Pat Blythe – CMW: Not Quite a Wrap …and Music!

I am incredibly late in starting this column. Like…..super super late. It’s been so busy during the past three weeks there’s barely been time to think. There is so much I want to share but not all of today. Suffice to say this will be my CMW “not quite a wrap”. Arriving back in Toronto from London I dove right into the nightlife of Toronto…..and of course some cruising and schmoozing (and jujube nibbling) at CMW central, The Sheraton Centre. Daytime activities are easy to manoeuvre but co-ordinating your CMW nightlife…..that’s a whole different game.

Canadian Music Week

Day One, May 6……pour moi it’s vegetation day. By the time I arrived back on my doorstep, unpacked and put away half the house I had taken with me, changed sheets and did laundry, I needed to recharge those Eveready batteries. Even the Energizer Bunny needs to plug in every-once-in-a-while. After eight days of gallivanting from one end of London to another, I was up bright and early (the awards gala had been the previous night) to head back home to Toronto. So, decision made, Betty (me) and Veronica (Roxanne Tellier) would head downtown the following day to pick up our media credentials. Monday night was feet up and laptop cracked open to begin last week’s column until suddenly I woke up with my neck at a very strange angle, several pages of jibberish and a laptop buzzing in my ear. Time for bed.

Day Two – May 7……Meet up with Veronica, collect our wristbands, sit and have a bite to eat and catch up as we watch the world go by (at least the world in the hotel lobby) from our perfect seats-in-the-window. The Betty and Veronica team split our focus….Veronica attends the sessions and Betty carouses the bars and nightlife.  Conference schedule isn’t available until Wednesday so we’re back for those passes the following day. I’m not sure why they just don’t give them out to media when we initially register????

We both being to peruse the music schedule and I’m busy making notes. With approximately 1,000 bands from all over the world descending on the city the choices are overwhelming.

Timing each event you want to attend is almost an art form in itself. The venues stretch from east to west and since one must negotiate Toronto traffic at all hours and performers have a precise start time…..ummmmm…..or do they? Fitting the pieces of the puzzle together involves club location(s), distance, start and finish times, travel times, finding parking, unpacking and packing up gear, a few minutes for hugs hello and goodbye….. so, with the exactitude of a military drill sergeant, I map out my strategies for each night.

In the ensuing days, I managed to catch…The PepTides, Steve Poltz, Audra Santa, MONOWHALES, Tribe Royal, Sam Taylor, Quincy and Eddie Bullen,  Moon Tan,  Cassandra Maze, Ferrare, Hatakaze and attend the CMW/CD Baby closing party at The Joint. An attempt was made to see Jonathan Butler but when I arrived the entire club was empty. Unbeknownst to me, the entire evening had changed. The Crooked (time change so missed them) and Pavraav (missed two dates due to timing and a third wasn’t listed in the schedule). I manage to slip into one conference session to listen to the interview with Poo Bear and then, in a very surreal “holy shit!!!” moment, Nile Rodgers made an appearance….in the flesh! It’s one thing when you’re accustomed to seeing someone in your social media feeds but so see them actually “come to life”!!! Rodgers was there to present Poo Bear with the Nile Rodgers Global Creator’s Award…..

…..and out comes the camera.

Nile Rodgers and Poo Bear

The man himself…..

Nile Rodgers and Eddie Bullen

One thing seems to have become almost a CMW tradition is spending at least one afternoon/evening at the festival with my good friend Eddie Bullen….we get caught up on life, kids, music, performances…..everything under the sun and I always, always learn something. We attended the Poo Bear session together and that’s when I found out Bullen had met and befriended Rodgers years ago at Sounds Interchange in downtown Toronto. They were recording at the same time, next door to each other and Rodgers, upon hearing Liberty Silver’s voice decided he needed it and approached Bullen about “borrowing her”. Fast forward to 2019 and playing “stupid groupie” I managed to get Rodgers’ attention, reintroduce him to Bullen and after a few minutes of conversation, snap a few photos of the two of them (as you do when you have a camera in your hand). Again, a surreal experience to meet and shake Rodgers’ hand…… Instagram come to life.

So my week at CMW… and comments to follow….

Audra Santa @ Stackt Studio

Audra Santa

Fabulous singer…sultry, sexy, a broken marriage, talent, courage and fierce determination have brought this singer into the limelight. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance at Stackt but would not recommend this site until sound improvements are made. The music bounces everywhere and there is no control. Nonetheless, singer/songwriter Santa, an obvious professional, made the best of it and enthralled a very receptive audience. Would I go and see her again…..most definitely.  Also, kudos to her band…..ace musicians all. An added note, FB has banned her from boosting her latest video due to “sexual content”. You be the judge. FB’s arbitrary and inconsistent censorship is annoying, extremely frustrating, pandering and far more offensive than any bare breast or butt that happens to pop up in my face……and don’t get me going on the video games these days. It was Santa’s video that drove me to see her…..

