CMW 2013: Mozart's Sister @ The Comfort Zone by Adam Bunch

SATURDAY — The first time I saw Mozart's Sister was on a sweltering summer afternoon during last year's NXNE. She was playing outdoors — a daytime show in the backyard of a home near Parkdale. She came out as the sun was setting across the clotheslines and fences and lawns, with a small mixing board balanced on an ironing board. A few twists of the knobs later, she was conjuring up glitchy dance tunes that had the audience mesmerized into a stunned silence. It was one of the most impressive live performances I've seen.

So I was pretty interested to see how her show would translate into a real venue. I got my chance on Saturday night. And as it turns out, the venue was pretty much as far from a warm backyard on a summer afternoon as you can possibly get. At the corner of College & Spadina is the seedy Hotel Waverly — it's where James Earl Ray hid out after he shot Martin Luther King Jr. Downstairs, in the dank basement, is the Comfort Zone. It's Toronto's most notorious venue — all darkness and low ceilings and booths hidden in the shadows, which you try not to let your eyes focus on just in case you accidentally see something you weren't supposed to.

But Mozart's Sister had this crowd mesmerized too. She came on in the wee hours of the morning after a hypnotic set by Doom Squad and some DJing by Cadence Weapon, bathed in the club's dim-and-yet-somehow-still-blinding lights. This time she was accompanied by another musician, but for the most part it was the same kind of set up again: twisting knobs, pressing buttons, dancing, and that same voice I remembered from last summer: quiet and reserved and then soaring and strong, soaked in effects and then crisp and clear and then barely recognizable as a voice at all.

So now I know: whether it's in a sunlit backyard or a dark basement, Mozart's Sister is the shit.

MP3: "Chained Together" by Mozart's Sister
READ: Our review of her backyard set at NXNE last year


Find all of our coverage of Canadian Music Week 2013 here

Photos by Carmen Cheung.

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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