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Kazoo! Fest 2018: Friday Preview

We hope you enjoyed the wonder and beauty that was Wednesday night and the ram-jammed hit factory that was Thursday night, but Friday is when you really have to start planning carefully.

Photo by Allison CameronWe start off easy enough with two of the Guelph areas best and brightest: Nicolette & The Nobodies with Rich Burnett. Starting at 4PM, get your country and folk fill at Planet Bean, bring the kids, and bliss out / get down to some really great homegrown music. If you’re looking for something a bit heavier, head on up the street to Take Time Vintage for the slacker rock stylings of Sackville’s Kurt Inder and local shoegrunge group EDDYEVVY.

Things get a bit trickier as the night goes on. At the beautiful Heritage Hall (83 Essex St), we have Toronto’s Nicole Rampersaud and Germaine Liu starting off the night proper with experimental jazz vibes that will challenge and amaze, followed by Montreal’s Platitudes, with an experimental electro skronk set, featuring dazzling visuals and otherwordly feelings. Closing out the night at Heritage Hall, Joseph Shabason and co. (feat. Bernice’s Thom Gill, Phil Melanson and Bram Gielen, and Nicole Rampersaud) will play new tracks and huge cuts from 2017’s critically acclaimed and goofily named Aytche.

Photo by Paz Ramirez Larrain

Just up the block from Heritage Hall is Silence (43 Essex Street),  which will feature two of our favourite acts from Toronto. First up at 8:30 PM is MAS AYAthe project of percussion wunderkind and Not The Wind not The Flag Member Brandon Valdivia brings together free jazz, afrobeat and tropicalia, spinning it in its own distinct way. Following Mas Aya is the incredible Castle If. Creating “retro-futuristic, cosmic exotica,” Castle If showcases mellow synths, experimental song structures, and a mastery of mind expanding mellowness.

Now things start to get really difficult, as you’ll have to make some tough choices. Guelph’s hometown psych-visual instrumental rulers Versa are releasing their first full length album overat Kazoo! HQ (123 Woolwich Street) at 9PM, followed by BUDI, the project of multi-instrumentalist Nick Dourada, which will be playing as a 7 piece experimental R&B Funk extravaganza, featuring some of the best musicians at the festival.

One of the highlights of this year’s Kazoo! Fest is our first ever curatorial partnership with Revolutions Per Minute, whose “mission is to build a visionary community of Indigenous artists and to introduce Indigenous music to new audiences.” Kicking off the night at 9:30 at 10C Shared Space (42 Carden Street) is a Kazoo! Favourite, Ziibiwan, who will blow all minds with his “deeply hypnotic spaces where land, sky, and deep sea meet.” Following this will be Silla+Rise, from Nunavut and Ottawa – an incredible mix of throat singing and electronic dance music that is unlike anything we’ve ever heard. Closing out the night will be Winnipeg’s Boogey the Beat, one of the foremost DJs and beatmakers in the country.

Over at the eBar we have a perfect show that blends hip hop with experimental R&B and Jazz (what could be better?). Hamilton noise jazz weirdos Eschaton will be kicking things off, and Toronto’s musical royalty Witch Prophet is following it up with a set of mind-expanding, soul quenching R&B. 2018 Juno hip hop nominee (for self-released Lil Mont from the Ave) Clairmont the Second is closing out the night at eBar with perfect hip hop anthems.

If scrappy punk and power pop is more your thing, ANAF will be delivering in full with Montreal’s Prime Junk kicking off the night at 10:15, with a set full of anthemic indie bangers. Toronto’sTough Age is up next, and these guys are tour tight, packed with hooks, and one of the best power pop post punk bands in the country. Closing out the ANAF will be Fest Faves and local darlings Ten Boy Summer! Get there early, stay late, and no hats please.

