OWEN PALLETT at The Danforth Music Hall
Fans crammed in so close to the stage at Owen Pallett's release party for In Conflict that he joked they might want to consider moving back a little to avoid catching airborne vds from his spit. The audience cheers continued unabated, even when he had to double or triple start songs in order to get his loops set up right. Magician-like, Pallett casually sipped from his drink while his bandmates (Matt Smith and Rob Gordon, of his early 20s project, les Mouches) went crazy. The group's sound is so massive and sophisticated now, that quieter moments at the beginnings of songs - with just violin and voice - often stood out as most poignant.
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD at the Horseshoe
Fresh from the Austin Psych Fest, Melbourne garage-punk-surfers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard smoked the Aussie BBQ on Saturday afternoon. The youthful seven-piece includes two drummers, a harmonica player, a bassist, two guitarists and a singer/guitarist who does squats and bounces while singing through a distorted mic. The melodies stayed breezy and weird, the music loose and noisy, and the vibe as carefree as we imagine Australia to be. In the running for best of the fest.
PKEW PKEW PKEW (Gunshots) at The Silver Dollar
Toronto party punks Pkew Pkew Pkew don't care much for subtlety. During their frenzied 35-minute set, the five-piece fiercely screamed about boozing (choice lyrics include "we are getting drunk before we go out drinking"), whilst soliciting hand claps and beer from the riled-up audience. On several occasions, vocalist Brodie Bocelli catapulted himself out into the crowd, maneuvering a five-man support crowd surf and moshing his way atop the Silver Dollar's bar. Although their gang vocals and revved-up guitar melodies can make every song sound like the same party anthem, their crazed fan base was obviously eating it up.
CHLOE CHARLES at the Drake Hotel
While Chloe Charles was serenading a small early evening crowd at the Drake, across town at Kool Haus it was being announced that she'd won the award for best Soul/R&B Artist of the Year at the SiriusXM Indies. Her eclectic sound also encompasses elements of folk and indie rock, but it was the more overtly R&B songs that flattered her smoky vocals best in the live setting.
BIZZARH at the Drake Hotel
Up-and-coming hip-hop and neo-soul duo Bizzarh give off a very mellow vibe onstage. So much so, that they occasionally come across as a little too casual, although their laid back attitude does suit their drifty psychedelic R&B jams. They still seem to be finding their sound, but it's moving in promising directions.
PYPY at Wrongbar
Montreal stoner punk band PyPy played to the small handful of listeners at Wrongbar as if it were a packed club, proving that their sludgy garage rock jams sound even heavier live than on record. Unfortunately it was hard to get into the rock'n'roll spirit, at least compared to when they're playing for a room full of fans, instead of a sparsely attended festival showcase.