Pat Blythe – What’s old is new again and a fabulous night of music….

Wow! What a pleasant surprise….Eddie Bullen and son Trey-Michael just dropped by. Trey now has Chris’s old film Nikon cameras in his possession….on loan to him and his brother Quincy since both have a strong interest in old cameras. Trey-Michael is a budding photographer and videographer who records most of the Father and Son Dueling Piano’s shows.

The kit — two bodies, two motor drives, one flash and three lenses. All stored in a special, hand-made wooden box Chris built specifically for this set. The man kept everything, right down to repair receipts, manuals….even an equipment list for crossing the border. For many years he tried to teach me the intricacies of using a film camera but I tended to zone out at the word F-stop. Framing, lighting, focus, even etiquette, I was all eyes (and ears). ASA and F-stop…..the attention span of a gnat. I loved sitting for hours in the darkroom, perched on the high stool in the corner watching Chris work, fascinated by the entire process as the film literally came to life in his hands. What he could do with trays of chemicals and a water bath….the results were amazing. I took Chris’s portrait with one of those Nikons for his first tear sheet back in the early 80’s. I know I’ll never use those cameras again but still, a piece of my heart ‘walked’ out the door this afternoon carefully cradled in the arms of one very excited and happy young lad.

Kodachrome – Paul Simon

Earlier in the day I was chilling in a very, very long line for….yep sun’s out which means only one thing….car wash baby!.  Anyway, it suddenly struck me (and no it didn’t hurt)…..I’ve been with DBAWIS three years now!!! That went fast! Three years sharing my stories, my heart, my guts, sometimes a little bit of history and especially… love of music. The songs of those who have bled their hearts out or spread their joy all over the airwaves, at festivals, in living rooms, backyards and clubs, on street corners and even in my vehicle once or twice. Blues, jazz, rock (with a little roll), punk, R&B, a little funk and some folk, pop and soul….it’s all been sampled and shared….even a titch of country. Opera…..ahhh…….. not on my radar.  Then there’s the hundreds of faces…. bass face, guitar grimace, the ferocity of drummer face….and why does everybody sing with their eyes closed? What are you seeing the rest of us cannot? I’ve photographed it all. Even the hands and mouths that produce the magic we call music.  Thank you all….each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Don’t ever stop!

Carwash – Rose Royce

Last Thursday night was a music lovers orgasm. One of the best nights I’ve had at the Horseshoe Tavern. From 9:15pm to the wee hours of Friday morning I listened to four bands, each of them unique, with stellar performers, a packed house and an audience screaming for more. Two of the acts were brand new to me, one I had been to see a few times…and then there was Jack The Lads, a trio I’ve been following now for about three years.

Oh Geronimo!…….

l-r – Kyle Robertson, Sasha Szlafarski, Ciarán Downes, Nicholas Toews, T.J. Bowman

No…..that’s the name of the band. Fucking amazing! Five guitars (including the bass), keys and drums. Guitarist  Sasha Szlafarski plays his axe like a violin or a cello….what a distinctive sound! Kyle Robertson segued between the ivories and his guitar in a heartbeat. If I remember correctly I think each of the four guitarists played lead at one point or another during the set. There was so much happening on stage sometimes it was challenging  to keep track of who was doing what to whom and for how long……you get my drift. Lead vocalist and one of the many guitarists,  Ciarán Downes has a voice that is both powerful and plaintive. He wails with the best of them, vocally and on his six-string. One of the most intriguing songs, Souvenir, dedicated to the three former members who had recently departed the band. I’m going way out on a limb to say it’s a cute little ditty (oh stop cringing!) but I loved it in its simplicity and honesty. Lyrically, it’s one from the heart. Listen to it. It’s, rare, really rare, (read never) that a song is written and performed paying tribute to your musical brothers who have permanently left the building.

Souvenir – Oh Geronimo

Quickly, a few notes…. Geronimo is the name of one of the characters in an Irish movie call The War Of The Buttons. You have to watch the movie to get the whole story and find out what transpires with Geronimo. The band has just released their album, The Sled….recorded only three months after undergoing a substantial lineup transformation (three left, two joined). Six years together with two full albums and three solid EPs under their collective belts….and please don’t lock them into any genre. Oh Geronimo’s sound is dependent on the song….the lyrics give birth to music…and like a child, everyone is different. From a recent interview with ALLIIISA “we begin writing with lyrics and concepts, then compose music that reflects those ideas. Our main priority with songwriting is having the lyrics and instrumentation complement each other was much as possible. Our sound could be described by the feelings and themes in our lyrics.” Whatever the process, it’s working.

