CMW 2012: Michael Rault @ The Black Box by Adam Bunch

WEDNESDAY - Okay, so I've been reading a lot recently about the Toronto music scene in the '60s. Not just the Yorkville coffee shop folk music of the Joni Mitchells and the Gordon Lightfoots, but the string of sweaty, packed, rock and soul clubs that stretched all the way down Yonge from Bloor to Queen. They were home to bands who played riotous garage rock and soul, some of whom would go on to become The Band, Steppenwolf, Buffalo Springfield and Blood, Sweat and Tears. It all made T.O., in the words of one of the guys from Buffalo Springfield, "the most hard-rocking city of its time". 

Michael Rault would have fit right in. He recently moved from his hometown of Edmonton to Toronto, and he sounds like something right out of the '60s: fuzzy guitars, simple hooks, soul, and energy. For Canadian Music Week, he played the opening Wednesday night set in the basement of the Great Hall on Queen West West. With drums, bass, and tambourine behind him, he ripped through a too-brief set of retro, hand-clapping, dance-along tunes, and even got some of the audience to venture up front and shake a tail. Sadly, though, the opening Wednesday night slot at CMW isn't exactly known for high turn outs. And the Black Box is a surprisingly large venue for a basement, with an upstairs balcony and everything. Though everyone who was there seemed to be enjoying themselves, the room was understandably half empty.

It's a shame. If Michael Rault had been playing a packed club on Yonge Street in the '60s – or just a smaller, drunker room, later, on another night of CMW – it would have been absolutely fucking incredible.

MP3: "It'll Hurt You, Too" by Michael Rault
MP3: "Lay Right Down And Die" by Michael Rault


Find all our coverage of Canadian Music Week 2012 here.

Text and photos by Adam Bunch

Adam Bunch is the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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