Pat Blythe – Remembering Frank Gutch Jr., Rival Sons, Conduit …and Music!

I can barely see the computer screen through my tears. All the memories start flooding back and the remembering starts all over again. I weep for myself. Grief is a rather selfish thing since the one who no longer walks among us is gone. They do not grieve. We do. We weep for our loss, not theirs. We miss them…..they don’t miss us. They take a piece of us when they depart, leaving a gaping hole in our lives and in our hearts….one we can never completely fill. Time will soften the edges but it never completely heals the wound, but the wonderful memories remain.

Frank Gutch Jr. (Bud)

One year ago today (April 23) all of us at DBAWIS received word that one of our beloved writers had passed away. It was so shockingly unexpected and sudden. The news took my breath away and all I could do was try and suck the air back into my lungs. I was stunned….and then I wept uncontrollably. It felt like I had lost Chris all over again and still feels like that today. He had become “my person”.  ….and so today, the remembering continues, the loss is still raw and tears still flow…..

Tomorrow – Research Turtles

Frank Gutch Jr. gave so much of himself to everyone he met, every word he wrote, every photograph he took and every deed he performed. He was kind, gentle, thoughtful, definitely a bit of a curmudgeon (he had earned the right), self-deprecating, witty, funny, supportive, loving and one of the most passionate music lovers I’ve ever met. He oozed it, breathed it, lived it, wrote about it, pushed it, supported it, listened to every nuance in it, reviewed it, collected it…..loved it. Music was his lifeblood. We will never find another quite like Frank.

Two of his favourite bands were Notary Sojac and Research Turtles.

Willy Nilly – Notary Sojac

One year later and I still take care of his email and Facebook accounts on behalf of his sister. The latter will remain up indefinitely. Frank was the linchpin, the one who connected all of us. He would want us to continue the sharing of music, memories and ideas, to support each other, to comment and to remember…..and someday his sister will read how much her brother is missed and loved.

Rival Sons and their Feral Roots……

Jay Buchanan

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in concert venue to hear a rock band of this calibre. Blew the roof off the Danforth Music Hall and exploded the eardrums in my head (and yes, I had earplugs in). In the darkness there’s nothing like the sound of a pounding heartbeat, enveloping you as its constant, steady throbbing is emitted through a powerful sound system. At one point I put my hand over my chest just to check (still not sure for what). My entire body started vibrating to the beat of that heart. I’m standing in the photographer’s pit waiting….we all are, cameras poised….and I’m counting the beats. As the band burst into song, we all raise our cameras in unison, each one automatically drawn to a singer who sashays, weaves, slides and glides from one side of the stage to the other, rarely standing still for more than a second or two. At one point, as I was looking through the lens, everything went black. When I looked up, he was just beginning to back away and I realized my lens had been against his leg. He’s right at the edge of the stage, so close my camera won’t fire.

Jay…..hey you!

Next to Freddie Mercury, Jay Buchanan is unlike any singer I’ve watched, listened to or photographed. He is an enigma, a puzzle everyone tries to solve, a mystery that keeps you guessing. If he was a woman he would be almost ethereal. He is so mesmerizing your eyes (and camera lens) follow him relentlessly. He emits a quiet energy, almost like a coiled cat waiting to pounce. It’s an energy you want to touch and feel as it draws you in. It’s an energy whose only release is through his voice. A voice that is raw, emotional, primal…..a voice that starts at his toes and moves up through his body until it is liberated through song. A combination of blues, rock, soul and even titch of country, he sings with a passion you feel in your core.

Mike Miley

The entire band is raw power, something I don’t think I’ve felt or seen since my youth.  Scott Holiday’s blistering guitar introducing Electric Man is…..electric. It grabs you by the throat and yanks you out of your seat clear across the room. Mike Miley’s drums thunder with a force that slams you up against the wall. Miley reminds me of Animal as he thrashes and beats his drums into submission….every stroke perfectly timed.  This is my fourth outing with Rival Sons and with each performance they become stronger, tighter yet more gritty and hard-hitting…..more……feral.

Scott Holiday

The band was formed in 2009 out of the ashes of Black Summer Crush by guitarist Scott Holiday who discovered Buchanan through My Space. He hired Mike Miley after auditioning several other drummers and connected with bassist Robin Everheart at a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina. Buchanan was initially reticent to commit full-time seeing himself more as a blues singer, having never worked in a rock band before. However, Rival Sons recorded and released their debut album, Before The Fire, in 2009 and with the success of their first release, Buchanan was all in. Everheart left the band in 2013 and Dave Beste has been with them ever since. Keyboardist Todd Ögren performs with the band when they tour.

Their sixth album, Feral Roots, was released in January, 2019. One song in particular, Do Your Worst, is the band’s very first composition to hit number one on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart. Written by Holiday and Buchanan, Do Your Worst is a powerful, “anthemic” piece. I love the description of the songwriting process Buchanan gives to Rolling Stone, “Sometimes environment really shapes a song,” he said. “Hunkered down in a threadbare shack deep in the south Tennessee woods we (Scott and I) sweated it out and just wrote for a week straight. We were set out on an old causeway surrounded by neglected reservoirs and overgrown with shit you don’t want to see and yes; infested with all manner snakes. The song is a whiskey nightmare crawling with copperheads to me.”

Do Your Worst – Rival Sons

Now after constant recording and touring, international success is theirs. They have toured North America and across the pond several times, most recently as the main opening act for Black Sabbath in 2016/2017. In December 2018, they announced plans for their first ever headlining tour in North America beginning in April of 2019. They will wrap up the Feral Roots tour at the Voodoo Lounge in North Kansas City, Missouri June 16….catch their breath…..and then head to Spain for their first of several European dates beginning June 29….and you’ll never guess who wants to tag along…..(wink).

