Concerts Concerts CMF 2011: A Folky-Hopping-Rocking Good Thursday

CMF 2011: A Folky-Hopping-Rocking Good Thursday

Hollerado at The Opera House
The Wilderness Of Manitoba, Hollerado, Land Of Talk
Lee's Palace, The Opera House in Toronto, ON
March 10, 2011

Review by: Lee Fraser
Photos by: Amanda Fotes, Greg Abramowitz

Lee's Palace was transformed into a warm and cozy venue as The Wilderness of Manitoba eased us into Thursday of CMF, while Hollerado and Land of Talk wrapped up the Sirius Satellite Showcase at the Opera House.

The Wilderness Of Manitoba

Some might view an early time slot during CMW as negative, but The Wilderness of Manitoba seized the opportunity to transform Lee's Palace into a sanctuary of calm. A nice way to start off the second night of Canadian Music Fest, the band wooed the growing crowd with beautiful harmonies, melodic strings and deft percussion. The Wilderness of Manitoba generated flawless four-part vocals and three-part whistling harmonies, dreamy accents with Tibetan singing bowls, and foot-tapping banjo licks.

Venues like The Black Sheep Inn and Trinity-St Paul’s Church are ideal venues for this folksy, hypnotic group, but their sound has a transformative power. Never before have I experienced such a quiet crowd at Lee’s Palace. So quiet that Will Whitwham (vocals, guitar) pointed out that he could hear the complimentary comments from the crowd, at one point rendering him speechless and blushing.

The band ended their set with two upbeat, catchy tunes that got the crowd moving, much to the delight of Melissa Dalton (vocals). It was yet another great show by The Wilderness of Manitoba, a treat for their fans and, judging by the activity around the merch table after the show, a good introduction for others.

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Hollerado

You might wonder how a rapping poet laureate, followed by classic jazz house music can lead into a set by an energetic, do-it-yourself rock band. When the rock band is Hollerado, anything that preceded the set is irrelevant – this is a band that takes command of the venue and makes the show their own. Die-hard fans and industry types mingled with people taking advantage of CMW to check out what all the fuss is about with this band.

Hollerado, the band that gave us the Human 8-Bit Video and free nachos, brought a 40 minute version of their show to The Opera House for the first of a couple of CMF appearances. Although their set was confetti-free, there was still story-telling, Tigger action and home-made water-based special effects. Menno Versteeg (vocals, guitar) explained that the day had been pretty crappy up to that point, but with a pair of dry socks, standing before a full Opera House, things were looking up.

Both Menno and Nixon Boyd (guitar) continued to display their developing guitar virtuosity, playing up intros and outros. Adam Melnick, keys player from Huron, joined them for "Got To Lose". Hollerado have the magic combination of talent, ambition and charisma. An indication of having all of that and staying down to earth, Menno led the crowd to give a big shout out to their agent who was listening to the live CBC Radio 3 simulcast of the show.

Not many bands treat a CMF slot as an opportunity to try out new material, but Hollerado threw in one new song, "Shanghai". With catchy guitar riffs and a great chorus for singing along, this song will surely become a new crowd favourite. Old favourites such as "Juliette" and "Americanarama" gleaned fist-pumping and dance-jumping by the all-ages crowd, and the band managed to squeeze in a few tunes from their recently pressed Margaritaville II album. Ending the night with the ever-popular "Do The Doot Da Doot Do", the boys in Hollerado hit the merch table to connect with and build their growing fan base.

Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House   Hollerado at The Opera House  

Land Of Talk

Their only show of CMF 2011, Land of Talk were the headliners for Sirius Satellite’s night at The Opera House. The band was welcomed on stage by Craig Norris of CBC Radio 3, who shared a story of knowing Elizabeth Powell since she played open mic nights in Guelph. A long way from strumming an acoustic guitar and singing to a small crowd, Liz led the five-piece band and switched guitars frequently.

The crowd in front of the stage was lively and the band enjoyed their time in the spotlight. With adoring fans before her, Liz asked frequently how everyone was doing. Picking up on the attendance by some folks from her current home base, she included some French banter at one point. The sound up in the balcony was not all that great; the vocals were difficult to make out and the guitars sounded a bit muddy. Normally a three piece band, Land of Talk has been touring with additional vocals and guitar, giving them a fuller sound. After an hour's set, the fans demanded more and were treated to a CMF-sized encore.

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