Peter (Beer) Barrels through CMW 2018

Armed with my “media” credentials, my guidebook and my Metropass, I took on Canadian Music Week. (Note that all of the bands/artists that I mention in this column have Facebook pages, and are well worth further study, should you feel so inclined. It was a very busy week!)

But first, shortly after getting confirmation from my cohort Pat Blythe that we had media credentials, I got a text from Doug Elliott, program director at 94.9 “The Rock”. He invited me to The Velvet Underground that very afternoon, to hear a band from California called “The Record Company”. They played a semi acoustic set, nice bluesy/rock, and their influences include Iggy Pop and the Stooges. A new “cd” comes out June 22, and the band will be touring North America in support. It was nice to run into some friends, including members of “Crown Lands”, “The Crooked”, Suzi Kory and “The Original Kid Rock”. Thanks for the invitation, Doug, you “Rock”!

Monday night I went to Cherry Cola’s to see Michael Stanfield lead Blackdog Ballroom through several sets of “mod” rock, covering “The Clash”, David Bowie and “The Who”. An accomplished composer in his own right, Mike is an excellent frontman and has welded the current band lineup into a disciplined and entertaining group. I stayed as long as I could, but 6:30 A.M. comes all too soon, so all too soon, I had to leave.

At the Hideout on Tuesday night, I ran into Jeannie and Shannon at the bar. After we had a good conversation, “Lyric Dubee” opened the evening’s musical proceedings. I was then happy to catch up with my friends “Mushy Callahan“. They delivered their usual energetic set, including “Weathered Eyes”, which is the first song I ever heard them play, and my favourite. They dedicated it to me, which was especially nice. I had a great time with them, Kayla, Sherry and Junaid as well as others. Thanks again for the beers, my friends! They released new work last Friday, titled “Revelations“. It’s available on line, and has been getting good reviews. “The Alpacas” were on next, however I had to leave during their set, unfortunately.

I was going to rest these olde bones on Wednesday, but……when Darryl Hurs texts you and asks you to come by the Bovine Sex Club at 9:00 P.M. Wednesday to see “Trampa”, well, you grab your Metropass and you go! I had seen them at “Indie Week” last year, and really enjoyed their music. They did not disappoint me this year either! I ran into Pat Blythe at the Bovine, always a pleasure to watch her with a camera. After “Trampa” finished, I decided to go to Cherry Cola’s. I was able to hear parts of both “Mount Farewell” and “Nahga”, and was lucky enough to run into Brandon Gregory of “Drop Top Alibi”. He thanked me for the mention in my last column and for my support of indie music and gave me one of their cds. I would not able to stay for their set, but they are playing at The Hideout in Toronto on June 14th, on a bill with “The Reed Effect”, “Second Pass” and “Kilmore”.

Thursday might there were no bands playing whom I knew personally, so I decided to return to “The Bovine Sex Club“. The bartender remembered me, I hope it was the baseball cap 😉. So did the person at the door, but they smiled, so that must have been a happy memory.

Owner Darryl Fine behind the bar in the packed Bovine

The first band up was a Toronto band I had never heard of. “Gnarly Horse” played a good set of rock. Somehow they had attached a piece of paper with their name on it to the drum kit. I have never handled or even approached any musical instrument on a stage because a) it doesn’t belong to me and b)  I wouldn’t want to damage it inadvertantly. However, it was an interesting way of marketing the band, and I’m sure that someone who knew what they were doing could address this issue. The second group was “Mulligrub”, a trio who recently finished a tour out west. They invited people to come speak to them at the merch table after their set. I did so, and spoke to the bassist. They had arrived in Toronto that morning at 8:00 and had done a show before coming to “The Bovine”, so I didn’t speak with her very long, but we had an interesting conversation. They have new work coming out as well. You can get a taste of their sound at “mulligrub.bandcamp”.

Neil Steph and Phil – James Blonde

Friday night I had to go to Adelaide Hall, to see “James Blonde“, longtime musical friends of mine. The opening band was “Hotel Mira”. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of them, but they have a very animated frontman who has some powerful lyrics to work with. Whoever wrote this “…your love has made me come of age…”did good work indeed, in my opinion. This next phrase and action were the highlight of the night for me, however.  At one point  he sang”…the innocent hands who sewed my Nikes’ then he raised his hand like a climbing airplane and said ‘Swoosh!’…” A picture paints a thousand words? He showed a documentary with less than 10 words and a gesture. I am so glad that I was there to witness that.

“James Blonde” always come to play. I’ve looked on in admiration as their writing and their stage show just keep improving and their merry band of supporters keeps growing.  Yet another good time with good people, which ended far too soon.

Saturday I went to the Junction City Music Hall, to hear “Fortunate Losers“, who came down from Sudbury for the show. They released a cd in late April and it is great.  I posted a video of them playing on Saturday night to my timeline, just to give you a “peek” at these talented musicians. They will be playing a future show in Barrie with “Trampa”, interestingly enough. That sounds like the core of a great lineup right there.

Afterwards, I proceeded to Cherry Cola’s. This great club was marking its 8th anniversary, and I was glad to see that the place was buzzing.

I caught the end of “Atomic Tomb”‘s set, and then the always amazing “Dylan Hennessy”. I was also able to  talk to so many friends in the crowd, like Cherish and Arjun and Lisa and Dylan, because “Blackdog Ballroom” was getting ready to hit the stage and play their original music. Another amazing set of outstanding artistry! I had to leave before the set was over, because I despise the “night bus”. I regret missing that complete set, but I’m glad that I saw what I could.

I also regret missing “Ivory Hours”, “Anthems in Ashes”, “The Reed Effect”, “Return For Refund”, “Cleopatrick”, “Mudhoney” and “The Julian Taylor Band”, to name just a few bands!

If you can get out to “Canadian Music Week” next year, do so. You’ll not regret it.

Worthwhile Note Department. The band’s name is “Eklectik“. Their video about autism is to help raise money to assist in buying therapy dogs for autistic people. Thank you Kim et al for caring. In a world where people talk a lot, you do a lot! You can find out more Here

See you soon


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