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Wavelength 500 (Show 5)

My plans of attending Wavelength over the past week seem to have been defeated; of five shows, over the past week, I only attended one. For those who didn’t read my previous post, Wavelength is a music series that has happened every Sunday for the past ten year. To celebrate Wavelength 500 and mourn the end of the weekly series, Toronto was lucky enough to see a five night festival happening in various venues throughout the city.

I missed the first four shows, and unfortunately wasn’t able to see The Bicycles, Laura Barrett, Evening Hymns, Diamond Rings, Picastro, Constantines or numerous other bands, I did however get to see a show I will never forget.

Opening the show were BoarsNeckMean Red Spiders. They were all good. I enjoyed them all but don’t remember enough about any of them to have anything much to say.

The Barcelona Pavilion were probably my highlight of the show. I had wondered for a long time why anyone cared for any music performed by Steve Kado. I had seem him perform a number of times, and just didn’t get it, it didn’t make sense to me. Sure, I had respect for him, and the □□□□□□ Recording Club he helped found and admired the spirit of DIY so very much embodied by □□□□□□ and Wavelength. I’ve also been to The Boat many times and seen bands who were part of the Bad Band Revolution, and always wondered why anyone liked this self-admitted “bad bands,” seriously, they were horrible. I’ve always related Kado to that. Kado used to play in a band called The Barcelona Pavilion, and they reformed in their original lineup for Wavelength 500.

I was blown away by their performance, sure musically, it fit in with the bad band revolution, but it had all those wonderful tenants of good punk! I also haven’t moshed in a long time, and that was a nice change from usual… oh and did I mention that Maggie MacDonald is hot?

The best I can say about Kids on TV is that they are theatrical; I could also say they’re gay, but for some odd reason the two seem to go hand in hand. Their set didn’t really do anything for me, and I didn’t quite understand why anyone else was enjoying it; I found it to be cliché and boring.

Did you know that “Tranzac” is an adjective? As in, “This band is rather Trazacy.” Well, before Thomas came on, I asked someone what they were like, and he said “Tranzacy.” Then after getting bored with them, and hovering elsewhere in the bar, I mentioned my boredom to someone else, and she said, “yeah, they’re very Tranzac.” In closing, they were boring, and not an exciting secret act, the following secret act was much better.

Did someone say Owen Pallett? Oh my! For those who don’t know Owen Pallett used to record and tour under the name Final Fantasy. He’s recently decided to start going by his actual name. Pallett’s set’s biggest drawback was the 30 minutes for him to set up his excessive amounts of gear to play four songs. However, those four songs were absolutely wonderful. Before he left the stage he announced that he would be back in a few with The Hidden Cameras.

Yes, The Hidden Cameras. I’ve never been a fan. I have a strange double 7″ EP, and have listened to it a couple times. but I never really got into them. Unlike Kids on TV, I completely understand why they have a following, and really dug seeing them live. I was able to get into the groove of the audience, and enjoy the show for what it was. I still won’t be buying any of their records any time soon, but I’ll have fun if they randomly decide to close a show I’m at.

Above photo of Doc Pickles taken by Garry Tsaconas, used with permission.

Wavelength

10 years ago, Toronto’s music scene was bleak and boring; Canada’s music scene was incredible. Sloan had just released their best album Between The Bridges, The Flashing Lights were “Kings of the Canadian now,” and yet there were a handful of Toronto bands, but no decisive scene. We had Blue Rodeo, The Sadies and Ron Sexsmith hanging around, but Toronto seemed to be hostile towards new bands. Then came Wavelength…

I could easily discuss how important Wavelength has been to me, and that’s usually what I talk about on this blog, ME ME ME; you can’t blame me, I’m AWESOME. Instead I’d rather examine what Wavelength has done for Toronto as a whole.

I doubt there’s any Toronto music nerd who hasn’t walked into Sneaky Dee’s at some point and been completely confused by Doc Pickles’ strange ranting/introductions. There are some items in Toronto culture which are rights of passage for anyone; Wavelength is one of these. We’ve all been to Wavelength, and we’ve all seen tiny bands in tiny bars who would go on to greater things. We’ve also seen tiny bands in tiny bars who would stay where they are. So what makes Wavelength unique in Toronto?

Nothing. There is absolutely nothing unique about Wavelength, anymore. It’s another series amongst dozens that take place in this city every night of the year, but Wavelength is special. Sure, there’s its length (10 years is nearly impossible in this industry), but the historical context of Wavelength is truly where it shines. Toronto’s music scene was so very bleak before it and it was the first of its kind. Without it, we might just be faced with a pay-to-play city, where status is defined by pocketbook. Thanks to Wavelength, we have a local community of bands, we’re able to foster musicians, allowing them to grow, gain a reputation and then expand outside of the city. This has happened for so many Toronto bands since Wavelength’s founding, and it can easily be traced back to this weekly night.

Now we’ve had Wavelength for ten years, and its bowing out, but it’s going out with a band. The Wavelength 500 festival, begins today and goes until Sunday night. Bands big and small will play this festival, from The Constantines to Picastro, Kids On TV to Mean Red Spiders, Pony Da Look to Evening Hymns. I had planned to purchase a festival pass, I never got around to it. Rumour has it tonight’s show at The Music Gallery (an amazing venue) is sold out. That was the one show I was most excited for, but I’m sure I’ll find myself at some of these shows any way. It is after all, the end of an era.

With tons of other music series like No Shame, Two Way Monologues, Gather Round and more, will we miss Wavelength? Sure. We all know that no matter what we’ll have a good time on a Sunday night if we went out to Sneaky’s (or The Garrison), but at least we’ll have other places to spend our Sunday nights.

Wavelength 488

OH MY GOD! ANDY LLOYD!

OH MY GOD! ANDY LLOYD!

Went to one of the final nights of Wavelength. It was a “round robin” featuring way too many bands. Among them was Doctor Ew, aka Drew Smith of the Bicycles. It was nice to see a former Bicycle performing some new material.