Reset

An abbreviated post this week as I reset the blog to a better schedule. The midweek post day has not been as effective as hoped, both from publishing  and a readership points of view, so it’s back to Sundays.

Last week had a number of fun things happen, including a great matinee show at the Black Swan last Sunday (thanks to Omar Saab for being our guest, and to Kevin and Jen for always great sound) and an encore attendance of a Menage show at the Piston.

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FatC with Omar Saab!

I had a chance to speak briefly with the host of the Indie Night show (5 years running), and we exchanged experiences about running a weeknight event. All I can say is that the effort put forth by clubs like the Piston and many others in the city to promote independent artists are highly appreciated.

Unless something unplanned-for comes up, the Cats will be focusing on recording for the next while. Our next show is back at the Black Swan on Sunday, January 26, 2020 from 4 to 8 with special guest Chris Scian. Please mark you calendars accordingly!

Until next week, be well!

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Remue-Menage*

Black Swan with Omar.jpgThis weekend, on Sunday, November 3, this is happening! We played this slot back in the summer with special guest Salabama. This time, it’s Omar Saab, lead singer for the Lonely Hearts, who will be sitting in after cramming to learn two sets of my wacky tunes, then doing a feature set with the Cats and I as his backing band. It doesn’t get better! My turn to cram for his tunes!

And, as the showtime is a very reasonable 4 to 8 pm, there isn’t really any “school night” excuse for this one so we are hoping for a lot of interest. Great for the early-to-bed crowd too!

This is a one-off performance, so it’s worth your while to catch the show!


Out and About

Last Tuesday, I attended one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time at the Linsmore. Organized by violinist (and many more instrumentalist) Daniela Gassi, whom I featured in a previous blog from when she recorded at my studio, the evening featured three sets in which Dani participated.

IMG_2476 2.jpgThe first was with bassist/guitarist Liam Gerussi. A mix of covers and originals by both Dani and Liam, it already promised to be a great night for captivating performances, with many instruments used as well!

IMG_2484Second up was Leanna Yamada, who I’ve written about before as well. This was the best performance I’ve ever heard her give. It was a real treat to hear Dani and Leanna play River Town with the arrangements they had developed at ManCave Studio.

IMG_2494Finally, and a brilliantly surprising end to the evening, was Menage, Toronto-based, progressive, alt/pop/rock sibling group Menage features siblings Fernando (guitar/vocals) and Bela (keyboard/vocals) Ferreira. With popular releases in Portugal and China (yup!), Menage is set on furthering their recognition in North America. They certainly got my attention! I now REALLY want the EHX Mel9 “Mellotron” pedal!

Here is their final song of the night, with Dani sitting in (yes, I know, should have been in landscape!).

They will be at the Piston on November 5 (you owe it to yourself to catch this show!). For a further sampling of their sound, check out the above linked website or their Facebook page here.


*The title is a French play on words – remue-méninges = brainstorming


Until this Sunday perhaps, be well!

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Frazzmatazz

As written about over a week ago (yes, I know…) Fraz Milne and Fintan McEnroe opened for us at the Linsmore and I plugged his original band show on the following Thursday. I forgot to include the photos for that show, including one of James Clark and Tim Gall. If you missed both, Fraz and Fintan are back at Sauce this time on November 9 from 4-7 pm.

James Clark and Tim Gall
Fraz Milne, Chris Bender and Jay Vyas

Upgrades

For gear wonks out there: I was away earlier this week which partly explains the tardiness of this post. While visiting daddy-o in Rivière-du-Loup, I popped in to Métronomie, a local music store, and saw a lovely set of Lace pickups (nothing to do with intimate apparel) being sold by one of the employees at an irresistible price. Installed pronto and amazing improvement in the old Félix Télécasteur. I hope to show this off on November 3. More about that on the next post.

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Lace TN-100 on the neck and T-150 on the bridge.

Until then, be well!

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Kid Kodak

When I was young, someone who enjoyed taking pictures was referred to jocularly in French as Kid Kodak. One such kid is Ian Sinclair. Ian and I go way back, having played in a few bands, some more ill-fated than others, but I never lost my respect for Ian as a music fan and dedicated player. Ian also excels at photography, hence the title of this blog, and his pictures literally shine with his love of the subject. you can check out his pictures on his Facebook feed. Well worth it!

So it was a thrill to have him take pictures at our gig this past September, which I alluded to in the follow up blog to that event. Ian and I met recently and he passed on a DVD of more shots from that evening, some of my faves I am sharing with you today.

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The happy cats

 

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Out and About

This past Tuesday, the Cats played the Linsmore with the FortNights and Phillip Vonesh and the Spare Parts. It was a great show for all involved. Thanks for the support!

