I walked into Sneaky Dee’s for night three of the annual Wavelength anniversary show, and was instantly hit with a sense of nostalgia. This restaurant/bar has played host to some of my fondest memories. With countless breakfasts, late night nachos and pitchers of beer consumed, not to mention the abundance of bands whom I’ve seen grace the stage. I equate Sneaky Dee’s to have the same kind of impact as the bar “where everybody knows your name”. You can walk in at any point in the day and you are bound to run into a familiar and often friendly face. I haven’t been to Sneaky Dee’s much since Wavelength’s move to the Garrison, so it’s fitting that one of the last remaining places of my youthful shenanigans would welcome back their former Sunday night staple Wavelength.
There has been a lot of press lately about the Sunday night series that acted as a launching pad for bands like Broken Social Scene, The Constantines, and Holy Fuck. This once motley crew of citizens with good intentions have taken that initial ethos of community and creative outlet for lots of people on the fringe and implanted themselves firmly in everyone’s minds and hearts.
In it’s tenth year, the people involved have splintered off onto their own side projects, constantly bound together by the aptly titled Wavelength. In Doc Pickles’ opening monologue at Wavelength 498, he talked about this circle and this wavelength that goes on and on. It couldn’t be more fitting
Putting nostalgia aside, the bill for night three was as eclectic as can be. Recent additions to the Toronto Music Scene Young Mother kicked the night off, after Johnny Dovercourt filled in for Doc Pickle’s very big MC shoes. I first saw them play at Wavelength 490 not too long ago, this 5 piece consisting of a both a tenor and alto saxophone player left are recent additions to the Toronto music scene. I appreciate the low-fi fuzziness of what they do; their set was full of energy but nothing too original. These days bands using things like old televisions as instruments are a dime a dozen. It is a shame because it seems like they were on the right track and nearly missed it. Nevertheless continuing with the trends, I see enormous potential in Young Mother, it is definitely to their advantage that they are a good-looking bunch.
Another band I have been hearing a lot about lately is the Magic Cheezies. Their short energetic set really got the crowd dancing. Once again, another band just cutting their teeth in a very competitive sub genre, their stop start antics reminded me of the Viking Club, Eric Warner’s now defunct band who were a launching pad for my own involvement in the Toronto Music scene. Both The Magic Cheezies and Young Mother have made solid starts in continuing to contribute to everything I love about what Wavelength is all about.
I cannot fault the gents behind Wavelength for living up to their history of booking bands they specifically want to see. It’s just a shame that Laura Barret’s 11pm set time meant that most people were finally streaming in, eager to catch up with old friends it was next to impossible to catch most of what’s generally a fun and quirky set from the back of the bar. Even as I squeezed my way up front mid set the it was easy to spot abundance of people clearly at the show for the From Fiction reunion. To go from Young Mother and Magic Cheezies to an adorable Kalimba player backed by her very talented friends on minimal instruments made for an awkward transition into the later part of the night. The reality is Laura Barret plays the kind of music that generally finds a home as an opening band. It’s a shame because Robot Ponies accompanied by hilarious dancing of fellow band mate and partner Ajay Mehra confirmed that despite the chatty crowd, she totally deserved the prime spot.
It still amazes me that Kevin, Jonny, Doc, and Ryan managed to get so many bands to reunite for this auspicious occasion. The special treat of night three was that, not one but two bands bound together to play one last hurrah,(or fingers crossed reunite long term). So with my dancing shoes firmly on I stayed put waiting for The Bicycles to take the stage. It’s nice to see that camaraderie still exists despite a band breaking up. Their way too short set full of familiar songs left my heart ready to explode despite a kerfuffle with two ladies standing in the front row. A few words were said about how it’s not fun or good to fight. Despite Johnny Dovercourt’s encouragement of the band playing an encore they were half packed up by the time he took the stage.
I didn’t have the opportunity to stick around for From Fiction, but I did follow the tweets . So here’s to another 10 years of inspiration and let this be YOUR motivation to go out there and book/play shows.
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