Pat Blythe – I’m Dancing on the Head of a Pin….

little-red-headed-dancing-girl

You know those days when you feel like someone slipped a happy pill into your morning java. Today (Monday) is one of those days. Walking down University Ave. in Toronto with the sun trying desperately to penetrate the clouds…..and just about making it. I’m listening to tunes with my headphones on and fighting to keep my feet from breaking into a dance. “There goes a crazy lady!” So, walking to the beat will have to do. (Note to all drummers….if your meter is off, I’ll find it) First up was “When The Lights Are Out” by Slade, followed by “Dressed in the Dark” by Bob Segarini (there seems to be theme here)….then Sophie B. Hawkins “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”. Jeez! Give a girl a break. Finally, on the streetcar “Tomorrow”, by the Research Turtles came on. It’s just a wonderful, poppy, toe-tapping, dancing, feel-good song and I had that one repeat several times.

All those FB videos of people playing air drums (or guitar) and wildly moving about while listening to a song NO ONE else can hear. Funny to watch? Yes….but I’m deathly Bombay_Sapphire_bottleafraid of being one of “those”, so I sit still with only my fingers or toes moving. You have NO IDEA how difficult that is for me….the sitting still thing….well….some of you will know. Anyway, I’ve had a wonderful weekend, chock full of music and fabulous people. Sunday night was the capper, the icing on the cake, the bomb, the whatever….. a great finale to the weekend that was. ….and now I have close to a thousand photos to review and I have no idea where I’m going to find the time. ….and this time, not a Bombay Sapphire and tonic in sight.

Act One

The Only Cafe2

Friday, Feb 5 I’m up on “the Danny” heading to The Only Cafe. Quite the “hippy dippy” place. Candles, incense, quaint, extremely crowded, squeezing room only, and that includes the band. Sam Taylor and The East End Love (drummer Jace Traz, bass player David McMichael and guitarist Will Meadows) were cramming their equipment into a corner. Combine beer festival and live music….you get the picture. It was Betty and Veronica’s night out and luckily we managed to score the perfect table….literally inches from the band. Producer/singer/songwriter Pat Kelly and the lovely Erika Landry joined us.

First up was an acoustic set by folk artist G. Lazarus. Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Lazarus is  “inspired by life on the fringe.” A troubadour in the truest sense, he performed many of his original pieces which were quirky, fun and raw. His observations about life on the road and on the street are reflected in his lyrics. Lazarus’s first solo album entitled Got No Home was released in 2011. Now settled in Toronto, he continues to tour across Canada. Lazarus was a great segue into Taylor and his band of merry men.

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G. Lazarus

G. Lazuras – Look With Love

Sam Taylor and The East End Love followed, and after managing to fit drums, amps, mikes, etc. into a tiny corner space, they broke into Taylor’s brand new single, “Don’t Go Giving Me Love”, a tune that always keeps my feet moving. One part reggae, one part blues, one part rock….wickedly good. I’ve written enough about Taylor in the past three columns that you know I love his music. An extremely talented young man who is just on the threshold of, in my humble opinion, a great career in music. One special moment during the evening was hearing Veronica/Roxanne Tellier sing. Taylor invited her to join him and the band behind the mike and she sang my favourite song I love to hear her sing….“Stand By Me”. Beautiful. Thank you Sam and Rox. You can hear Taylor’s new singles here including the latest, “The Challenge”.

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L-R – Sam Taylor, Jace Traz, David MacMichael (on bass)

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Roxanne Tellier, Sam Taylor and Jace Traz

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L-R – Sam Taylor, Jace Traz, David MacMichael

Saturday, February 6…. On tap tonight are the Suns of Stone, the David Barrett Trio and Saga at The Phoenix. Later is Dustbin Flowers at the Tennessee. Four bands, two venues, one night. Let’s get started.

The_Phoenix,_Toronto

Act Two

 

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L-R – Andrew Erlandson, Alan Charlton, Colin Scott

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L-R – Andrew Erlandson, Alex Scott, Alan Charlton, Colin Scott, Jimmy King

The night was just beginning as I headed up the road to take my place at the end of a very long line up at the Phoenix. The entire crowd was “of an age” (and if I have to explain that, you’re not old enough to to be reading this article). I love that old(er) rockers never say never. Name on the guest list, blue bracelet in place, coat checked, camera gear at the ready I sauntered into the main hall.  Still some room to move around so I headed to the back to find my friends Peter and Jennie. By the time Ottawa band Suns of Stone took the stage less than an hour later the place was jammed. Formed in 2012, members are Alan Charlton on lead vocals, Andrew Erlandson/rhythm guitar, Colin Scott/bass, Jimmy King/lead guitar and Alex Scott/drums. Loud, heavy rock with a blues tinge, reminiscent of Led Zepplin and Nazareth, they thundered on stage and rammed it home with their first song. The crowd responded with loud cheers and whistles. Unfortunately to my ears, the songs started to melt into each other….all sounding comparatively the same. There wasn’t one feature that made each tune particularly distinctive from each other….a unique change that immediately caught your attention, or a beat that grabbed you, or an unusual guitar sound or riff…. The band put on a strong show, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard at the Gasworks in the 70s and 80s. Strong start, then finish………….