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Fintan McEnroe and Fraz Milne: the FortNights
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Phillip Vonesh and the Spare Parts

Last night I returned to the Linsmore to catch more of the aforementioned Fraz, this time with his original trio featuring Jay Vyas on bass and Chris Bender (yes, that guy!) on drums. Opening was one of my favourite pop songwriters, James Clark who played a great acoustic set with Tim Gall on bass. A packed house and great music all night!

Until next time, be well!

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Hitsville USA at the Movies

A few years back, some friends along with Mrs. F&theCats and I visited the Motown Museum in Detroit. It was a remarkable experience where I learned a lot about what made that place special (hint: it wasn’t just one thing).

The embedded video, courtesy of Reverb.com, does a good job of capturing some of the magic and explaining a bit of the chemistry too. Check it out!

It goes almost without saying that Berry Gordy‘s vision and genius in putting it all together was a key factor. There are a couple of recent documentaries in which he appears that would I would suggest you see if the subject interests you.

The first is Hitsville: The Making of Motown that features Gordy and Smoky Robinson providing fun insight into the history. The second is called Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, where Gordy is briefly interviewed, but focuses obviously on Clive Davis, of which I knew much less beforehand. Well worth catching to see how megastars are “made”.

Both are viewable on streaming platforms.


Next Tuesday Gig Alert

Just a reminder that the Cats will be at the Linsmore next week (Tuesday) for Indie Night squeezed in between the Fortnights at 8:00 and Phillip Vonesh and the Spare Parts at 10:00. Some more ab

We’d all love to see you come out and support live music!

Until then, be well!

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Weekend Warrior

A few blogs back, I wrote about the polemic against “amateur” musicians “stealing” pro gigs. I have huge admiration and respect for pro players, and have always tried to pay them accordingly when I’ve hired them. However, I believe that the distinction between amateur and pro is fluid, and the former, even the most débutant, also deserve a place at the table for their love and support of live music.

Spinning off of that, I was inspired to write a new song titled I May Be Bad (But It Still Feels Good) dedicated to all the part-time players. The demo is still too rough to share, but I expect we can play it for you at the Linsmore on October 15 (9 pm).

I hope you will come out for that one and a few other new tunes.

Until then, be well!

Photo Op

Sorry for the late post. The desktop computer has crashed and is in the shop for an OS rebuild.

So this is being done on an iPhone.

Last week’s feature at Relish was a great night. On top of it, we had two ace photographers taking pictures of the band. One of them, Peif Weyman, was there for Chris as he is a Murat Diril cymbals endorser. Good friend Ian Sinclair with whom I have played with in previous bands came out to capture the band live as we needed to update our shots.

Here are a few samples.

Until next week, be well!

Go Pro

Some recent social media posts have got me thinking more deeply about the oft-read rant regarding “amateur” musicians “stealing professional” jobs. It is the last quoted word that got me curious.

What does it mean to be a “professional musician”?

At the far end of the scale, it’s obvious: musicians who earn their entire livelihood from playing music. Easy enough!

But what about, say, someone who works in a music store and plays shows in the evenings and on weekends? Does the day job disqualify that person from the professional ranks or is working in a music store a mitigating factor?

Okay, let’s take that further. What about someone who work instead as a server in a live music venue? Does the place of day employ shield a musician from being ranked amateur? What if he/she/they work in a doughnut shop?

Is it a question of how many hours performed vs. the day job?

Perhaps I’m looking at this all wrong…could it be a question of expertise or raw talent? Is it attitude and the ability to please an audience? Is it originality?

I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear back from you, dear readers. Just leave a comment if you wish.


FatC Relish Sept 21.jpgThis Saturday the Cats Will Play

After a good and hot rehearsal last night working through the four new tunes we hope to launch, the Cats are raring to go this Saturday at Relish 2.0. We kick off at 9:30, but please come early for the food and former ABC Songcircle guest One-Eyed Oracle (aka Boris Buhot) playing from 7 to 9.

Make it a full evening of live entertainment!

 

 

 

Be there and be well!

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2.0

The band is very excited to be back for the first time (?) at the new Relish 2.0 at 511 Danforth this coming September 21, 2019.

We hope to introduce a few new songs that I have tried out at the open mic and one world première, so it should be a special evening on all counts. You can subscribe to the band’s event calendar here, should you wish to be kept up to date while avoiding social media overload.

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Be well!

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And Speaking of Which..

Ultra brief blog this week just adding details to the Linmore show mentioned last week and scheduled for October 15.

Guest will be:

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The FortNights (Fraz Milne and Fintan McEnroe) at 8:00

The Cats will be on at 9:00. A few new tunes may make their way into the set list, so regular fans will be in for more than the usual.

 

 

 

 

Closing the night at 10:00 will be Phillip Vonesh and the Spare Parts, for whom I played a while back when the lead guitarist was away. This time Phillip will be backed by his usual crew so a great show is in store for all.

Until next time, be well!

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