Pat Blythe: SUMMER HAS ARRIVED!!!
I do believe summer is here. Finally….and with a rather heated bang (or melt). The humidity makes my hair go crazy, like I stuck my finger in a light socket. It just sort of poofs out with no sense of decorum whatsoever. Absolutely zip in control. But I’m not just referring to the weather as the summer intro but goings on around town and the many bodies spilling in and out of the hundreds of patios across the city. However, two events in particular kept me hopping this past weekend. I haven’t partied like that in…..well, let’s not get into the details. (Oh….and for summer I’ve added a little colour to my coif….a few purpley/lavender streaks, just for shits and giggles)
Come Alive – Chromeo
Event number one….The Carpet Frogs at Gage Park in Brampton. Although I saw a few of The Frogs perform at the Hard Rock, it wasn’t the complete band and it wasn’t a Carpet Frogs event. What I mean is, it wasn’t a “typical “performance. Now I’ve hearing quite a bit about the band but that’s only in the past year or so, and quite frankly, I thought the name a little odd and didn’t pay much attention. Well….colour me daft (or lavender)….that’s all changed now. I am now officially in love with The Frogs. These guys really are the industry’s best kept secret, the greatest unknown band, and after last Saturday night I have no idea why they are almost anonymous. So, let’s start at the beginning, 23 years ago and the closing of one of Toronto’s (and possibly Canada’s) iconic bars, The Gasworks. When I moved to this city in 1979 I lived just down the street from The Gasworks. It became my local “club”. Noel the bouncer and Paul the waiter would watch out for me, always keeping eagle eye on any potential threat to my well being. No one was allowed to sit at my table unless they were vetted by these two and any bothersome or unsavoury looking character was very quickly asked to move. Noel in particular had no compunction tossing anyone out of the bar. I loved these two guys and think of them often.
I loved this place. I met my future husband on the patio five weeks after I moved to Torontol
Okay, back to The Carpet Frogs. Formed in 1993, specifically to play at the closing of The Gasworks, The Carpet Frogs were born when club band Ground Zero joined forces with Nick Sonopoli (he of Alice Cooper impersonation fame). Founding members Jeff Jones (bass) and lead vocalist Sinopoli have kept the vehicle on track ever since. Along with guitar player Michael Zweig and drummer Sean Fitzsimmons, also original members, the band has had a few changes in membership during their time together but the core has remained intact for 23 years. Known for being THE backing band for Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman, The Carpet Frogs are well known for performing at private functions and corporate gigs (which I suppose could be considered a private function too). Also popular is their annual Rockin’ Harbour Cruise, a Toronto party staple. From Lulu’s Roadhouse to Burton Cummings, I’d say the trip has been well worth it!
L-R – Jeff Jones, Michael Williams, Toney Springer at Taste of Colombia
I first met Jones when he was booked for an acoustic show with Toney Springer at Taste of Colombia. My job for the event is publicity and photography. Enjoying an evening of music and stories — Jones played in Ocean and Rush, performed with Gowan and is also one of the original members of Red Rider with whom he still plays today while Springer performed with David Bowie and Rough Trade. After a brief conversation with Jones and a promise to send some photos of that evening’s event, I ran into him again at the Kelly Jay benefit taking place at the aforementioned Hard Rock. That’s when I revealed I had never heard The Carpet Frogs and at some point would love to catch their show, and of course photograph them. I finally got the call. Brampton was my chance. OMG, what a show! It’s one of the most challenging things for a photographer who loves to dance….what to do when….shoot or groove. I did both. The band performed for a solid two hours plus with only a five-minute break. The audience went wild for them and the familiar hits just kept on coming. It was magic. Everyone in the crowd was singing along to just about every song. It was music that brought the memories flooding back…. memories of our youth and how good it felt to have the world by the tail. The Frogs are all extremely accomplished musicians and vocalists who have the innate ability to play damn near anything you scream at them, and they hit the nail on the head every time. I could understand why the crowd of about nine thousand didn’t want to let them off the stage.
My Sharona – The Carpet Frogs (live)
L-R – Michale Vassos, Nick Sinopoli, Jeff Jones and Michael Zweig
It was a beautiful evening for an outdoor concert. Such a great vibe! After chatting with Jones, singer Barb Fitzsimmons and guitarist Michale Vassos I headed home to start weeding through over 1000 shots. Yep, I do get carried away but there’s just so much to photograph and it was such a blast!!!!
