Canadian Music Week Reviews: Day 3

On Thursday, I went to a licensing panel discussion and the Bob Lefsetz speech. But at night, I went to the amazing showcase at Lee’s Palace with Winter Gloves, the Russian Futurists, The Acorn, Plants & Animals and Think About Life. It was an energy-packed night with a happy little Jess, especially for the Acorn and P&A, two bands I’ve really loved for a while now. I’m also pretty glad I saw Winter Gloves & Think About Life. There was free beer, good people and fun music. Can’t get much better.

I think I have a few videos, coming soon (in all their crappy quality glory!)

For now, here are my reviews, originally published on

Winter Gloves
Toronto, ON March 12
By Jessica Lewis

This Montreal foursome is doing everything that Vampire Weekend should be doing and then doing it better. Winter Gloves are fairly clean-cut but their off-kilter pop disagrees. Behind multiple synths, two guitars, two drum kits and a xylophone were eager gents just wanting to engage the crowd. Playing a good mix of old and new songs, they gave out CDs from the stage a few songs in and front-man Charles F occasionally stood on his keyboard stool, either kicking off from it or playing with his feet. Though Winter Gloves did escape to their separate instrumental bubbles at times, you’d know when their gusto took hold.

The Russian Futurists
Toronto, ON March 12
By Jessica Lewis

The Russian Futurists are a quirky Toronto-based group that’s been around for a long time but never really cracked into the next level. However, after they played most of their set as new songs, they showed that their next album, The Weights on the Wheels, might be a fun summer hit. Thanks to the beats, the group’s music almost becomes club music, but in order to achieve that kind of energy completely, they need to loosen themselves up and have a bit more enjoyment with their songs onstage. A highlight was when Halifax-based singer Ruth Minnikin joined the Russian Futurists for a “sensual duet,” which came out of nowhere but was hilarious.

The Acorn
Toronto, ON March 12
By Jessica Lewis

The Acorn are back and better than ever. With a new line-up – losing a keyboardist and gaining another drummer and back-up guitarist – their former soft melodies have been replaced with a harder rock emphasis. They played a fantastic set and undoubtedly left with many new fans. A lot of new songs were played, and it’s safe to say that their next album will be a good one. But older songs like “The Flood Pt. 1” and “Crooked Legs” got a massive response as well. The Acorn appeared refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to rock. The set had a slightly sombre tone, though: they announced another member, Howie Tsui, will be leaving the band.

Plants and Animals
Toronto, ON March 12
By Jessica Lewis

One of the impressive things about seeing Montreal’s Plants and Animals play live is noticing how they become their instruments. Front-man Warren Spicer shreds his guitar and sings so loud into the microphone that it starts to send feedback at him. Guitarist Nicolas Basque’s fingers move so fast on his guitar, it’s hard to keep up. And drummer Matthew Woodley moves as he’s drumming in a way that his beats carry through his arms in a wave. So much power was put into the performance. The trio played most of the set as songs from their upcoming album, La La Land, and it was as if they’ve been playing them forever. Plants and Animals fans have a lot to look forward to.

Think About Life
Toronto, ON March 12
By Jessica Lewis

Montreal’s Think About Life put on an exciting show. Each member brings something entirely different to the sound — from funk percussion, jazzy guitar and bass to two different but complimentary vocals — all fitting together to form a unique puzzle. They’re explosive, ready to burst onto bigger stages, and yet they power down like robots after almost every song. They brought a few new ones to test out, likely to the fans’ approval, but it was the material from their album Family that had most of the venue joined in a massive dance party. Unfortunately, the set was cut short but at least it was a great booster for 1 a.m.


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