Pat Blythe – Indie Week, Jack The Lads, Loving Vincent…and Music!

 Indie Week in Toronto officially started last night with the big launch party at The Hideout starting at 7pm. Ran into (quite literally) Bruce Bradley of Slammin’ Media, Roxanne Tellier, Peter Montreuil, the man himself, Bob Segarini, photographer Micheal Macisaac, Hartley Pickens, owner of See Rock Live Magazine (whose huge RV was parked out front of the venue), producer/singer/songwriter Chris Birkett, Nadia Elkharadly of Addicted Magazine….and the list goes on.

Loads of music and bands performing in the various clubs, pubs and bars throughout the city as well as panel discussions and seminars. Here’s a snippet from their site, INDIE101 – From songwriting, money, grants, DIY workshops, demo listening sessions, the digital frontier, mixers, radio, mental health & addictions, and production are among the few of the Indie101 panels.” Ralph James from APA Canada, Martin Atkins (Nine Inch Nails) and Chuck Randall (Alice In Chains tour manager) and many more will be sharing their experience and knowledge with attendees, including our own Matt Groopie. I’m judging tonight at the Paddock with fellow scribe Peter Montreuil. This should be fun! Come on out and support live music. You can get all the information here including venue and artist listings.

It’s movie time…..

My dear friend Marion MacLeod joined me to see the movie Loving Vincent at TIFF Bell Lightbox. What an extraordinary, beautifully done story of Vincent Van Gogh’s (pronounced Van “Goff”) death and its aftermath. It is the world’s first fully painted feature film produced by Oscar-winning studios Breakthru Films and Trademark Films.”  Involving a team of 115 artists created 65,000 frames, each one a single oil painting created using the same technique as Van Gogh, the narrative literally comes alive. Blending the paintings with real actors, the story takes place one year after Van Gogh’s apparent suicide, examining and questioning the circumstances surrounding the painter’s death. We’re taken on a journey to deliver a letter to Van Gogh’s brother by the postmaster’s son and are introduced to the village (and villagers) of Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh had settled. Van Gogh created 800 painting in eight years, none of which sold during his lifetime. Fans of Van Gogh’s work will recognize his many paintings, brought to life, in this film. It was mesmerizing. To watch the trailer, click here


Julian Lee

Jack the Lads released their first EP to great fanfare at the Cameron House on Friday, October 13. Also performing that night were their good friends A Fellow Ship and Ferraro. The place was jam packed, cheek-to-jowl (or cheek). I ended up standing on a chair to get shots of the stage since apparently over half the world is taller than me. I had to take my 3″ wedgies off to gain proper footing on the chair. That lasted for quite a while until my naked piggies were noticed by one of the staff. I had to put my sandals back on but by that time I had all the pics I needed. There was no way I was standing on the chair in 3″ heels! ….and the oddest request from another photographer….his battery was on the fritz and could he borrow mine? Really?

Will Macquarrie

Paddy Beirne (guess what his favourite beer is?)

The Lads were full of fire and had the crowd dancing non-stop. Mad drumming by Paddy Beirne, amazing guitar and vocals by Julian Lee and wild-haired bassist Will Macquarrie, treating us all to his new WaWa pedal. Calling themselves ”Toronto’s troubadours” and always nattily dressed, the Lads become crazed rock ‘n’ roll performers once they hit the stage. What their website calls “adrenaline-filled sets” I call passionate and fanatical. Jackets are dispensed with quickly. To quote myself (which they’ve used on their website) their repertoire ranges from pop to rock to soul with a taste of everything else in between, paying homage to the sounds of the British Invasion with their own particular twist.” Songs of daily observations creatively crafted into simple, fun tunes, reminiscent of the 50’s.  Troubadours is my fav song but Saturday Night gets my toes tapping and the hips on the dance floor shaking. To hear these and more, you’ll have to go and see them. Check out their website here

