The CanCon problem
My friends can tell you, I’m a huge supporter of local artists almost to a fault. There are songs on my iTunes player that admittedly would not even get a second listen if not for the fact that they are by Canadian (or even Toronto and Mississauga specifically) artists. Some of my favourite films are Canadian and I love dragging my girlfriend to watch some local theatre. (“Local theatre” is redundant, yes.)
Which is all happy and cozy, but now, as a journalist, I’m in the position where I frequently have to review this stuff. And I’m finding I grade CanCon on a different scale. My gut turns to knots when I’m about to a give a bad rating to a well-meaning and promising local artist. I’ve adopted this habit of giving harsher numerical ratings, but then writing nice things in the copy, or vice versa, just to even things out. I’m a Libra.
It’s kind of a copout — and the fact that I’m writing about this at all shows I have issues with this practice. I need to grow a bigger backbone (but I don’t want to) or I need to get out of this field altogether and write real news stories.
That said, last Friday I went to go see two local bands play at Revival — KC Roberts and openers No Stone (featuring Rawsteady). One of my old workmates is the band leader/saxophonist for No Stone, so I was just coming to support my boy. The show was incredible.
The energy coming off that stage was unbelievable, from the guest emcees Rawsteady working the two-step while rhyming, to lead vocalist Kirsten Rea getting her Jessica Rabbit on, I was blown away that so much local talent gets lost under the radar. I remembered why I wanted to support/report on the scene in the first place.
I’d post more about KC as well but he’s been getting his share of shine lately. I will say though that he covered the Thundercats theme song and it was amazing. I don’t mean amazing in an ironic hipster way, I mean it was amazing — the vocal arrangements, the guitar solo, the horns.
The talent it out there, and it’s not latent or rough or unpolished or whatever else. It’s dope, and it’s worth searching for.