CMW-May 6th-10th 2014-Various Locations

By Bill Kwan, Photography by Bill Kwan and A.J. Lam

It was year 32 for Canadian Music Week (CMW) as it moved from its usual March slot to a  warmer, more appreciated time of year, invading Toronto from May 6 – 10.  Like every year it was totally impossible to cover every event in 5 nights. Strategically choose your schedule carefully as we missed out on premiere events such as music from:  M.I.A, Televison, The Trews, Brody Dalle and Little Dragon, Movies: Looking For Johnny-The Legand of Johnny Thunder and The Jimi Hendrix Movie: All Is Beside My Time , Conference with Niles Rodgers and Comedian Tom Green
As shown in the guide book, the film and comedy part continued to grow with some impressive names, but it was still  the music which really stood out! With numerous industry panels, famous speakers like Quincy Jones, Diane Warren and Deadmau5 and over 1,000 bands playing at more than 60 venues, downtown Toronto was the mecca of music for one week in May.

The celebrity interviews were a pleasant surprise. Quincy Jones and Deadmau5 were willing to speak their minds and, perhaps not surprisingly, Quincy with Ross Porter and Deadmau5’s sit-down with Jian Ghomeshi were candid and honest. Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5 was throwing jabs at some of his contemporaries such as Avicii who will be doing a concert in Toronto Sat. May 17th . The Q+A was informative and gave us an insight on the business savvy of the d.j. who has worked with the likes of “Foo-Fighter/Nirvana” frontman Dave Grohl.  Ghomeshi dragged on a bit with his assumptions,  questions and thought process but Deadmau5 didn’t disappoint, keeping it honest for the entirety of his hour-long chat.  Not really understanding the so called “D.J.” scene since day one, I ‘ve seen a new Deadmau5 and what it takes to be at the top of his game. Quincy Jones filled the capacity crowd with a ton of stories! Everyone from Frank Sinatra, Tupac, Donna Summers, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg was mentioned in the one and half Q+A.  What a life he has lived during his 80+ years on this face of the earth.  During the audience participation, the fans tried to dig deep into the icon who seems to have the magical touch for new found talent such as Nikki Yanofsky.  It doesn’t look like he’s slowing down as Quincy mentioned his company is working with acts such as Depeche Mode and New Order.

Some of the other highlights that were captured were: The Crystal Awards at the Marriott Hotel with awards presented to radio and radio related activities, Fanfest at the Kool Haus with Headliners:Tegan+Sara and Ellie Goulding were showcased to a capacity packed young crowd, Metal On Ice at the Opera House with the likes of Helix, Lee Aaron, Darby Mills(Head Pins), Carl Dixon(Coney Hatch) and Nick Walsh(Slik Toxik) enjoying great “Hair Metal from the 80’s+90’s” on a Saturday night.   We closed the CMW week at The Sound Academy with headliners: Mastodon with opening acts-French extreme metallers Gojira and Norweigan mad scientists looking Kvelertak. The capacity crowd sweated, danced and moshed to the wee hours in the morning to this progressive Metal band.  The Sound Academy wasn’t the best place to play music and it ddn’t do justice to the musicianship of Mastodon. In fact it was a big hassle bringing in a camera  to capture the moment of this band. Possibly we can rectify this mistake next year with the 33rd annual CMW having been announced for May 5th to 9th 2015.  We wait with anticipation for the announced bands, comedians and celebrity speakers.