Harbourfront's SoundClash

I was invited to attend yesterday's announcement of Harbourfront Centre's SoundClash Music Award shortlist - the five bands who will be vying for the $5000 first prize. With jazz and jazz based music every-diversifying, I thought it would be good for me to go and check out some new bands. And, I was pleasantly surprised to see some familiar names among the finalists.

When Harbourfront Centre sent out the initial notice about the award back in April - inviting submissions - I wondered who might apply. With arts funding becoming more and more competitive, an extra opportunity to seek out funds is certainly welcome. Judging by the quality of the shortlisted bands (apparently they had to choose from more than 200 submissions), they've hit their intended audience. With the stipulation that all applicants must be independent - not affiliated in any way with a major label - I was worried that we might see bands who are very good at marketing but who aren't necessarily at the top of the performance class. Happily, each of the bands has earned a long list of accolades and media recognition.

In fact, Harbourfront Centre should be congratulated, I think, for the variety of music they've chosen for their shortlist: rock/pop, DJ, funk, jazz, groove and hip hop are all represented, and most of the artists cross genres - a feature which is becoming more and more common to the benefit, in my opinion, of many genres.

Okay, okay - enough stalling. Let me first congratulate the bands who are a regular part of the local jazz scene: The Worst Pop Band Ever and Saidah Baba Talibah. They each represent some of the exciting music being made by the local jazz scene (and Saidah will be performing at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival). And, congratulations go out to the other finalists: Young Empires, Kids & Explosions, and Miles Jones - I've got some listening to do!

Each of the bands will be performing throughout the summer on stage at Harbourfront Centre; the winner will be chosen by a combination of public votes and jury selection, and will perform a feature show in September. Complete details can be found at the Harbourfront Centre's website.


Site by GoodWeb & plousia