Merging promoters aim to change Toronto festival scene

"No fees, no radius clause, paid gigs." TWiMFeST, October 23-26, bears a manifesto one can't help but compare to other festival's fiascos earlier this year - though collaborating promoters Two Way Monologues and The Indie Machine stress they want to keep the focus on the positive, promising bands they love, venues they think are awesome, and forward thinking for all.

The fledgling festival grows out of the success of TWMFEST, presented twice before by TWM and Dan Wolovick, and the Indie Machine (Dave Marskell). Acknowledging this year's NXNE radius clause mess (and possibly next years' Sonicbids mess), there's no fee paid for those who applied, no radius clause, and performers are paid.

Line up wise, alt-troubadour B.A. Johnston, Montreal's Diamond Bones, Persian Rugs, and Calgary's Grandola are among the almost 68 artists showcasing at Rancho Relaxo, The Gladstone Hotel, The Horseshoe Tavern, Charlie's Gallery, Magpie Taproom, and Caplansky's when the fest lands in Toronto October 23-26.

Rather randomly, TWiMFeST is a two-city festival, with the St. John's, Newfoundland (Wolovick's home) event happening at Distortion this weekend. If you can't get to the Maritimes, don't worry - most of the magic is happening here at home.

Here are 5 of the top artists to catch at TWiMFeST 2014 in Toronto.

B.A. Johnston
How large are the washrooms at Rancho anyway? Staff at Rancho may want to know - B.A. Johnston's been known to hold encores in them at shows. He's the hardest working CHUD in Canada who lives in a van and Hamilton's answer to, uh, hating Windsor. B.A. spends most of his year touring, and treating fans to sweat filled, sweat covered (his), beer spewing, beer stealing, naked (mostly) stage diving, Ti-Cat loving, Timmy's hating, GST spending, CASIO playing troubador mastery. And that's for the fans he likes.

Trevor James & the Perfect Gentlemen
Trevor James and Tyson Hiseler have been the main duo through several Perfect Gentlemen member rotations. Having played together first in the band the Architects (2005) in Ottawa, followed by Travel By Owl, which they renamed Trevor James & the Perfect Gentlemen, which later relocated to Montreal, which relocated to Toronto. The current TJtPG four-piece plays rootsy folk rock with lots of melodies and is a favourite of TWM.

The Holy Gasp
Call the Holy Gasp Afro-Cuban psychedelic surf punk or a mix between Tom Waits and Dead Kennedys - or just groovy. Poet-composer Benjamin Hackman brings his unique beatnik conga performance to, Caplansky's Deli on College St., of all places, on October 24. TWiMFeST pairs him up with Montreal's indie-rock artist Paul Kasner.

The Toronto three-piece crew of the Zords will bring their Techno-noir show to the Cage for the Friday the 24th 1AM set. They produce a dark and danceable mix of synths, new-wave guitar riffs, and disco basslines along with magnetic vocals. Audiences can also expect and outer-space experience along with a 3AM last call.

Atom & The Volumes
Atom & The Volumes play a psychedelic garage-pop familiar to their many Toronto-fans. The band was awarded the "On the Rise" by NYC's Relix magazine.

Toronto's TWiMFeST is October 23-26. Festival passes are $19 for 4 days, single-day pass $15, and individual night cover charges are $10 with possible exceptions. Set times are prompt.

Note: A previous version of this post mention Ivy Coast, but they are no longer on the bill.

Photo of BA Johnston via This Ain't Hollywood

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