Meet Exclaim!'s Class of 2023: Mitch Davis, Steel Saddle, the Wesleys

Montreal is in for a rootin'-tootin' "absolute good vibe explosion"

Photos (clockwise from top left): Mitch Davis by Aabid Youssef, Bule, Steel Saddle courtesy of Steel Saddle, the Wesleys

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jan 17, 2023

There's a certain je ne sais quoi in the air. It might just be mercury retrograde, but it's more than likely the scintillating music scene just across the provincial border has something to do with it. This week, Exclaim!'s Class of 2023 concert series ventures beyond the vastness of Ontario and into Quebec for a show at Montreal's L'Escogriffe Bar on Friday, January 20 — presented in partnership with POP Montreal.

Get to know the QueClass below, and stay tuned to meet the musicians playing this week's double dose of Toronto shows!

January 20: L'Escogriffe Bar

Steel Saddle

Are you ready to ride? Steel Saddle certainly are. In fact, you could say it was their collective new year's resolution, since the seven-piece ensemble are also sitting on a lot of big, top-secret plans for 2023 — "All I can say is that it's going to be great and this band of brothers are so passionate and caring towards each other and the art we make together," teases the band's Austin Neil Boylan. But first thing's first: bringing their self-described "log cabin rock/country with soulful storytelling that will make you want to dance or cry, sometimes both simultaneously," to L'Escogriffe. Since relocating to BC, Boylan is particularly excited to reunite with friends and family at the show, and welcomes Céline Dion to be among them despite not liking her music.

The Wesleys

"Absolute good vibe explosion is a genre?" asks the band's Henry G, and who are we to deny him? While they are clearly not all actually named Wesley, the quartet are game on getting their "jangly garage rock" or "power pop" or whatever to tape and giving it a name — or perhaps many — in 2023 with the release of their self-produced debut full-length album, and have booked shows in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and NYC for the year ahead. The Wesleys are excited to be part of the current uproar in the Canadian music scene. "There's never been so many sick bands around at the same time," says G, "now is the time to get out there people!" 

Mitch Davis

Although he just released his debut album The Haunt last year, Mitch Davis is already hoping to release an EP of his "blissfully disguised neurotically unhealthy bedroom pop" this year, as well as his own variable-mu compressor. Time is of the essence, after all — according to the multi-instrumentalist, there's room in the scene for three more abstract singular noun band names and those will probably already be taken before this even gets to print. Everything happens especially quickly when you're as busy as Davis is, with 2023 set to bring him tour dates with Marci and possibly TOPS in the near future, as well as releases from Elle Barbara, Faith Healer and Sorry Girls that he's contributed to.


Bule sees the Wesleys' "absolute good vibe explosion," and raises it a "country boogie sandwich." Sounds like a delicious detonation! Bandleader Benjamin Vallée promises that it will sound a little less abrasive, though — like "the sun peaking through the blinds and gracing a plate of corned beef." (The hunger grows.) He's equally excited to get to see his fellow Montrealers on the bill perform, as well as for Bule to release their sophomore album in 2023. They're also brewing up some conspiracy theories about Justin Bieber and the Barenaked Ladies.

For more information on this show and the rest of the Class of 2023 concert series, visit the Facebook event page and get tickets on Showclix.

Next up:
01/27 Hobby / Steel Saddle / Heavy Head / Robinson Kirby - Monarch Tavern
01/28 Rusholme / Loviet / Velvet Beach / Glutenhead - Monarch Tavern

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