Troubadours – Jack The Lads

Saturday Night – Jack The Lads


ONES — Sanderson Centre, Brantford

ONES…..two weekends in a row, three performances in sold out theatres….. October 20, Sanderson Centre/Brantford, October 27,  Shenkman Arts Centre/Ottawa and October 28, Brockville Arts Centre/Brockville. What a whirlwind. Audiences were up on their feet dancing and singing right along with the band. Jain McMillian has added some new clips and some colourful psychedelia to the visual experience and the performers were on fire. Doing the stills photography for this show has been a huge learning experience. Every theatre is different and the stages come in all shapes and sizes. I wander around during the performance (under cover of darkness and always between songs) to capture the show from all angles. One theatre manager called it “stealth mode”. I like it!!! However, getting directly in front of the stage is a challenge since I’m hyper-conscious of blocking views. Once the entire audience is up on their feet I become part of the party and race to the front. Everyone has been fantastic and the performers themselves are wonderful to work with. Peter Genrick has been working magic with the lighting and Jeff Wiggins is a perfectionist with the sound. The last show of the year is in Milton on November 18th. For a informative, nostalgic, uplifting, totally fun experience, I suggest you make your way to Milton. You will leave with a huge smile on your face and at least one Beatle’s song in your heart. Producer Frank Zirone should be proud to see his dream come to fruition and his vision come to life. To find out about tickets or the show itself, check out the website here Plans for 2018 are already afoot.

My Sweet Lord – George Harrison (as performed in ONES)

Look up…waaaay up…Wild T & The Spirit @ The Linsmore

I actually made it back to Toronto from Brantford in record time to catch Wild T & The Spirit at the Linsmore on the same night….actually his last two sets. Always a pleasure to catch Toney Springer and Guenther Kapalle and the Linsmore is compact enough that you are seriously “up-close-and-personal” with the band. I love Springer’s energy and crowd-bonding gift and his patience is infinite. Kapalle is sometimes hard-pressed to find Springer among the throngs that surround him when it’s time to get him back on stage, but tearing Springer away from his guitar is equally challenging. Springer’s comfort zone is the stage as he and his guitar become one. He loves what he does and the crowds love him back in return. Kapalle is the ideal foil for Springer’s antics and his solid bass provides the backbone to Springer’s guitar. A perfect fit.


The following night, October 21, I was waaaaay out in the west end at Southside Johnny’s to see Stumblin’ Blind. Unfortunately Doug Baynham (bassist and lead vocalist) was out sick so bassist Matt Greenberg (Blushing Brides) agreed to fill. It was a pleasure to see Greenberg again having photographed him and The Brides at the Rockpile a few months previous. I had no idea he could sing…..and sing he can. He filled in for Baynham beautifully on bass while Dave Forbes of Southern Fried covered lead vocals. (two to fill the shoes of one) The band, comprised of Baynham (bass/vox), Danny Bilan (drums) and Norm McMullen (guitar), have been “around” for over 40 years and unknowingly you have probably listened to them on many of your favourite records. I met Baynham when he was fronting Bayb back in the 70’s. I later found out Chris did their promo shots for those ubiquitous 8×10 glossies. Baynham also formed Urgent (with Kim Hunt of Zon) among many of his musical projects. Bilan has drummed for Moxy and Wild T & The Spirit and on the hit Hungry Eyes by 80’s rock band Hanover Fist. McMullen strummed with Southern Fried, Person’s Unknown and New Regime (he wrote the radio hit Seduction for New Regime’s first album). There is so much history in this city and the deeper I dig, the more people I meet, the smaller, the more intertwined, the more connected this musical community becomes. Stumblin’ Blind…..a great night listening to the hits of the 80’s.

In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins

(love the drums in this)

Sweet Child O’ Mind – Guns N’ Roses

80s Rock Music Hits

(let this one run for 2 hours…..)


