Thank goodness for Arts & Crafts, the Toronto-based indie label that’s been responsible for the rise of so many innovative musical outfits.
Like some strange, creative family, the label begat Broken Social Scene, who begat Stars, who in turn begat a heap of solo and side projects from artists like Feist and The Most Serene Republic.
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Together they are an incredible bunch of songwriters and performers. And a side bonus for those of us who dig their stuff is that when they do live shows, they tend to come as a package deal.
Tonight Winterlude hosts some of the best that Arts & Crafts has to offer, with Jason Collett, Amy Millan, Apostle of Hustle and Young Galaxy taking the stage.
When he’s not playing guitar for Broken Social Scene, Collett is busy making his own sweet alt-country, roots rock blend. Dubbed one of the “rising indie stars” on this Winterlude bill, Collett is already a “star” in his own right, having garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success with his solo discs Motor Motel Love Songs and the more recent, Idols of Exile.
Amy Millan is also a “star” — or rather a key element in the band Stars. Word has it the band is currently working on a follow-up to their hugely successful album Set Yourself On Fire, but it seems they’ve given vocalist Millan a few days off to tour with her buds.
Less well known than Collett or Millan, but perhaps even more musically intriguing, is Apostle of Hustle, who just released their sophomore album, National Anthem of Nowhere earlier this week.
The melodious male-female duo of Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless, known collectively as Young Galaxy, are the last act to heat up a frosty February night.
It’s a varied line-up that showcases just how lucky we, as Canadians, are to have all this fantastic talent flourishing in our own backyard. As Collett once said of his Arts & Crafts collaborators, “I’m smart enough to know a renaissance when it’s happening.”
Indie Night gets under way tonight at 7 p.m. at the American Express Snowbowl on the canal. It’s absolutely free.