Act Three

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Dave Barrett

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Alexander “Sascha” Tukatsch

I find it highly amusing when, the moment a tech appears on the stage, the crowd surges forward and starts to cheer. I think every guitar and drum tech should take a bow every time they walk on stage. Maybe hum a number into the mike. This happened several times before the actual David Barrett Trio took their places on stage, looking “all poshed up” (as my dad use to say) in their three-piece suits. The strictly instrumental, three-piece ensemble’s first self-titled album was released in 2013. Produced by Alex Lifeson (yes, he of Rush fame), Alan Parsons (remember I Robot?) and Richard Chycki, the album quickly caught the attention of the prog-rock community. DBT produced their second CD, David Barrett Trio II in 2015 and have recently graced the stage with Saga, Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Adrian Belew of King Crimson. I have had the pleasure of listening to DBT three times now and every performance has been slightly different. But Saturday night they slayed it from the first 1 2 3 4. The guitar work was sweet, rich and melodic; the bass just pounds and fills the room, but the drums….ahhh the thundering drums. Bass and drums are my favourites but Saturday night it was all about the drums. With David Barrett on lead guitar, Jason Fararr on bass and Alexander “Sascha” Tukatsch on drums, the anchor is Tukatsch, a former member of Platinum Blonde as well as other Toronto rock bands. The power of his drumming was literally shaking the piece of floor I was standing on. A solid, driving, backbone with perfectly timed rhythm, Tukatsch is unparalleled. A powerhouse behind the kit, I was absolutely fascinated watching him play and almost forgot I had a camera in my hand. Ever the comedian he was grinning and sticking his tongue out at the photographers and the audience. After each piece, he would graciously stand up, bow and tip his hat to the crowd. A gentleman with a wicked sense of the ridiculous and great sense of humour. Percussion, however, he takes very, very seriously and it’s glaringly apparent when he performs. If we weren’t already standing, these guys would have had a standing O.

The Elegant Universe – David Barrett Trio

Act Four

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Dave Barrett and Michael Sadler

Saga. I first saw them at the Gasworks in Toronto  in 1979. Originally from Oakville, Ontario, Saga began life as Pockets, releasing their debut album in 1978 under the name Saga. The album had modest sales in Canada but became a major seller in Germany and Puerto Rico where, in both countries, they still have an extremely large fan base. All through the band’s lifetime, Saga followers all over the world have remained steadfast. The lineup outside the Phoenix was a testament to that. I did not stay to for Saga’s performance as I was due at another venue and was already late. I did, however, watch Michael Sadler sing with the Dave Barrett Trio and Sadler’s voice remains strong and true, a very distinctive voice that is easily recognizable….the voice of Saga.

A little piece of Saturday’s concert…..

Moonage Daydream (David Bowie) – David Barrett Trio featuring Michael Sadler

Act Five

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Jeffy Bialkowski

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L-R – Jason Drury, Dave Gervais, Jeffy Bialkowski, Tyler Campbell

Tennessee (the bar, not the country) and Dustbin Flowers. It’s now coming up  to midnight and I’m looking for a parking spot and I’m waaaaaay out in the west end. Dustbin Flowers is a band I’ve been wanting to see ever since my good friend Tara Scott introduced me to Jeffy B way back when.

Calling London, Ontario home, the band was formed by frontman Jeffy Bialkowski (lead vocals/guitar), who took his time hand picking Jason Drury (lead guitar), Tyler Campbell (bass), and Dave Gervais (drums), to form this very tight, core group sometimes affectionately called “the Flowers”.

These guys played hard pounding rock with a punk edge, influenced by Bialkowski’s background playing with The Black Donnelly’s. They love what they do and it’s evident in their performance. Campbell just bounces around the stage with his bass, a bass that adds a very rich-sounding undertone that pulsates through the songs. Each member a talented and experienced musician, the band is one very tight, cohesive unit. Merge Bialkowski’s unique singing style with a wide range influences each member brings to the fore — jazz, country, punk, rock, blues — and you have a very distinctive sound and feel to the Dustbin Flowers. …and Becky, it was lovely to see you and I hope to hear you perform again soon. As well, good luck to fellow photographer Suzanne Carroll, it was a pleasure to meet you.

She Smiles – Dustbin Flowers

Act Six

Home to bed, late to rise. It’s now Sunday, Feb. 6 and I can’t even remember what I did during the day. Coffee, that’s for sure. Then it was off to Oakville late afternoon with Sam Taylor, editor/owner of Cashbox Canada, Sandy Graham and country-rock singer/songwriter Don Graham. After stowing everyone and their guitars in the vehicle, we headed due west to A Taste of Colombia. Taylor and Graham (Don) performed for an audience of music lovers and appreciators. Arranged and hosted by Michael Williams (he of MuchMusic fame), the Taste provides great coffee and an “up-close-and-personal” setting that brings the performer and the audience closer together. The comfortable atmosphere, Taylor’s BB King story, Graham’s humorous anecdotes behind each song  made for a relaxed and enjoyable evening. Singer Lisa Hartt joined Taylor and Graham for a beautiful rendition of “I Saw Her Standing There”. What a lovely ending to an absolutely splendid weekend.

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(L-R – Sam Taylor, (photographer Pat Blythe reflected in the mirror), Don Graham

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Lisa Hartt and Michael Williams

This is my life and I’m loving every damn minute of it….and I’m going to keep dancing on the head of this pin!

Cheers,

All photographs by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker, copyright 2016

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

dbawis-button7In “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications indupblythestry. 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 husband

One Response to “Pat Blythe – I’m Dancing on the Head of a Pin….”

  1. another good one! sheesh .. so much to listen to!
    AND a photo with Sam … thanks Pat! 😉

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