Canadian Music Week From the Artist’s Point of View

Charlie the Kid.jpg

Submitted by Terry O’Brien of Tribe Royal
Photo Credit Terry O’Brien

I got into Toronto around noon on the Thursday for Canadian Music Week. I met up with Sandy, Don, Lenny and Gary from the Cashbox Canada team and right away we were in the thick of it. The conference was incredibly productive for us and we made a lot of headway.

Around 7 pm I left the Sheraton and made my way to the Dakota Tavern to catch Charlie The Kid's set. The ambient lighting and intimate setting made for the perfect atmosphere. Right off the top, the crowd was engaged and he had everyone singing along. He took it to the next level by handing out kazoos and inviting the crowd to help him out. Can't say I've ever seen that before.

After that, I made my way over to the Painted Lady where the Lionyls were about to take the stage. The place was packed from wall to wall and the moment the band took the stage the party started. They jumped right into 'Midnight Hour' and kept the pressure on the crowd with a killer mix of ripping guitar solos, smooth vocals, funky bass lines and heavy percussion.

When the Lionyls' set was over I decided to head to the Drake Hotel. I passed by the Dakota again and was excited to see a group forming around Charlie The Kid. After a matter of minutes, a full-on street jam was underway and even the security was involved. It's those kinds of special moments that make Canadian Music Week 110% worth the trip. Good times all around.


I linked up with my cousin Kristy Hagerman (who is really starting to make a name for herself as a singer-songwriter in Toronto btw!) and we headed over to the Drake to catch Drae, another solid group from Ottawa. We arrived halfway through the set and jumped right into the front row, jamming along to the wicked blend of acoustic percussion, atmospheric guitar, and poetic vocals. Their song 'Venom' really hit hard and live they are definitely a force to be reckoned with. My recollection of the night after that starts to escape me but I do remember Jon Bryant putting on a sweet show. Something about white shoes...

Jon BryantJon Bryant

Friday night was much the same. I had dinner with a number of artists (Kelsey Hayes, Melo, Brian and Wayne from The Commotions etc) and then it was off to the showcases. First up was Harea Band at The Painted Lady (can you tell I'm a fan of that bar?). Again the venue was jam-packed and everyone was ready to party. The band wasted no time and got right down to it. Leading with numbers such as 'Call 'Em Out' and 'Step To It', they kept the audience dancing. I ran into the Lionyls at the show and we got into some more celebratory drinks.

Harea BandHarea Band


After that, we headed off in the Lionyls' touring van (we had a DD!) in search of the Rivoli. When we arrived we were delighted to see our friends in Whale and the Wolf setting up for their set. When all was in place for the show, they took to the stage with confidence and charisma delivering an electrifying set. My band Tribe Royal played with these guys sometime last year and all I can say is they bring the good times and the rock n' roll. Again, my night gets a little patchy after that, but I do remember The Honest Heart Collective tearing it up.

Whale and the WolfWhale and the Wolf

All in all, my time at CMW2018 was amazing and there are just so many incredible bands out there.

Get connected and support local because the next big thing is right in your backyard! Cheers friends!