Torontonians were bustling and the venues were hustling as Indie Week took over Toronto Oct. 13 - 18. From the next big thing to some less touted acts, there were many new sounds to be heard over the four-day competition – and I, admittedly, have become a fan of several.
The sweet sounds of surf rock echoed through the basement of Adelaide Music Hall as Ottawa’s Thrifty Kids. took to the stage for the Edge Next Big Thing Showcase. Singer Sarah Cogan’s soulful tones truly added a unique element to an already notable band. With beach-pop vibes and epic ‘dos on pretty much every member, this is definitely one quartet to watch out for on the indie scene.
As Thunder Bay’s The Honest Heart Collective began their set, it felt as though the stage tripled in size. They may only be a quintet, but the way these lads work the room is truly remarkable. A great group dynamic indicated a long-time connection for these members, jumping across the stage with effortless ease as they played off one another’s energy. With a very “true north” Canadian rock sound, it’s pretty apparent you will be seeing these guys on the roster with the likes of The Arkells in the near future.
On Sunday evening, the Mod Club filled up with music industry folk as the Finals got under way, and it’s pretty obvious why the bands who'd been chosen were rated the best of the best.
Hip-hop infused funk/rock/soul band BLAKDENIM impressed the crowd with their enthusiastic stage presence and contagious melodies. With a flute/trombone player in the set, how could it NOT be compelling?
Waterloo’s alt rock act Amberwood offered up catchy sing-along tunes with a passion and camaraderie that displayed deep connections among the foursome. Frontman Oli Duguay conveys sincerity and heart in his vocals and performance, even jumping onto the floor for some fan interaction during a few of the tracks.
After all was said and done, it was The Killing Floor that took the first place title for Indie Week. The alt rock band, based out of NYC and London, showed off their professional chops with a clean, perfected sound that reverberated to the back of the Mod Club. A lively performance (and epic lightshow) brought this act to the next level, reaching the judges in the balcony seats.
The opportunity to discover new sounds across the country and beyond is of utmost importance to maintaining a passion for music. It’s forever growing, forever changing, and Indie Week offers these impactful few days to unearth some amazing acts, as the streets of Toronto truly came alive with the sounds of indie.
Photo credits: Shelley Sumairsingh