CMW 2014: The Balconies @ The Horseshoe Tavern

FRIDAY — We've seen The Balconies play their raucous rock & roll in a whole range of places: in clubs, a park, an art gallery, a parking lot... But at midnight on Friday night of Canadian Music Week, we headed back to see them perform in one of the very first venues we ever saw them play. It was years ago, back in the days when they were still a three-piece; they were just starting out in Toronto after moving here from Ottawa. Even then, it was obvious they had the potential to become a very big deal. "The Balconies are a beast on stage," our Managing Editor, Cody McGraw, wrote in SoundProof Magazine, "[is] a dramatic understatement."

Their return to the 'Shoe was a triumphant one. The venue was sold out. When we arrived, the place was packed with people from the bar at the back all the way up to the lip of the stage. It was sweaty and hot. Frontwoman Jacquie Neville delivered her usual possessed performance, shrieking and shredding, never still, always a blur of fast motion. It was, as ever, glorious; one of the highlights of the festival. And the band saved two of their best songs for last. "Kill Count" — a relatively new track that can be found on their latest full-length — was a blistering frenzy of guitar riffs and the song's memorable vocal hook. Then, they ended the night with a track that they've been playing ever since their early days; one that has evolved, been re-recorded and renamed over the years. It's a piece of their now-distant history that can also be found on the new record: "Do It In The Dark." And as they played it, the crowd jumped and danced and sang along. Because now, when The Balconies play the Horseshoe, people know the words.





Read all our coverage of CMW 2014 here.

Photos by Carmen Cheung, the Arts Editor for The Little Red Umbrella.

Words by Adam Bunch, 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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