Pat Blythe – Openings, Bands and Music…Playing Catch-Up….


Today is a bright but chilly October day. (great opening line huh?) Then there’s Snoopy’s book opening….“It was a dark and stormy night.” Okay, how about “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (Tales of Two Cities – Charles Dickens) Or, “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen) THAT was a different time….most definitely. Then there’s, “It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.” (Earthly Powers – Anthony Burgess). I can’t even begin to imagine explaining that one. How about, “I write this sitting at the kitchen sink”. (Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith). That’s sure to grab attention…..and apparently it did. “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs and I don’t know what I was doing in New York.” (The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath). Confused, frustrated, a chronic depressive, Plath committed suicide by sticking her head in a gas oven at the very young age of 30, leaving behind two young children. “You’ve no choice, look back.” (The Story of Hansel and Gretel – Louise Murphy) We must learn from the past. “It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.” (1984 – George Orwell) Canada’s pants would do well to pay attention. Apparently they’re not paying attention to Hansel or Gretel.

1984 – Spirit

Music travels around the city and beyond…..

Enough of meandering ruminations, here’s what’s been happening in and out of town over the past six weeks or so…..that I managed to attend anyway. Pace yourself. Robbie Rox and Walter Zwol (formerly of Brutus) at The Black Swan; Sam Taylor and The East End Love at the Linsmore, not once but twice and then again at the Ballroom Bowl; The Divided Line CD launch at the Horseshoe; Wild T & The Spirit at Drums and Flats; a BBQ; a birthday jam at Dora Keogh’s; Sarah Smith Band at The Hideout; King Beez and Black Pussy at Cherry Cola’s; Robbie Lane and The Disciples with special guests The Dreamboats, Sam Taylor and Keith Hampshire (yes, THAT Keith Hampshire); a rocking Thanksgiving dinner; Indie Week launch party at the Brooklyn Bar; Loving Vincent at TIFF Bell Lightbox; Jack the Lads EP release at the Cameron House with A Fellow Ship and Ferraro; Gem’s debut at the Supermarket with opening act Lily Mason; ONES performance at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford and I actually managed to make it home that night in time to catch Toney Springer at the Linsmore, and finally, Stumblin’ Blind at Southside Johnny’s. Tonight the boys from James Blonde will camping out on my couch and spare room…..getting ready for their interview on Global tomorrow morning. This coming weekend it’s ONES again in Ottawa (Oct. 27) and Brockville (Oct 28) AND Julian Taylor just happens to be performing in Ottawa on October 26 at the National Arts Centre. Guess where I’m going to be……?

L-R – Robbie Rox, Mike McKenna and Walter Zwol

I met Robbie Rox just over a year ago performing with Johnny Wright. I was hired to take some photos of the performance and a few posed shots of the band after. I don’t think I’ve seen Rox since. Going through Chris’s negatives I came across a smiling, bushy eye-browed, clean shaven face staring out from behind the engineer’s “desk” at Cottingham Sound. It took me a couple of weeks before it dawned on me who that face belonged to. I have never seen Walter Zwol or his band Brutus perform so to see these two friends together on stage….well I had no intention of missing this. The added bonus was Mike McKenna, a gentleman with a long and storied history in and around the Toronto music scene. What a pleasure to hear him play his guitar.  Best known for his work with Luke and The Apostles and McKenna, Mendelson and Mainline, McKenna was one of the first Toronto musicians to perform with a hollow body Gibson Les Paul. The story goes that Jerry Garcia like the sound of McKenna’s Les Paul so much he purchased the guitar. Apparently Garcia was photographed posing with that the black Les Paul Garcia for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Call Out My Name – ZWOL

Sam Taylor and The East End Love have been keeping themselves busy at several venues around Toronto. I try and catch him at the Linsmore every third Sunday for Blues Sunday. Often there will be a guest or two, last week was husband and wife Shawn O’Shea and Roxanne Tellier. Taylor’s friend Alex Rudi, in from St. Thomas, was also guesting on bass. With Jace Traz on drums and Maia Van Raes on keys, the place was buzzing and dancers were letting their feet do the talking. A gig at the Ballroom Bowl brought none other than the man himself, David Wilcox, who actually requested Downtown Came Uptown. Impressed by Taylor’s way around a guitar and his feel for the blues, Wilcox sent him a fabulous, encouraging email. The icing on that night’s cake!

L-R – Alex Rudi , Shawn O’Shea, Jace Traz (rear), Roxanne Tellier, Sam Taylor & Maia Van Raes

The lovely Maia Van Raes on keys

Downtown Came Uptown – David Wilcox

The Divided Line….