All ready to go…Azrieli Studio (this pic was snapped with my mobile just before the show)

Act 1 — I just happened to be in Ottawa the same day the Julian Taylor Band were performing at the National Arts Centre. Well…..guess where I was. What a wonderful room…..intimate, comfortable and just enough space for dancing, and that’s what many of us did. Taylor opened with a clean, simple and beautifully arranged acoustic set….just him, a stool and the guitar….and for two songs he sat behind the piano. (This was also the first time I heard Taylor play the piano) Everyone was listening….so quietly and intently you could have heard a pin drop. Taylor had the audience in the palm of his hand by the second chord. His beautiful smile and engaging personality draw the audience in. The music does the rest. On the third or fourth song, he introduced his bassist Steve Pelletier who proceeded to play the stand-up bass, one of my all-time favourite instruments. The entire scenario was perfect….a perfect introduction to Taylor, his marvelous voice and his songwriting skills…..a perfect introduction to Pelletier’s skills on the bass and a perfect introduction to what was to come. I knew by the look on Taylor’s face as he walked off stage for a 20 minute break, they were about to tear it up. …..and they did….oh my, did they ever!!!

Act 2 — The place was electric! Song after song, the audience was singing and up front dancing. I kicked off my own shoes to boogie around. No photographs or videos were allowed to be taken and for once, I was glad….glad to simply enjoy the show and let my feet take over. It was outstanding!!! The band just fills the room with the most wonderful sounds. No one wanted them to leave. I overheard two people from the Arts Centre saying they have to get JTB back….this is exactly the kind of show they’re looking for. Well… was the best I’ve seen yet. Band members are Jeremy Elliott (drums), the aforementioned Steve Pelletier, Dave Engle (keyboards), Gareth Perry (guitar), Derek Gibberson (keyboards), Norman Ryan and Ritch Thoman on saxaphones.

Pick You Up – Julian Taylor Band

Bobbi Champagne – Julian Taylor Band

(If you check out their FB page you’ll see the first pic of Bobbi Champagne….yep, she’s real)

…and my favourite (and my ring tone)….

Chemical Low – Julian Taylor Band

Taylor did an acoustic version of this, a song written for his daughter….

Say Goodnight – Julian Taylor Band

Thank you….

As many of you know I spent the past weekend in London with my mom. It was her 88th birthday. Flowers, visitors, a luncheon, birthday cake and many phone calls kept mom busy over the weekend. The two of us slept in late, lollygagging around in bed snoozing, not rushing into the day but just burrowing into the warmth of the blankets and the comfort of knowing we were just down the hall from each other. Although we both keep busy in our daily lives there is still an emptiness that never completely goes away. (I lost my dad four months after Chris’s passing) When I blow into town, I turn my mom’s life a little upside down and we simply have fun. Still healthy and happy, my family is blessed to still have my mom with us and hopefully for many more years yet. Thank you EVERYONE for your good wishes on her birthday. My mom was thrilled!

Mom with great-grandson baby Conner

Canadian connections……

A note on Greg Simpson’s timeline….Finnish-born, Toronto-based drummer Pentti “Whitey” Glan has passed away at the age of 71. What amazes me, after watching the video below and reading the thread, is how deeply Canadian talent has “infiltrated” some of the best known bands in the world. Prakash John, Danny Weis and Michael Fonfara are all in this video. Canadian musicians are what made many American bands great and it’s incredible how far and wide our talent pool has spread and how much we have influenced the worldwide music scene. It certainly makes me proud!

Sweet Jane – Lou Reed (live in Paris, 1974)

Another story I found extremely interesting, and a good read, was also on FB. Posted by Dennis Fuentes, from Chicago, Illinois….an American who has been appreciating our music and music makers for a very long time. Thank you Dennis for your support and your story. I have taken the liberty of breaking out your paragraphs….I hope you don’t mind.

