Canadian Music Week kicked off at the Phoenix Concert Theatre with a bit of the old and a bit of the new. One reason why CMW is special is that the lineups feature great acts of a previous generation alongside Canada’s best up-and-coming talents. The CMW showcase was no different with Montreal-based Kandle opening for 70’s post-punk band, Television.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Kandle Osbourne took stage with a spare guitar in hand and half of her band. Kandle lost her guitar in an airport baggage mishap and because of CMW restrictions she couldn’t bring her full band, luckily her dad was in town to lend a hand. Neil Osbourne of British Columbia alt-rock band, 54-40, joined Kandle on stage, providing some rhythm on the tambourine and some quality father-daughter banter along the way.
Kandle put the crowd on notice right away with her powerful voice on “Not Up To Me”. She belted out lyrics about trying to pick herself up as she battles with her internal demons. She used her range of vocal deliveries to create feelings of hopefulness, loneliness and darkness all in one song, taking the audience through an emotional journey.
Kandle only played five songs, so she made sure to showcase her talents throughout. She played “When My Body Breaks” off her newest album Holy Smoke, which had an eerie, spaghetti western vibe to it. The album version features Peter Dreimanis of July Talk who provides his usual deep, dark voice. The song still had lots of punch but missed the contrast between Dreimanis’s raspy boom and Kandle’s bright twang.
The set was short, but fortunately for everyone in the crowd, the kind where you wish it went longer. Kandle thanked the crowd before stating how much of an honour it was to open for Television. Classy.
After a bit of a wait, Television took stage before a crowd that I will say with the utmost respect, was twice my age. The punk veterans were as impressive as you would expect for a band that’s been playing for over forty years. They were extremely tight. The band was in-sync the entire show, especially the guitars. Tom Verlaine and Jimmy Rip played off of each other with their interlocking rhythms before taking turns wowing the audience with their unique styles. Personally, I had never seen a guitar played in as many ways as Tom Verlaine played his. At one point, he loosened a string, grabbed it in his left hand to manually tune it while he played the string with his right hand. Definitely the type of skill one can only teach themselves through experimentation.
Verlaine wasn’t the only person who impressed with his musicianship. Everyone in the band is a master at their craft, playing their instrument in a multitude of ways. Billy Ficca, impressed with his drumming by playing the sides of his drums, and using rimshots and tasteful cymbals to shine on “Prove It”.
Television played for well over an hour, with some songs actually taking a quarter of an hour on their own. In all of their tonal, art-punk brilliance, Television showed why they were the perfect band to officially kickoff Canadian Music Week with a bang.