Pat Blythe – Extremes: Rival Sons, Eagles of Death Metal and…Robbie Lane

It’s been busy the past few weeks. What with fighting that ghastly, intrusive flu/cold (whatever the hell it was) while still cruising the concert halls and clubs, celebrating a special day with my sons and generally trying to keep in or out of trouble….. depending on your point of view. I’ve also been rooting around in the basement searching for more of Chris’s work and I discovered not only his collection of slides but a brand new, unopened box containing a Kodak (remember them) slide projector complete with three carousels and a carousel stack loader. Never used. I cracked it open, plugged it in and everything worked like a charm. Now, if I can just remember how to put the slides in…..I keep getting them backwards or upside down. So I continue to catalogue, digitize and view slides. My drum stool just got delivered (thank you Kid Carson) so now, instead of sliding across the floor every time I use the kick drum, I’ll stay put.

…and yes, those are pink drumsticks….

Jesse Hughes

First up, Eagles of Death Metal on May 3. Feeling better and having planned this outing for several weeks, I headed out to Rebel to watch EODM.  Passes had been arranged for me to photograph the show and backstage as well, courtesy of good friend Cherish Stevenson. I proceeded to get my “first three songs, no flash” and then joined Stevenson and Matt Groopie sidestage to watch the rest of the show. Honestly, not a band I had been following or knew much about until they hit the headlines in the most horrid way possible. EODM were on stage at the Bataclan in Paris, France when the terrorists proceeded to begin firing at audience members during the performance. The band’s merch manager, Nick Alexander, and 88 other people died, with the terrorists on a seek-and-destroy mission to kill as many as possible while many others were held hostage for hours. It is impossible for me to comprehend the agony and anguish, even today, of those who survived. Now there’s Manchester……

Jennie Vee (she’s Canadian eh)

Beginning operations as The Docks in the late 90’s, then morphing into Sound Academy, the club officially opened this year as Rebel. It’s huge, almost cavernous….46,000 square feet available for your entertainment pleasure. I understand the dance-club set up is vastly different from when it is used as a concert venue.  Again, at the EDOM show I found security to be very accommodating and helpful, especially when I had to maneuver around banquettes and ropes from the backstage to the front.

Dave Catching

I’m not sure what I expected but the songs, musicality and “danceabilty” were not indicative of the band’s name. Formed by Jesse Hughes and  Josh Homme in 1998, there are at least two stories swirling around about how Hughes and Holmes came up with the name of the band. Intended to be tongue-in-cheek and rather humourous, it’s in reference to the Eagles and what they might sound like if they were a death metal band….a play on genres if you will. EODM is anything but a metal band.

Complexity – Eagles of Death Metal

Rebel was jammed and the crowd was howling. Hughes can’t keep in one spot on stage for any longer than a nanosecond. The fast-paced show had the audience “moving and grooving” and screaming for more. Hughes knows how to read his audience and give them what they came for, hard driving rock with a touch of humour and a lot of sass. In a previous interview, Homme described the band’s sound as a “combination of bluegrass slide guitar mixed with stripper drum beat and Canned Heat vocals”. Yep, that about sums it up. Thank you Cherish for a absolutely wonderful evening!

Cherry Cola – Eagles of Death Metal

Back in bed for two more days. I was not as “recovered” as I had thought. I did head home earlier than usual that night. Fading fast, I realized I was running on pure adrenalin and my “gas tank” was getting dangerously low. Unsure of when I would get the opportunity to see EODM again, I had been determined to go and I don’t regret it one whit.  A number of my friends who were also felled by this “bug” eventually ended up with pneumonia. As candidate for lung issues, I was one of the fortunate who didn’t thanks to Cherish and her recipe. In fact, my lungs cleared rather quickly and the cough disappeared.

hot drink2 tblsp apple cider vinegar

2 tblsp pure lemon juice

2 tblsp honey (I preferred a bit more than this)

one clove crushed garlic

fresh grated ginger to taste (I like lots)

