Pat Blythe: So Much To See, So Much To Do and Listen To….
I have so much to write about I don’t know where to begin. Clubs, pubs, bars and halls, from one end of the city to the other. Late nights, early mornings, a thousand pictures, private functions, VIP soirees, opening night galas and closing festivities. It’s been a whirlwind of activity and will be impossible to cover in a single column. Lots of sharing to do….
IT’S INDIE WEEK!!!!
Toronto, ever the gracious host, was the scene of hundreds of bands vying for the top spot as Best of the Fest. Rock, pop, folk, country, punk, and every genre in between were represented at locations all over the downtown Toronto core. Here’s a little history from Indie Week’s website, “Indie Week is an independent music festival founded in Toronto in 2003…. Emerging artists perform in front of the music industry elite for a chance to win the “Best of the Fest”, and the grand prize of a trip to headline the next Indie Week Manchester. Indie Week also hosts a conference featuring panels in social media, tech, music and more, plus industry mixers, after show parties and demo listening sessions. In 2013 Indie Week launched the Reel Indie Film Fest (RiFF), a music-themed film festival.” So there you have it in a nutshell.
More badges and wristbands than I’ve ever had before!
October 13 2015 — Stepping out with our illustrious editor Bob Segarini and fellow writer Roxanne Tellier to attend the gala opening of Indie Week 2015. Thank you to Katia Montesano (Kat) for taking care of the DBAWIS team. Media badges, wristbands and drink tickets in hand we proceeded to take full advantage of the entire experience. I happily cruised The Burroughes, camera in hand snapping away. (Great space by the way.) People love posing for the camera. The gala was extremely well attended and everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves. Official sponsors Jack Daniels and Mill Street were everywhere. Even a statue of the great man himself, Mr. Jack Daniels, was front and centre with a photographer specially stationed to capture folks posing with him. People mingled in one room while the bands played in an adjoining room….so you could talk AND listen to the music. Nicely arranged Indie folks. In between sets, drummer Mike Joyce of The Smiths was enjoying his deejay activities. I found myself moving and grooving to a number of the tunes. (Side note….The Smiths, an English rock band from Manchester, were formed in 1982. Critics have referred to The Smiths as “the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s”. According to Q Magazine’s Simon Goddard, The Smiths were “the one truly vital voice of the 80’s”, “the most influential British guitar group of the decade” and the “first indie outsiders to achieve mainstream success on their own terms”. After releasing four albums, The Smith’s disbanded in 1987. Their influence is still felt today.)
Dirty Loops – Take On The World
(Somehow this song seemed appropriate for the evening. Listen to it as you’re going through the photos)
I was introduced to Darryl Hurs, Founder and Director of Indie Week, ran into Richard Flohil whom I had just seen a few days prior at the Maria Muldaur show; our own Cam Carpenter (…Cam is also manager of Indie Week’s newly launched RIFF film Festival) was in attendance and dressed to the nines looking very dapper in his suit, chatted with some members of the various bands that would be performing that week and had an all round fabulous time. It was great fun. There were so many photographers roaming the event was well catalogued. Here’s my take….
Cam Carpenter and Bob Segarini deep in discussion
Roxanne Tellier and Program Director Doug Elliot, The Rock 94.9
L-R – Nadia Elkharadly, Bob Segarini and Kat Montesano
L-R – RoxanneTellier, Richard Flohil and Bob Segarini
The Mike (Lord Rockington) BlackDog Ballroom and Bob Segarini
These two young lads were happy to pose and I know will be looking for this pic in the column. They were definitely having a very good time.
Photographer Richard Freedman hamming it up with Rox and Bob
The boys from the band My Hollow – L-R Lenny Chiasson (guitar), Graham Daniel Gaudreault (lead vocalist), Angelo Giammattolo (drums)
Bob Segarini and Indie Week Founder and Director Darryl Hurs
Simply having fun
Photographer Lisa MacIntosh – I’m taking a pic of Lisa while she’s taking a pic of me….
The Killing Floor – L-R Marco Argiro (lead vocals/bass), Ricky Music (drums), Oliver Alberici (rhythm guitar), Mark Alberici (lead guitar)
CONGRATULATIONS to The Killing Floor for winning first place at Indie Week 2015!! Next up for these guys is Indie Week Manchester in May, 2016. More on these guys later.
Star Baby – The Killing Floor
After festivities at The Burroughes ended, we all slipped around the corner to Cherry Cola’s for a nightcap and to catch some live music. The Dreamboats were on stage and they had the crowd singing, dancing and cheering. A nostalgia band, The Dreamboats play pop rock from the 50’s and 60’s. Artists ranging from Richie Valens, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Elvis to the Beatles are covered. Loads of fun and wonderful harmonies. A perfect ending to a fun-filled, jam-packed night!
Drummer Gianmarco Fiacconi of The Dreamboats
The Dreamboats, L-R – Chris Hummel (vocals and guitar), Matt Best (vocals lead guitar), Bryan Fligg (vocals and bass)
The following night I was just getting ready to head out the door when I got a call from Roxanne asking if could join her and fill in for an MIA judge at the Paddock. Absolutely! Jumped in the vehicle (I had a few stops to make) and headed downtown. We were joined by opera singer Kate Lexington and the three of us, paper and pens in hand, listened to and watched five different acts. There is some mighty fine talent out there if you take the time, and make the effort, to go out and listen. From neophytes to experienced musicians they all have one thing in common, their deep, abiding passion for music. Festivals like Indie Week give these people a chance to show you what they’ve got. I salute all of you. We wrapped up at the Paddock around midnight and headed over to Cherry Cola’s to meet up with DBAWIS editor Bob Segarini and John Bower. We closed off the night listening to Maybe Refuge and Lilly Wolf. After dropping Rox off in eastern Scarberia I rolled into bed at some ungodly hour.
Into The Wild – The Modern Hearts
Wednesday night I was asked once again to be a judge this time at the Silver Dollar. I recruited friend and singer/songwriter/producer Frank Zirone and the two of us judged four bands ranging from hard rock to art rock to pop rock to ballads. First up was Devon & Khalid, originally a duo and now a four-piece band. Two of their members (the drummer and bass player) were performing in the next band The Bootlegs. They were followed by The Modern Hearts and with the evening closing off with Common Deer. I then dashed over to the Brooklynn Bar to catch a few songs of A Killing Floor. Then it was off to Cherry Cola’s again to catch Rend. A hectic evening but such a rockin’ good time!
Gary Stitt of The Modern Hearts
Carol-Lynne Quinn of Rend
It’s been such a blast and the week’s only half way done. People are having a rollicking good time and everyone has been totally aces! A big thank you to all the volunteers and background workers who are the nuts and bolts of a festival such as this. I tip my hat to you all. That’s it for now. More to come next week plus notes and pics of a private VIP event at Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘n Rolla Cabaret and Lounge with Cherie Currie (Runaways). Also, look for Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” FB page as I’ll be posting an album of Indie shots later this week.
I leave you with….
Winter to Summer – Rend
Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, CBC, AllMusic, Indie Week website and the many clubs and bars in Toronto
Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.
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In “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husbandChristopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who shot much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts, Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local GTA music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!