JUNOfest Rocks Toronto
Guest contributor- Music Writer
Outside of the JUNO Awards ceremony where the biggest names in Canadian music gather, is JUNOfest. This Festival brings together hundreds of bands who take over Toronto’s clubs to serenade fans.
After the calm soothing sounds of City & Colouron opening night, I wanted something heavier for the next night of JUNO-mania. I arrived at The Phoenix club for some fast rock music. Local Burlington band Saint Alvia opened the show with their own mix of rock music that incorporates punk and reggae and even some motown and soul. Like many bands, they tested out new songs for the young crowd and seemed to win them over. Their set was a little slow for the kids who wanted to dance, but they showed their range touching on numerous different styles. This band was nominated for a JUNO in 2008 with their debut album and maybe this next album will see them returning to the Awards stage with another nomination.
Next up was something you have to see to believe. If the JUNO’s are a music party, then The Johnstones embody the spirit of the party. In this band anything goes. They came out on stage wearing garbage bags and animal hats and it didn’t stop there. The crowd was jumping and chanting their entire set, even though I’m not sure how they actually knew what the band was singing. This band is all about having a good time and not caring what anyone thinks. Inside the club with the floors shaking, it felt like JUNOfest was a party that was just getting started.
Sunday night it was time for some hip-hop to change things up again. JUNO nominee Classified played a big show at The Sound Academy following his new album that was released this week. The crowd was in high spirits for the opening acts J Bru, Kidz In The Hall and legendary DJ Pete Rock even though the show was running late.
Classified has released nearly one album every year since his debut in 1995, so he had many songs to touch upon in his set. Things were fast paced as he played old classics alongside new music. Anyone who has seen Classified will agree that he has big stage presence with his crew beside him, so even if you didn’t know the songs you were bobbing along with the excited crowd. It was his recent singles that got the biggest reception. When he finished his set with his huge JUNO nominated single “Oh Canada” you would have been hard pressed to find someone in the crowd who wasn’t grinning ear to ear while they sang along. The song that celebrates everything we love about Canada was the perfect way to prepare for the JUNO Awards.
Real Style Network’s entertainment and music writers will be bringing you exclusive interviews and JUNO music awards coverage all weekend long. Make sure to follow us on twitter @realstylenet for up to the minute coverage.
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