Add boiling water, strain into a mug and drink while hot, at least twice daily

….and now, a word about Toronto cabbies. What a  colossal disappointment!! Lined up outside the venue (I didn’t drive that night), the cab drivers were charging taxiridiculously stupid, exorbitant sums of money to drive very short distances. Ten minutes to my house, they were asking for $40 or $50. The ride to Rebel cost $15…..with tip. Many people were turning them down, preferring to walk to where they could catch a bus. City of Toronto….for gawds sake wake the hell up!!! You don’t want people to drink and drive? Then get off your collective asses and provide proper public transportation. I did manage to find a driver who agreed to take me home for $20. I gave him a nice tip.

Robbie Lane

Four days later I was well enough to head out to Timothy’s Pub to watch Robbie Lane and The Disciples with special guest Sam Taylor. Since Seven44 (the former Chicken Deli) has now shut their doors permanently, I do believe Lane’s following had taken over Timothy’s. The place was cheek-to-jowl and within two bars of the first song, the dance floor was full. The place actually sounded better, fuller, more robust. The smaller stage was actually “homier” and I love the way the sax player squatted so everyone could see the keyboard player during his solos. The whole atmosphere felt almost cozier. Lane’s renditions of the “oldies but goodies” has everyone up on their feet, moving and swaying down memory lane. He hasn’t lost his touch or his voice. Taylor, of course, blew the socks (and dancing shoes) off everyone. He performs with his heart on his sleeve, his love of music on full display through his voice and guitar.

Sam Taylor

The following night was the Rival Sons performance at the Danforth Music Hall. A sold out crowd filled the space, on the main floor and the balcony. Media/photo pass in hand, I had, once again, the requisite three songs, no flash and then stood back to enjoy the show. Introduced to them and their music at CMW in 2015, this is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of watching these five perform and, like a fine scotch, they have aged exceedingly well. Having just come off the Black Sabbath farewell tour and their own European tour, Teatro Fiasco is now being presented in halls and concert theatres across North America before heading back to Europe. Their only Canadian stop….Toronto. Again thank you to Cherish Stevenson for arranging entrance to the show. The boys in Rival Sons got their Canadian start at Cherry Cola’s as Stevenson was the only bar owner in town who would give them a chance. Without fail, Buchanan gives a shout out and thank you to Stevenson every time the Sons perform in Toronto. Humble beginnings, a friendship forged, the Sons are now an international sensation….but they never forget.

Jay Buchanan and Scott Holiday

Mike Miley

Jay Buchanan

Tied Up – Rival Sons

Their fifth and latest album, Hollow Bones, was released in 2016. Listening to the profound soulfulness and deep gut wrenching voice of singer Jay Buchanan, I am not surprised he is totally drained after each show. A follower of the Native American Red Road religion, Buchanan originally considered himself more of a folk singer, a troubadour. His pipes have proved otherwise. I haven’t seen or heard passion like that since the blues/rock singers of the 70’s and 80’s. Scott Holiday, who formed the band in 2009 from the remnants of his previous band Black Summer Crush, is both a guitar virtuoso and aficionado as well as a Hare Krishna priest. All five members of this band are key components that fit together beautifully. I even had the pleasure of meeting Holiday, bassist Dave Beste, drummer Mike Miley and keyboard player Todd Ögren-Brooks after the show. Fantastic show. What a night!!

Fade Out – Rival Sons

One more thing, members of the original Toronto production of Hair are getting together to perform some of the hits from show as part of SING! Vocal Arts Festival. Toronto’s own Lorraine Segato (Parachute Club) will also be performing. A bit of nostalgia and a taste of the show and songs that impacted theatres and audiences across North America as well as an entire generation. I dare you not to sing along. Click the link below for my calendar of events for more information.

Aquarius – Hair (the movie)

…and I leave you with this, a little something extra from a local Toronto band.

Awkward Guy – The Danger Bees (from the Moon Point soundtrack)

Cheers!

Click here https://www.luvthemusic.ca/events-1 for my little calendar of events

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

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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