When you first walk in, the Horseshoe Tavern appears to be like any other Toronto pub. However, nestled in the back, in a separate, dimly-lit, sound-equipped room lies a stage upon which countless of home-grown Canadian bands showcase their talents nightly.
Wednesday nights are local music nights for all Ontario-based bands. These performances help to support Canadian music culture in a way that larger, well-known venues fail to do.
This Wednesday, four bands performed their music to an intimate audience. Opening the night was Wotts, an Ottawa-based band with a unique take on rap music.
The band’s combination of lyrical rap, beatboxing, and rock music made for an interesting listening experience. The lyrics spoke to the highs and lows of Ottawa suburban life, which is a relatable and engaging subject. The five members each brought something different to the group, drawing on inspiration ranging from the musical works of Pink Floyd to Kendrick Lamar.
Conventional rap often loses sight of the music behind the lyrics. Wotts uses instruments, not as a subtle background for the lyrics, but as another way to channel their message. The band also, used an electric guitar and synthesizer to accompany their rap and beatboxing.
The next act was the band Sportsfan. Not to be confused with the Australian Sports fan, this band is definitely home grown. Their music drips with inspiration from the indie-pop culture prevalent in Canada’s underground music scene.
Sportsfan is a young band; it has been only a year since the four members came together. Nevertheless, their lyrics speak to a life-full of bad experiences and what bassist Corey Henderson referred to as “crappy stuff from their past”. The self-proclaimed “denim jacket rock” group has a somber, indie sound complimented by lead singer Ally Haberstroh’s ‘Lana Del Ray-like’ voice.
Coronado seemed to steal the show with their performance. The audience flocked to the stage to listen to their familiar sound. Playing mainly in Toronto, the band really connected with the audience in a way other bands did not. Their interaction with the crowd showed the band’s appreciation for the “friendly nature” of the Canadian music scene. Their folksy feel was right at home in the Horseshoe Tavern.
Honeybeard finished up the night. The much anticipated duo played a spectacular set following the release of their new song, Hummingbird. Out of all the bands performing at the Horseshoe, Honeybeard definitely the most unique. Due its special indie music genre of electronic dark-pop. Their electronic music provided a base for their dark lyrics sang with a melancholy tone.
Horseshoe had solid performances all night and the pub was able showcase the variety of local talent that cannot be easily found anywhere else.
This piece was edited by Micaela Tesi , music editor of CanCulture.