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CMW Review: Night Three at Lee’s Palace

March 14th, 2010

Think About Life

Despite the torrential down pour and the blustery winds on day three of Canadian Music Week, venues were still packing the audience to the lid. Friday night I set up shop in Lee’s Palace to see one of the coolest and most diverse Canadian showcases of the fest.
Check out my reviews after the jump.

Winter Gloves
Winter Gloves are an accidental electro-rock band born out of songs that lead singer Charles F posted on online.

Stage Presence: B+
Winter Gloves milked their charming French Canadianess. The most commanding presence on stage was lead singer Charles F who bounded up and down over his keyboard while the rest of the band stood coolly behind their instruments.

Stage Banter: B
The highlight of their banter was the French language back and forth with a handful of audience members.

Actual Talent: A
These boys are gimmick free and make exceptional music without having to hide a lack of talent behind phony colour.

Audience Response: B+
Winter Gloves took the stage at 9 pm only about 15 minutes after the doors finally opened at Lee’s Palace so the floor was nearly empty until a responsive crowd eventually streamed in near the end of their set.

Potential for Superstardom: B+
Winter Gloves have the excitement and talent to be stars but they may need to distinguish their sound among the explosion of similar bands.

Overall Score: B+
Extra Credit: To draw people to the front of the stage, Winter Gloves gave out free copies of their CD.

The Russian Futurists
The Russian Futurists are a lo-fi, poppy electro-rock band who have been around for 10 years, way longer than many of the baby-faced breaking bands of CMW.

Stage Presence: B
The Russian Futurists don’t go for the ever popular stage flailing but their Feist doppelganger bass player has the hair flip down pat.

Stage Banter: A
The Russian Futurists had some of the best banter of the night and even squeezed some modest chuckles from the audience.

Actual Talent: A-
The person who caught my eye as the most talented of the group was the drummer. He rocked out like Jason Segal in Freaks and Geeks. But, I did miss the awesome horn section from the recorded version of “Paul Simon.”

Audience Response: B+
The audience responded like a typically interested CMW crowd who were just excited to be there but the number of new songs the band played could have contributed to the audience’s low energy.

Potential for Superstardom: B
The band has been around for so long compared to a lot of CMW bands that their superstardom will be hard earned.

Overall Score: B+
Extra Credit: Played “Paul Simon,” a staple on my high school play list.

The Acorn
The Acorn are a Canadian folk-rock band with grit whose large membership dominates every stage they mount.

Stage Presence: B
The last time I saw The Acorn they were an opener for one of my favourite bands and I was, dare I say, moderately bored. But, The Acorn proved that quick judgment is never good when they rocked the stage hard on Friday.

Stage Banter: A
The band’s lead singer Rolf Klausener is so charming and he gives off the feeling that he is genuinely grateful to be playing.

Actual Talent: A
Let’s just say one thing, two drum kits.

Audience Response: A
The Acorn has a very committed fan base. You didn’t even need to talk to them to tell that they came out in droves on Friday to support them.

Potential for Superstardom: A
The Acorn proved that they are both a band that plays pleasant, mellow music and can hit you with a tornado of rock. Their range will serve them well.

Overall Score: A
Extra Credit: Evoking nostalgia from the audience by announcing the departure of band member Howie Tsui.

Plants and Animals
Plants and Animals are a throw-back rock trio who were one of the most buzzed about bands in 2008 and have managed to keep up that momentum leading into their upcoming album La La Land.

Stage Presence: A
Front man Warren Spicer knows how to get his audience on board and sweat through his white button up shirt trying to entertain.

Stage Banter: B
Plants and Animals also stuck to the “Thank you for being heres” and the standard pre-song blurbs but missed out on the relatable stage raport.

Actual Talent: A
Plants and Animal’s genuine talent cements their credibility. Although it takes many things to make a band great, Plants and Animals are able to experiment on stage because of their confidence in their skills.

Audience Response: A+
People really do love Plants and Animals. Usually when a band’s set is so heavy on new songs, the audience gets bored but Plants and Animals managed to keep the audience’s attention as they tried out their new stuff.

Potential for Superstardom: A
Plants and Animals have already become a must-have on house party and walking to work playlists but if Friday’s show was a taste of their new album, they better be prepared to skyrocket.

Overall Score: A
Extra Credit: Front-man Warren Spicer’s makeover from hairy woodsman to slick polo club member.

Think About Life
Think About Life is a soulful dance band who are known for their live shows and have now cemented themselves as an act I refuse to miss.

Stage Presence: A+
Once 1 pm rolled around I was ready to get my second wind after concerting for four hours. Think About Life provided that burst of energy.

Stage Banter: A
The foursome all have their role in the witty tête à tête they have on stage like dance pop Golden Girls.

Actual Talent: A
Think About Life joins a resurgence of bands who prove that although a band can be great with mediocre vocals, they can be superior with vocals like Martin Cesar’s and Caila Thompson-Hannant’s.

Audience Response: A+
It seemed like I wasn’t the only one who needed a kick in the pants again. Although there was some roughhousing, the audience danced like their black pumps and Nike hightops were on fire.

Potential for Superstardom: A
There are few party bands around right now that rival the awesomness of Think About Life. If F-cked Up is Toronto’s greatest live act, they may have a Quebecois rival on their hands.

Overall Score: A
Extra Credit: The broke-down robot dance moves they used to end their songs.

Look out for more about Winter Gloves, The Acorn and Think About Life coming soon.

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