The first day of Digital Dreams turned out to be a disappointment. Shortly after the festival tweeted that they would not let the weather get the best of the festival they had to announce the cancellation of the first day of the festival due to safety concerns because of the weather in the area. The weather ended up being bad enough to create a 2 hour delay on the second day of the festival while repairs were being made to ensure the safety of all guests, staff and artists.
While Day 2 continued with the wet treatment from Mother Nature it did not destroy the hopes of festival goers who made sure to make the best of the situation. Due to the delays a shortened Day 2 with a modified (and shortened) lineup was required. While some artists had to unfortunately be cut (at least officially) from the lineup due to time restrictions, and other artists had to have their sets shortened, the artists banded together to create the unexpected. In an unprecedented event, Showtek decided to give up some of their allotted set time for fellow artist and friend Eva Shaw, who’s set was cut, giving fans the chance at seeing one of the top up-and-coming female EDM artists on the Dream Stage. Zedd also brought Martin Garrix back on stage during his set for a small back-to-back segment during his set (which then continued into the afterparty).
While weather may have brought the worst out of the first day of Digital Dreams, it brought out some special moments during Day 2 that would not have been possible without the interference of Mother Nature. Organizers, fans and the artists made sure that a little rain wouldn’t dampen the fun of Digital Dreams, and by the end of the festival the only storms people were talking about were the storms artists left on stage.
Raine Maida, the lead singer of Our Lady Peace, and his wife Chantal Kreviazuk performed an intimate, yet packed, concert at The Mod Club in Toronto on May 27th. The crowd, largely filled with industry personnel and friends/family of the Juno Award winning artists, were able to witness some of the classics that made both artists superstars throughout the 90s, as well as a few covers and some unreleased material. Throughout the set you could catch glances towards each other letting the audience see how vulnerable they were with each other. Without a doubt I’d gladly see the show again, although maybe without my camera so that I could fully take in the experience.
Tuesday night marked a night in Toronto music history. Famed RnB singer Jully Black was performing for a packed house at The Phoenix in Toronto for Canadian Music Week. Now this was no ordinary performance for Jully, it was a rebirth for her. The launch of a new EP, her new company Jully Black Entertainment, and a new person, Jully Black 2.0. Noted by some as one of the performances to see at CMW 2015, Jully had some hype to live up to.
The opening set of dancers were on point, leading up to the person everyone wanted to see. July didn’t disappoint, giving a performance that had everyone talking. Performing hits from the beginning of her career all the way through to new material the crowd and Jully were energized and working up a sweat. That was until Sweat of Your Brow dropped and things went to another level. The dancing got more intense, girls were trying to slip into the media area to get more dancing room and room kept moving. As a mark of the beginning of Jully Black 2.0, I’d say things are off to a good start.
Navigate The Sky
This past Sunday marked both a beginning and an end. It was the beginning of my 2015 Canadian Music Week coverage, however for Eleven Past One and Rebel Coast it marked the end of their co-headlining mini-tour. With 6 shows over 2 weekends the two bands had quite the tour, however that didn’t stop them from squeezing a little time with their fans before the show.
Navigate The Sky was the first band to open up the night, and while their relatively new to the scene they made for the perfect warm-up to start the night. The next band up was one that Toronto’s Rebel Coast fans would remember from opening Rebel Coast’s December show at The Mod Club. High 75 definitely knows what they’re doing on stage with tons of interaction with the crowd, there were even a couple moments where I thought they might climb into the crowd. Finally it was time for the co-headliners.
With this being a homecoming show for Rebel Coast, Eleven Past One was up first. Mostly playing stuff off their new album “The World Is Ours”, the crowd instantly recognized and sang along with the songs they knew. Canadian pop star Victoria Duffield could even be found in the back taking in the music. Last but not least, YTV’s supergroup Rebel Coast came to close down the show. Mixing between new work off their upcoming album, a blast from the past in “We Are The Brave” and a few selective covers Rebel Coast did not hold back. Highlighting the night was their cover of Nick Jonas’ “Chains” which definitely stole the show.
Tuesday night there seemingly was only one show in the city that Toronto was talking about, Travi$ Scott’s return to Toronto. Obviously tickets were nowhere to be found, but there was another show going on at that same time that also sold out. Maryland based rapper Logic was also in town, and while the twitter buzz wasn’t as high for his show the excitement was definitely in the crowd. Before 20 year old Boston native Michael Christmas walked on stage to the Pokemon theme song the crowd was jammed up chanting for Logic to come out. Michael Christmas enjoyed the stage, showing his humility by fully taking in his first tour, even grabbing drinks with a fan in the back after his performance while DJ Rhetorik warmed the crowd up. Rhetorik was excited by the hype of the crowd, even stopping mid-set just to let Logic hear them chant.
The crowd was turnt & DJ Rhetorik was satisfied that crowd was ready for the man of the hour. Coming out in a flight suit, becoming one with the crowd preaching about “peace, love and positivity”. Logic continued to connect with the fans throughout the show, interacting with them, even singing Happy Birthday to one fan. While the stage interaction was great, the music itself held its own, featuring mostly tracks from his debut album Under Pressure, with a few older tracks for the fans that had been with him from the beginning. Out of a true caring for his fan base he ended his night off stating “I love you” to all his fans.
October 21st marked the Homecoming stop for Francesco Yates opening for SoMo on his “WideAwake” Tour. The responses on Twitter have been unanimous in stating that Francesco is the highlight of the tour and a force to be reckoned with. Even the tour’s headliner SoMo has praised Francesco’s ability to bring it every night and wow the crowd of young fans. While ending the year strong with the final leg of this tour, a new single in the US and his single Call finally being released in Canada through iTunes, it’s 2015 that is the year to watch for as Francesco releases his debut album co-produced by Pharrell. Watch out for Francesco to be coming to a city near you soon!
It’s been over 8 years since ManifesTO started as a discussion in Toronto’s city hall between Che Kothari and numerous members of Toronto’s art community. Since then there’s been 8 highly successful festivals, that have featured greats like Rakim, Maestro and Talib Kweli, well known artists in their prime like 9th Wonder, Phonte, K-os & K’Naan, as well showcasing the future of urban music like Jhene Aiko, Jay Electronica, Blu & Rich Kidd. This year was no different with The Big Ticket showcase featuring a few of Toronto’s early adopters of hip-hop in Saukrates, King Reign and Septo, the future of music in a l l i e, Bishop Nehru and Raury, alongside super producer Ryan Leslie as the headliner. Every couple of years Rich Kidd also seems to show up for an unannounced surprise verse or two, this was one of those years. By far I have to say Raury was my highlight of the festival, for barely being 18 and this being his largest audience so far he rocked the stage better than anyone else and showed why he’s receiving the praises of the industry. If Manifesto 8 is any indication, the future of urban music is strong and I can’t wait to see what’s to come in 2015.
While backstage at YTV’s Summer Beach Bash I got to hang out with the boys of Rebel Coast and capture a few intimate portraits showing off a little bit of their personalities.