Pat Blythe – Indie Week – Act I

Crikey!!!! Where the hell did the day go?!? It was a crazy week last week….Indie Week style.  Launch on Tuesday, judging (and shooting) on Wednesday, hitting the clubs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday…..oh my aching trigger finger…… I saw so many bands around the city I’ve lost count. There were others I missed simply because I couldn’t be in two (or three) places at once….not even Zippy can do that. I take no prisoners driving from one end of the city to the other. There is no time to waste and parking to be found. But what a great week…..so much incredible talent out there, local and international, and these music makers love what they do….so I hope they all keep on “doing it”. I ran into so many people I know, reconnected and also made some new friends. I just LOVE this!

My new baby…….

Finally, finally purchased a brand spanking new camera and have been trialing it during Indie Week. It’s so light and bloody powerful. I need an engineering degree to figure out all the bells and whistles. I had my “camera guy” Nick, at Downtown Camera set it up for me. For you camera aficionados out there, the ISO goes to 26,500. My old camera…..highest was 6400. So…..I use far, far less flash and suck up more and more “noise”. We’ll see what the breaking point is but right now I’m loving it!!! It had been suggested to me by a few people to take only RAW pics rather than RAW and JPEG at the same time. I’m back to the latter. My computer is unable to open the RAW files. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to big.  My archiving method requires me to save my unedited work on my two external hard drives. Since only Lightroom will open the files it’s back to one shot = two pics. I found 1-in-2 makes the RAW files small enough for my laptop to open. It’s taken me all morning to figure out what goes where by the shot numbers and who  hell belong they belong to. But……I still love the camera.  What is it? …..a Canon EOS 77D. My new joy.

Now….the music files and Indie Week…….

The Implications

Who did I manage to catch….. Well, Wednesday night was judging night at the Paddock with Peter Montreuil. First up…..The Implications. Rock/pop, toe-tapping, get off your ass danceable music. Seven years together have made this trio extremely professional and very comfortable on stage. They fired off one “hit” after another. Love the harmonies. Guitarist Daniel Konikoff…..absolutely amazing picking! Lead vocalist Julian Muia has the confidence and vocal skills of someone twice his age. Stationed behind the keyboard he also managed to bring out the guitar for a few tunes. Drummer Mitchell Stuart provided a solid beat and some fine backup vocals. These guys take their gig very seriously. The one cover tune was King Harvest’s song Dancing In the Moonlight. It almost made me weep. Memorable.  Keep track of these guys here http://www.theimplications.ca/ New EP coming soon.

A side note regarding the abovementioned cover song…..I had absolutely no idea this was an original number by a band called King Harvest, who, quite frankly, I have never heard of before today. For some reason I always associated this song (obviously mistakenly) with Van Morrison. Why did I not know this!!!!????? Thank you to The Implications, I learned something new today! Wikipedia on King Harvest…. Formed by a group of four American expatriates in Paris in 1970, King Harvest was best known for its one US hit single, Dancing In The Moonlight, which was released in 1972. Although the band had a constantly fluctuating membership, it always included its four core co-founders: Dave “Doc” Robinson (lead vocals/bass/keyboard), Ron Altback (keyboards), Ed Tuleja (guitar) and Rod Novak (saxophone) all of whom had previously attended Cornell University.” 

Dancing In The Moonlight – King Harvest

Beaches Jazz Festival Highlights….The Implications at 2:26 to 3:18.

This was the only video I could find of the current lineup

Connor Gross

Next up was folk singer Connor Gross. It was just Connor and his acoustic guitar. Interestng lyricist in a sort of ‘Dylanesque; style, Gross has previously performed at the Horseshoe Tavern and Cameron House.

Deep Blue – Connor Gross

Ivy James

Ivy James, who hails from Oakville also performed an acoustic set. Billing herself as a pop/rock artist, James has performed at several festivals in and around the GTA as well as Hugh’s Room Live. She has also won numerous awards  for her singing and songwriting. At ease on stage, James’s set was reminiscent of Jann Arden….particularly her way with words. The audience was focused, hanging on every word. Up tempo, toe tapping with a quirky voice that actually reminds me of no one. Original….I like that.  …..well…..maybe Jewel….just a teeny, tiny bit. She released her debut EP in 2012 at the tender age of 16 and is now a regular on the festival circuit.