Kazoo! Crew – Kazoo! Fest Podcast 2018 Ep #7


On this final Kazoo! Podcast episode of 2018 (and final Indie Alarm Clock episode!) Andrea is joined on air by Brad McInerney, Mike Deane, and Dave Lander, AKA Kazoo!’s Programming Committee, to chat all about all the behind-the-scenes work that happens to make a festival like Kazoo! possible. They chat about community festivals vs mega-festivals, Programming Committees vs Artistic Directors, the challenges that smaller festivals face, dream bookings, and of course, what they’re most excited for at Kazoo! Fest 2018!

Track List:
Matthew Progress – Sip Test
Beverly Glenn-Copeland – Winter Astral
Faith Healer – Such a Gemini


Thanks to our friends at CFRU 93.3 FM!

Why Faith Healer Rules by Jarrett Samson

Faith Healer

Look, let’s face it: Bands. Who needs ’em? Mine included. It feels like there’s 3 bands for every 1 person in Canada. People have been playing instruments on a stage for years now. YEARS! Look at how many people have traded their squire jaguar in for 1/8 of the cost of licensing ableton software. Are they right to do it? …mmmaybe?

No, they are wrong. Bands are good. Band are relevant. Faith Healer is the proof.

Faith Healer is one of those bands where the sum of its parts somehow add up to way more than you could ever expect. Their records sound almost timeless, like they could have been made any time in the last 40 years and you’d believe it. (In fact, the dial-tone that opens Try 😉 might make you more inclined to disbelieve that it came out in 2017). These records are things I listen to and I love them and then I get angry because why can’t I make something this good? Who do they think they are? But then I feel fine again when I remember that I get to listen to them again and again and again until I’m even older and crankier than I am now.

The songwriting. Jeeze. There are so many bands (again, mine included) where you hear them and go “oh, they really like this band.” Someone loves This Heat, someone else is into Black Flag, etc etc etc. I have absolutely no idea what records Faith Healer listened to, what music inspired or drove Jessica to write these songs.

They stand between genres in this thin space that allows a listener to just subtly nudge them into whatever category might make them feel most comfortable with enjoying it yet at no time can that audience limitation truly limit the music. I mean, does this sound like AM radio hits or savage Can jams? Doesn’t that solo kind of sound like Boston, or is it Television? What band can I compare them to in my 300 word review if they don’t explicitly spell it out for me?!?

How does this all work? Well, it works because it doesn’t sound like any of those things. It sounds like Faith Healer.

Live, the band is on fire every time I see them, not a hair out of place (except for Renny’s as he hams up his solos) and composed of some of the all-time MVPs of the last decade in Canadian music. It’s ‘tight’, but not in the way you passively say to a band who let you use their drums but you hated their set, nor is it tight in a regimented, bland, over-rehearsed and sterile way– it’s tight because the whole band is playing with each other, knows how to play with each other, and (I’m hoping/assuming) LIKE playing with each other. It’s all I want out of seeing a band these days. It’s great music made by great people. I feel privileged to know them, to share a label with them, and to get to have this music in my life and in my ears and eye line pretty often.

All that being said, scheduling is leaving me unable to see them play at Kazoo! Fest, so someone let me know how it is. I bet it’s pretty good.

Jarrett Samson is the leader singer and guitarist for Tough Age, who will be performing at Kazoo! Fest 2018 on Friday, April 13th at ANAF (32 Gordon St.)

Faith Healer plays at Kazoo! Fest 2018 on Thursday April 12th with Elle Barbara’s Black Space and Alpaca Nachos at eBar (41 Quebec St.)


Kazoo! Fest 2018: Thursday Preview

Hope you’re feeling well-rested after the Kazoo! kick-off, cause it’s only day two and there’s so much more to see!

Photo by Karel O./ Decipher Images

The evening will start out with a bit of a difficult choice – are you up for something more experimental and avant-garde, or are you feeling that a cozy evening of heartwarming folk may be more your jam? If it’s the former, head on over to Kazoo! HQ at 7 PM to catch The Powers, Church, and Cindy Lee, for an evening of experimental electronic, performance art, and dance. If you’re up for something a little more intimate, head to 10C at 7:30 PM to catch a trio of heartfelt performances by Bird City, Jom Comyn, and LUKA.

But regardless of which show you choose to kick off your evening, make your way to the eBar afterwards (doors at 10 PM) for an eclectic collection of performances by the Alpaca Nachos (this year’s Girls Rock Camp Guelph choice for Kazoo! Fest!), Faith Healer, and Elle Barbara’s Black Space.

And don’t forget that the Guelph Night Market will be happening all throughout the evening tonight (7-11pm), so be sure to take some time between your show-hopping to head on over to Mitchell Hall to pick up some Kazoo! Fest souvenirs from the Night Market’s curated selection of vendors.

Whew, hope we’ve whet your appetites, cause things are just getting started!

Why MAS AYA Rules by Nick Dourado

Photo by Paz Ramirez Larrain


ok so here’s what i like ~ generosity.

i remember brandon in so many ways but first and foremost it is this way, giving, caring and present. incredible qualities for a percussionista or any kind of music maker. i remember being introduced eagerly by pals when he came thru to hali’s obey convention years ago with notthewindnottheflag. i had the whole afternoon to present all kinds of improvising music and i remember that colin and brandon were there for almost all of the four hours or so. and like the spirit of the true jazz giant, within the hours of meeting, brandon and colin came to play and i felt brandon’s voice through his hands from the drum ~ and this preface is to let you know how prepared and grateful i am to speak on mas aya and brandon and generosity and also how necessarily i must use this public platform to thank brandon. brandon, my pal. thank you.

i’ve haphazardly toured around the country in discomfort and one of the things i remember about brandon is how grateful i am to see him, light one up and share treasures from the crown of music. how many borrowed drum kits and favours and care-taking gestures i personally am indebted to this kind man is many and i know this sentiment is shared by all of his truly numerous illustrious collaborators.

i remember brandon from the stage of the polaris music prize and i was one of few people who could feel the pressure on him when all the monitors turned off and his drum was still deep into the pocket of the electronic sounds echoing around a deep theatre and still if you watch the video i’m sure you would not know unless i told you. i remember brandon’s convicted reassurance that no outcome at an award show would or could influence the speaking to the spirit that is our work. i remember brandon taking care of business and otherwise i remember brandon smiling and pouring another one in the hot tub.

i also remember clearly the first time i put on “nikan” and was again reminded that the collaborative spirit is always alive and well in the servants of music; and i remember feeling often with mas aya the same spirit that lido pimienta furiously reseeds into the musical landscape. as our ears decide it is time to assess our insecurities around our ancientness ~ we have a home in a new generation of popular artists that can see themselves a million years old.

my insider scoop is that mas aya is ultimately this spirit at work. something that is resiliently ancient and drilled with joyful discipline into the present. i don’t know what the yaks who text thru concerts get out of instruments crafted from and resonating thru the earth but i remember the first time i heard brandon touch a drum and i hear it every single time. honestly, i think the world of music is pretty confused about risk taking and spontaneous music and what it is to always be prepared. please do not heap your expectation on mas aya. just understand that someone who is observant and near the explosions of new music can bring you, tenderly, a new perspective. trust mas aya, y’all. please..

Nick Dourado is a Halifax-based engineer, artist and multi-instrumentalist involved with BUDI, Century Egg, Beverly Glenn-Copeland & Indigo Rising and Special Costello to name a few. Dourado will be performing at Kazoo with BUDI on Friday, April 13th at Kazoo! HQ (127 Woolwich St.), with Special Costello on Saturday, April 14th at 10C (42 Carden St.) and as part of Beverly Glenn-Copeland & Indigo Rising on Saturday, April 14th at Dublin United Street Church (168 Glasgow St W.)

MAS AYA plays at Kazoo! Fest 2018 on Friday April 13th with Castle If at Silence (46 Essex St.)