Pat Blythe – Ginger Ale, Fat As Fuck and Freeman Dre…how’s that for a headline?


Enjoying today (Tuesday). Playing hooky from the computer for a while. 27 degrees out! and last time I checked the date it was mid-October. No coat, no sweater, no closed-toed shoes….wonderful. The cold will arrive soon enough so enjoy these gorgeous days while you can.


Now we all know that’s not really me…but you get the idea….

Computer now safely perched on my lap, my lovely niece in the kitchen working her magic for dinner we begin the with “tales from the clubs” and take a look at the past two week’s goings on. First off I need to go back to October 7 and Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party, and Ann Vriend, two performances that kept us entertained before the main event. Lee’s Palace was the holding tank for several hundred happy faces at the launch celebration of the Julian Taylor Band’s (JTB for short) new album Desert Star. I arrived later than anticipated and, sad to say, missed most of Vriend’s performance.

Singer/songwriter/pianist, Vriend is based out of Edmonton, Alberta. She began playing nursery rhymes on her Fisher-Price xylophone at the age of three so her parents, encouraging her musical aptitude, signed her up for violin lessons. Not sure I see the relationship but, nonetheless, Vriend continued on and began to take piano lessons at the age of nine…. and now here we are, six albums and an EP later. Vriend’s debut album Soul Unraveling was released in 2003. The most recent release was, For The People In The Mean Time, in 2014. Vriend has toured Canada, Europe and Australian extensively and was invited by Taylor to perform at the record launch. According to one reviewer at City Gigs in Edmonton, “Ann Vriend sounds like Loretta Lynn singing Aretha Franklin songs written by Marvin Gaye… It is that weird – and wonderful….. with all its dubs, loops, samples, creaks, quirks and squeaks [For The People In the Mean Time] creates a Bohemian approximation of a Motown record that would do Berry Gordy Jr. proud… Vriend knows how to write a chorus.”. A powerful singer with great comedic timing, Vriend was an excellent beginning to an exciting evening. Check her out at

Anybody’s Different – Ann Vriend

Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party

Desert Star Launch

Folk rock band Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party took the stage, and I gotta say, I love the rockin’ accordion. What a great collaboration of musicians! The roots of this ensemble are impromptu kitchen parties and kitchen jams in Toronto’s Parkdale. On stage they simply have fun….with each other, with the audience and with their songs. Even trumpet player Mark Jarvis hopped up on stage and joined in on the fun. Don’t let that fool you into thinking these guys aren’t serious, and seriously talented, musicians/singers/songwriters. They know their stuff and each other. Tight, timed and brilliant at how they take their audience along for the ride, they left the crowd screaming for more. One of the more popular live acts in the city, this was the first time I had the chance to see Dre and The Kitchen Party live. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  The band has released one EP and three full-length albums, the most recent, Reckless Good Intentions, June, 2016. For more information including show dates check them out here

Let’s Take The Show On The Road – Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party

Babylon – Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party

Ginger Ale anyone?

ginger-ale-and-the-monowhalesOctober 14 found me in the heart of downtown Toronto at the Horseshoe for the grand launch of the EP Bang by Ginger Ale & The Monowhales. ….and what a party it was. Funky costumes, glitter, shooting canons of paper confetti, feather boas, balloons and beach balls….all used to great effect by lead singer Sally Shaar and the band. The two opening acts, Fat as Fuck and The Rathburns were auditioned and hand-selected by Shaar and her bandmates. Excellent choices! The place was jammed and it was blatantly obvious the audience loved both opening acts. The dance floor in front of the stage never really cleared inbetween sets and the folks were gyrating and bopping all over the place.

Frances Rose at full throttle

Ginger Ale and The Monowhales

Opening the night and getting the crowd all riled up was The Rathburns. Fronted by female lead singer Frances Rose, The Rathburns are a four-piece ballsy blues, explosive, frenzied….in-your-face rock band. They began as a folk-based duo Fir. Tastes change. Wanting to expand their repertoire into something more gusty, Rose and guitarist Joey Virgilio were joined by drummer Matt Burdon and bassist Erik Kolomayz and The Rathburns were born. Rose is a full-on belter, screaming into the mic, both Kolomayz and Virgilio don’t stop moving, leaping all over the stage. As for Burdon, you don’t see much of him behind all that red hair as he viciously pounds out the beats. Don’t let Rose fool you, the lady can sing a sweet lullaby too.


