Every year some showcases get stacked with acts whose draw far exceeds the venue’s capacity, leading to long lines of people who have no hope of getting in. If you want to hit these gigs, plan to get there very early.
The Indies, in the Canadian Room (100 Front West), Saturday (March 8).
This is one of those limited-wristbands-and-passes events, and they’ve obviously figured that the best way to get people out to an awards night is to pack the show with bands. Good luck getting into the Royal York’s quaintly named Canadian Room to catch the New Pornographers, Tokyo Police Club, the Besnard Lakes, Young Galaxy and other indie heavyweights. You’d probably enjoy them more in a club anyway (you can tell yourself as you stand in the cold).
Paper Bag Records, at the Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen West), Friday (March 7).
The front door lineup at the Drake on a normal Friday night can be daunting enough without the CMW crowds to contend with. This year’s Paper Bag showcase has a lot of buzz-worthy but genuinely quirky acts. Ones to watch are the ethereal “sci-folk” of Laura Barrett, Slim Twig’s spooky electro-rockabilly and Woodhands’ lo-fi synth pop attack, but don’t expect to show up halfway through the night and get past the bouncer.
Chart-Shoe, at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Thursday (March 6).
Limited wristbands and passes are admitted to this one, and it’s sure to be a big draw, particularly for the indie prog folk of Plants and Animals, which, come to think of it, also describes the appeal of the Acorn. Katie Stelmanis’s classically informed computer pop is also well worth checking out, as is Dog Day’s jangly indie rock. Might as well make it a night if you’re planning on checking out any of them.
Murderecords, at Supermarket (268 Augusta), Thursday (March 6).
So you’d like to see Sloan in a small venue? Good luck getting into this one. Once again, it’s limited wristbands and passes, so you might just want to bite the bullet and try to buy tickets. If you manage to camp out early enough to get in, enjoy the theatrical keyboard-fuelled post-punk of Pony Da Look, who are playing in the second slot.