Queen Street West Festival: Day One - Best Feet Forwards

The brainchild of Jeannie Reid at Music City North, Queen Street Fest was spread over five venues in four days and is intended to promote both Toronto based Bands and the City as a whole. Armed with Media passes for the whole event we decided early that we would pick a venue a night rather than run around Queen Street West and miss parts of people’s sets, both out of respect to the acts and the fact that we both had colds (aaaah!)

Day 1:  The Bovine Sex Club

From the jam intro Low Hanging Lights provided an ever changing set full of differing styles and influences.  Comprised of Alex Grantham (Guitar/Vox), Ian Boos (Bass/Keys/Vox) and Aaron Bennett (Drums/Vox), they played a set full of influences, but one that was never boring.  Songs played included ‘There is a hate’, which was full of grungy guitar and great backing vocals and ‘Missed who I thought you were’.  Overall the combination of jangly guitar, keyboard and harmonica works really well with the drum and bass line providing a really good platform and the boys enjoying themselves, which is important when you are on stage at any point, but more noticeable when you’re on first. The last song started with an almost Ultravox and harmonica intro with a great jagged guitar over the top and morphed into a quasi Gorillaz tune. In summary, a band I’d gladly see again.

Syn Brit Rating: 3

Paint  are a band I’d heard good things about, but never seen, until tonight....   Fronted by Robb Johannes (guitar/vox), who has declared that he will run for Mayor of Toronto against Rob Ford, with Jordan Shepherdson (lead), Carolina Pinzon (bass) and Devin Jannetta (drums), this is a very tight band indeed. Influences include The Smiths amongst others, you could be forgiven for just watching Robb’s vocals and Morriseyesque movement on stage all night, but Paint are the sum of all parts not just one. Stand out tracks for me personally were ‘Take it or Leave it’ and ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’, with some excellent lead being supported by a solid back line. The band even found time to invite friends up on stage, which showed exactly how comfortable they felt on the night. There is clearly more going on here than we saw at the Bovine and I look forward to catching up with Paint in the near future.

Syn Brit Rating: 4

Readers of previous posts will know that we featured and interviewed Little Foot Long Foot last year and they have never disappointed. Suffice to say that the Bovine filled up for their show, which is one of the final two featuring Isaac Klein as their drummer, which for me personally is a real shame.  That said, LFLF soared through a set that gave full rein to Joan Smith (guitar/vocals), Jeff Heisholt (keys/vocals) and Issac Klein (drums), which included ‘Bridge Concerns’, ‘Missing the Point’ and finished with ‘Sell out while you Can’.  LFLF exuded pace, power, passion and poignancy throughout their set, delivered at the highest level. Comfortable in their skin, you bet.  

Syn Brit Rating: 5

Having seen a cracking set from Cuff the Duke (Cuff) the a week earlier and with a proven pedigree from not only Cuff, but a number of other bands, expectation was high when Odd Years took the stage, but a combination of a departing crowd and a lack of engagement between the band and audience meant that sadly the set fell flat. Songs included ‘I’ll take you there’, ‘The way that you run’ and ‘Algiers’, but despite the excellent musicianship, the gap left by LFLF’s set was palpable and sadly on this night, Odd Years couldn’t fill that gap.

Syn Brit Rating: 3

Closing the evening were the Do Good Badlies (DBG)  who opened with ‘Mercedes Benz’, an inspired choice, bringing the remaining audience back almost immediately. Demonstrating that they had come to have fun, DBG’s line up makes for interesting viewing being comprised of Daniel Greer, (Vocals/Guitar), Jon Greer (Vocals/Guitar), Cassie Noble (Vocals/Guitar/Glockenspiel) and Jamie Robinson (Drums), who were originally from Lindsay, Ontario.

 The set comprised of a series of high energy tunes, highlighting both the versatility of the band overall, sharing lead vocals, some great harmonies, glockenspiel intros and even a song written while staring at the Ocean..... A new song ‘Now’ was reminiscent of the Buzzcocks ‘What do I get’, which was excellent, while another song later in the set cold have been early Jefferson Airplane, very impressive. Overall I will be seeing the band again as the band were having fun and this was reflected in the audience. For me The Do Good Badlies, Done Good.  

Syn Brit Rating: 4              


Until next time......The Moose 

Queen Street West Festival Day 1 - Little Foot Long Foot

Litte Foot Long Foot

Queen Street West Festival Day 1 - Low Hanging Lights

Low Hanging Lights

Queen Street West Festival Day 1 - Odd Years

Odd Years

Queen Street West Festival Day 1 - Paint


Queen Street West Festival Day 1 - The Do Good Baddies

The Do Good Baddies

All photos reproduced by kind permission of Back2basicsphotography.com