Bloor Ossington Folk Festival preview
New this year is the mysterious Bloor Ossington Folk Festival, an initiative by the neighbourhood to promote local venues and music culture throughout a series of DIY shows performed all weekend from Shaw to Delaware. Bloorcourt residents have a little more to celebrate as every show from October 14 to 16 is PWYC. (Some shows inside local resident's houses are also BYOB!)
While I cannot say who took on the project (for I am sworn to secrecy), I urge music lovers to pick up a program schedule at local café Saving Gigi. The lineup is extremely ambitious and varied, with 45 scheduled acts that range from rock n' roll legends (Dave Bidini of the Rheostatics plays Saving Gigi Friday at 9 p.m.) to oddball hip hop (Ninja Funk Orchestra begin the fest's hip hop showcase at Ethiopian restaurant Lambadina Friday at 7 p.m.) to can't-miss-it experiences (where else are you going to see Paraguayan harp adorable Maylee Todd play a house show on a Saturday afternoon?) Just be sure to heed the advice of the flyer, which urges festival attendees to "respect the neighbourhood, don't be a dumbass."
With this in mind, here's 10 recommendations for the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival:
Julie Doiron has a sutured heart on sleeve voice that won't quit, and the opportunity to see the former Eric's Trip bassist play a subdued set at the Exclaim offices seems almost too good to be true. Saturday, Exclaim!, 849 Bloor W., 7 p.m.
As LOOM, Brooke Banning plays densely felt acoustic ballads with the sweetest voice since Juliana Hatfield. Saturday, Studio 835, 835 Bloor W., 7 p.m.
This local band has a ragtime influence, despite the fact that the outfit is cobbled together from members of Sheezer and Young Governor. With a wicked sense of irony, their old fashioned blues plays with the conventions of the genre. Sunday, Exclaim!, 849 Bloor W., 6 p.m.
Pow Wows are favourites of King Khan, and the inheritors of the Canadian "flower-punk" torch. Friday, The Theatre Of Human Health, 853 Bloor W., 8:30 p.m.
As the frontman of Cuff The Duke, Wayne Petti is known for his rich storytelling and countrified arrangements. His solo material plays with quieter acoustic songs that aim to be confessional, perfect for an outdoor concert. Friday, CL's Yard, 540 Roxton Road, 7 p.m.
These Dakota Tavern stalwarts always put on an amazing show. Dedicated to the rough-hewn blues, their stomping garage ignites a dance party. Friday, The Theatre Of Human Health, 853 Bloor W.,. 10:30 p.m.
Having recently finished a tour with Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis, the Dirty Mags are out for blood. The fierce Toronto punks maintain a Queens Of The Stone Age vibe thanks to their guttural three-chord garage. Saturday, The Theatre Of Human Health, 853 Bloor W., 8:30 p.m.
The Wilderness of Manitoba
It wouldn't be a folk festival without the "chamber folk" of Toronto band The Wilderness Of Manitoba. Also slated for the fest is the solo project of WoM frontman Will Whitwham, who adds an electronica edge as Lakeforest. (Catch him at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Saving Gigi.)
Saturday, Delaware House, 340 Delaware Avenue, 10 p.m.
No Luck Club
For something completely different, check out this instrumental hip-hop project that claims to create "sonic collages." At the helm are Matt and Trevor Chan, two brothers from Vancouver who uses everything from laptop beats to video game effects to cut and paste their samples together. Friday, Lambadina, 875 Bloor W., 8:30 p.m.
I'm not sure exactly what it is, but here's betting that it's worth taking a chance on the "Cultural Debauchery" scheduled from 4 to 9 p.m. at The Theatre Of Human Health on Sunday.
Lead photo by Jen Ford