The End of Me – Ivy James

Thunder – Ivy James

Talltale

The fourth artist we were judging travelled all the way from Edmonton, Alberta. Talltale (Tatiana Zagorac) performs electronic/funk/pop with some of the clearest, sweetest vocals I’ve heard in a while. Although she does perform with a band back in Edmonton, she was unable to bring them so she set up her electronic drums (we share the same colour drumsticks….pink!) and also brought her guitar. Working with a mix of pre-recorded music while performing drums, guitar and vocals live, it all worked together extremely well. I would love to hear her with a band. Lorde comes to mind but Talltale uses less bass and lots of synth. Unfortunately I am unable to find any recordings of her on the intertoobs except on the CYMBA site. If you want to take a listen there are four samples of her work. Click here https://www.cymbamusic.com/artist/MTc0MzIyLWU3ZDBhMw/

Love the drumsticks…….

Zagorac completed her Bachelor of Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music while writing music for orchestras, film, musical theatre and dance ensembles.  Definitely danceable and very “flowy” with some hard edges.

The Implications won the night….by one point. Talltale was right behind them.

Heather Christine & Matt Zady

One band Peter and I stayed to hear was Matt Zaddy & The River North. A storyteller with music, Zaddy and his band put on a wonderful performance. A mix of blues, folk and country with some R&B thrown in, Zaddy and his life partner Heather Christine provided a lovely blend of voices to produce some beautiful harmonies. Backed by a his full band, Zaddy provided and tantalizing sampling of his music, enticing us all to seek him out to hear more. His latest endeavour, Perfect Moments, his debut EP released this summer. Find out more about Zaddy here http://www.mattzaddy.com/

A Way Out – Matt Zady

The three members of The Empty Page from Manchester, England dropped in to check out the Paddock as they were performing there on Friday night. They had played at the Indie Week launch party the previous night but there was so much going on I hadn’t paid much attention although I did remember them. (I’m not that far gone!) Both Peter and I had a chat with them and I looked forward to seeing them at Cherry Cola’s on Saturday night.

Thursday night I prepped for the next few days and experimented with my new camera. Errands to run all over the city including picking up the new addition, I managed to remove a number of items from my “to do” list. I knew the next few days would be a write-off for anything but music and late nights/early mornings.

Ahhhhh…..it’s Friday night and f**king freezing cold out. The black lace 3″ wedgies go back into hibernation for yet another year and out come the black, knee-high suede boots. They’ve been cleaned, fixed and “proofed” for the coming winter months. I suppose I should be grateful for having worn open-toed shoes well into November, but still…. I’m back at The Cameron House to see singer/songwriter Pat Robitaille and managed to catch Elyse Saunders as well. Just missed my old friend David Celia who appears in the front room every Friday night from 6am to 8pm with Cleave Anderson on drums and Tim Jackson on bass. Celia is back in Toronto, fresh off another of his European tours. Another not-to-miss-musician.

Pat Robitaille

I actually discovered Robitaille in Lisa MacIntosh’s sashay through our musical heritage along with the up-and-comers,  Music Makers: Portaits at The Great Hall. Yes….I read the book and the photographs are spectacular too. This is a book that should be on everyone’s coffee table (Christmas is coming hint hint….no, no, I have my signed copy….buy it as a gift for that musician in your household). I recognized Robitaille’s name in the Indie Week music schedule so decided to check him out. So very, very glad I did. I introduced myself to him just before the show and passed on Lisa’s “hello”.  A warm, welcoming smile and a great handshake and you know you want to hear this guy sing. I was not disappointed,. A wonderfully relaxed performer with a beautifully clear, musical voice, not a harsh note in “sight”. Knows his way around the guitar (and the piano) too! I thoroughly enjoyed his set and was sorry it didn’t last a bit longer, as were many of the audience members. His lyrics, blended with his sense of melody, create his own brand of folk/rock….upbeat, relaxing, melodic, fun, even smooth. Love his sense of humour.

Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, directly across the river from Detroit, Michigan, influenced by the music wafting over the water, Robitaille left school at an early age to pursue his music career. Since then he has independently released four full-length albums, all within a four-year period, as well as several EPs. His first record sold over 10,000 copies. In a 2012 interview with the Windsor Star Robitaille explains his musical inspiration, “Right now I’m at my house in Windsor,” he explains, “and there’s a venue called Chene Park in Detroit that I can see from my place. It’s lit up right now and I can hear it coming in the window, this crazy soul music. We grew up with that stuff; going to Detroit, going to games and clubs and blues bars. We’re a border town, and we’re pretty isolated, and that influence of soul and gospel from Detroit is huge, for sure.” I intend on catching another performance as soon as I can.