The PepTides @ Supermarket

l-r – Rebecca Noelle, DeeDee Butters

l-r – Olexandra Pruchnicky, Dale Waterman, Rebecca Noelle, DeeDee Butters, Scottie Irving, Claude Marquis

Rebecca Noelle, Dale Waterman

 A huge thank you goes out to Gerry Young who recommended this act. I LOVED these guys! Plug them in and they’ll light up the world. Pure fun, gorgeous harmonies, fantastic and crazy dance moves, great choreography, colourful and the wardrobe choices are a mulititude of colours and sparkles. The audience was going nuts. Extremely high energy performance. The vocals were giving me goosebumps. Five-part harmony is so delicious. The imaginations and playfulness behind all this is amazing. The members of this fabulous outfit are Rebecca Noelle/vox, DeeDee Butters/vox, Claude Marquis/vox, Dale Waterman/vox, Olexandra Pruchnicky/vox , Scottie Irving/keys, Juan Miguel Gomez Montant/guitar, Andrew Burns/bass and Alex Wickham/drums. The band was tight, everyone was in the groove and not a single audience member wanted them to leave the stage. Neither did I.

I love this quote from Ottawa’s TD Jazzfest page, “The PepTides is an eclectic community of musicians with a rainbow of identities: girls and guys, gay and straight, English and French, black and white and in between, Ukrainian, Mexican, Guyanese, Cree, Acadian, Armenian and Scottish.”

Tribe Royal @ The Paddock Tavern

l-r – Bram Al-Najjar, Terry O’Brien, Max Robillard, Chris Kerwin

Max Robillard ,Terry O’Brien

l-r – Bram Al-Najjar, Terry O’Brien

This young band from Ottawa is moving forward and accomplishing much at a rapid pace. They’ve recorded in Muscle Shoals, signed an international distribution deal with Believe! Digital, performed at the LiveAtHeartFestival in Sweden and at the inaugural of LiveAtHeart Festvial in Newfoundland, currently enjoy FM airplay in Europe, are heading to showcase at MIDEM in France next month and performing at Summerfest (USA) later this summer.

I heard them for the first time when they showcased their talents at CMW. Not locked into one genre they sound they way they look….the rockers, the folky and the pop star with a tip of the hat to country….all with their own take on each. Put it all together and you have Tribe Royal, mixing it up and producing some great tunes. With an obvious passion for their music, Chris Kerwin and Terry O’Brien are the songwriters with Bram Al-Jannar and Max Robillard adding in the beats and bass. This energetic quartet put on a ripping show in such a small space. A challenge to photograph I look forward to hearing and shooting them again on a much larger stage…..with lights. I wish them much success at MIDEM. Terry……don’t cut your hair!


Sally Shaar and Zach Zanard

Holly Jamieson

Jordan Circosta

Not only did I see these guys in London but caught them the Horseshoe Tavern! Once the first chord is struck, there is no stopping lead singer and resident fireball Sally Shaar. A force on stage, she gets the audience involved in the show almost from the get go. Again, another foursome with wonderful harmonies, the most creative videos I’ve ever seen and songs that get you moving….I mean really moving. Crowds adore them and if you keep your wits about you, catch Shaar as she throws herself into your arms for a good old-fashioned body surf. Winners of the FCLMA Ontario Independent Recording Artist of The Year and Alternative Artist/Group of the Year at The Indies, the MONWHALES take no prisoners and risk it all.  Catch them if you can.

Moon Tan

Brady Mitchell

Adrian Dyer

Nick Knock

I first saw Winnipeg rockers Moon Tan at Indie Week in 2016 where they won Best of The Fest.  It’s been rather quiet ever since so I was glad to find them performing at Cherry Cola’s. This trio is comprised of Adrian Dyer/lead vox/bass with a voice that is very much Geddy Lee, Nick Knock on (you guessed it) drums and Brady Mitchell/lead guitar. Self-described as“inter-galatic space freak rock” there is every musical influence imaginable all rolled up into a giant melting pot of sound. Now imagine prog-rock, heavy metal and funk added to the mix…. If you get the chance, check them out.

Okay, it’s 10pm on Wednesday night. I am so far past my deadline I’ll be surprised if my editor is still awake. It’s been crazy busy and I’m still trying to get all caught up. I have to finish….now!

Okay, I do want to send a big thank you and shout-out to my lawn care and gardening team Sam Taylor and Maia Van Raes.  More on that later……


Afterglow – Audra Santa

Cruel – Audra Santa

Holding On – Tribe Royal

Tribe Royal with Sam Roberts Band

The Story of Le Freak – Nile Rodgers

Le Freak – Nile Rodgers and Chic

Get Lucky – Daft Punk w/Nile Rodgers

Lose Yourself to Dance – Daft Punk w/Nile Rodgers

Don’t Believe in Love – The PepTides

Love Lead Us To Sanctuary – The PepTides

Tomorrow Night – Atomic Rooster


All photographs ©2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera


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! 

3 Responses to “Pat Blythe – CMW: Not Quite a Wrap …and Music!”

  1. John Q Public Says:

    Isn’t Eddie Bullen playing at Cherry Cola this Tuesday the 21st for a paltry $10. Doors at 6:30, Show at 7?

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