Each year, U of T’s Winterfest promises a week of exciting events to invigorate students returning for the winter semester. This year’s Winterfest itinerary includes not only a seemingly infinite number of pancake breakfasts, but also the return of Battle of the Bands, a musical competition that’s free for U of T students. The Varsity sat down with the four finalists who will be competing at Lee’s Palace on Wednesday, January 11 to give students a preview of what they can expect at the show.
Drummer Adam Moffat and guitarist Daniel Lewycky are the duo behind Dorval, a rock and blues band that’s previously played at Victoria College and Hart House, as well as other venues across Toronto. “As a two piece, Dorval’s margin for error is small,” they say. This requires them to take their songwriting and rehearsal processes very seriously, carefully constructing a setlist where every song serves a purpose. The audience should expect a “practically acrobatic, energetic live show. Daniel and Adam do all their own stunts.”
The six members of FOMA met studying in York University’s music program, before keyboardist Cole Mendez transferred to the University of Toronto. They describe their music as a fusion of genres, specifically funk, jazz, neo-soul and RnB. For comparison, they cite Kamasi Washington, the saxophonist and composer who was featured on Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly. This will be their first time playing a show at U of T, and they promise “fresh songs with soaring, improvised solos.” Drummer Jon Catanus adds, “expect to dance. A lot.”
Pictures of Richard
Pictures of Richard began playing together about a year and a half ago, and has since graced the stages of many venues across the GTA, including The Smiling Buddha and Mod Club. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jonah Kissoon describes the band’s sound as “jazz infused rock.” The band’s writing process is extremely collaborative, and the members enjoy experimenting with meter and tempo changes, inspired by their wide-ranging musical tastes. Says Kissoon, “we’re just four guys who really like music. We think that comes across in live settings where you can watch us do what we love.”
Formed in 2013 as a rock and blues band, The Accolades now describe themselves as a collection of musicians from across Toronto that aim to “bring a new definition to prog punk fusion.” While their singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer stay consistent, they also regularly call upon other musicians for performances. Wednesday will be their first performance with a full horn section, and the band is excited to take their momentum to the next level for what they promise will be a “high energy, high intensity show” that will lead the audience through “a musical, funky journey.”