Check out the other members of the band here

Oh Lord – The Rathburns

Fat As Fuck

Ginger Ale and The Monowhales

Fat as Fuck. Straight and to the point….except none of them are “fat”. However, the MUSIC is very PHAT. Love the name, love the band. Members include (but are not necessarily limited to) Jon Hyde (drums), Jon Amador (bass), Steve Lavery (synth and keys), Nic Ladouceur (guitar), Tom Moffett (trumpet), Julian Nallie (sax), Nathan Delkl-Vandenbert (slide trombone) and Leland Whitty (sax/guitar). This ensemble blew everyone out of the park. Totally instrumental except for a few words from trumpet-player Moffett….. they had the crowd writhing all over the dance floor. All attired in “uniform”….a one-piece white, semi-sheer painter suit (reminiscent of Devo), each band member also wore a clear plastic half-mask with various eye “expressions” painted on.  Ska Jazz, Ska Jazz Fusion, Ska Jazz Rock, my niece agrees those descriptions about covers it. According to their Facebook page, Fat As Fuck plays “new age devotional music for your psychedelic tantric meditation.” I’m not sure about the “tantric meditation” part but the new age I’ll go with. You have to see these guys live. Fucking amazing!!!

Master of Coin – Fat As Fuck

Here Comes The Honeyboy – Fat As Fuck

It’s show time for The Monowhales

Ginger Ale and The Monowhales

Ginger Ale & The Monowhales….album debut = packed  house = crazy on the floor = insane close to the night. Their single “Home” took off with lightening speed a couple of months ago. So much so they ended up on just about every interview show out there, also grabbing Toronto Mayor John Tory’s attention. The EP itself was literally on a thumb drive housed in a soda can. What a ‘sparkling’ idea and what a launch it was! Shaar appeared on stage dressed in a neon green and black striped body suit with a tiny plastic mini overdress…..think Judy Jetson. Her sneakers were lit up around the soles with leds so even in the dark you could see her feet move. Now my editor thinks I have a ridiculous amount of energy, however, if you plugged Shaar in she could light up half the province, let alone the city. She is just a ball of fizzy pop waiting to explode….and she does…..on stage.

Ginger Ale and The Monowhales

Shaar workin’

Ginger Ale and The Monowhales

Shaar Shoes

Everyone was dancing and spinning around on stage but none more so than Shaar. The woman is a petit fireball with enough electricity to fill the room. ….and don’t let her size fool you, she can belt out a song with the best of them. Rose from The Rathburns joined Shaar on stage for the close and the two of them were a vocal force to be reckoned with. The entire night was on permanent vibrate and I can say with certainty, EVERYONE had a fantastic time. More info? Check them out here

Ginger Ale and The Monowhales

Rose (L) and Shaar (R) on stage for the finale

Home – Ginger Ale & The Monowhales

Looking Simple – Ginger Ale & The Monowhales

Reptilia (cover) – Ginger Ale & The Monwhales + The Rathburns

…..great harmonies

October 22 was the sold out ONES show in Meaford. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Band, the Penny Lane Strings and the Pepperland Horns performed before a packed house and a very enthusiastic audience. I just love watching people dance in their seats. I can stop moving, even with the camera. Nostalgia is big these days and nothing brings it more to the fore than The Beatles music. We all had a blast with loads of room to move around. Next show is in Oshawa, October 22.

Yeah Yeah Yeah Band w/The Penny Lane String & the Pepperland Horns

The Yeah Yeah Yeah Band

Sunday, October 22 was Liberty Silver and Eddie Bullen at Taste of Colombia El Salon. As usual they brought the house down. Opening for them was Mark Robertson (formerly of Bullfrog) and his bass-playing son, Oscar. Bullen joined Robertson for a blow-your-mind jam and Liberty, well that woman’s voice could fill Roy Thomson Hall just fine….no mic required. Bullen’s fingers just glide over the keyboard. Fabulous night of music by the lake.


L-R – Andrew Stewart, Michael Williams, Liberty Silver, Oscar Robertson, Mark Robertson and Eddie Bullen

….and for no other reason than I love her playing…..

Freight Train – Elizabeth Cotton


All shots by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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