Cameron Carpenter: Just Do It!

Shanghai Aug 2012For many it has already started with the East Coast Music Awards or the annual SXSW conference in Austin. It is convention season as Canadian Music Week is followed by The Hot Docs Conference and then the NXNE Music + Film + Comedy + Art + Interactive. Old friends, new friends, many late nights and far too many early mornings. As we speak we are on day two or three of CMW and there are three more days beckoning as well as 4 AM closing times.

Westin Harbour CastleCMW is a different animal this year as they welcome their new host hotel the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel. Needs a quick nickname me thinks. Now the key to any good convention is the art of the schmooze. This was easy at the Harbour Castle Westin as the lobby bar was huge and circular and it was very easy to find familiar faces to talk to and hopefully buy you a pint. After a few years I got to know Charles and his bar staff very well and with my record company credit card on hand I had little problem always getting a round of drinks. Some ten Westin Lobby Baryears later, and long after the conference changed locations,  most of the staff are still there as when I walked into the bar in December with Vince Neil and Dana Strum they all said hello and asked if Mr. Carpenter would like a Jack’n’Coke.

Royal YorkThings were a little different when Neill Dixon moved the conference to the Royal York. There isn’t really one main bar and the smart folks quickly realised that the intimate “Library Bar” was the place to see and be seen. After season one I was down with head bartender Michael and things always ran smoothly when cocktails were required. I am going to miss that space and the group of regulars who always seemed to end up there, it unofficially became known as my office. There were other bars in the hotel but I never felt comfortable in them. The main Library Barbar, Epic, never quite felt right and it seemed to take forever to get a pint. It would become our haunt on Saturday afternoon’s as the Library Bar was closed and I worked the room reminding people the Music Nova Scotia party would be starting at 5 PM. Only a couple of times did I venture to Piper’s in the basement of the Royal York. You never felt that you were in the hotel as it reminded me more of a Lobby clock 2roadhouse in Barrie. Just didn’t work for me but I did see Segarini playing a few late night sets.  The indoor clock at the Royal York was always a good meeting point and it could take 45 minutes to traverse the lobby of the hotel as hellos turned into ten minute conversations. Another general meeting spot was the front door where there was always a familiar face out having a quick cigarette. This was also a great location for catching people checking in and out.

MarriottI just don’t know what to expect this year. New hotel, new bars, new bartenders, new smoking areas. It is going to take a couple of days just to figure out where the washrooms are and where to buy the cheapest cigarettes locally. Where’s registration? What room is the MapleMusic party in? What bar is Cam in? I’m sure by the time you read this (I am writing this in advance) I will have figured the basics out but I know it just Marriott Lobby Bar 2won’t feel the same. I dreaded the move from the Westin to the Royal York but quickly settled in and hopefully this will happen with the current move.

Along with the regular late night band watching and deal making I have added a couple of extra duties this year. I will be part of David Farrell’s team at New Canadian Music ( covering the proceedings including some of the panels and award shows, and, as mentioned last week I will be hosting a daily webcast for Shindig ( speaking with artists and panelists from Wednesday to Saturday from 4 PM until 5 PM. If you go to the link you can join-in and participate.

RivoliAs always my highlight of the week (other than the late night chicken fried steaks at the Shanghai Cowgirl) will be “Delta Hotels & Resorts Presents: Tiki Lounge” the annual event I help Music Nova Scotia out with. The event will be Saturday March 23rd at our long time home at The Rivoli (334 Queen Street West) beginning with an invite only acoustic showcase at 5 PM followed by a night of rock (open to the public) at 9 PM.  The acoustic portion of the show will feature performances from Jennah Barry, Willie Stratton, Gabrielle Papillon, Dylan Guthro, Paper Beat Scissors and Old Man Luedecke. After 9 PM Modern Grass, Heather Green, Billie Dre & The Poor Boys, Danger Bees, The Town Heroes, Gloryhound and Cousins will take the stage. As always the party will be in the capable hands of host Mike Campbell (winner of an ECMA last weekend for his club The Carleton in Halifax and also hounoured with an personal industry award for 25 years of East Coast music support), Scott Long and the incredible team from Nova Scotia and, last, but not least, Mr. Stuart Joliffe from Delta Hotels & Resorts.  I am sure Segarini will be there at 5:01 PM for his annual feed of scallops.

Bobcastprofile (1)It was fun to participate in the first “Bobcast” that we taped on Monday night. Many brave souls headed down to Cherry Cola’s in the snow and rain to take part in the inaugural broadcast. Bob and Roxanne  Tellier welcomed CMW iron man Greg Simpson, Canadian musical icon Tom Wilson, filmmakers  Colin Brunton  and Bob Cam Carpenter Bobcast 1Kire Paputts, xPrime was the house band, Hogtown Pub pork sliders were the food of choice and Cherish poured the ice cold PBR’s.  A good night all around and hopefully you will be hearing a whole lot more about the “Bobcast”. Pictured – Bob and Cam on The Bobcast

Here for no apparent reason are ten songs by artists brought to you by the letter J. Have a listen, they speak for themselves.

1.       The Jaggerz – The Rapper

2.       The Jags – Back Of My Hand (I’ve Got Your Number)

3.       The Jam – The Modern World

4.       James – Laid

5.       Jane Siberry – Mimi On The Beach

6.       Japan – All Tomorrows Parties

7.       Jay Sparrow – Cold Winter Song

8.       Jerry Leger & The Situation – Don’t You Fret

9.       JoBoxers – Just Got Lucky

10.   Janes Addiction – Standing In The Shower…Thinking


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

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DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

Cam Shanghai Logo Inverted

One Response to “Cameron Carpenter: Just Do It!”

  1. Glad you snuck in Jay Sparrow, Cam. I really have to get an article written about him.

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