Day 2: If you don't have anything nice to say...
Day 3: I finally got to see Bend Sinister at a place called Comfort Zone. I say finally because for over a year I shared a jam space with them while working with Marty Zylstra on various music projects, but of course that means we never were there at the same time, though based on the instrument setup I'd been curious about them from the start. They have a nicely curated modern-but-classic-rock glam-prog sort of sound, and as a keyboard player I am doubly interested in how they use various keyboard sounds in their very high-energy upbeat show. I'll be seeking them out again soon here in Vancouver, from where they also hail!
I think the main thing working against them was the venue they drew in the CMW stage lottery. The sound system there was quite good, I'm not sure how much of it was supplied by CMW - but Comfort Zone, while not quite shit-hole status, had too low a stage and almost no lighting, so any band playing there would have trouble shining, or even being seen. Also I walked by the bar several times while looking for the bar, because it was covered in signage hawking cigarettes, wristbands, glowsticks and other junk, I thought it was a merch booth (no taps??).
After CZ my mate Dan from The Record Room and I went to the Dakota Tavern - which somehow I forgot how much I love - to see a few more acts. I was happy to meet and see The Sumner Brothers, a band fronted by two Vancouver brothers that take turns sounding like Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen. Very laid back set from them, excellent songwriting and a very accomplished, intentional sound with a bit of that American roots twang (paired Strat and Telecasters, lovely.)
My personal highlight, however, was The National Parks from Utah. These guys were FANTASTIC! With keys, fiddle and acoustic guitar in the band the are well-placed in any mixtape alongside Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters & Men, etc - but they are no emulators. They have superb arrangements and songwriting, and they have crafted a sound and show that really shines. A five star pick. Look them up.
Sadly I probably won't get to see much else of CMW this year as I have to return to Vancouver to play my own shows this weekend. So many of the people I know are jsut getting into town for the week, I think they've been missing out!