“i’ve been wanting to tell my story for a while now…

in june 1989, i graduated from university in new york city… as my reward for 4 years of hard work, i took a month off and drove cross-county, stopping in toronto as my only stop in canada. i had studied communications at university and wanted to break into the film production business, and i heard that toronto, at that time, was referred to as “hollywood of the north.” so, i intentionally came up to toronto to check it out.

i was there for three days and i instantly fell in love with the city… on my second day exploring the city, i happened upon the sam the record man store on yonge street. having been buying records since i was 5 years old, i was intrigued and i walked inside.

three or four steps inside the store, i was greeted by a large rack (about 5 feet high and 10 feet wide) of LP’s, cassettes, and CD’s with a cardboard cutout of the canadian flag suspended over it with string attached to the ceiling and a sign that said, “canadian artists.”

i had known for years that joni, neil, loverboy, bryan, and anne were from canada. and i remember the song “tears are not enough” from my “we are the world” album was recorded by a whole bunch of canadian artists (who i never really investigated). but i hadn’t given much though to canada as having other artists worth knowing… so i stopped and looked at the offerings on this rack; i recognized absolutely none of the artists presented. i shrugged it off and moved into the store…

i remember it was a massive and very rag-tag looking store. but it was busy… i was there before the lunch hour, but there was a lot of activity… people were talking very loudly to be heard over the music that blared from hidden speakers. and the store itself looked like it hadn’t been swept or dusted in months… but there was a vibe in the store that i could really feel. i quickly got the sense that this store was canada’s equivalent to the tower records stores in los angeles or new york city – which, in its heyday, were the holy grails for record shoppers.

i spent maybe 20 minutes or so browsing thru the three floors, each floor containing different musical genres. i was going thru a country phase at that point, so i spent a little more time in the country section on the second floor. as i browsed, i noticed that on the title card dividers in every section and music format, there were little maple leafs hand-drawn on some of them. i quickly figured out that those divider cards highlighted who the canadian artists were. other than anne murray, i really didn’t recognize any other name in the country section. but i did see a lot of maple leafs on a lot of divider cards… and i did see several cassettes for a guy named “stompin” tom connors….

as i was about to leave, i turned back to that rack of canadian artists at the front of the store. i stood there and looked again. i didn’t recognize any of these artists or bands. but i was on vacation and i thought, “what could it hurt? just pick up a few cassettes (this was before my first portable CD player) and see what happens?” after studying each of the available products, i ended up selecting:

“violet and black” by scott merritt
“all or nothing” by luba
“the symphony sessions” by tom cochane and red rider

i made my purchase and went back to my car (a 1989 red honda civic). i put on scott’s cassette first. and after that, my life changed. his songs were lyrically intricate and moody and the melodies and his singing were striking. luba’s boisterous pop/rock reminded me of pat benatar… and after i heard tom break into “lunatic fringe,” it dawned on me that i had indeed heard that song before – on MTV! for the remainder of my cross-country trip, i went thru those three tapes over and over… by the end of the trip, i knew each of those three cassettes from front to back. and my interest in canadian music was born…

since then, i have amassed my own collection of canadian music and i go out of my way to seek out canadian artists, especially when they come to my home town of chicago. my collection contains music in english, french, celtic, and native languages. i listen to cbc radio at home and at work, waiting to hear my next favourite song… and i gladly post on my facebook page whenever i discover a new canadian band with a song i am really digging… i have been to the 2011 juno awards and i visited the national music centre in calgary this summer (AWESOME!!!!!)… and as a singer/songwriter myself, i have recorded cover versions of some of my favourite canadian songs – most notably, blue rodeo’s “five days in may.” i was so proud of it that i presented blue rodeo with a copy of my first CD which contained “five days”… jim cuddy wished me good luck and let me take a selfie with him…

this is a long way of saying that i love canadian music… it’s the best music on the planet!

thanks for reading….

Violet and Black – Scott Merritt

Lunatic Fringe – Red Rider

No More Words – Luba (from the album All or Nothing)

5 Days in May – Blue Rodeo

Update on Indie Week next week. Never ending live music to choose from in this city. Will I ever catch up? For this week, that’s a wrap…..


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


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! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – Indie Week, Jack The Lads, Loving Vincent…and Music!”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Great work as usual, Pat!

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