guess what, I think I’ve listened to that album twice since buying it. I think they will sadly rank amongst my “good live, but their albums need to stand out from the crowd a little more”.
#30 Kongos @ Molson Amphitheatre August 5th 2014 (www.kongos.com)
I could have seen these guys during CMW but at the time I had no clue who they were. I still don’t know much more about them, but they were a solid opening band. They’re best known now for their hit “Come With Me Now” a song that was actually released a few years ago. Their performance impressed me enough that I will keep an eye on them, but for now they go in the good but not great area of the list.
#29 The Constantines @ Field Trip Day Two June 8th 2014
Another band I know I am supposed to love, especially since they are Toronto Indie Royalty. But they just don’t do it for me. I can’t even put my finger on it other than the vocals rub me the wrong way, and I just find them a bit overrated, especially in this city.
#28 USS @ Edgefest 2 (Echo Beach) July 18th 2014 (http://www.ussmusic.com/)
They were my guilty pleasure this summer. They remind me of the music I used to listen to in high school. These guys were pretty good, but as my friend Kim said “a little too boy band”. And that’s really the best way to describe them. Everything was over the top, in a cheesy way. However, I did love the surprise cameo by B Rich, famous for his “Out For a Rip” summer meme. Definitely earns a Best Of mention. Otherwise, not much else to say about these guys. Heavily produced, and a lot of RAZZLE DAZZLE but not much else to keep me interested. I am not sixteen anymore after all.
#27 The Darcys @ Field Trip Day One June 7th 2014 (http://www.thedarcys.ca/)
I am really sad to hear these guys are going through a drastic lineup change but I can see why though – they really didn’t have that one song that sticks with you. Yes, “The River” is a great song, and it was fantastic live, but they do get lost in the sea of other great indie rock bands in Toronto. I hope what’s left of them finds their voice.
#26 Half Moon Run @ Field Trip Day One June 7th 2014 (http://www.halfmoonrun.com/)
I was really looking forward to these guys. I listened to their album “Dark Eyes” non-stop last winter. And they didn’t disappoint. But they didn’t blow me away either. It was exactly what I expected out of them (a solid rock performance), so they land right in the middle of my pack.
#25 Big Wreck @ Danforth Music Hall October 16th 2014 (http://www.bigwreckmusic.com/)
I haven’t listened to these guys since the 90s, but my boyfriend & his friends are huge fans. And sadly, he couldn’t join me but I had a blast at this show with a couple of his good friends John & Val (the same couple who accompanied us on our first date… more to come on that). Big Wreck were really good, and what you’d expect from guys who’ve been performing as long as they have. One surprise was how many covers they did. I found it a little odd considering how deep their catalogue is (both as a band and solo performers) but was blown away that they covered “Biko” by Peter Gabriel. I really can’t say much more, it was my first Big Wreck experience and they lived up the expectations that had been set for me.
#24 Austra @ Field Trip Day One June 7th 2014 (http://www.austramusic.com/)
I am so mixed on this band. I love their latest album, and singer Katie Stelmanis has an incredible voice. But I found their stage presence to be lacking until about midway through their set. However they sound fantastic. So it’s frustrating because I feel that with a little more persona on stage they could be a lot more.
#23 Grouplove @ Sound Academy September 9th 2014 (http://www.grouplovemusic.com/)
I had no idea what to expect from these guys, but I did expect a high energy show and they delivered. Vocalist Hannah Hooper is a kick ass female performer. Girl has energy for days. She can also rock a body suit like I WISH I could. Her antics on stage, along with co-vocalist Christian Zucconi put on an incredible display. If you don’t dance & jump along with these guys then you are doing it wrong.
#22 Born Ruffians @ Horseshoe Tavern July 2nd 2014 (http://www.bornruffians.com/)
I had debated going to TURF this year and one of the main draws was this band. For those who may not recognize the name, you likely heard their summer hit “Oh Cecelia” on the radio, A LOT. Wow, these guys are intense. Mitch Derosier is a beast on the bass. A sweaty, energetic and passionate beast. Lead singer Luke Lalonde is no slouch either, but Mitch steals the show. I couldn’t get over how Mitch kept the same energy throughout their entire set. These guys might be one of the best indie rock/punk bands in the city. They aren’t my normal “cup of tea” (punk can wear me down sometimes) but these guys impressed me and turned me into a fan.
#21 MS MR @ Edgefest 2 (Echo Beach) July 18th 2014 (http://msmrsounds.com/)
MS MR was the whole reason I went to Edgefest. This NYC duo were fantastic. Lizzy Plapinger knocked her vocals out of the park, and this chick can bust a move. Also, she was wearing polka dot pants, WHERE DO YOU PURCHASE THOSE?! She is what I want so many more female lead singers to be like – confident and demanding your attention. Go out there and grab the spotlight ladies!
Tomorrow… I will reveal who cracks #20 – 11!
Were you at these shows? Do you disgaree? Agree? Trollin’? Or just want to know more of my thoughts on some of these bands? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter @TeslaMay