Segarini: The Yearly Assault on My Liver Begins – CMW 2015

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It’s easily the real first sign of Spring.

For 30 years it took place during the snow and ice encrusted March Winds, a situation many of us whined about for…well…30 years.

Last year our dreams came true and our hopes and prayers were answered.

Canadian Music Week moved from the Icy Clutch of March, to the more civilized and warmer Embrace of May.

Not exactly Pina Colada weather, but light years better than huddling together around a make-shift fire in an oil drum to stay warm while trying to smoke a cigarette before it froze to your fingers and went out.

…now if we can just keep them lit before the rains put them out….

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Hey! We already ARE Music City….

Bob and Tory

Regardless of the local Mayor‘s office announcing that they are determined to make Toronto a celebrated destination for music rivaling Austin, Texas, (and Nashville, New York, and L.A), to those of us who, for the last 5 or 6 decades actually go out into the not-always-welcoming night to hear great music in iconic bars and legendary venues, Toronto has ALWAYS been one of the great music destinations on this mudball.

postcard-toronto-yonge-street-night-looking-s-across-from-edison-hotel-many-signs-1960s

From the R&B driven Yonge Street scene of the ’50s and early ’60s, through the folk and rock era of Yorkville, the rock, blues, and pop club crawls of the ’70s, the Punk/New Wave/Synth Pop explosion of the ’80s, the Alternative/Garage re-invention of the ’90s and the current Indie Overthrow of damn near everything, Toronto was, is, and will continue to be, a centre of musical excellence and exploration as profound and vital as any other city you care to name. The musical impact of places like San Francisco and New York may wane and lie dormant at times, but Toronto continues to have a vibrant musical landscape more consistently than other places. …and more to the point, we have a history and a reputation for discovering and embracing new music, new artists, and new directions. long before other places have even heard of them. The Band, Ramones, Elvis Costello. The Police, Meatloaf, Rival Sons, Dirty Loops, Saint Paul and the Broken Bones, Deadmau5…just a few of them.

And on top of that…Toronto is a breeding ground for local acts to hone their craft and aim for the World Stage.

Toronto at Night

Per capita, Canada’s track record of producing successful musical artists, comedians, movie industry crews, radio personalities, music industry movers and groovers. and Hamster Riding Buffoon Politicians is second to none…and Toronto is Ground Zero.

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The Smotherlys and the Sattalite Man….

This year Canadian Music Week (CMW to the majority of us) launches today, but this being Toronto, my CMW started on Wednesday.

Thanks to Industry icons Gerry Young and David Macmillan, two lifers in the Canadian music ledgers, I got my ass out of my apartment for the first of 12 days of music, conversation, and spilling beer with friends old and new, to celebrate music, technology, innovation, and the industry’s ongoing battle with itself, its audience, and its rapidly changing and evolving playing field.

Fraser DaleyBecause Hugh’s Room, the venue to which we were invited’s proximity to one of Toronto’s hidden gems, the under-the-radar and comfortable Intersteer in Roncy Village, we were able to see local favourites, Fraser/Daley before the main event at Hugh’s.

I LOVE Fraser/Daley, whom I worshipfully refer to as The Smotherly Brothers because of their perfect blend of the easy-going and spontaneous comedy style of the Smothers Brothers, with the iconic, Beatle-Creating harmonies and musical genius of the Everly Brothers. They appear at the Intersteer every Wednesday night and are not to be missed when you are in Toronto. Meeting up with David Macmillan and his wife Marilyn (the King and Queen of my refrigerator), fellow scribe Roxanne Tellier, and singer/songwriter Peter Verity, we caught a set of the Smotherlys and then made the journey 4 blocks north to Hugh’s Room in time for the debut of Fergus Hambleton’s new CD, Written on the Wind.

Fergus at Hugh'sWith Fergus and his crack band delivering a fine set of music, highlighted for me by a great cover of Brian Hyland’s Sealed With a Kiss, we chatted with Canadian Pop Encyclopedia author and fellow journalist Jaimie Vernon, Jane Harbury, and other musos, not to mention manager Gerry Young and pop starlet Emelia, while newly minted DBAWIS writer Pat Blythe took pictures. Thank you Gerry and David. (Photo by Pat Blythe)

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Stace Prime….

Thursday night deposited me on the patio of the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, located on Toronto’s very own Sunset Strip, Queen Street West.

Teddy Horseshoe

Teddy at the Back Bar

Never walk into the Shoe without a nod and hello to the men at the door, the Shoe’s doormen/bouncers/good guys deserve your respect, as does everyone who works in this long in the tooth but young at heart venue. If Toronto has a Cavern, this is it.

Why am I here, you ask?

Simple.

stace-2Some of my favourite local musicians who also have become close friends over the past few years are playing en masse tonight, with the added attraction of an attractive and extremely talented estrogen-driven horn section.

Stacey Kaniuk is always a pleasure to see and hear, and when she is backed by the insanely entertaining musical conspiracy known as Xprime, the result is me wanting to dance, but stopping myself because an elderly man doing a faceplant in the middle of the selfie-crowd would be a buzzkill.

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…and So it Begins…

Well, look at that! It is officially May 1st and the beginning of CMW 2015.

CMW

20150501_154925 (1)In less than 2 hours, I will be on a bus, then the subway, then a streetcar, and hopefully get to the Sheraton Centre (this year’s host Hotel) before 8 pm to pick up my Media laminate (complete with complimentary lanyard), my wristband, and the first beverage of the day while I case the hotel’s gathering place…whatever bar is nearest the rest rooms…and then take the Queen car to the Horseshoe to see a Hamilton boy who made good. Will Bono be in attendance? Robbie Robertson? Tom Wilson and Colin Linden? Any number of other legends this man has produced, recorded or played with? I guess I’ll find out when Daniel Lanois takes the stage at 11.

Lanois

Daniel Lanois

Seriously…if you love music, you should be in Toronto for CMW. 1000 artists, comedians, films, panels, keynote speeches, dinners, award shows, and my two favourite institutions, Greg Simpson’s annual Rancho Relaxo Cantina Dinner and the Maritimes Tiki Scallop Soirée amd Down East Music Extravaganza hosted by Mike Campbell, our own Cameron Carpenter, and Delta Hotels, not to mention 94.9 The Rock’s sold out Rival Sons show, eOne’s annual afternoon musicfest at the Gibson Showroom, Secret Broadcast at the Drake Underground, Xprime opening for Sean Lennon at the Shoe, and so many other artists worth seeing in this music friendly environment. If you’re looking for me during the week, check the Sheraton Centre’s bars and you can always find me at the best watering hole in the city, Cherry Cola’s.

60+ venues and the bars are open until 4 am for the next 12 days.

No wonder my liver wants to stay home….

Liver

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More from Roxanne, Pat, Jaimie, Cam, and myself as the week unfolds. Pass the Tylenol….

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Any Questions or comments, please write them in the Comment Section below.

Your Comments Are Welcome

Segarini’s regular columns appear here eventually.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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