Scared – Pat Robitaille

The Weed Song – Pat Robitaille

….and thirteen years ago…..holy shit!!!

Can You Feel Me – Pat Robitaille (live)

Elyse Saunders and her band

I walked into the back room of The Cameron House to the music of country recording artist Elyse Saunders and her band. The woman can belt it out, moving on and off stage into the crowd with confidence and ease. I’m wondering if this women even needs a mic. Effervescent, energetic, she brings the room to life and your feet can’t help but start to move of their own volition. Her full-bodied voice somehow captures the whole sound and then lets loose , filling up the space and surrounding you. Her band is tight and their sound is solid, a well-oiled machine. I confess I am not country’s number one fan but this is one act I’d like to see live again.

Elyse Saunders

That’s Where I’m Coming From – Elyse Saunders

Nobody Wins A Fight – Elyse Saunders

Michael Stanfield of Blackdog Ballroom

I thought I would have enough time to take in Black Note Grafitti over at the Bovine…..but not quite. I was hellbentforleather to make to the Linsmore to see Blackdog Ballroom. They were finally performing in my neighbourhood. I made it just before they went on. Jeezus….what a show! With Matt Groopie smokin’ on the guitar, Paddy Beirne keeping the beat on drums, Jeffery LeFort (whose birthday it was) burning up the bass and Mike Stanfield on lead vocals and guitar bounding all over the stage the audience was eating it up. Groopie, who was up for Best Independent Promoter (it’s about time he got some recognition) is a huge supporter of the indie music scene. He is also an accomplished guitarist in his own right, making his “Lucille” wail with the best of them. It was also a joy to see Beirne perform with a different group of musicians. Beirne is the drummer for Jack The Lads and I had just watched them perform a few weeks prior at their EP launch. A short learning curve for Beirne as he was filling in but he owned and then some. Precise, solid, clean, he makes it look so easy. I always enjoy Stanfield. His original material is heavily British-influenced with his own twists and turns added. Even the few covers they do are dead on. Always a pleasure. For these guys I stayed until the end, making my way home in the wee hours in all of seven minutes. (I told you it was in my ‘hood).

L-R – Matt Groopie, Jeff LeFort, Paddie Beirne (partially obscured by Jeff’s bass headstock) & Michael Stanfield

In the groove….

…and that folks is a wrap on Act I. More next week. There’s Saturday and Sunday to cover and besides, there are so many stinking photos it’s going to take me that long to go through them. The “continuous” function on the camera (previously known as a motor drive) is SUPER sensitive. Let’s see, Waves That Stray (Sean MacLean) at the Painted Lady then it was over the Cherry Cola’s to see The  Royal North, Trampa, Suzi Kory, The Free Label, HMS Morris, Tokyo Taboo (I’ve got a couple of stories about these guys), The Empty Page, Single By Sunday and, once again, Blackdog Ballroom. Unfortunately I missed The Corks and The Grass Grows Back. ….and that’s just Saturday. Where does everyone come up with these band names. I thought for sure by now, 50-or-so years later, we’d start to run out. Apparently not.

Wending my way around the bar back to my perch a young lady approached me and asked if I could please photograph a group of young men. It took me a few tries with all the noise to understand they were a band called The Clockworks from Galway, Ireland. Band members are James McGregor,  Sean Connelly, Damian Greaney and Tom Freeman. I have no idea which is which in the shot (the guy in the hat is not in the band) and I have no time to research. I did read they performed at The Paddock earlier that night. Suffice to say nice looking lads though.

The Clockworks

It’s 2am on Wednesday morning. I’m out of time and out of breath.

Cheers!

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

The “artsy, I’m playing around” shot…..

…and for shits and giggles…I’m in a Badfinger mood….

Come and Get It – Badfinger

Day After Day – Badfinger

Baby Blue – Badfinger

Then there’s these guys…..I’ve got to stop cruising through YouTube!

Isn’t Time – The Baby’s

=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! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – Indie Week – Act I”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Outstanding, Pat!

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