L-R – Blair Barton, Greg Cave, Reza Shaffaf

The Divided Line is a band I was introduced to at Cherry Cola’s. Now releasing their first EP, Paramnesia, I headed to the Horseshoe for the launch. Good old-fashioned, hard core, progressive rock. Not much of this around these days, at least not with any kind of musicality. This quartet (Blair Barton/guitar, Reza Shaffaf/bass, Luke Scott/drums, Greg Cave/vox) are furious with their instruments, including the vocals. Pounding, thrashing drums…..pulsating, hammering bass and Barton’s dirty, driving guitar along with Cave’s raw, emotion-filled voice screaming through your eardrums, which, at full throttle, reminds me a bit of Chad Kroger. These guys ROCK! My fav is Breathe.

Luke Scott

Breathe – The Divided Line

Wild T & The Spirit….

Toney Springer

It’s rare to see these guys in town once, let alone twice but I caught them at two clubs a few weeks apart and it’s always a pleasure to see them. Springer brings his wild and crazy side, combined with a wicked sense of humour, to each performance. A highly respected guitarist and much loved individual, Springer is just an extension of his guitar. It OWNS him. His mistress, his lover, his best friend…..she has got him “under her thumb”. I have never heard anyone perform Spooky, by the Classics IV live. It took me a minute to realize what he was singing as he mixed the song in with a medley. Beginning with Down By The River and one other song (dammit, I can’t remember which one), he then broke into Spooky, which is one of my all time favourite songs. Somewhere at home lies the original 45 purchased many, many moons ago. These guys pack them in every time and each show is unique. Kapalle provides a solid backbone and is just as fluid with his five-string bass as Springer is on his six-string guitar. Chuck Keeping from Big Wreck kept the beat going at the Drums and Flats gigs,.

Drummer du nuit, Chuck Keeping (Big Wreck) at Drums and Flats

Toney Springer & Guenther Kapelle @ the Linsmore

BBQ time….

Well ensconced in a new home Robin Campbell hosted his annual backyard BBQ on Sept. 24 with his lady Risa Black. Again close to two birthdays, Alice Black’s and mine, the festivities came replete with live music, loads of food, Tevy Black manning the BBQ and two delicious birthday cakes. My “daughter” Colleen came back into town from Ottawa to help celebrate my birthday and attended the BBQ with me. It was great to see familiar faces, a newly expectant momma (congrats Mary Ann!) and listen to some great music. Thank you again to both Robin and Risa who go out of their way to make people feel welcome and ensure they are having a good time.

A few Party Goers

Live entertainment….

Birthday Jam….

Monday, Sept 25. It’s time for the birthday jam at Dora Keogh’s and Riverboat Monday will never be the same. What a wonderful turnout! It was heaven to be in the middle of great music, great musicians and wonderful friends. Our host Tyler Ellis, Drew Winters, the Peters Kashur, Crowley and Verity, Shawn O’Shea, Kid Carson, Jon and Cara Nye, Sam Taylor, Maia Van Raes, Colleen Thornton, Bernard, Annette Tremmel, Sandy Bolyki, Alice and Tevy Black, Lawrie Ingles and all the folks from the open mic. I performed for the first time in public (on the keyboards, not the drums), accompanying Colleen on guitar and vocals. The two of us had rehearsed Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game (me for two weeks). We ended up with a full band behind us (that part had not been rehearsed) and they all followed Colleen’s lead beautifully. Never every in a million years did I think I’d be jamming with these guys and it was waaaaay coooool once I got over my stage fright. (Sam Taylor on lead guitar, Jon Nye on bass and Kid Carson on drums). To all the open mic folks…..beautiful! Such an incredibly memorable evening to be surrounded by so many great musicians!!!! I thank you all for making that day so very special. We must do this again more often.

Just a few snaps from the jam….

Tyler Ellis (our host)

Colleen Thornton & Sam Taylor

Kid Carson keeping the beat

John Nye on his new bass

Lawrie Ingles & Drew Winters

Shawn O’Shea

The three Peters…..

Peter Verity

Peter Kashur

Peter Crowley

There’s more….made it as far as the jam. Thought I could get it into a single column but that’s not happening. The rest of September and October next week.

… more time…..

Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

…..and just because…..

Let’s Go – Wild T & The Spirit

I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett

Just a lovely tune….

Joannie – Eddie Bullen

Thank you everyone for all the positive feedback regarding last week’s column. It obviously touched a chord with many of you. I truly appreciate the time (and pain) it took for each of you respond. I attempted to balance honesty with respect, heartache with love and apparently I succeeded. An update regarding the hospital vigil, my friend’s father passed away Monday. It is a difficult journey but one that we cannot ignore. I wish you all peace and safe travels on the roads ahead.


All photographs copyright A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” unless otherwise noted.


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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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! 


One Response to “Pat Blythe – Openings, Bands and Music…Playing Catch-Up….”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    When do you sleep? Another great column!

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