Pat Blythe – …And All That…CMW 2016 Wrap Up – Part One
Where do I begin? My brain is still scrambling to keep up with what’s already passed while simultaneously launching into the future. This year has been unlike any other. A close friend has cautioned me about taking too much on and it’s advice I will heed. It’s all just so much fun! So, without further ado…. the week that was CMW and my calendar of events (this will be a two-parter).
Tuesday, May 3 — Registration day and I don’t exist. Neither does Veronica (Roxanne). After much tooing and frooing and a couple of phone calls, all is well with the world and we’re back on track. Thank you Sasha, Chloe and AB.co and the volunteers on the desks. Badge and wristband in hand, I’m off to investigate the space. It’s early in the game as delegates and tradeshow folks are just arriving in town. I’m off to see the Ruthless Ones at the Smiling Buddha in the evening. Starting out a bit quietly. A good start to what turned out to be a crazy week.
Ruthless Ones — L-R – Evgeni (guitar), Murry Robe (guitar/vocals), Curtis (bass)
Somewhere under all that hair is kickass drummer Nik
Wednesday, May 4 and the fun begins. Made the rounds at the hotel. Some people call it schmoozing. I call it fun. Okay, it’s schmoozing, but it’s fun schmoozing. Dinner with Greg Simpson (thank you Greg). Lots of conversation (and a bit of rain). Tonight is the one show I’ve been looking forward to, the Julian Taylor Band performs at Lee’s Palace. The place was jammed but I managed to grab the perfect perch from which to shoot. I missed Sate (damn) but caught the following two acts Bleeker and Poor Young Things both of which were stellar….and unexpectedly so. Strong, hard hitting performances that actually played music and put on a really great show.
Home for hard rock band Bleeker (formerly Bleeker Ridge) is Orillia, Ontario. Originally comprised of two sets of brothers….lead singer Taylor Perkins and guitarist Cole Perkins, guitarist Dan Steinke and drummer Dustin Steinke….the group met thirteen years ago at a local jam night. Bassist Mike Van Dyk and new drummer Chris Dimas have been added to the mix. Still in their early twenties, the band released their first album, Small Town Dead, in 2012. These guys were scheduled for the 1am timeslot. They were early and I’m glad they were.
L-R – Dan Steinke, Mike Van Dyk
Highway – Bleeker
Hailing from Thunder Bay and now based in Toronto, Poor Young Things recorded their first EP Let It Sleep in 2012 and have recently released their next project, a six-track EP entitled Force of Nature. Performing 100+ shows per year, the five friends started jamming together and formed the band in 2007. The chemistry they share on stage is easily felt by the audience as they pound out their blend of pop/rock.
Like An Animal – Poor Young Things
L-R – bassist Scot Burke and guitarist Dave Grant
Drummer Konrad Commisso
Time for the Julian Taylor Band (JTB), complete with horn section and two keyboardists. This band is tight, well rehearsed (having been in the process for the past several months of recording a new album), they are a group of musicians that easily segue from one genre to another without missing a beat. In fact, they don’t really fit in any specific mold but blend all genres together to create their own individual sound. The ears, eyes and heart enjoy every note. JTB has a new album coming out soon, Desert Star….24 tracks of pure deliciousness. On my way out, literally ran into the boys from Xprime. They were coming, I was going. For me, that was enough for one night. The week was about to get much busier.
L-R – Tim Adams and Julian Taylor
Powerhouse drummer Jeremy Elliott
L-R Dave Engle, John Pagnotta, Norm Ryan
Tim Adams and Julian Taylor (again)
Thursday, May 5 was The Undivided at the Great Hall, Collective Soul at the Phoenix and Carly Thomas at Cherry Cola’s….and somewhere in there I ate.
Sitting enjoying a coffee in the IMP area of the conference, Liza Buddie from the U.K. introduced herself and we got to chatting (as you do at these affairs). Buddie, from Nottingham, is the manager of Welsh band The Undivided, and this is their second year at CMW. The four-piece band, together since 2009, is comprised of Joe Dissio (guitar and lead singer), Rhydian Mason (drums), Lew Bray (guitar) and Craig Prosser (bass). With seven EPs to under their belt, the band tours extensively around the U.K. Not only did I see them perform that evening but I also invited them to be interviewed by Michael Williams as part of our Cashbox Magazine Television launch (more on that next week).
Invincible – The Undivided
My good friend Jennie Baker joined me and we wended our way across the city to the Phoenix, hoping to catch Collective Soul. Wouldn’t you know it, the band not only went on earlier than expected, but on time early. We managed to catch the last half of their show plus the encore but it was so, so worth it just to hear “The World I Know” live. It was fantastic!!!!! and they performed it beautifully. I also managed to pop off about 100 shots until security told me I can’t shoot with a professional camera unless I was on “the list”. Really!! Apparently if the band had noticed there would have been hell to pay. My response to that is “get a life” boys. You’re up on a stage performing in public. That’s what you do for a living so what do you expect. Trying to control my livelihood is beyond arrogant. Thank heaven my flash was off. There were hundreds of cell phones firing off and many of those pictures would be posted….and most of those pictures would be less than flattering. So really, which would you prefer gentlemen? Still, I managed to get a few in AND hear one of my favourite songs so it was worth it.
It’s all about the hair….lead vocalist Ed Roland
Through the smoke and the haze I managed to catch drummer Johnny Rabb smiling
The World I Know – Collective Soul
December – Collective Soul
We scooted out of there before the crowd surged out and headed to Cherry Cola’s. I caught Carly Thomas’s showcase at the Supermarket last year but unfortunately was on the run and didn’t catch much of her set. This time I made sure I caught the entire performance. Man can that girl sing and play guitar! Strong, rocking vocals….she had captured the entire club’s attention. Here’s a little background on this eclectic, talented artist. “She was born in Thailand and raised in Argentina, France, and various parts of the United States and Canada. Along the way she discovered her soul in music, and launched a career that started under the bright lights of Paris, where she played the famous Fête de la Musique when she was just 16 years old. At 17 she moved New York City, developing her craft and stage presence at open mics and folk clubs in Manhattan’s lower east side.” Gutsy, single minded, Thomas has a distinctive style that is hers alone, a beautiful mosaic of her travels and experiences. With influences like Sarah Harmer and Bonnie Raitt, who can go wrong?
Carly Thomas with drummer Matt in the background
That’s it for now. It’s 4 am and I’m hitting the hay. I’ll fill you in on Friday and Saturday next week. Dinners, LOTS more music and a major television launch.
All photos by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”
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 workedalongside her late husband Christopher 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!