Peter Survives Indie Week

Well, I got my media credentials, or you wouldn’t be reading this. After some initial confusion at the launch party, I was saved by my colleague Roxanne, who made me her “plus one”, as my RSVP had not been received. I got an “all access” wristband and a VIP lanyard, because I was their first media “plus one” that evening 😉.

The launch party went very well, so nice to run into so many old friends, Bob, Darryl, Cam, Roxanne, Pat, Dell and so many more. Outstanding music was played, both upstairs and on the main floor. Interestingly, The Empty Page played a good set on just a few hours rest, having flown over from the U.K. that morning.

Cam Carpenter asked if I would judge, and I agreed. In the end, I judged for 3 nights at two different venues, The Paddock and UG3. I had a great time and got to work with 3 great judges.Thanks, Pat Blythe, Jeff Corcoran and Melanie Schade. I would be remiss if I overlooked the support given by Jim Draven and Dianne Usoro representing Indie Week, as well as the volunteers who worked the doors. Thanks to the two venues as well for your support in kind. These folks all contributed to making me look brighter than I really am.

The quality of the music had be heard to be believed. Thank you, The Implications, Connor Gross, Ivy James, Tall Tale, Vajra (x2), Suzy Kory, Melia, Unidentified Funk Object and Andre Pettipas and the Giants for making our job judging so tough 😉. Your energy and enthusiasm is laudable. Please keep creating and putting your music out there, God knows the world needs it. I am more convinced than ever that we have a strong indie music culture world wide, and one of the strengths of a festival like this is the exposure to new ideas and musical styles, which benefits everyone in the long run.

I made it a point after each band had played to go up and talk to a member, congratulating them and maybe giving a bit of constructive criticism. On Saturday, I got a message from a name I didn’t recognize. He was a member of a band thanking me for coming out to judge, and I felt very pleased about that.

Saturday night I went to Cherry Cola’s Rock N Rolla Cabaret and Lounge, the favourite bar of both Mr Duck and myself. We took advantage of the 4:00 A.M. last call and the marvellous hospitality of Cherish Stevenson, while hearing, among others, Grass Grows Back, Trampa, Suzi Kory, Tokyo Taboo and Blackdog Ballroom. Naturally, we then had to deal with the night bus system!

Mr. Duck at Cherry Cola’s

Of course, the downside to judging was that I didn’t get to catch some of my friends’ bands, but even I can’t be in 3 places at once, and I wound up running into many of them over the course of the festival anyway, especially at the finals.

The finals were held at “The Mod Club“, and the place rocked! The doors were at 6ish, and everything else started on time. Again, the energy and the calibre of the music filled the room. A highlight for me was Dylan Hennessy demonstrating his guitar wizardry. The presence of so many of my friends only made the experience more enjoyable, although the beer was a little pricey.

There was so much good music, but I would have to mention Tokyo Taboo and ENTO as just two parts of a great lineup on a great evening. I didn’t envy the judges their task, that’s for sure. It was a marvelous night, the culmination of a year of negotiation, determination and good old fashioned hard work. Well done, everyone, from staff through bands through venues through fans! ENTO won a most deserved victory against tough competition, but as my father used to say “There are no losers in competition”.

Tokyo Taboo

I am passing on some observations that I made which may be of some help in the future. Here they are, and you’re welcome!

Peter’s Advice for Bands 

1) Start on time. This shows respect to the audience as well as the other bands. Don’t forget that they’re trying to pack a lot of music into a short time.

2) Have a brief, complete, tuning session. Goes hand in hand with point 1. Don’t take so long that someone winds up yelling “FFS, play something!” (I actually witnessed this.) If you are changing guitars for a new number, make sure that you don’t have to start from scratch tuning the new guitar. That’s a momentum killer.

Tuning. It Can be TORTURE!

3) Mention your band’s name, perhaps at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of your set. You are marketing yourselves. Due to the transient nature of show crowds, people will be coming and going. Also remember that people may be texting their friends to arrange a meet up. Contrast these two texts. “I’m at the Toilet Bowl watching this cool band!” or  “I’m at the Toilet Bowl watching “The Hopping Hobbits” “! Which one promotes your band better? (This presupposes that you are “The Hopping Hobbits”, of course.)

4) Name your band members. Pretty much everyone likes positive attention, and it underscores the team effort, and same as above for text content. (“Great bassist!”) vs (“Neil Taylor on the bass!”)

The Crowd

1) Keep the conversation to a dull roar. Trying to judge an acoustic act which can barely be heard over the buzz of conversation is extremely difficult. Likewise, quiet down and pay attention when the results are announced, please.

2) As much as possible, stay off your phone.

3) Try not to stand in front of the judges. We have to be able to see the bands to judge them properly.

I had mentioned earlier that I got a VIP lanyard. I took it off and draped it over the arm of a chair at Lois’ apartment. Her cat, CoCo, began to swat at it, but ran away when it fell on the floor. I think she thought that she either broke it or awoke it!

Let me wrap up with this incident, which I had shared on my timeline and which sums up the spirit of indie music much better than I could. I ran into “Rochester”, a rapper from Toronto. I congratulated him on his set and told him to keep on doing what he was doing. I turned to leave and he said “I couldn’t stop if I tried!” I spun around, pointed at him and said “THAT’S what I like to hear!”

See you soon!


One Response to “Peter Survives Indie Week”

  1. Good one!!! Nice encapsulation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: