5 Acts to catch this week at CMW

6 May 2019 / by Graeme Thomson
Featured Image for 5 Acts to catch this week at CMW courtesy of John Londono  | CJRU

I’m lucky to have hosted CJRU 30 on CJRU 1280 AM radio for over two years now. The best part of the role is to find all sorts of new music. Over CMW I’ll be interviewing and reviewing many of the bands I play on my show, and I’ll give you the inside scoop of what shows you should check out. You can follow me throughout CMW on Twitter @gramonthomson.


Tokyo Police Club

It’s crazy to think these guys have been touring the Canadian alt-rock scene for over a decade now. Their sound has changed over the course of their four records, but they went back to their roots on their latest release, TPC. David Monks, Graham Wright, Josh Hook and Greg Alsop went back to their garage rock past and produced an album fitting of the 90’s sound they grew up in. Songs like “Hercules” sound like they could be from TPC’s first album, Elephant Shell, with the upbeat tempo that you can’t help but dance along to. You can catch Tokyo Police Club with The Dirty Nil on Friday, May 10th at The Phoenix Concert Theatre.


The Dirty Nil

Do you like headbanging? What about catchy hooks? The Dirty Nil bring both to the table with the gritty guitar and angsty vocals of Luke Bentham. Joined by bassist, Ross Miller and drummer, Kyle Fisher, Bentham and The Dirty Nil play a punky brand of rock that’s resonated in Canada. They’ve drawn the attention of Canadian media so much so that they won the 2017 JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. The Dirty Nil have only grown from there. They’ve toured all over the world, opening for Canadian greats like Billy Talent and Alexisonfire. They come back to Canada with a point to prove; that all the touring over the last three years has catapulted them to one of Canada’s best rock acts. You can see The Dirty Nil with Tokyo Police Club on Friday, May 10th at The Phoenix Concert Theatre.


Born Ruffians

Just like Tokyo Police Club, Born Ruffians are another veteran of the Canadian alt-rock scene who made a big return in 2018. I loved their latest album Uncle, Duke and The Chief so much that it appeared in my playlist for 2018’s top albums of the year. The band plays a unique style of rock that mixes elements of garage and surfer rock together. “Forget Me” is a great example with its stripped-down acoustic guitar, poppy hand-clapping and raspy vocals. The band is always a fun band to watch. They play with a bunch of energy, always getting the crowd into it. Born Ruffians will be playing with The Elwins and more on Saturday, May 11th at The Phoenix Concert Theatre.




One of the best parts of CMW is how the lineup consists of established bands and newer bands looking to find their spotlight. For me, Kandle is one of those bands. Kandle Osbourne came onto my radar when her latest release, Holy Smoke appeared on the national campus and community radio charts in 2018. For this album, Kandle worked with a cast of accomplished producers including Sam Goldberg (Broken Social Scene), John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile) and Alex Bonenfant (July Talk). Kandle’s sound is unique and powerful. Holy Smoke launches the listener into the wild, wild west – all alone and fighting for yourself. Kandle will be opening for Television on Monday, May 6th at The Phoenix Concert Theatre.



When I mentioned established bands, this is the sort of band I was talking about. The Lemonheads have been going strong since the late 80’s. They broke out from the hardcore punk scene, taking the mantle from the likes of Hüsker Dü. They started off playing a harder sound but quickly became one of the biggest pop-punk bands of the early 90’s. Throughout the years the cast of musicians have changed, but lead singer, Evan Dando has always remained the frontman. Prepare to step into the past if you’re going to catch them during CMW because they’re headlining with alt-rock legend, Tommy Stinson (The Replacements). You can see the Lemonheads and Tommy Stinson on Wednesday, May 8th at Lee’s Palace.