Crown Lands……

untitled-6461

Opening for Rival Sons was Oshawa-based band Crown Lands. I had no idea they were performing and was extremely happy to notice the bass drum announcing their name.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen this duo perform. Kevin Comeau, a virtuoso on guitar, bass pedals and keys literally leaps and flies around the stage, darting here and there like a dragonfly. The only time he stands in one place is at the keyboard and that’s only for seconds…..not minutes.

Kevin Comeau

Both Comeau and Bowles are known for their glorious manes of hair just as much as their music. Both are a hair photographer’s dream.  Comeau is constantly tossing his brunette locks out of his face and drummer/vocalist Cody Bowles looks like he stepped straight out of the 1960s. His long curls are every woman’s dream to either own or run her fingers through. I know both these two young men and have had the pleasure of chatting with Bowles’ mother on a few occasions. Deeply connected, they are two of the most courteous, kind and thoughtful rockers you will ever meet.

Cody Bowles

However, don’t let their youth or appearance belie the fact these two are master musicians and run, between the two of them, a tightly controlled ship. With a voice that can match Geddy Lee for piercing the silence, Bowles’ voice is clearer and sweeter but no less powerful. He plays the drums with an ease that is second nature to him…..there is no thinking involved, he just does. A singing drummer, and a very, very good one, is relatively rare (although I’m sure there are some reading this that could list several). However, to co-ordinate vocals, rhythm and metre, all while  paying attention to what is going on around you, is no easy feat and Bowles does it as naturally as sipping a morning coffee. Heavily influenced by Rush and the prog-rock bands of yore, Crown Lands performed a blistering set that had the audience yelling for more and firing them up for the next act.

A final note from their website, “the meaning of Crown Lands is steeped in the troublesome history of Canada. Crown Land is stolen land. We are reclaiming it. We are fighting to have the voices of millions of marginalized people heard.”

Back at Cherry Cola’s last Thursday for what I thought was far too short a set was a performance by Beyond The Cage. Comprised of four very experienced musicians, this band is starting to make some noise. Give them a bigger stage and they’d be all over it.

l-r – TJ Cage, Tracy Brett, Ilios Steryannis, Greg Plant

Consequence – Beyond The Cage

C0ndu1t……

Wednesday night last week I paid a visit to the Mod Club to see a band I’ve only seen once before at a private show. I’ve been biding my time, waiting to see these guys perform on a larger stage.  I was first introduced to C0ndu1t and their music by long time friend (40 years) Peter Genrick, the lighting director for ONES. We were traveling together in my vehicle during a short three-day tour of the show last year. He pulled a CD out of his backpack of another band he’s working with and popped it into the CD player. I was hooked. We listened to it from Toronto to Chatham, Chatham to Windsor, Windsor to St. Catharines and St. Catharines home. Sick of it? Not on your life! I loved it. Genrick was busy learning the music while designing a light show in his head so he had no problem with repeat button.

Brian Hogue

Hogue at the keyboard

The album, Year of The Dead, was originally released in 2014 and it’s the one I listened to for three days straight. It was my introduction to Brian Hogue, the creative force behind the music. Hogue’s innovative and artistic energies mix electronic sounds with real instruments creating a surreal rock sound with definite industrial flavouring all while grabbing bits and pieces of everything in between including classical crescendos. He fuses it all together with drummer Sasha Tukatsh and bassist Paolo De Bartolo. Both bring yet another dimension to the music, completing the sound and creating a powerful, fluid yet controlled feeling that runs throughout all 13 songs. Raw, visceral, sexual, the music buries itself inside you and there’s only one way to let it out. Hearing it live just makes me dance and my body vibrate.

Sasha Tukatsh

Paolo De Bartolo

C0ndu1t, together since the 1990s, have released two full-length albums, one EP and a number of singles. Hogue, referred to as a “studio wizard” is often called upon by Deadmau5 to assist with his home studio.

Yikes! I almost forgot…..headed over to the Orbit Room to catch LMT Connection after the C0ndu1t show. If you’re looking for something to do on a Wednesday night go and catch these guys. I promise you’ll have a blast and you won’t stop moving. What an incredible night!!!

Leroy Emmanuel (John Irvine in the back)

…Music

Render of music notes dancing upwards.  You may also like:

 

Guitarist Sil Simone posted this song on Facebook. With Phil Naro on vocals, Simone on guitar, Stan Miszek on bass and Randy Cooke on drums. It’s beautiful piece. I believe it’s off the album Last Link To The World, released in 1997.

Cautionary Tale – Blood Red Flower

Feral Roots – Rival Sons

Too Bad – Rival Sons

Electric Man – Rival Sons

Shooting Stars – Rival Sons

Take Your Place – C0ndu1t

All I Want – C0ndu1t

Burning Inside – C0ndu1t

Curtis – LMT Connection

Funk Is The Final Frontier – LMT Connection

Mountain – Crown Lands

Misery – Crown Lands

……a little nostalgia and one of my favourite female singers!

The Sensual World – Kate Bush

Kate Bush’s First Concert in 35 Years

…..three drummers!!!!

Starless – King Crimson

….and now for a little comedy break…..

British Style and American Style – Dylan Moran

Cheers!

All photographs ©2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera except the photo of Frank Gutch Jr.

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Please scroll down and leave a comment. Thank you.

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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