| April 6, 2013 | Comments (2,061)




Now in its 13th year, Toronto’s Wavelength series has proved time and time again why

people should pay attention to music. There’s a lot of it in the city, but no event seems
quite so lovingly curated. It’s a genuine passion project.

So, while it’s not a festival tied together by genre, it’s one that sees audiences turning up
prepared for anything. And the festival programming makes good on a diverse range of
talent – something the Friday, February 15th showcase at The Black Box Theatre proved.

Take, for instance, the fuzzed-out garage rock of five-piece Blonde Elvis. They’re a band
that may not take themselves completely seriously (as demonstrated by the moniker and
by a microphone check consisting of Russell Oliver’s infamous “Cash Man” song,) but
they certainly helped the night get off to a solid start.

Just when you thought you were settling in for a lo-fi kind of evening, Blue Hawaii
showed up. A stroke of genius in the scheduling department, really, given the actual
Elvis starred in a movie by the same name. But gone was the rock. In its place: danceable
electronic music from Raphaelle Standell-Preston (of Montreal’s Braids) and keyboard-
controller Alex “Agor” Cowan.

Blue Hawaii is a departure from Standell-Preston’s typical experimental art rock. Lack of
familiarity with the material aside, the duo’s Toronto debut had the crowd dancing.

That’s not to say it would stay that way. Shortly after, two-time Polaris Prize shortlister
Cadence Weapon would swing the crowd into hip hop. The Edmonton born and raised
rapper (alongside his enthused DJ) made use of his stage time by debuting new song,
“Come See Me,” and telling the crowd that the first time he played Wavelength, it was
to an audience of “upwards of eight people.” There’s definitely been a sizeable increase
since then.

Doldrums ended the night and unfortunately lost some steam from technical problems.
While the set started much later than originally anticipated, 23-year-old Airick Woodhead
didn’t seem to let it bother him all too much. The experimental indie project was
celebrating the release of their new album.

There were strong moments to be sure, but it wasn’t the finest showing from Woodhead
and his band mates. Their dreamy soundscape came apart in the room, but – like any
hard-working Canadian band should know – they played through and finished their set,
even pulling Cadence Weapon up for a number. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still a show
you wanted to see.

Photos & Review: Sarah Rix

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