There’s something that feels very right about starting off Canadian Music Week at the Silver Dollar room. Perhaps it’s more pronounced this year because of their impending demise, but the Silver Dollar Room is one of those quintessentially Toronto venues that I associate with checking out great emerging bands. As such, it’s unsurprising that I would elect to kick off my CMW with the POP Montreal and NeXT co-presented showcase, featuring a local up-and-comer called Good Kid and the dreamy synth-pop stylings of Montreal’s Caveboy.

Good Kid is an indie rock band based out of Toronto that sounds a lot like those early 2000 indie bands you loved –The Strokes, Bloc Party, with a hint of Tokyo Police Club. With just a few tracks under their belt to date (including the well-received “Nomu”), the band is admittedly pretty raw, but there’s definitely potential for something more in there. They’ve harnessed the power of angular guitar and sharp pop hooks, and they have an energetic stage presence. They have a few kinks to work out – as most emerging bands do – but they played a solid set.

At the opposite end of the rawness spectrum sits Caveboy. The trio of Michelle Bensimon (vocals, guitar, synths), Isabelle Banos (backing vocals, synth, bass) and Lana Cooney (drums, backing vocals) demonstrated that this clearly wasn’t their first showcasing radio, with about as slick of a set as you’ll ever see. This is a band whose music has been featured on Orange is the New Black, and who has played sets at major festivals CMJ and SXSW, and as a result, the bar was set pretty high. They elected to play a ton of new material, which I thought was an interesting choice and a bit of a risk, but one that paid off as the new material sounded great. I don’t know if it was a case of high expectations, but I found myself thinking that despite the admittedly great songs, there wasn’t much there to emotionally connect with. It improved as the set went on, culminating in Bensimon making her way into the crowd to dance, but I thought the set seemed a bit impersonal. Moving back to the music, the songs (both old and new) were great, and they earned major points for their cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”.