The Australian music industry came to the Canadian Music Fest loaded with more than a dozen bands and left Toronto with an army of new fans. The Horseshoe Tavern hosted an Aussie BBQ on Saturday featuring nine acts, headlined by the sensational Blue King Brown, a funky eight-piece outfit fronted by the energetic Natalie Pa’apa’a (above). If you like Michael Franti & Spearhead, you’ll probably dig Blue King Brown. Their up-tempo rhythm and feel-good vibe had the Horseshoe moving from start to finish of their half-hour set.
The other highlight was Wagons, a country-rock band from Melbourne named after their lead singer. Henry Wagons looks like a bearded Rainn Wilson and doesn’t hold back on the comedy, so much so that the band only played a couple of songs during their set while Wagons had the audience laughing at his antics and good-natured Canadian insults. Wagons expects to be back in town later in the year when the band’s album is released here; you’ll want to remember their name.
The Aussie bands at the Horseshoe joined the Jezabels and Birds of Tokyo as standouts of this year’s CMF. Most of the contingent is off to New York and then Austin for next week’s SXSW festival in Texas. Looking forward to seeing them back in Toronto soon.