Pat Blythe – Monowhales, Secret Broadcast, 1000 Musicians, Anjulie……and Music!

The weather has been nothing but spectacular with balmy, breezy days and comfortably cool evenings. So far so good. Although spring was a relative flash-in-the-pan, with the bitter cold of this past winter still fresh in our memories, everyone has been thrilled to see summer arrive early. Tourist season is now in “full on” mode (please share the sidewalks everyone….standing smack in the middle is not the spot to have a conversation), patios are just buzzing, my backyard looks the best it’s ever been and the sunny days are predicted to continue right through the fall months. I’ll take it while I can but I still want snow for Christmas and New Year. Then we can go back to summer. The city is humming (literally) so, on your mark, get set…..GO!

This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity and far far too many fantastic shows for one individual to see. Where is that damn cloning machine?? New Pornographers, Die Mannequin, Wild T & The Spirit, Jack White, Blackdog Ballroom….the list goes on….. I missed, by a hair, Secret Broadcast at Dundas Square in Toronto on Friday evening but fortunately they were performing on Saturday night at Adelaide Hall along with the Monowhales, Bon Villan and St. Andrws.  It would have taken an army to stop me from seeing this show.

If it’s summer it must be clubbing and party time……

My second event on Friday was held at the Globe Bistro. But, before I get to that I must gush about my dinner at this fine establishment. I’m not a foodie (although I love to cook and bake), nor am I a food or restaurant critic….but this……oh my. My first time dining at Globe. Their menu, Tastes of Canada, is small and select. Crab is one of my favourites and I honed in on that one immediately. The dish I chose, called Giggle’s Ontario Trout, is accompanied by cannelloni stuffed with crab surrounded by a crab bisque. Sold!!  …..and OMG (there’s a squeal and a snort in there somewhere), it was lick-the-plate deelish. I didn’t. My momma taught me right but the bread basked was emptied. Nary a crumb to be had. Can you describe a fish and seafood plate as scrumptious? Beautifully prepared and presented I recommended it to a few other diners who were wholeheartedly in accordance with my taste buds. You can find the menu and description here  My waiter was lovely, accommodating and attentive. Chef Tom, if you’re ever in Toronto…..enjoy a little taste of Canada up on The Danforth.

One question….who is Giggle’s?

Now I’m a gin girl, Bombay Sapphire to be precise (as the seven bottles….all gifts….in my liquor cabinet will attest). The Globe’s drinks menu had this gem, an Elderflower cocktail…..2 1/2 ounces of (specifically) Bombay Sapphire with (I’m thinking) half an ounce of  St. Germain (a French liqueur with an ²eau-de-vie base) and tonic.  I inquired as to whether the kitchen might have a few leaves of fresh mint (they did) to add to the drink. Perfection!! The evening was beginning to look up….literally…..

Now the special happening was a birthday party and “welcome back to Canada” for friend Adrian Gower who hails from Jersey in the ¹Channel Islands. Gower is a childhood friend and schoolmate of my good friend Al Virani and host of the evening’s soiree (yes we have a lot of “friending” going on here). Held at Globe’s rooftop patio I decided I would head to the venue for an earlyish dinner (see gush above) before imbibing and shooting what was designed to be a rather glittering affair. Dress code, Glitter, Gold, Silver, Lamé or other shiny outfits and/or accessories, to reflect the stars…in the skies and amongst us. -Optionally, please dress as Royalty…for those who are.” Not owning too many “shiny” outfits I wore as much silver as humanly possible without requiring any assistance to prop up my arm. Others arrived in their glitzy and sparkling best, bedecked and bejeweled.  Champers flowed, Michelle Ross performed in a stunningly glamorous ensemble, nibblies served, golden balloons floated  and a spectacular “tuxedo” cake was presented with a flourish, topped off with sparklers. All-in-all, a fine way to spend an evening and welcome and old friend back to Canada.

Just a few snaps….

A few celebrants (birthday boy is second from right)

Michelle Ross, the evening’s entertainment

Birthday cake presentation by host Al Virani

l-r – Yasmin, Jason and Adrian (the birthday boy)


A bit of a lie-in, some photo editing, garden work and then prep time for the evening. I had five events in the calendar….. First stop, the Phoenix Concert Hall to see Stuck on Planet Earth. I had been invited by promoter Jeannie Reid of Music City North a number of times to check these guys out so I managed squeeze them in before heading to Adelaide Hall. Club hopping depends largely on what times the artists are hitting the stage and who you want to see. With so many bands I wanted to see that night, timing was EVERYTHING!

Stuck on Planet Earth simply crushed it. Formed in 2007, members Al Capo (vocals/bass), Adam Bianchi (vocals/guitar) and Andrew Testa (drums)have worked their collective asses off getting to point of being the first band in eleven years to sign with Anthem Records Inc. Kudos to you!! A few years back audiences and radio started taking notice when, seemingly out of nowhere SOPE’S single Fast Forward shot to the number one spot on the CBC R-30 Countdown beating out Arcade Fire and July Talk. Fast Forward sat at the number one spot for eight weeks and also topped the charts on Sirius XM’s The Verge. Not bad for a trio from, of all places, Vaughan, Ontario. Toronto, The Hammer, The Shwa….but Vaughan? Yep, there’s music everywhere.  I could only stay at the Phoenix for a couple of songs but I heard enough to know I want to hear more…..a full set (or two) at least. Jeannie, call me when these guys are playing again….and thanks for introduction.

