Another Wavelength music series has come and gone, and their 14th anniversary will not be forgotten. Names like Diana, Odonis Odonis, The Wet Secrets, Cousins, and Polaris Prize nominee Colin Stetson took the stage at 4 different venues across the city. Here’s a look at what went down over the course of the festival.
The Silver Dollar held the opening night’s festivities with a line-up featuring Toronto’s sci-fi experimental electronic artist Zoo Owl, Montreal pop darlings Tops and the electro “talk rap” duo Phèdre. The venue was packed from front to back and the crowd was captivated by Zoo Owl’s psychedelic and prop filled performance. It seemed like a new gadget was unleashed for every song; everything from incense, LED goggles, to glowing mouth guards. Next up was Tops, whose catchy synthy pop hooks were a welcomed change of pace. The group’s upbeat sound had the whole room moving, not wanting their performance to end. Closing the first night was Phèdre, who battled through technical difficulties to provide the most energetic performance of the night. Drum machines, white jumpsuits, back up go-go dancers – their set had it all, making for a very memorable opening night.
The second night of Wavelength 14 started off with a bit of bad news. Due to the snow storm that was pummeling New York City, Marnie Stern was unable to make the show. That being said, Adelaide Hall was still a very busy place. Odonis Odonis brought their thrashy punk sounds to the stage and played a few new songs from their upcoming record Soft Boiled, Hard Boiled, due out April 25th. Taking Marnie Stern’s slot as the headliner was Toronto favourite Diana. Their set was filled with what we’ve grown to expect from the group: songs that make it impossible to stand still. They kicked off their set with “Strange Attraction”, a song from their debut record Perpetual Surrender. Diana stepped up by taking Marnine’s place and managed to make it a successful second night.
Night three took place at Polish Combatants Hall with the most diverse bill of bands Wavelength had provided yet. Tribal pop from Toronto’s Petra Glant and hard riff rock from Biblical kicked off the night. 5 dollar Steam Whistles seemed to be in everyone’s hand as they patiently waited for Polaris short-lister Colin Stetson to cap off the night. In the meantime we were treated to a different kind of set from U.S. Girls. Their short performance consisted of covers, built around the “theme of love” said singer Meghan Remy. Before you knew it, the saxophone stands were being brought out for the last artist of the night. From the moment Colin took the stage, a hush fell over the crowd and you could hear every note he forced out of his sax. Watching his circular breathing technique in action, and hearing sounds you’d never think a sax could make, completely engrossed the audience in the performance and made it a magical night three.
It seems like we are just getting started, but already we are on the final day of Wavelength’s 14th anniversary. The Garrison was filled with familiar faces that had been at the three prior nights, ready to close out what was sure to be an amazing show. Edmonton’s The Wet Secrets took the stage in bright red marching band costumes fit for an Arcade Fire show. Their infectious choruses matched with funky bass lines and choreographed dancing routines made it one of the most fun performances of the entire festival. Toronto’s Greys were next up and provided heavy punk numbers that turned the floor into a push mosh mess. Now that the ground was covered in beer, it was time to close off the festival with a set from Maritime indie rockers Cousins. The duo went straight into the scrappy sound that they’re known for as heavy drums and punchy guitar engulfed the room. After tearing into song after song their set had come to a close, capping off the last night perfectly and leaving us brimming with anticipation of next year’s shows.