Diamond Light – Jeff Jones
Nick Sinopoli and Jeff Jones
L-R – Vic D’Arcy and Michale Vassos
Life on Mars – Michale Vassos
Sean Fitzsimmons (the always challenging getting a shot of the drummer)
Sunday night….. It was party time at the Queen Victoria Pub in Scarborough. A royal birthday party for two lovely ladies, Risa Black and her sister Michelle Fletcher. It seemed EVERYONE was there. The entertainment was spectacular, the crowd was wonderful, the hospitality awesome….it was so, so much fun.
…..and the music….oh the music. Another challenging “fight” between my feet (who just want to move) and my camera. Everybody was jamming and into the groove. Even Segarini graced the stage with his presence (I love hearing him sing) and if you’ve been a follower of the “party” thread on FB, he’s still looking for his tiara.
Sam Taylor and The East End Love opened the night, the perfect segue into rest of the evening. The list of people, both attendees and performers, is endless so pics may just have to do. There were so many new faces I met I apologize in advance if I can’t remember your name. I’m cheating somewhat by checking all the FB posts. So, here goes…..Robin Campbell, Pat Kelly, Sean Patrick Armstrong, Erika Landry, Mary Anne Mahar, Wild T & The Spirit , with Guenther Kapelle on bass, Dave Langguth on drums, and fronted by the wild and wonderful Toney Springer (who, by the way, told me he actually spells his name ‘Toney’, not ‘Tony’, even though you see it spelled without the ‘e’ more often than not (See the poster above). Don’t believe me? Here’s a screen capture from his FB Timeline.
Also lighting up the room were Greg Godovitz and the lovely Mrs. Claypool, Micheal McIsaac, Bob Segarini, Michael Wekerle (you oughta hear him play guitar!), Robbie and Marilyn Lane, Frank Cosentino, Stan Miczek, Vito Rezza (incredible drummer), John Gallagher, Eddie Savage, the staff at the Queen Victoria who put up with all of us and our shenanigans, the inimitable Keith John Correa (The Original Kid Rock), Mawm and everyone else who had a massively “fantasticly” good time.
The birthday girls Risa Black and Michelle Fletcher
One of my new favourite dance tunes….
All The Young Dudes – I Just Wanna Dance
One gigantic bear hug goes out to Pat Kelly. This photographer wasn’t paying attention to foot placement and went ass over tea kettle down a step. Pat lunged so swiftly to catch me my brain didn’t connect to what was going on and he ended up rolling on the pavement with me. I am bruised but not battered thanks to Pat. The greatest loss….my dignity. However, my focus was on the camera as I heard it hit the ground. Amazingly it’s still intact and working. The flash needs its “shoe” fixed (I have a backup) as it snapped in half but that’s a minor repair. My husband picked quality, professional equipment thank heaven. This the second time the camera has hit the ground in a rather brutal fashion. How did that commercial go…takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Thanks to all the pairs of hands that helped me up and expressed concern (and for not laughing ….at least until later) Ya, we’ve all watched ‘those’ videos. After brushing off the pavement, collecting my gear and what was left of my poise, I casually sauntered back into the pub and proceeded to fire of some great shots of Toney Springer. (and yes, he spells it with an ‘e’).
….and now for a few party pics…..
Bob Segarini and Frank Cosentino
…..with Keith John Correa, Pat Kelly, Michael Wekerle, John Gallagher
Our host with the most Robin Campbell (it’s raffle time)
Vito Rezza….as Segarini says, “in the pocket”….
with…. John Gallagher, Robbie Lane, Marilyn Lane, Robin Campbell, a tall young man, and Greg Godovitz
L-R – Erika Landry, Michael Wekerle, John Gallagher, Robin Campbell
Bob Segarini performs!
Michael Wekerle and Sam Taylor
That’s it for now. There are photo albums on my FB page, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” and there are more party pics to come. Here’s the link…. https://www.facebook.com/pblythephotos/
and now, another song for summer….get those feet moving….dance, dance, dance.
Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
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!