Our first full year of in-person shows since the pandemic, 2023 starts off with Wavelength venturing outside Toronto for the first time in a few years, co-presenting a collab show with our friends Collective Arts at their brewery space in Hamilton, Ontario — where Ellevator and Ombiigizi stunned a capacity crowd who braved a frigid night to hear live music (WL 846, Feb. 24). A few weeks later, the Wavelength Winter Festival also features a handful of firsts at its first 3D edition in three years: the first sold-out show at the brand-new TD Music Hall club at Massey Hall, with US avant-rock heroes Deerhoof; Wavelength’s biggest venue show ever with Toronto post-rock pioneers Do Make Say Think playing their first show in six years; and our first show featuring hammocks, when we make Dovercourt House into a festival pop-up venue complete with a restorative “chill zone” created by artist Ninang’s Soft Alchemy (WL 847-852, March 9-31). Curated by Daniel Monkman, the festival lineup strongly showcases Indigenous performers like Joe Rainey, Evan Redsky and Sister Ray, as well as celebrating the influence of Montreal indie label Constellation Records, with performers like Jessica Moss, Kee Avil, and Markus Floats, alongside a “Kino” film and video installation by Constellation artists.
Summer comes back in a big way in August, when the Wavelength Summer Thing returns in a new, outdoor, lakeside location: Trillium Park at Ontario Place (WL 865-867, Aug. 18-20). This gorgeous green space right on Lake Ontario recaptures some of the chill Island vibe we had lost since the floods of 2017. Artists animate the space with fun, interactive installations and activities, including Stephanie Avery’s musical-wordplay treasure hunt “Here Comes the Pun,” stretching and breathing exercises in Renelyn Quinicot’s Rest Portal, Kizmet’s eerie Sentinel Queen watching over the festivities by the water. And a diverse, inclusive musical lineup includes memorable sets by NYC dance-punks Gustaf, Toronto rapper Lex Leosis, and Indigenous folk-metal crew Status Non Status. 5,000 people come through to take part in this free community gathering over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Summer Thing gives us the chance to quietly unveil our new logo and branding by Beehive Design — our first in 20 years — with the large-scale WL lettering again created by textile artist Roxanne Ignatius.
2023 also sees the launch of two sectoral research projects which Wavelength embarked upon during COVID: Band Together, a Canada Council Digital Strategy Fund project, explored the possibilities of remote music collaboration and musicians creating and performing live over the Internet; and Reimagining Music Venues, a major industry report co-authored by our co-founder Jonathan Bunce and Prof. Daniel Silver of the University of Toronto Department of Sociology. Reimagining Music Venues generates a lot of interest, discussion and media attention — opening up some intriguing possibilities for the future of live spaces in Ontario. And throughout the rest of 2023, Wavelength’s programming takes place in a dizzying array of unconventional spaces: breweries, church halls, markets, museums, parks, and a woodworking workshop.
- ROM After Dark hosts a Wavelength-curated room at the Friday night museum party with “moccasin-gazers” Zoon celebrating their album release alongside UK/Toronto psych-folk singer Tess Parks (WL 855, April 21 @ Royal Ontario Museum)
- Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg author and indie-folk artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson performs a long-awaited show as part of Tkaronto Music Festival (WL 858, June 22 @ stackt Market)
- “Gong punk” crew Pantayo féte the release of their new album Ang Pagdaloy for a capacity crowd in Filipino club in Parkdale (WL 861, June 30 @ Sari Not Sari)
- Dutch visitors Lewsberg anchor a three-band bill alongside Toronto’s Sahara and Montreal’s Cots, wowing showgoers with their minimalist drone-pop (WL 869, Oct. 17 @ Tranzac Main Hall)
- Wavelength makes a long-awaited (and sadly, likely final) return to the stunning furniture design studio Brothers Dressler, where Adamson brings in their spatialized sound system for cellist Michael Peter Olsen to play on for his album release, where he’s joined on stage by heavy hitters alaska B and Owen Pallett — the show is one for the history books (WL 870, Oct. 27)