Pat Blythe – 2016….Over and finally…..OUT!
Well…..here it is already…..2017! Blink and both Christmas and New Year’s Eve are over, a fait accompli. Phffft….gone! Tout fini! Finito! Done and dusted! ….and here we are…. Has much changed? No, not really. Resolutions? Nope. Heading to the gym? Not on your life!!! The dance floor suits me just fine. Focus? I’m working on it. Oh look, a shiny thing……
We’ll start with New Years Eve at the Loaded Dog and kind of work backwards….sorta….
L-R – Greg Godovitz, Robbie Lane, Jace Traz, Sam Taylor. Bass player Iliya Vee is behind Godovitz.
New Year’s Eve with L-R – Robbie Lane, Marilyn Lane, Sam Taylor, Maia Van Raes
….and L-R – Greg Godovitz, Jace Traz (back there on drums) and Sam Taylor
and….. L-R – Robin Campbell, Risa Black, John Gallagher and Christina
The Dick Clark Five – L-R – Peter Nunn, Mike Pellarin, Greg Godvitz, Steve Kendry, Bill Dillon, Tony Nolasco
Now there has been so, so much written about all the losses, tragedies, mayhem and madness (and I include the happenings south of the 49th parallel in the latter) I don’t believe I can add anything more….at least constructively. Right up until the very end of 2016 it kept coming at us with both barrels loaded. The capper, the so-called icing on the cake will actually be held this month…..the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America. For those keeping note, 43 individuals have served in this capacity included Barak Obama. Obama is often listed as the 44th President but this is only because Grover Cleveland served twice and is counted as both the 22nd and 24th President (he lost an election in between terms). I say no more.
A couple of final farewells….month-by-month
Celebrity Deaths: Celebrities who died in 2016
Celebrities who died in 2016 – A Tribute to those we sadly Lost (350+)
I’m sure many more have been missed including Canada’s own Bobby Curtola. Always happy to sing, anywhere, anytime, his last public performance was an impromptu show on the patio at the Hard Rock Cafe on May 11, 2016. Grabbing two chairs and hopping up (I kid you not) on them and, with mic in hand, he broke into song as soon as the music started. A consummate performer, Curtola could woo and wow in a heartbeat. Unfortunately for all his family, friends and fans, that heartbeat unexpectedly stopped only a few weeks later on June 4, 2016.
Bobby Curtola at The Hard Rock Cafe
Personally, 2016 was a rather good, albeit rather tumultuous, year for me. It was year of sweeping changes as my life took a couple of 180’s turning everything inside out. Yes, there were some ups and downs, and one or two things went sideways, important lessons learned….but I met some incredible people, made some amazing musical discoveries, photographed some fantastic performers, made new connections and reconnected with long lost friends, uncovered new dining experiences, attended as many music festivals as physically possible, by November had taken almost 79,000 pictures (at least that what my computer told me when I backed up 2016 to my external hard drive), welcomed a new grand-niece into the family, held my first solo (and may I add rather successful) Christmas party…..so many changes both personally and professionally. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! It’s truly the people that make everything so special. I am extremely fortunate to have the family and friends I do in my life. (Note to self: I need to seriously reduce the number of pics I’m taking)
Now for some highlights of the past few weeks…..
We’ll start with Courage My Love at Cherry Cola’s on December 8, The Anti-Queens December 10 & 23, Xprime (now officially James Blonde with a new album on the horizon in 2017) and Honeyrunners at Cherry Cola’s on December 12, lunch and a great conversation with the one and only David Marsden (more on him in a future column) December 13, Carmen Toth followed by Sam Taylor with Lawrie Ingles and Maia Van Raes on December 17 at The Paddock, my first solo gig as hostess for what will be an annual Christmas open house on December 18, final band night at Cherry Cola’s December 23 with Black Cat Attack, Return For Refund, Doghouse Rose, The King Beez, and a couple of bands I missed. This was followed by a day of shopping (remind me NEVER to shop again on Dec. 24. I actually had to line up for the liquor store!!!!) and a quiet Christmas Eve soiree, again back at Cherry Cola’s, on the 24th. I think I just blinked because suddenly it was Christmas day turkey dinner for 10.
Mercerdes (L) and Phoenix (R) wrapped in Cherish Stevenson’s arms.
Stevenson has been a huge supporter and close friend of Mercedes and Phoenix, the young and very talented twin sisters of Courage My Love, for the past six years. Stevenson provided this Juno nominated band space for their first live performance in Toronto and CML haven’t looked back. I was thrilled to have the chance to finally meet them and hear them live. Now I’m waiting for their next date…..
….and now for a little musical interlude…..
Stereo – Courage My Love
Note: “Stereo” is off the new album “Synesthesia” to be released February 3
S.O.B. – Doghouse Rose
The Fields – Return for Refund
Writing Roses – Carmen Toth & Jillian Bunting
Ladders – The Anti-Queens
Boxing Day found me on the road to London to visit with the family and meet my brand new, two-week-old great-niece Murphy. Two days later I brought mom back to Toronto for a week and shared New Year’s Eve dinner with her at The Keg. Once I got mom ensconced on the couch watching The Crown on Netflix, I headed to the Loaded Dog to welcome in 2017 with The Dick Clark Five (Greg Godovitz’s new band) and opening act Sam Taylor and The East End Love. Mom was in exactly the same position when I arrived home just over three hours later….ending Episode 5. Talk about glued to the screen. In amongst all clubbing and running around was baking, cooking, cleaning, more baking, some shopping, more baking….driving my mom back home to London. Whew! It’s now the final weekend before everyone is back from holidays and back to work. Finally, here I sit and all is still and quiet.
