Pat Blythe – A Wedding, A Jam, A Concert (or two) and Indie Week Wrap-up
I’m going to start calling this column Pat’s Diary (nope, too blah), or maybe Zippy’s Musical Journey, or maybe….My Life As A Crazy Lady….. Welcome to my world of music, pictures, and general mayhem. So we begin another 10 days of zipping (get it haha) around this wonderful city of ours enjoying the nightlife. I’m starting backwards…..
The boys are back in town!!!! Xprime are in Toronto for a month recording their new album at Fox Sounds with producer Derek Hoffman….and boy, are you in for a surprise!! Bunking in at Chez Blythe for the second week, I’ve had the privilege of hearing some of the tunes, in rough form (but they sound awesome to me however “unmastered” they are) and….well….what can I say….I love them. My whole body just starts moving. Not to give it away but it’s a great segue into a new era for the guys….and the harmonies….. Phil Taylor (drums/percussion/vocals), Neil Carson (bass/vocals) and Steph Mercier (guitar/vocals) make up this “band on fire”. Come on down to witness their energy at the Horseshoe, December 3 and start moving your feet. It’s their last Toronto gig for 2016.
I’ve been fighting the cold from hell so I have been laying low for a bit. Whatever I did to deserve this particular cold….well it must have been fucking awesome!!! The last vestiges are disappearing and I can finally hear myself think.
Finally, finally got my four-piece drum kit set up and tuned. Thank you Phil Taylor. My Gretsch Catalina series is all ready for me to…..ummm…..learn. Air drums were so much simpler. The set is a deep coffee colour with a beautiful wood grain, attracting dust like a friggin’ magnet. The 24″ kick in particular is a bugger to keep clean. Taylor has passed on his old, cracked (but perfectly usable for a neophyte) cymbals….the hi-hat and crash. No rider cymbal yet….and I need to pick up some brushes.
Sam Taylor, he of the “new blues”, came over for a visit and played a beautiful love song he had just written the previous day. Now you have to know Taylor to know he simply doesn’t write love songs, so this was special. It’s simply wonderful. A short while later good friend Frank Tiefenback arrives for some soup and a visit. Triefenback is….quelle surpreez…..a drummer. So, after much discussion about the music program at Fanshawe College (Taylor attended in the early 2000’s, Tiefenback in the 1970s), a nudge and then outright request, Taylor grabbed my acoustic guitar and proceeded to play his new tune while Tiefenback improvised with the drums. No cymbals at the time so some creativity was involved. My smile couldn’t get any bigger listening to the two of them play for about ten minutes. I just LOVE the spontaneity of a jam session and realized how much I deeply missed musical interludes such as this. Of course, caught up in the moment, no pics were taken. Damn!!!!
Tiefenback was at my doorstep again two nights later (this past Monday) to retrieve a blue tooth device we both thought for sure had been lost. Xprime’s drummer, Phil Taylor, actually, quite by chance, uncovered it. Will miracles never cease! Another gathering of musical minds with the boys from Xprime and some tooling around with the guitar and drums. Music is indeed the soul of life.
Going To The Chapel Of Love – The Shirelles
This past weekend I attended a wedding (Nov. 25). The bride, Molly Eddington, is the daughter of close friend Jon Eddington and his late wife Jeanne. I note this because Jeanne and Chris fought their cancers together and during this time the four of us became even closer. We all attended the Tuesday evening sessions at Gilda’s Club, almost always followed by beer tasting at a new pub. Jeanne died in December, 2014, just over a year after Chris. All that silver I wear on my wrist…. one of those bracelets was Jeanne’s. I highly recommend Gilda’s Club for anyone fighting this pervasive, invasive disease. Their support is all inclusive for the entire family and caregivers…..and it’s FREE!!!! Here’s their link
So, back to the wedding. Molly and Brad Taylor’s story is worth repeating. High school sweethearts in the 80’s, they eventually parted ways (he to follow whatever dreams he had to Australia) and she to travel, work and travel some more. Each remained single during this entire time. They reconnected just over a year ago, he is now a restaurateur and ski instructor….she works as a project manager for a large financial institution. Well…..you can guess the rest. I managed to get Michael Williams to DJ for the wedding and reception….a perfect fit for two children of the 80s. Thank you Michael!!!
Thought this song was very applicable….
Still You Turn Me On – Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Of course, I again did the “outtakes” and here are a couple of the bride and groom.
Prom night 1985
Wedding night 2016
Back it up to November 23 and my annual Christmas tradition…. the Trans Siberian Orchestra at the Air Canada Centre (ACC). Man what a show!!! Cough or no cough I was going. Another Frank (and yes, another drummer) was to accompany me but unfortunately he took a turn so the evening ended up to be “#datenightforone”. The sweeping orchestrations, gorgeous voices, showmanship, soaring guitars and violins along with a most amazing light show makes for a magical evening. The fav is still “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo”.
