Sunday, July 29, 2007

March 2007 - CMW Indie Awards

© March 2007 - CMW Indie Awards - By Bryen Dunn, Toronto,

What’s up with CMW? They are on the right track with over 500 bands playing twenty various venues in Toronto over a 3-day period. That’s the good part. Getting this many performers involved must be a logistical nightmare for the troops to put together. So, congrats to the “Group of Seven” who are on the payroll with CMW.

Last year, I gripped about a few issues that fell through the cracks. There was the fiasco at Social where many bands were left holding their drumsticks in the streets due to some mismanagement of venue selection. Then there was the most difficult website ever to navigate through. Well, the weekend is just beginning so there may be booking dramas yet to come, but let’s hope not.

The website looks the same as last year with just a different line up. It’s still difficult to navigate, and there’s not enough information provided for the general public to figure out where to go or who they want to see. Even trying to locate band information or a proper schedule is no where to be found. Once you find the dropdown for the band listing, there are the names and website references. It would be helpful to have a one-liner describing the genre of music (alternative, country, jazz, etc) so that you would know if you wanted to link to their site to find out more. Clicking into 500 band websites could be fun, but you’d likely miss the Festival by the time you got to the Z’s.

Also, putting a proper schedule searchable by band, venue, date, and other variables would make it more user-friendly. How about some song samples, contests, email sign up list, fan forums, and more interactive methods for people to connect with others online. The conferences and celebrity chats are great, for those that can get out of bed early enough to go sit in a stuffy hotel conference room, still hung over from the night before. Everyone realizes events can’t go on without sponsorships, but can we not just have them listed in a drop down similar to the bands who are what this event is suppose to be about anyway. Finally, do we really need pictures of a dozen suits and their bios? Again, band pix and bios would be much more needed and appreciated. Cut the corporate bullshit, and have some fun.

Last year I bashed the Indie Awards for not recognizing enough of the unsigned artists, which “indie” is supposedly meant to be. This year wasn’t much different with homegrown names such as MSTRKRFT, The Sadies, The Trews, Cadence Weapon and Tokyo Police Club hauling out the awards. The show itself is quite laughable, given it is now in its seventh year. The Docks has a great layout with a few different VIP sections set up throughout, but the sound techs really need to pay attention to what’s going on up on the stage. There were times when the lead vocals were being swallowed up by the amplified instruments. The use of monitors and speakers throughout is a great bonus.

Who decided Jully Black would be a good MC should be worried for their job right now. She seemed to have her own agenda for the evening, and that was to promote Jully Black. She fumbled and blundered throughout the performance, going off on tangents and lazily slouching over the podium. Then as Wolf Mother finished their performance, Ms. Black hauled her ass back on the stage to thank everyone for coming, blah blah blah. Then after a few shouts from the crowd reminding her The Stills were yet to headline, she slurs oh wait, the show isn’t over yet, come back. Regardless, her recovery was horrible, and an insult to everyone involved with the show, especially The Stills who had to come back after 75% of the crowd left. Black meandered off the stage asking the crowd to remember to check out www.jully ….yeah whatever - Black never to be back.

There was then a good 20 minute needless lull in time as we waited for The Stills to sound check, finish their drinks, or whatever other reason for the unnecessary delay. The music between was anything but indie and upbeat to keep the interest of the crowd. It was a combination of 70’s pop and Gnarls Barkley craziness. Hey CMW, get a DJ next year.

As one CMW associate told me, “Things are changing as we bring in the young blood.” It’s about time. Let’s see if things change for 2008.

Not to be entirely bitter, I say grab a wristband, get off your ass and see some of the best new music being produced in Canada and abroad. Get out as early as 8pm and stay out until as late as 4am, with a band an hour. Grab a pen and a program and start planning.
If you really need to, check the CMW website for details as well -

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