A pictorial essay and a salute to the Indie women of music (and a few guys)…………………
Mercedes of Courage My Love
Phoenix of Courage My Love
Courage My Love – L-R – Mercedes (lead guitar/vox), Phoenix (drums/vox), Brandon (bass/vox0
Emily Bones of The Anti-Queens
The Anti-Queens – L-R – Mary Deth (bass/vox), Kurt Dickson (drums), Emily Bones (guitar/vox) & Valerie Knox (guitar/vox)
Valerie Knox performed with Black Cat Attack and the Anti-Queens
Return for Refund – L-R – Sasha Molotkow and Drew Clementino
Honeyrunners/Xprime show – L-R Guillermo Subauste (Honeyrunners), Neil Carson, Steph Mercier, Phil Taylor (Xprime)
Sam Taylor, Lawrie Ingles, Maia Van Raes
Sara Beth of Doghouse Rose
oh….and here’s Murphy. She may not be singing yet but she’s rockin’ it out in her new faux leopard coat complete with ears.
Some great news to start 2017!!!! Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘n’ Rolla Cabaret & Lounge will remain open. At literally the 11th hour on December 23rd, owner Cherish Stevenson forged a partnership with Alex Vincenzi and Mark Murphy to keep the doors open and the music flowing. The ink was barely dry when she make the formal announcement to a jam packed bar.
Cherry Cola’s, as it’s fondly called, is one of the most popular Indie music clubs in Toronto. Stevenson herself has been a huge supporter of young up-and-coming Indie bands for the past seven years and the club has been a launching pad for many. Think Rival Sons, Xprime, Juno-nominated Courage My Love, Blackdog Ballroom, Secret Broadcast, The Anti Queens, The King Beez, the list is HUGE. Cherry Cola’s has made a significant impact on the local music scene, dedicated to supporting local talent. For a small club, its footprint is LARGE!
Cherish Stevenson announcing the continuation of Cherry Cola’s
Stevenson is loved by all who enter Cherry’s doors, with her big heart, huge welcoming smile and hugs, it is also the “go to” club for many including out-of-towners, both famous and infamous. Decorated in Victorian bordello style (all the furnishings, decor, wallpaper, colour, etc. were specifically chosen by Stevenson), it’s discreet, raucous, friendly, rowdy, convivial, so noisy sometimes you can’t hear yourself think, comfortable, and as wonderful as its owner. ….and yes, the current decor, the “signature Cherry Cola look”, will remain.
Cherry Cola’s decor is sensual, a bit mysterious but always comfortable
After a rather challenging couple of years, all the while dealing with an exceptionally difficult landlord, Stevenson will be taking a long needed rest….south. Originally from southern California, she will be returning to the California desert to stay with friends and recoup. Stevenson will be back in Toronto in April and behind the bar at Cherry’s two weekends a month. She promises to keep us all posted. It’s just not Cherry Cola’s without the stunning Ms Cherish Marie. On a personal note, I’m hoping “my stool” will remain behind the bar. It’s the best spot in the house for photographing the bands (now my secret is out). Matt Groopie, who has been booking the acts at Cherry’s for the past two years, will continue to co-ordinate the talent for Wednesdays and Thursdays as well as taking on the newest club in town, Stop, Drop and Roll. This recent addition to the club scene is located above the much missed (but now it’s back!) Mexican restaurant, Rancho Relaxo, at 300 College Street. With the loss of the Hideout, Tattoo, The Tennessee and Not My Dog earlier this year, many were ecstatic to see Cherry’s remaining as a music venue.
L-R – Cherish Stevenson, Alex Vincenzi and Mark Murphy; Matt Groopie in back
January and February I expect to be relatively quiet. Time to really focus on putting together the pieces of Chris’s work. People to talk to, funds to raise, hundreds of contact sheets to be made and thousands of pictures to review.
I have no idea what 2017 holds but once again I look forward to the coming year with anticipation and wider eyes. Life is good, filled with amazing friends, new experiences to look forward to, exciting projects on the horizon, an expanding family with another great-niece or nephew on the way, more music and the determination to learn to play my drums and jam by the end of the year!
Sam Taylor and my final “hair shot” of 2016. That’s drummer Jace Traz behind him.
CMW (April 17-22) heralds the beginning of the music season. Only three months to go. It’s going to be a very interesting summer!
….so many bands, so many clubs, so many festivals, so, so much music….I’ll do my best!
HAPPY 2017 EVERYONE!!!!!
All photos, except the interior shot of Cherry Cola’s are by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”
….and this just announced…damn, damn, damn….challenges for Hugh’s Room!!! According to Richard Flohil’s Facebook page,“ One of my favourite venues, Hugh’s Room, has apparently declared “insolvency”. This is incredibly sad news for this so-called “music city” — this venue will be remembered in the same way the glory days of the ElMo and the Diamond and Ontario Place are remembered…over the last 14 years I have presented dozens of shows there; the city NEEDS a “listening room” where artists can present their music to an audience that LISTENS.”
The pertinence of the last remark required emphasis so it’s been highlighted and underlined. Audiences are too busy chatting it up and checking devices to really pay attention to the music. We do indeed need a “listening room” where audiences can actually enjoy the performance we paid to see, uninterrupted.
In an interview with the Toronto Star’s Nick Krewen, Hugh’s Room owner Richard Carson stated “I’m basically insolvent and I’m going to be taking the next few days to figure out what my options are….I have not filed for bankruptcy. I would like to figure out a way to continue. I don’t know if that’s going to be possible, so I just need a few days. Right now, I don’t feel it’s fair to go on in the dire current situation that we’re in.” Carson says “the business has been a struggle for years.” You can read the entire story here
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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!