Hair shot!!

The Sled – Oh Geronimo

The band members include Drew Mattiacci on drums and vocals (beautiful harmonies);  Nicholas Toews on guitar (you sir were having a blast and it was infectious); T.J. Bowman on bass (thunder from the shadows) , the aforementioned Szlafarski….bowed and unbowed, Robertson and Downes.

Ciarán Downes

Drew Mattiacci

Olivia and The Creepy Crawlies……

Individualistic. Idiosyncratic. Highly distinctive, particularly visually. Fabulous. Eye catching. Beautiful harmonies. Fun. Upbeat. THEY ARE FROM LONDON!!!! My home town. I love it! Thank you, thank you for sharing band details on your FB page. So here goes, Olivia Borkosky /lead vocals/ukulele, Kelly Samuel/back-up vocals, acoustic guitar/glockenspiel, Aurora Evans/drums/percussion(woman….you kicked ass on that kit), Chris Denise/electric guitar, Connor Grieve/bass guitar and Trevor Dubois/electric and acoustic guitar. The crowd were swirling all over the place. Classified as indie/folk, this band had a blast on stage and the music was actually effervescent. Folk and roots weren’t the first “genres” that came to mind. More like light pop with a simplicity that stems from folk music. Together since 2012 and now based in Toronto, the band have been nominated for a number of awards including EP of The Year (2016) by 94.4 CHRW. Pour Borkosky’s clear, almost lilting soprano, mix with Samuel’s smooth harmony and stir…. a perfect blend like a wee dram of fine whiskey.

Blue – Olivia and The Creepy Crawlies

Reaction time….

Gatsby – Olivia and The Creepy Crawlies

A Fellow Ship…….

I have had the pleasure of listening to A Fellow Ship at least three, if not four times and  I enjoy them more every time I catch a performance. Eight musicians comprise this band — Forest Van Winkle/vocals; Joe Dent/guitar and lead vocals; Tristan Schultz/bass; Austin Jones/trumpet; Jack Stone/guitar and mandolin; John Nicholson/sax; Ryan Johnston/drums and Teddy Liptay/piano. Within seconds, barely a bar or two and again the dance floor is full. Van Winkle’s strong, clear voice can move through and be heard above any guitar sound. Dent and Van Winkle are two more voices that blend well in harmony, their tones balancing each other out beautifully. The band leaves no genre unturned…. your body forces you to move and dance to every last note and the performers on stage join right in. It’s one big party.

A Force of Nature – A Fellow Ship

….and then there’s the drummer

….the mad keyboard player….

Ahhhhh….Jack The Lads

TPT centre-4806

l-r – Paddy Beirne, Joe Dent, Julian Lee and Will Macquarrie

I’m not sure what I can add that hasn’t already been said before about these Lads. Julian Lee/lead guitar and vocals, Paddy Beirne/drums and Will Macquarrie/bass and vocals….three pop/rock loving, nostalgic-twinging rockers rock the beat the moment they hit the stage. They rock…..get it…..? Referring to themselves Toronto’s troubadours, they don’t stop until the last bead of sweat has rolled off their fingertips. Don’t let those suit and ties fool you, these guys get every part of your body moving, starting with fingers and toes, rapidly moving up your extremities until that booty of yours is shaking all over the dance floor. The body heat that night was intense. Called back for an encore, I thought Lee was going to melt under the hot lights of the ‘Shoe but the music takes over and the band, along with the crowd is off and boogying.

Side note — Joe Dent from A Fellow Ship, a long time friend of Jack The Lads, joined them on stage.

Saturday Night – Jack The Lads

If I had to pick a favourite I couldn’t possibly. All exceptional and distinctive presentations and performances. It was incredible to see the wide variety of instruments outside of the usual. To everyone who took the stage that night, kudos. Excellent musicianship, showmanship and everyone had a blast. The entire back room was on fire with enough electricity to light up the city. I left feeling exhilarated still humming…..


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

Feeling Dead – Forty-Seven Teeth

Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry

Brick House – The Commodores

Dreamworld – Ivory Hours


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! 

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