Pat Blythe – Airport hell, a grant gathering, CMW, Sam Taylor and a little Side Hustle

Flying the friendly skies…..nope grounded…..

Where to start….where to start. Loads of stuff going on, musically and otherwise.  Let’s roll tape backwards. We’ll start with Air Canada’s GIANT, international debacle on Monday leaving  thousands of people not high, but dry, at Toronto Pearson International Airport (not to mention the thousands across the world). System down…..the entire system…..worldwide. Now, I don’t know all the details, precise timing and the tiny little intricacies but I do know this, I dropped my friends off at the airport, heading south for their pre-wedding honeymoon, and ten hours later I’m picking them up from the same airport, tired, explosively furious and drained.

 

So what happened? Bags were checked, security screening completed, excited anticipation of introducing the city you fell in love with to the girl you fell in love with. Then the remains of the day proceed to unravel. Air Canada reps begin informing passengers of flight delays….first two hours, then three hours, then five hours then…..ooops, flights cancelled. But what airline informs you by email that your flight is cancelled…..when you’re in the airport and have been for the past eight hours???!!!”So sorry, but it’s late, there’s nothing we can do so we’re going home now,” and everyone in an AC uniform begins to fade from view.

Game on….Find Your Luggage!

No further help is proffered, no on-site customer service (but the call centre is inundated), no offer of hotel rooms, babies and small children trapped for hours in a confined space and police on site (yes, police) just in case people got out of hand….as the entire “we don’t care, we have your money so go put a sock in it!”scene unfolded. Somewhere a $10 food voucher was offered when all the restaurants were closed. That didn’t go down too well with the passengers. More experienced travellers will roll, to a certain extent, with the punches….at least on the surface…..calmly, with a smile on their face and the verbally dexterity to chop your legs off at the knees in a single sentence. Other passengers are left scrambling, a cell phone in each ear, missing connecting flights, cancelling hotel rooms in other cities and generally freaking out. The airlines…..they got us by the balls.

Sidebar — When I was growing up in suburbia (London, Ontario) my mom devised a game for the entire neighbourhood to play called Hucklebucklebeanstock. Yep, all one word. So here are the “rules”…..you select an item, say it’s a shoe. One person is selected to “hide” it in plain sight. Everyone else runs around searching for said shoe. When you espy it, you run back to home base and yell “hucklebucklebeanstock!” without giving the hiding spot away. You then perch smugly on the back stoop, silently snickering into your sleeve wondering why no one else can see what is so patently obvious. Now, transfer that game to the “luggage hunt” at the airport. The only the word people are NOT yelling is “hucklebucklebeanstock”. Oh, and the shoe, my mom actually hung it up with all her washing drying on the clothesline. I can’t remember if anyone actually discovered it. Still the best hiding spot EVER! My mom was, and is amazing!

House of The Rising Sun – The Animals

I really hope all those photos from the hundreds of camera phones that were whipped out and recording devices activated make their way onto the various social media platforms. Air Canada’s true colours were finally on full display exhibiting their total disregard, disrespect, even contempt for their clients. Any kind of loyalty or trust just got flushed down the toilet with the rest of the shit. Some passengers were verbally mocked, responded to sarcastically and otheres were simply rebuffed by Air Canada employees who refused to answer any questions preferring to turn heel and walk away. Apparently it didn’t take long for Terminal One to become an Air Canada ghost town. Truth be told, I’m sure those sitting in their executive suites were not entirely forthright with their own frontline employees, preferring to throw them to the wolves. No management, no contingency…..nada.  I haven’t a clue what transpired in other airports around the world. Hopefully representatives of the airline that has the word Canada in it were much more accommodating and hospitable than those at Toronto’s Pearson airport.

pause…………………………………………………

Okay, the second airport run had been successful. It’s been texted back to me that “it’s like a different world at the airport today”. So, our honeymooners are now checked in…..again…..and currently await, with baited breath and fingers crossed, to board their flight and land in time to enjoy a lovely dinner and their first evening in New Orleans. (they made it)

City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie

Renos…..again!!!!

To lease or not to lease…..therein lies the conundrum.  Noodling around in my brain the possibility of a completely renovating my basement into a bright (as basements go), airy, open concept, cozy, one bedroom apartment. I’ve reached out to the local real estate agent who thinks it’s an excellent idea as there is a dearth of apartments in the east of end of city, especially a hop, skip and jump from the lake. The contractor has given me a quote. After picking my jaw up off the floor and reviewing some of the details with him I now have a clearer picture of what’s involved. Having been through extensive renovations on my second floor I mistakenly assumed the basement was a morceau du gâteau. Nope! I asked around and apparently the quote provided was pretty reasonable. Tight….but right. So……..still noodling.