Christmas Eve/Sarajevo – Trans Siberian Orchestra
A big thank you to Jon Eddington, a huge supporter of Gilda’s Club, who treated a group of us to the show. This annual fundraiser was held at The Sony Centre and was hosted by the hilariously funny Russell Peters. Every single performer donates their time and many return year after year. There are no rehearsals as people are coming in from all over North America, some just arriving that morning or afternoon. Soundcheck is all they’ve got and the show proceeds without a hitch. Peters is quick to fill in any gaps, perceived or otherwise. I was absolutely thrilled to hear Jann Arden sing one of Chris’s favourite songs, “Good Mother”. ….and of course, Andy Kim who sang one of my all time favourites, “Sugar, Sugar”. He had everyone in the audience singing and humming along. I actually never thought I’d see the day when I would be fortunate enough to see these two performers live.
The tribute to the Toronto Sound was surprising (having never heard of it until my first interview with Julian Taylor) and wonderful. The word is getting out. What a story in music this city has to tell and all the incredible contributions to the world of song. It’s our best kept secret that needs to be played from the rooftops. Jordan & Prakash John, Robbie Lane, George Olliver, Danny Weiss, Harrison Kennedy, Samantha Martin, Jay Jackson and Steve Kennedy all paid overdue homage to the sound of Toronto in the 60s, a specific sound that has carried forward to the songs of Drake and Julian Taylor and others in the 21st century.
Just found this on Facebook. What a loving, lovely tribute. Mark Garner, you are a treasure and thank you Greg Godovitz for posting! It’s almost completed. Garner is the Executive Director and Chief Staff Officer of the Downtown Yonge BIA. “Yonge Street just south of College Street on the east side. A 22 story mural featuring the first wave of great musicians and singers who defined the Toronto Sound. Great to see Jackie Shane up there. Well done Mark Garner! Tribute mural to The Toronto Sound
Indie Week 2017 (Sept 15-20)
I didn’t participate as much as I had planned and missed the grand finale at the Mod Club due to this damnable cold! So, again working backwards, I managed to slide out to The Piston to judge four bands on Nov. 17. The lineup included Of Gentlemen & Cowards from Hamilton; Deon, a five-piece from all the way from Singapore; Lost & Profound, a Toronto husband-and-wife duo; and Meghan Morrison, also from Toronto. I enjoyed all the performances, each vastly different from each other. Of Gentleman & Cowards rocked….the bass player in particular was having a mad time on stage….. (they do The Hammer proud)….Deon beautifully married techno with rock creating a dreamscape that flows and surrounds you albeit a bit sombre, and Morrison, with a wonderful “Celtic” lilt, can reach notes I don’t think are on anyone’s scale. It was unfortunate that Lisa Boudreau from Lost & Profound was extremely ill and couldn’t perform. However, husband Terry Tompkins, accompanied by guitarist Alistair Miller did more than just fill in. Full of stories and songs, Tompkins lyrics and music and Miller’s skilled guitar work was a joy to listen to. This the very first performance Boudreau has ever cancelled, so Lisa, Terry did you proud!
Make It On Your Own – Of Gentlemen & Cowards
Superhuman – Lost and Profound
Frost – Songs From The Heart – Meghan Morrison
Summer – Deon
I was a tad late arriving at The Piston as my previous engagement ran into overtime. A gathering of telecom consultants (your eyes just started to glaze over) at a new restaurant in Leslieville called Skwish. If you’re looking for an mouthwatering, cooked to perfection, cut with a spoon, order of steak frites, this is the place. It was lovely to spend time catching up and reconnecting with friends and peers I haven’t seen in a very long time, from a industry I have worked in for 34 years.
After The Piston I headed to Cherry Cola’s to check in on Cherish, owner and close friend. After many hellos and hugs, I perched at the end of the bar for one Bombay Sapphire and tonic (with lemon). The place was jammed! The next band to take the stage was Menage, a family group comprised of brothers Basillio Fernando Ferreira (guitar/vocals), Gabriel Ferreira (drums/keys), and sister Bela Ferreira (lead vocals/keys). Elliot Boult (guitar) and Dave Haskett (bass) complete the quintet. Apparently Menage had performed the previous night at Cherry’s so Fernando and Bela were returning as a duo on this night. To find out more about Menage check out their website. http://www.menagetheband.com/
A Beautiful Disaster – Menage
Described as an eclectic pop/rock group, the siblings work between Toronto and Los Angeles and are very strongly tied to their Portuguese heritage, performing frequently on the Iberian peninsula as well as at many celebrated Portuguese festivals in North America and overseas. The duo certainly had the place rocking with the dance floor filling up and from what I heard and witnessed, I would love to see the full band. I managed to fire off a few shots from my stool behind the bar before sliding out to head home. This cold was starting to seriously remind me it was time for a hot lemon and bed.
