Canadian Music Week Rundown: Day 3

It’s Friday. The week is nearly done, but Canadian Music Week is far from finished.

CMF Showcase presented by Big Sound @ Lee’s Palace

Unlike the Horseshoe on Tuesday night, arriving at Lee’s for 10pm gave us a little more room to breathe. We got there just as The Trouble with Templeton was finishing up and the venue was pretty empty. People were seated along the walls, but the open area in front of the stage was clear of bodies. Of course, it didn’t stay that way for long.

10pm – The Balconies

Always on the lookout for strong female rockers, I’ve been waiting for my chance to see the Balconies live for some time now. I missed them during NXNE, so there was no way I was missing them this time around.

There was nothing modest about this band, they came on heavy and never let up through the entire set. A mix of old and new tunes, The Balconies gave no doubt to why they were drawing the largest crowd of the night. 

With a lingering 80s hair metal feel, leader of the pack Jacquie showed off her rock moves by swirling her hair around and taking deep lunges while gyrating to the beat. She has a huge stage presence and a voice to match, which is quite a scene to witness, but sometimes it all seems a bit too theatrical and over the top. But hey, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

11pm – Rah Rah

These Saskatchewan darlings are having fun and they want you to know it. Full of energy and pizzazz, Rah Rah showed off their unique collective mentality, taking turns on varying instruments, sharing the lead vocals and bouncing around on stage while shooting joy filled glances at each other throughout it all. It really seemed like they were just a bunch of pals having a good time in their basement.

Despite their performance energy, their overall sound kind of fell flat for me. Granted, at least one member was fighting off a cold which no doubt interrupts the flow of things, but it just seemed like there was something missing. 

Not to mention, there was an air of try hard surrounding them all; certain things seemed a bit too gimmicky: mechanical moving cats that sat on the amps, bright red sunglasses thrown on for show, blow up balloon letters that spell RAH that were thrown into the crowd – which, actually, was sort of cool to see, but makes it hard for me to take things very seriously. But that’s probably it, they don’t want to be taken seriously, they want to have fun and that much shows.

12am – Two Hours Traffic

Lee’s was still hopping at midnight in anticipation of the East Coast flair of Two Hours Traffic. While they started out with a new tune that sounded a bit too Beatles-esque, the foursome quickly fell into the groove with some older pop melodies that had fans bopping on their feet singing along. 

The band seemed comfortable and relaxed on stage, rifling through their catalogue with ease despite a recent lineup change which seems to have given them a more mature and sophisticated sound. This isn’t bad, but there’s definitely a noticeable growth between the unmistakable uplifting pop songs of prior and the new material from their latest album Foolish Blood

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