Shout out to all local music talent……

I’m getting seriously lost in Facebook and Instagram these days…..seriously. Both have become incredibly loud and noisy, so much so I’m missing some really fun and interesting events. Sometimes meandering through the social media maze is borderline depressing. It’s not just the content, it’s the amount of “stuff” that’s overwhelming and I honestly don’t have umpteen hours in the day to poke through it all.  What’s my point? Well, it’s this. I love music, I love to see new acts (and some long time favourites) and I love to roam the city’s venues to capture as much of the action as possible. With festival season just around the proverbial corner it’s about to get a whole lot more ear-splitting. So, could all you musicians/bands/artists please either private message me on FB with a note or a link to your event, email me at pat@luvthemusic.com or leave a comment on my website at http://www.luvthemusic.ca and let me know when and where you’re performing. I can’t be everywhere at once (there’s only one of me and a few thousand of you) and it can get especially challenging when you’re all on stage at the same time…..but at different clubs. I do my damndest.

Out and about…..The lady and the sauce…….

Chloe Doucet and her Fender

Last week was two hits of Sam Taylor and The East End Love. First was at The Painted Lady, a club in the west end I don’t get to very often. Taylor and his band were opening for Side Hustle, a garage/pop band fronted by singing/songwriting duo Chloe Doucet and Pete Casey with bassist Charlie Graham and drummer Dylan Bridger rounding out the vocals and rhythm section. Great harmonies, by the way, provided by Doucet, Graham and Casey. Doucet’s voice is simple, clear and pure, a kind of perky innocence…. a little reminiscent of Jewel….but distinctively her own.

Side Hustle have released two songs on Bandcamp, both of which I like……..a lot. The pop-driven upbeat of Gone gets feet moving and I don’t want to stop listening to Doucet’s voice. The second song, This’ll Never Seem Real is perfectly vocalized with Casey’s almost languid vocals, just right for Doucet’s upbeat harmonies. The instrumentation is subtle, unfussy, well blended and works with the vocals without taking over. This couple are well-matched and reflect each other’s talent. Side Hustle have a Tuesday residency for the month of March. Take some time out to catch them. You can hear Gone and This’ll Never Seem Real here https://sidehustle.bandcamp.com/ It’s worth the click!

Chloe Doucet & Pete Casey

L-R – Jace Traz, Maia van Raes, Sam Taylor

The second Taylor sighting took place at a club I had never been to before, Sauce on Danforth. Roughly the same size as The Painted Lady (maybe even a tad smaller) but with a completely different setup. Sort of a bluesy/New Orleans/Victorian bordello feel bathed in red light. Couches and comfy chairs with space cleared for the “stage” at the far end of the venue. Great staff, great service and great food (appies only) and the sound was incredible. Sauce even has a lovely upright piano which pianist/keyboardist Maia van Raes took full advantage of. There is nothing like the sound of a bonafide, authentic piano. Front to back, the place was jammed with blues lovers from all over. People jumped off their stools and stood up from their seats to give the band two standing ovations.

Taylor’s newest (and possibly youngest fan)

Steve Grant & Sam Taylor at Sauce on Danforth

Joined by famed harmonica player Steve Grant (Buddy Guy), the band pumped out two sets of the blues and the crowd soaked up every note. Jace Traz once again filled out the sound and the beat with his impeccably precise, but unpredictable drumming using the rim of his kick drum, a water glass, a drum case, pitcher, the wall, edge of the table and anything else that strikes his fancy. Truly……artistically creative drumming at its best. Taylor’s voice oozes the blues but he can also rock out with the best of them. The man knows how to use his pipes. Taylor’s next gig is in London opening for Chuck Leavell at Aoelian Hall on March 24. Unfortunately, that’s one gig I’m going to miss.

Thursday, March 8. I was invited to a special International Women’s Day event sponsored by FACTOR. Gals ‘n Grants, arranged and hosted by FACTOR project co-ordinator Gabrielle Rubaine, was an evening spent listening to some great information and insight into the world of grants. A panel discussion ensued with Rubaine moderating. Representatives from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, SOCAN, More Music Management and of course, FACTOR offered advice and some pretty concise information on navigating the funding system, the grant writing process, who can apply (and no, it’s not your manager), when you can apply, the grant selection process and what  to include (or not include) in your applications. The panel also addressed the challenges and sometimes extreme frustration regarding grant writing and the applications themselves. Apparently SOCAN has just released a super simplified version, for one of their grants, on line. Rubaine had to end it eventually as I suspect it could have gone on for most of the night. Beverly Moore, owner of More Music Management was a perfect balance regarding some of the processes, financials and accounting aspects to grant writing and grant money management. According to Rubaine, “Understanding the funding game is a major component to being successful in the music industry for independent artists, as most of the big name artists have received grants to help advance their careers at some point. My aim is to spread vital information and provide a place where women are celebrated and can network with other women in the industry.”

Ahhhhh…..the sounds of spring…

You can smell it (or hear it) in the air. It’s almost music festival time again with the season’s inaugural event  Canadian Music Week bringing summer that much closer. Headquartered out of the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel again this year, CMW runs from May 7-13 and features comedy, film, radio and of course the all important music. Early CMW showcases have already started happening at the various clubs around Toronto. For more information and to register for the conference click here http://cmw.net/

Cheers!

Photographs of Sam Taylor, Sam Taylor and The East End Love, Chloe Doucet, Pete Casey and Side Hustle ©A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”

Jewel Spirit Album – Jewel

What Kind of Woman Is This – Buddy Guy

Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone – Freddie King (live)

Basement Apartment – Sarah Harmer

Black and White – Chloe Charles

=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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