CMW Review: The Indies Present: March 7 at Baltic Avenue09 May 2014 / by Sara Cristiano (author)
Day Two of CMW ended off with a bang yesterday at laid-back Bloor Street bar Baltic Avenue. Artists The Bright Skies, The Fiscals, Fitness Club Fiasco, Canyon Carvers, Tallan, M.D., Heirloom Beats and The Stormalongs provided a packed show that energized the small but enthusiastic crowd and kept them engaged through the sometimes gruelling transition from late night to early morning.
Relative newcomers The Bright Skies opened the night with an eight-song set consisting of a few of the songs off their 2012 self-titled EP as well as a couple of new tunes that the band is currently in the process of recording, such as the upbeat, bass-heavy “Bottleneck.” Though their audience started off small, that didn’t discourage the Torontonian foursome as they were able to start off strong and maintain their high level of energy until more spectators arrived. Special recognition goes to drummer Josh Leonard for tackling each song with an equal amount of ferocity and rhythmic consistency.
The Fiscals followed up with a nine-song set containing a number of creative guitar techniques and clear, precise harmonies. The band managed to find a good balance between the vocals, guitar, bass, and drums, as singer James Bunker’s voice always came through loud and clear even to those sitting at the back of the venue. The group proved that they aren’t afraid to take risks with a set consisting of songs with overlapping vocals, psychedelic-sounding guitar runs and unconventional time signatures, such as those featured in their 2013 song “Wire and Tape.”
CBC Searchlight contest hopefuls Fitness Club Fiasco were undoubtedly the highlight of the night. A group featuring both males and females always opens up more musical creative possibilities, especially when one of the female members is also a keyboardist who’s willing to take risks and give songs a distinct whimsical, otherworldly quality. While the band’s drummer, Cam Guthrie, certainly helped give each of their songs a sense of drivenness and vitality, the addition of a tambourine into the mix gave the group’s set an added percussive quality without overpowering the vocals.
It’s difficult for any set of artists to attract a large audience on a Wednesday night, but the seven acts that performed at Baltic Avenue were able to do just that and proved that they’re musicians to watch.