Back it up one more night to Nov. 16 and a busy, busy night ahead. Packing in a dinner and three different clubs, it was time to show friend Fran Blackburn some of Toronto’s nightlife and what I do until the wee hours of the morning. (The cold hadn’t revealed its true mission…..yet). First stop Bidali’s Bar and Cucina on Front St. W. We enjoyed a superb meal, the service as always is impeccable and Wube Girma, General Manager, stopped by to say hello and chat.
After satiating our appetites we headed The Burroughes to see Elijah Ford and the gang from ATX6 (Austin Texas 6). The Austin Chronicle — “Six local musicians head to Canada, France, and other foreign lands this year as part of Project ATX6, which turns up-and-coming local acts into Austin ambassadors at international festivals annually.” To find out more about this project check out the website at http://www.projectatx6.com/ The new chosen ones are Jai Malano, Elijah Ford, Tate Mayeux, Beth Chrisman, Andy Bianculli, and Grace Park. Ford had reached out to me a few weeks prior to Indie Week and I promised to meet up with him this particular evening. Unfortunately sound check did not go smoothly and Blackburn and I only had the chance to see Mayeux and Chrisman, and then only briefly. Previously committed to another show at 10pm, we had to run so I told Ford I’d check him out at the Cameron House on the Friday. Regrettably, by that time I was too sick to go out and needed to be reasonably fit for the following night so my hot toddy and I kept each other company. Ford gave me one of his CDs and I will listen and review at a later date.
Try As You Might – Elijah Ford
Off to the Silver Dollar to hear Jack the Lads, a trio of young men (still in university/college) perform their brand of pop/rock. Julian Lee (guitar/vocals), William Macquarrie (bass/vocals) and Paddy Beirne (drums) knock it out of the park with their performance. The energy on stage is palpable and Maquarrie just doesn’t stop moving. Lee and Macquarries’ voices blend and harmonize together well. Paddy is a mad man on the drums and I just love his “beer taps” as part of his kit. Creativity at work. I interviewed these three in the spring of this year and am just waiting to put a piece together….once they release their debut album or EP. Well….I’m told they are now working on that very thing. Smart, talented, extremely huggable, Jack the Lads, look for them at a club near you.
Jack the Lads
I then just positively HAD to introduce Blackburn to Cherry Cola’s and the lovely Cherish Stevenson. Cherry’s is a unique club and stands out as a very special place in amongst all the other hoi polloi of Toronto clubs. Both its owner and the club itself are welcoming, funky, warm, extremely enjoyable….beautiful inside and out. Designed in a British Victorian bordello style, Cherry’s has become the “go to” place for many performers, both famous and not so famous. ….and then there’s Sinful Sundays……
We caught Indie act electronic rock duo Turbo Goth — singer (and tattoo artist) Sarah Gaugler and guitarist Paolo Peralta — and Blackburn was initiated into one of the more exceptional clubs in town…..she loved every minute of it. Again, the place was packed so I dashed behind the bar, climbed “my stool” and fired off a few rounds with the camera. Very visually interesting band. Time to go….dropped Blackburn back at her hotel and headed east. I was ever so glad to climb into bed.
Venus Flytrap – Turbo Goth
Somewhere in there I found myself at Cherry’s on Nov. 20 after It’s Always Something to catch a couple of acts. Don Silvestre from Mexico City, a seven-piece band who somehow managed to squeeze on to the tiny stage and not trample all over each other. A full-fledged rock band complete with a mad accordion player and a bass player who just thundered out the beat, everyone of these guys was thrilled to be here in Canada and it showed. What was also apparent was how important the music was to them. I am so very glad I managed to catch them and hope they come back to Canada…..soon.
SESION ENSAYO SAE — DON SILVESTRE
Hot Lips was up next and again, visually, very interesting. The threesome encompasses Keith on drums, Alex on bass/violin and Karli on vox and synth. A brand new back, formed just this year, Hot Lips describes themselves as an “alternative electro-rock band”. The band has been very busy performing around the city. Would I go see them again…..yes! Reminiscent of some of the prog-rock days, with clear vocals a pounding rhythm section, enquiring minds want to know the significance of the face paint.
Time for pics….
Deon (in the fog)
Of Gentlemen & Cowards
…..and of course the drummer
Caught him….Deon’s drummer
Four out of seven – Don Silvestre
Oh….and two more – Don Silvestre
Karli – Hot Lips
L-R – Alex and Keith
Will Macquarrie of Jack the Lads
Terry Tompkins of Lost and Profound
A face in the crown at the Indie Week launch party
Phil Xenidis (Phil X of Bon Jovi) at the Indie Week launch soiree
That about does it. If there’s anything else, I cannot for the life of me remember what it is or was. In the next 72 hours I’m going to become a great-aunt once again….and that I’m looking forward to…. Late as usually and a ton of pics to add, I’m signing off….until next time. Have a great rest of the week and weekend.
Sorry….just couldn’t resist….
See ya next week,
All photos by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”
Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.
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“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 also 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!