CMW: Lost in the moment

Cellphone. This facial expression captures how much fun last night's show was. Photo: Emily Scherzinger.
Cellphone (this facial expression captures how much fun last night’s show was). Photo: Emily Scherzinger.

by Elena Gritzan

It’s great to save the best for last. For my final night of Canadian Music Week (tonight has me working on an essay instead of hitting more shows), I headed to the Comfort Zone for the Silent Shout showcase. The after-hours venue was a lot more spacious than I had imagined, with black lights and glowing neon shapes on the wall. Someone commented that it looked like Laser Quest down there, though I was getting a bit of a glow bowling vibe too (regretting not wearing white).

Valerie Dour. Photo: Adam Bernhardt.

I have been trying my best to be honest with my coverage of the festival this week (see: Wednesday’s bout of disillusionment), so here’s today’s confession. I was so in the moment for the entirety of this show, dancing and being lost in the music, that my notes are a bit spotty. So maybe this will be less articulate than usual, but it’s a testament to the strength of the show at least.

The night began with Dan Miller’s Valerie Dour project. With no songs released online, it was difficult to know what to expect going in, though it was clear within a few notes from the double layer of keyboards that this was going to be something special. Distorted vocals, pounding beats.

Castle If. Photo: Adam Bernhardt.
Castle If. Photo: Adam Bernhardt.

The mid-section of the showcase was filled out by a pill-popping performance by Castle If (actually, they took something out of a prescription bottle before the last song). The three song set ended with them throwing a can of glitter to the audience (I still have some in my hair) and the atmosphere from a smoke machine paired well with the dark synth sound. Castle If was rather moody, so Cellphone contrasted with a huge burst of energy, playing frantic synth punk with constant tempo shifts.

Doom Squad are amazing. That’s something we learned a month ago at Wavelength 13, but their sound fit in more with the dark basement cave vibe of the Comfort Zone than it did with the bright and open Great Hall. Flutes and recorders accent the ritual groove of their guitar and synth, and all three face-painted members swayed along in a trance with the rest of us.

Doom Squad. Photo: Adam Bernhardt.
Doom Squad. Photo: Adam Bernhardt.

The last time I saw Mozart’s Sister was during NXNE, in a timeslot that coincided with the Flaming Lips concert at Yonge and Dundas. Needless to say, not nearly enough people were in the Garrison that night to witness her powerful voice, large stage presence, and inventive production. The room was quite a bit more packed this time around, and she seems to have moved past the bedroom production vibe through the addition of another member to play guitar and some electronics. “Mozart’s Sister” and “Don’t Leave It To Me” from her four-song EP blended in with a mix of  newer material, full of large dance beats and emotive vocals. She invited the audience to dance on stage with her towards the end (I was happy to oblige).

In case you didn’t know this already, Silent Shout put on some pretty great shows. This line-up was the most consistently solid I experienced all week at the festival, with each band adding their own unique styles to add up to one large, happy party.

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