It’s still feeling like one of the coldest and longest winters so far this year, as we continue to anticipate the gradual coming warmth of spring. In dedication to keeping our members of the city warm, Tkaronto’s local music scene came together for the Parkdale Community and Health center raising funds towards purchasing immediate winter necessities for our residents of Queen and Bathurst.
In a collaborative attempt to break the ice and to fight the cold, members of our city, Tkaronto, put together a legendary bill of local artists; that would sooner, than later sell out the tight, and cozy capacity of Bar Orwell. Sold out on February 11th, Bar Orwell located on 1595 Dundas street welcomed familiar bands: Treehouse of horror (twinkly-emo), Spirit Desire (indie / punk / emo), and Piper Maru (hardcore / punk ) to set an intimately fervorous flame to keep the rest of the show’s attendees warm.
Keeping our community tightly knit together, the local DIY space for music extends its arms to new, and familiar faces. Opening its doors, Bar Orwell was immediately occupied by overwhelmingly powerful performances. Viscerally flipping the energy upright through unconventionally gritty measures. The bands on the bill that night lead chaos hand-in-hand with zero tact for crowd control.
With friends like Zachary, who is gradually becoming familiar with Tkaronto’s local bands, he excitedly talks about how “the atmosphere was awesome”.
“With it being so packed, it almost forces you to chat and connect with the person next to you. Whether you were in the pit 2 stepping, or on the side taking photos, it was impossible- to not be sweaty by the end of the night. It feels great to recognize more faces when I go to
these local shows and to catch up with them”.
Treehouse of Horror:
Admirably grounding themselves on a foundation of twinkly-chord progressions, Treehouse of Horror positions the genre of emo towards a melodically brighter sounding direction. Arranging their songs into distinctive sounding parts, this band guides you through a musical trip, encouraging their listeners to keep up with their eccentricity in sound. Partnered with the vocalist’s blowing screams, which our friend Zachary thinks were skillfully “insane”, this band willfully puts an unconventional spin on their band presence.
Playing together, it’s almost as if we are listening to a conversation between the two contrasting melodies of bass and guitar. Grounding and mediating the two, their vocalist and percussionist run parallel to their flowing melodies- but none of them meet in the middle. Beautifully, each individual infuses a different sounding flare to each other’s part- essentially complimenting each other as a result. Performing original songs like, ‘See You Next Tuesday’ (EP: Songs We Wrote, 2022), Treehouse of Horror loops their attendees into an organized paradox of complimentary sounding inconsistencies. While we’re entranced by their musical dialogue, their way with lyrics almost slips past us.
Can you fake it are you faking it
Do you know what it’s like
To love something or anyone who isn’t just yourself
Treehouse of Horror masks their vulnerable lyricism behind bright-mesmerizing melodies attendees latch themselves on to. Their peculiar, and extremely calculated approach is beautifully misleading. Though their lively take on sound never quite meets their darker lyrics eye-to-eye, Treehouse of Horror encapsulates what night-and-day would be like through their set.
“I was mainly there to see Spirit Desire (loved their 2022 LP), and it was cool to see that they sound just as good live. The energy, the quirkiness, and the friendly banter between songs- I can’t wait to see them play again”. With a band like Spirit Desire put together by four individuals; they arrange their songs with sentimental sounding characteristics of indie, punk, and emo. Playing songs like ‘Shy Guy’ (Album: No One Makes Me Laugh As Hard As You, 2022), their crafted softness in sound paired with vulnerably relatable lyrics, they pull their listeners into a place of personal reminiscence. Spirit Desire washes over you the same way a fuzzy, and distant memory would, their musical approach coaxes their listeners to explore recollected melancholies and nostalgias.
But while they start their set softly, this band also gradually presents a rougher side to them. Wringing their instruments out live to their songs like ‘Drop it Like it’s Hot', and supported by impressive screams courtesy of the vocalist from Treehouse of Horror. Their band performance takes a shift towards a different direction. Energetically oscillating between tenderness and coarseness in musical tone, Spirit Desire effectively fuels their range in emotional vibrance with dreamy resonating sounds for everyone to immerse themselves in. Spirit Desire puts together a rich performance through their personalized workings of guitar, bass, omnichord / synth, and percussion. As attendees, we are put in a collective place, and one that is particularly saturated with melancholy, or child-like abandon. This band forces the eccentric energy out of people when they rip through their other tunes like, ‘My Fieri’ (Album: Adrian, 2017). With an impressive stage presence, Spirit Desire forces their crowd to mosh hard with reckless intent. Figuratively sinking their teeth into a place we hold private, we attune ourselves towards their musical intention of uniquely finding its place within each individual. Make sure to find their discography on both Bandcamp and Spotify!
When you give punk musicians like Piper Maru the opening for headline performance at a tight space like Bar Orwell, you surrender the floor to ‘dancers’, and stage ‘divers’. Engaging with traditional elements of hardcore-punk, Piper Maru delivers their own tasteful take on the musical genre. Pushing their ringing riffs through unrelenting overdrives, while they’re floored by rhythmically fast beating percussions, and topped with a full body depth for bass. These noisy elements shoulder Andie’s sucker-punch for vocals, and effectively forces their listeners into submission. Zachary enthusiastically recalls how their stage presence blew him away.
“The way Andie interacted with the crowd and got a bunch of people yelling the lyrics back to the band, is what makes local shows special. It’s very intimate”.
With the crowd grabbing for the mic in a chaotic attempt to share the moment, we have attendees straining their vocals in unison to songs like ‘Descalation Tactics’ (EP: Most of My Friends Died in Space 2017).
they're on their fucking high horse
think they're better than the rest
wear their stupid fucking uniforms
little piggy's sunday's best
Each song ranges from a minute, or two- at the very most. Short but hella-sweet, their forceful band presence brings a cathartic edge to the venue’s forefront, and a full-blown performance that puts their audience in a choke-hold demanding for more. Their sharp set incites uncontrollable fits of collected rage and frustrations, strikingly encapsulated in Andie’s manic dabble with lyricism that screams of a willful resistance. With other solid working contenders like ‘Control’, Piper Maru woos their crowd, calling for willing punks to open the mosh pit to slammers, two-steppers, and unpredictable stage divers. For a frenzy like that to ensue at an unassuming bar like Bar Orwell, this band wields a powerfully bold, and influencing demeanor.
“Piper Maru’s set could be described as ‘chaotic good’. If you got people jumping off speakers to crowd surf, you’re doing something right”.
With a uniquely carved sounding edge, Piper Maru serves their listeners a refreshing sound, and a revitalized meaning to punk music.
As we continue to uplift our community through DIY spaces dedicated to local music, and to the efforts of putting immediate aid together; we are also making space for one another. Whether you’re a musician or music enthusiast, we need each other. So please make sure to support your local artists to keep up with upcoming events, causes, and releases!