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Windhand’s Eternal Return Mixes Brooding Heaviness With Psychedelic Beauty

Windhand’s Eternal Return Mixes Brooding Heaviness With Psychedelic Beauty

by Johnny Papan Windhand’s sound is a drone-like substance. It’s often thick and moody, slathered in a distorted muck that…

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Festival Review: Westward Music Festival 2018

Thursday 20th, September 2018 / 16:51

Odds


The Biltmore Cabaret
Thurs, Sept 13

By Graeme Wiggins

It was clear from the get go that this was going to a nostalgia bomb, with the band playing a full album set of their third studio album Good Weird Feeling. It was an energetic and skilled set that featured some canrock classics as guests, such as Steve Bays from Hot Hot Heat and Josh Ramsey from Marianas Trench.

 

Cigarettes After Sex

The Vogue
 Thursday, Sept 13

By Maddy Cristall

As the name of the band implies, Cigarettes After Sex are incredibly soothing. Their music oozes romance, emotional nourishment and sensuality.
The four piece Texan band are a highly skilled ambient, dream pop ensemble. They helped kick off the return of Westward Music festival which has an impossibly good lineup. The early, sold out show at the historic Vogue theatre was generous in every sense of that word. They played for over an hour with a remarkable and obscure presence. There was nowhere else they wanted to be and the exact same went for the audience who were essentially drooling the entire time.

 

Blood Orange

Photo by Zee Khan

The Orpheum Theatre
September 14
By Joey Lopez

Blood Orange created a vibe. Manifesting emotion with his unique voice and playful stage presence, the multi-talented artist vogued his way between seamless instrument transitions and casted the spotlight on his unbelievable back-up singers that stood out just as strongly as Blood Orange himself.

Photo by Zee Khan

Opening with “Chewing Gum” a stand-out single from new album Negro Swan, Blood Orange began soft and slow on the piano. Almost as a favor to the fans, Blood Orange played something off every single album spanning back to his funky lo-fi debut Coastal Grooves followed by hits off of the outstanding Cupid Deluxe and Freetown Sound.

Playing a stellar show, he demanded attention and delivered with a stellar and beautiful performance unlike anything else.


Kelela

Photo by Tenzing Lama

The Vogue
 Theatre
September 14

By Noémie Attia

Kelela enters the stage languorously in her yellow silk suit that shines under the lights of the projectors, ripping the dark atmosphere of her set. She begins with three velvety notes and the crowd gets sucked in her hypnotic melodies. The light effects are dreamy too, tricking the audience into misjudging the colour of the actually white fabric she wears. She gives a hearty performance, making the hip crowd move to her pop-y tunes.

METZ w/ NEEDLES//PINS, Dead Fibres & NEEDS

Photo By Akim Zongo

The Rickshaw
September 14

by 
Emily Corley

The Rickshaw is a fitting backdrop for Ontario’s noise-punk big-boys METZ. The band’s signature turbulent build-ups and drum-heavy refrains are both menacing and momentous in the 10,000 square foot space.

photo by Akim Zongo

Latest album highlight ‘Mr Plague’ is performed like the raging political punk anthem it was born to be, and soon bodies are flying everywhere in the midst of a joyous pit.

METZ are supported by a mêlée of Canadian punk-rock royalty, including Edmonton’s Dead Fibres and Vancouver favourites NEEDLES//PINS. But the true climax comes from the furious vocals and chaotic live performance of local sweethearts NEEDS, in which lead singer Sean Orr eats a banana obtained from his own underwear.

Kali Uchis

Photo by Jash Grafstein

The Orpheum Theatre
September 15

By Jamila Pomeroy

R&B, neo-soul powerhouse, Kali Uchis added some spice to the Orpheum. The Colombian-American singer, and daresay instagram queen has been on he rise since her release of Isolation earlier this year. Working with the like of Tyler the Creator, BadBadNotGood, and the Gorillaz, the 24-year-old has obtained great success so early on in her career.

Despite the combination of a slippery stage and dainty heels, Uchis remained poised and angelic throughout the show. Uchis had fans standing in their seats for the entirety of the show, her presence and energy radiated through the crowd providing them with ample energy to sustain the for the remainder of the festival.

Angel Olsen

Photo by Jash Grafstein

The Vogue
Sept 15

By 
Maddy Cristall

The wildly talented dark folk darling Angel Olsen is nothing short of mesmerizing. Her unique approach to music pairs perfectly with her powerful execution. There is nobody that sounds quite like her. Her vocals are delicate yet haunting and she absolutely wails the guitar.

Her stunning performance pulled material from each record. It was just her voice and her guitar, each of which filled the jam packed room. Angel Olsen takes you somewhere far from reality and you want to stay there forever.

Mudhoney

The Rickshaw
Sept. 15
by Johnny Papan

Mudhoney opened their hour and a half of grimy riffs and speedy tricks with their 1992 classic “Suck You Dry.” The band then proceeded to unleash a dutiful mix of songs, old and new, including their mega-hit “Touch Me, I’m Sick” as well as some previews from their upcoming album Digital Garbage. The grunge pioneers unleashed a raucous as frontman Mark Arm thrashed the stage with an almost mental instability.

Jo Passed

The Imperial
September 15

By 
James Olson

Jo Passed lived up to the hype with their standout performance as part of the Westward Music Festival. The art rockers were unfazed by the admittedly underwhelming attendance at the Imperial as they put on a musically tight, high energy performance leaning heavily on material from their excellent debut LP Their Prime. The buzz around Joseph Hirabayahi and co. is well deserved, Jo Passed are a band on the rise.

 

Rhye

Photo by Darrole Palmer

The Vogue
September 15

By Joey Lopez

Silky smooth Toronto duo Rhye brought Westward Fest’s weekend energy down to a simmer. Packing in The Vogue, Rhye added to their numbers with an outstanding band that transformed their intimate songs of love and yearning into something grand and groovy. Lead singer Milosh’s magnificent falsetto sent shivers down spines, forcing the audience to shout and cheer each time he hit an unbelievable note, his lips hovering apart creating sounds that were almost surreal.

Rhye brought the crowd out of the pouring rain and into a warm embrace of velvety and funky vocals with their unique bittersweet brand of heartfelt nostalgia for love gone by.

Close Talker
Biltmore Cabaret
September 15

By Noémie Attia

Chris, Matt and Will play an energetic show on the small stage of the Biltmore. The audience is warm and dances easily to their catchy indie-rock tunes, straight out of Saskatchewan. They interpret songs from their latest album, Lens, in a very unique way, giving them new meanings. Props to heir multitasking skills, with Matt’s feet as the bass player.

SOPHIE

Photo by Jashua Grafstein

The Imperial
September 16

By Graeme Wiggins

Sophie takes pop and dance music breaks it apart and reconstructs it through a noisy and industrial process. The builds are insanely long, loud and layered and lead to throbbing and wondrous release. It wouldn’t work if her timing wasn’t impeccable and her decision making wasn’t spot on but both things are true of her and the end result was a hallucinogenic fever dream that seems to show the future of music. Add to the mix a super positive crowd and you end up with a show for the ages.

Andy Shauf

Photo by Darrole Palmer

Vogue Theatre
September 16

Perched on two scrawny legs, Andy Shauf stands still, his back hunched over his guitar, in the manner of a Japanese spirit with an enchantedly polished voice. He mostly sings new, unreleased sad tunes, accompanied by not one, but two clarinetists who illustrate well Shauf’s offbeat indie-rock-melancholic-folk-humorous style. He tries to accommodate the audience, asking them if they have any questions, and answering them casually, in between his very just, well-rounded and moving music pieces.

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