Sunday, March 9th, 2008
CMW 2008 Day 2
Photo by Frank Yang
Even when I left the house of Friday night, I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going. I wanted to be in the neighbourhood of College and Spadina for midnight so I kind of decided en route to get off at Bathurst and hit up Sneaky Dee’s. As good a place as any to get started.
This evening the club was hosting the Soundproof showcase and taking the stage as I arrived was Restlesslist, who’d come all the way from Brighton in the UK to play our little festival. Though apparently usually greater in number when they perform, they were here as a three-piece but with a lot of equipment with which to craft their genre-hopping, cinematic, instrumental party soundtracks. Their set was upbeat and enjoyable throughout, thanks to a great melodic sense and entertaining and engaging banter from the band – for an instrumental band, they certainly liked to talk a lot. And tune. But the talking made the tuning go by faster.
Also a bit of a spontaneous pick was Peterborough’s Burning Hell, playing the Weewerk show at the Silver Dollar. I’d listened to their new record Happy Birthday a little while back and despite appreciating the droll, erudite lyrics mated with grandiose country-folk arrangements – think Magnetic Fields in a good mood – it felt a little too nudge nudge deliberate for my tastes. But on the stage, with Mathias Kom wielding his ukelele and considerable charisma and leading his nine-piece orchestra through the paces, it all made much more sense and even proved that sometimes, one accordion simply won’t do the job and a second is required. Goofy songs like the zombie tale “Grave Situation” are much more entertaining when bellowed at the top of one’s lungs rather than played through the stereo. A raucous good time with the album title particularly fitting as Kom was celebrating his 30th that night.
I had scheduled the evening around seeing Finnish space-rock outfit Pooma’s midnight set at Rancho Relaxo and, ironically, it was that show that ended up being the let down. From the recorded samples, they seemed to fit somewhere between Under Byen’s drama and Mum’s tinkertoy etherealness but as it turned out, they were too wispy to fill that niche. Songs seemed to drift aimlessly, built around singer Tuire Lukka’s languid, echo-treated vocals rather than any strongly considered structure or melody and even on an atmospheric level, they failed to be enveloping. To be fair, they alluded to some technical difficulties and even mentioned that when they played their next CMW showcase on Saturday night, they’d have all their instruments with them so they may well have been performing at a disadvantage. But this was the only performance I was going to be able to make and it was a disappointment.