Fast Forward – Stuck On Planet Earth

Permanent – Stuck On Planet Earth

Thirty-five minutes roaming the streets of Toronto to find a parking spot and parking that was reasonably priced!! Really….$30 flat rate. Come on folks, that’s highway robbery and pure greed. Adelaide Hall is not in the most auspicious spot for parking but that certainly doesn’t necessitate blatantly ripping people off. No thanks, I’ll walk a few blocks. I found an excellent spot on Queen (three blocks away) costing me only $7.60. The evening was lovely for a stroll  and I arrived about 15 minutes before Secret Broadcast’s timeslot.

Hugs all around from the boys in the band before they hit the stage. What a show! I constantly whinge about the limited opportunities to see these guys perform for a damn good reason. Their songs are so f**king good. Period. Their just released single, Cause and The Cure, is another sure fire hit that makes me want to toss my camera and just dance. Matt Lightstone (lead vocals/guitar), insanely mad drummer Keith Heppler (who also performs in Hot Lips and Die Mannequin), William Bennett (lead guitar) and insane bassist (I’m sure he’s going to get whiplash one of these days) Curtis Harding (also on keys/vocals) burn up the stage when performing. If you’re really lucky, you can catch some of their performances with their backup singers and Gene Hardy on sax.

Duelling guitars

Matt Lightstone (l) and Curtis Harding….my “Warhol” moment…

Keith Heppler

Cause and The Cure

…..and now ladies and gents….may I present the Monowhales. Fronted by spitfire dynamo Sally Shaar, the Monowhales had the joint electrified. Their high intensity show takes no prisoners, firing on all cylinders but it’s Shaar, who’s diminutive stature stands tall, fearlessly tossing herself once again into the crowd, body surfing around and back to the stage. Talk about trust and “putting yourself out there”. One of the most energetic bands to watch, their brand of pop is like no other I can think of. They may have other influences but whatever they are, the band’s sound is their own. Pure, unadulterated fun. Called back for an encore, the audience would have kept them there all night.

Sally Shaar….in the moment….

Holly Jamieson

Their 2016 hit Home got everyone’s attention including all the major media and launched them into the spotlight.  It certainly hit a chord with Toronto listeners. It’s been full steam ahead ever since. The new EP, Control Freak has just dropped and everyone at the club were in a celebratory mood. Keyboardist/vocalist Holly Jamieson, guitarist Zach Zanardo, drummer Jordan Circosta and Shaar are a team whose passion for music and love of performing is visibly and audibly palpable. From their website, “Monowhales are not just a band, but an experience that resonates with all the senses.” Got that right.

Surf’s up!

Real Love – Monowhales

Now in Canada eh…..

So subscribing to various and sundry on-line magazines and blogs, this particular FYI Canada article caught my eye. The sound and visuals of a thousand voices and musicians performing in perfect sync, together…..well it just gives me chills. Akin to attending and participating in The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 and watching 77,000 pairs of hands clapping in precise time to Radio Ga Ga (among other highlights)….well the feeling is indescribable. So again and again I watch  the video of 1,000 performers from all over the world perform in a open field it Italy and it just sweeps me away….the absolute joy on their faces. As one Canadian band said…”Oh what a feeling, what a rush…”.  Maybe that’s the song they should perform?

Oh What A Feeling – Crowbar

Anyway, back here in Canada the event is to take place July 21 in Niagara Falls. Vocalists, guitarists, bassists and drummers, 250 of each, are to perform six songs all in support of local charities including music therapy programs.  According to FYI, “The goal is to create a spectacle….and why not?” Admission and participation are free, donations gratefully accepted. Tune up is June 23. To find out more click here

Learn To Fly – Foo Fighters Rockin’ 1000

Another name that caught my other eye (yes I have two) is Anjulie. This time her name jumped out at me in another on-line paper, singer/songwriter Laurie Biagini’s The Indie Pop Musician’s Daily. According to Biagini, “this paper is daily roundup of news reviews and resources…..gathered from music journals, blogs and references posted by bands and music industry people….” DBAWIS is one of those blogs that is picked up on an almost daily basis (usually under Arts and Entertainment).

Okay, back to Anjulie. My first exposure to her was on Labour Day weekend 2017. Anjulie was one of two opening acts for Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, a free concert at Celebration Square in Mississauga. You can read about her in a previous column here Having written hit songs for other artists including Kelly Clarkson, Niki Minaj, Kreesha Turner among others….now it’s Anjulie’s turn. Where The Love Goes, her latest single, has (as they say) gone viral. With over 31 million streams on Spotify and over 700K YouTube views, the ears and eyeballs response were totally unexpected. The accompanying video was designed to have fun satirizing the objectification of women. Instead, Anjulie chose objects. Think food and balloons…. I’ll let her explain….

It’s sexy, fun, definitely entertaining and gets its point across. Kudos to whomever did the editing……and the song, you be the judge but I like it. With a sweet voice and an innocence that belies her experience, this Juno award winner mistress of electronic pop has herself a hit!

Where The Love Goes – Anjulie

…..and last but not least…..Mawbs. It’s not every day you get stopped in your tracks by a sweet voice while grocery shopping. As I stood and listened my cart had a mind of its own and began wending its way through the fruit and veg to find the source. Shannon McManus and Jake Laviolette make up this duo performing classic and present-day pop covers with their own unique twist. Not a lot of info on these two but I certainly enjoyed my shopping experience that day. Check them out at

….and no, I didn’t make it to all five events but the rest of Saturday and Sunday can wait. You’ve got enough to read here.


All photographs except those noted are ©2018 A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”

¹The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey. — Wikipedia

²An eau de vie (French for spirits, literally “water of life”) is a clear, colourless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation. The fruit flavour (in this case Elderflower berries) is typically very light.— Wikipedia


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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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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