CMW Toronto 2016

20 must-see shows at Canadian Music Week 2016

Canadian Music Week is right around the corner. From May 2nd to 8th, Toronto will be absolutely packed full of amazing shows and incredible Canadian talent. With a reduction of club shows at NXNE this year, CMW appears set to take on the title of the most diverse multi-venue festival, which means you'll need to plan well to fit as as possible in.

Here are my picks for the top shows at Canadian Music Week 2016.

Lights - The Danforth Music Hall - May 2-3 - 10:00 p.m.
Canadian singer/songwriter Lights has been making hits for a while now. She just released her 4th studio album, Midnight Madness, earlier this month, so you'll be sure to hear a big chunk of the tracklist at this set. Also playing: DCF.

Nick Persons - Painted Lady - May 3 - 10:00 p.m.
Nick Persons is a bit of a weirdo. A lovable weirdo, though. His music is experimental, using chopped samples to create some bizarre, rhythmic textures. He's from Hamilton, Ontario. Also playing: #FAMILYGRIND, Training Season, Sassy Black & more.

Block Scholars - Nest - May 3 - 11:00 p.m.
Block Scholars have been around the block a few times, and offer a less glitzy version of hip hop than is en vogue these days. Also playing: JD Era, Woodie Smalls, surauchie.

JD Era - Nest - May 3 - 1:00 a.m.
JD is a Toronto hip-hop artist who's worked with some of the biggest names in the genre. He used to be signed to Raekwon's record label a few years ago, but apparently the two have had a falling out. He was also nominated for a Juno back in 2013. Also playing: Woodie Smalls, Block Scholars, surauchie.

Bob Mould Band - Horseshoe Tavern - May 3-4 - 10:30 p.m.
Bob Mould is like the indie-rock godfather; the guy seems like he's been around forever. That being said, he's still making great music, and you can't go wrong with catching one of his shows. Also playing: Fake Palms.

Tosin Abasi - Massey Hall - May 4 - 8:00 p.m.
Arguably the best guitar player alive, Tosin Abasi is an incredible talent. He's the son of Nigerian immigrants, and plays as a member of the instrumental progressive metal band Animals As Leaders. Also playing: Nuno Bettencourt, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai & more.

The Strumbellas - Phoenix Concert Theatre - May 4 - 9:10 p.m.
The Strumbellas are playing as part of the Indie 88 showcase. The 6-piece band are from Toronto, and play music that has it's feet firmly in both folk and indie-pop. Also playing: Wintersleep, Alberta Cross.

Joy District - UG3 Live - May 4 - 10:00 p.m.
Joy District got together in 2007 in their home of Vancouver Island. The four of them, including two members who are brothers, make alternative rock noise. Also playing: The Velveteins, The Celebration Army, Lemon Cash.

Partner - The Silver Dollar - May 4 - 11:00 p.m.
Partner are an indie duo from the East Coast. After hearing the song "Hot Knives" for the first time, I couldn't get it out of my head for almost a week. They've got this quirky charisma about them that gives their music a feeling of authenticity. Also playing: Eyeballs, PONY, Pale Lips, Pins & Needles.

Vallens - Velvet Underground - May 5 - 9:00 p.m.
Vallens' music has some dark and sultry undertones. It's shoegazey, shadowy, and smooth. Hopefully this spring we'll hear Vallen's debut EP. Also playing: Mise en Scene, No Joy, PROGRAMM.

D.R.A.M. - Revival - May 5 - 11:00 p.m.
D.R.A.M. is the dude behind last year's hit song "Cha Cha"... you know, the song that Drake kind of ripped off on Hotline Bling? Yeah, well D.R.A.M's actually pretty talented, and apparently his shows are very high energy. Also playing: Jimmy B, Flex The Anithero, Crossword, Ken L Jones.

PROGRAMM - Velvet Underground - May 5 - 12:30 a.m.
PROGRAMM are a Toronto electronic outfit with a shoegazey vibe. Their music has been described as drone, minimalist, electronic, but whatever you call it, there's no denying it's beauty. Also playing: Vallens, Mise en Scene, No Joy.

Coleman Hell - The Grand Ballroom, Sheraton Centre Toronto - May 6 - 6:30 p.m.
Thunder Bay native Coleman Hell caught some attention when he released his debut single "2 Heads" in February 2015, and is expected to release his debut album this year. Also playing: X Ambassadors, Tegan and Sara.

Skepta - The Danforth Music Hall - May 6 - 10:00 p.m.
May 6th is the day that Skepta finally releases his long awaited album Konnichiwa. Not only that, but he'll be in Toronto to celebrate. This is sure to be a ton of fun; the UK grime star is known to put on a hell of a live show. Also playing: KJ and Toronto's Sha Hustle.

Eagles of Death Metal - The Opera House - May 7 - 11:00 p.m.
This is probably one of the most hyped shows of the festival year, if mainly because it's the first time the band will play Toronto since the attacks in Paris last November. Naturally, it should also be a good show for fans of the California-based band who rarely get to see them play here.

The Sheepdogs - Horseshoe Tavern - May 6 - 1:00 a.m.
Still riding the wave of their latest album Future Nostalgia, released in October, this show is one of the stops on The Sheepdogs' North American Tour. The Saskatoon boys play their own interpretation of what most would call blues rock. Also playing: New Swears, Diarrhea Planet, Alberta Cross & more.

Meat Wave - Bovine Sex Club - May 7 - 12:00 a.m.
Meat Wave are a trio hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Their music is a fast paced, in your face brand of rock, with an overall lo-fi feeling. Also playing: The Dying Arts, Dead Messenger, The Bare Minimum & more.

Dilly Dally - Lee's Palace - May 7 - 12:00 a.m.
Dilly Dally are Toronto's coolest 90's-esque grunge rock band. Their ear-worm hooks combined with the vocalist's incredible voice made Dilly Dally's Desire one of my favourites records of last year. Also playing: Hotel Raphael, Foreign Diplomats, Le Trouble, The Damn Truth, Katie Stelmanis.

Humans - The Mod Club - May 7 - 12:00 a.m.
Humans are a Vancouver based electronic duo who are fresh off the release of their Water Water EP. Not only do they make great music, they have super cool jackets as part of their brand, and are playing as part of the Wayhome showcase. Also playing: Amir Obe, Kiki Rowe & more.

She-Devils - Silver Dollar - May 7 - 1:00 a.m.
She-Devils are an electronic Art-Pop duo hailing from Montreal. After releasing their debut EP is February, the duo have begun to see some success and recognition in the Canadian music scene. Also playing: Rich Kidd, Drezus, Blanks & more.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions for the top CMW shows in the comments.

Photo by Rafael Roncato on Flickr.


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