Pop-Up POP

Coming to you from Rivière-Du-Loup, QC, this will be a bilingual blog bien sûr! For English, simply scroll down.


De retour à Rivière-Du-Loup pour ma visite patrimoniale, dans tous les sens du mot, j’ai cette année l’avantage d’avoir de contacts dans la communauté musicale qui m’ont guidé vers des événements uniquement divertissants et qui ont mis en relief la différence entre le désiré et le réalisé. J’explique un peu plus bas.

Mais avant, un sommaire des deux sorties que j’ai fait…

Vendredi

Tel que mentionné l’an passé dans ce blog, RDL bénéficie d’une société artistique nommée Rainbow Submarine qui organise des spectacles divers, ce qui n’est pas unique en soit, mais le fait en concert et en partenariat avec des locaux souvent inédits. La semaine passée par example, un a eu lieu au Mini Putt local. Cette semaine, l’atelier/boutique de bijoux La Mélusine se transforma en scène feuillue (gracieuseté de Botanix RDL) pour accueillir Laurence-Anne, musicienne vivant maintenant à Montréal mais originaire du coin (Kamouraska). Accompagnée talentueusement au saxophone par Ariel Comptois et à la percussion par Laurent St-Pierre, Laurence-Anne nous emporta sur un petit trip évocateur (pour un gars de ma génération) parsemé d’influences prog-rock et psychédéliques, mais le tout exprimé de façon unique et personnelle. La sono et l’éclairage, finement ajustés par l’équipe technique du Rainbow Submarine, n’ont pu qu’accentuer la qualité du spectacle. Le tout fut une expérience transcendante.

Samedi

Le lendemain, je me retrouve à l’église anglicane Saint Bartholemew—déjà toute une histoire derrière ça—pour une soirée cabaret. Le format enchaîne musiciens, poètes, auteurs et comédiens. Ici le meilleur serait de laisser quelques photos vous offrir un aperçu, ainsi qu’un petit clip.

Pour ces deux soirées extraordinaires, je dois remercier Keven Lemieux de m’en avoir parlé, et Maxime Varenne et l’équipe entière du Rainbow Submarine de leur chaleureux accueil. Je dois les saluer pour avoir transformé en réel ce qu’ailleurs, même dans un grand centre comme Toronto, on a de la peine à retrouver: une communauté artistique autonome, proactive et en plein essor.


I’m back in Rivière-Du-Loup for another paternal visit, auspiciously on Fathers Day weekend. This year, it’s been less of a blind search for entertainment thanks to social media contacts that guided me to the best this strikingly vibrant musical community has to offer, which laid out in stark contrast the difference between aspiration and realization. More on that later.

But first, what I saw and heard…

Friday

As reported last year, RDL benefits from the presence of an artistic organization called Rainbow Submarine that promotes events—nothing new there—but does it with surprisingly inventive partnerships and venues. Las week’s show for instance took place in the local Mini Putt. The show I caught was in a jewelry shop/boutique called La Mélusine, transformed into leafy musical concert hall (thanks to local nursery Botanix) in order to host Laurence-Anne, originally from the area (Kamouraska) and now living in Montreal. Backed by Ariel Comptois on sax and Laurent St-Pierre on percussion, Laurence-Anne took us on a journey flavoured with touches of prog-rock and psychedelia, layered within her unique rhythmic, harmonic and melodic approach. Sound and lights, ably provided by the Rainbow Submarine tech crew, further enhanced what was already a transcended performance.

Saturday

Did you know that Rivière-du-Loup had a signifiant Anglo presence in the 19th century? Hence, a cabaret night hosted in Saint Bartholomew Anglican Church, of course! Like a more curated open mic, the evening brought together musicians poets, authors and actors. The photos and short clip below should hint at what I witnessed. The event was licensed so I enjoyed a beer in church. Praise be!

Massive thanks to Keven Lemieux for connecting me to these events, along with Maxime Varenne and the entire Rainbow Submarine team for their indulgence and warm welcome. Kudos mostly for nurturing what could only be wished for elsewhere, even major markets like Toronto: a supportive, proactive and thriving artistic community.


It’s back to Toronto for me and two shows this coming Sunday, June 23. First at 10:15 am at Might & Main for a solo acoustic set as part of an amazing lineup of performers starting at 9 and all the way to 2:30 in the afternoon. Then, from 4 to 8 with the Cats doing a set of FatC songs, then backing up Salabama at the Black Swan. Pick your event, or better yet, do both for a fun musical marathon!

Be well! Salut!

Risky Business

The lure of things new, shiny and tenuously linked has always been irresistible for me. This week’s surprise last-minute show at the Linsmore (this Tuesday, June 11, 2019 – 10 pm, for those interested) is a case in point. Not content to stir the pot by subbing in the amazing Omar Saab, lead singer of the Lonely Hearts, for his live debut on bass, as NeMo had a previous commitment, I have also decided to try out a new rig, shown below.

Why not!

IMG_1342.jpg
Traynor Quarter Horse 25-watt pedal/amp, the mini pedalboard, Tokai Talbo Blazing Fire guitar and Rexx single-12 speaker cabinet.

Now, these are (almost) all components I have used before, but never in this combination. The binding characteristics is that 3 of the 4 parts of the rig spark joy (those who have seen the clutter in the ManCave may laugh at the irony). All are connected to my past career at Yorkville Sound. The obvious link is the Traynor Quarter Horse which I just picked up this week as the sale price was irresistible (see the pattern?). I was very impressed with the sound right out of the box, particularly when paired with the Talbo, a product line Yorkville distributed in the 80s, and the Rexx speaker, designed by Yorkville (again) alumnus George Krampera. I’ll let you know next week how it all works out.

Also performing that evening will be Ian Alexander Robson at 8:00 PM and Dingo at 9:00 PM. The Facebook event link is here.

So, I do hope you will be there to support live music. Plus the beer is cheap!


Coming Soon

On Sunday June 23, The Cats will team up will Salabama (Sal Indigo) for a special matinee show from 4 to 8 at the Black Swan. More details as we near the date.

FatC & Sal Black Swan June 23.jpg

Be well!

signature

Up to My Neck

The home renovation project had consumed me.

It’s been challenging to do anything but try to move that forward AND maintain musical commitments, hence the paucity of content.

Tonight, I’m allowing some passive entertainment, live for sure, to hopefully re-energize things, and nothing could fit the bill better than a quiet evening of excellent acoustic blues piano with the very talented Juno Award winning Julian Fauth at Sauce on the Danforth. I believe he has a Tuesday evening residency, and well worth a trip to the east end.

Until next time, be well!

Back in the Saddle

After a protracted absence, it was finally back at Relish this past Sunday for not one, nor even two, but three world premieres: two of mine called I Don’t Know and Burning Bridges, and a cover of one of my friend Michael Sheen Cuddy’s songs. Once again, David Macmichael and Paul Brennan proved why they are the best open mic rhythm section in the city. I hope to repeat these three tunes real soon, maybe even this week. Michael, will you be there to find out which song I did?


Double Header Gig Alert

Mark you calendars for Sunday June 23 from 4 to 8 pm for a rare matinee show at the Black Swan with a first set by the Cats, then being joined for the next two by good buddy Salabama.

I should be well warmed up as I’ll also be part of a an earlier “on the street” multi-artist show at Might & Main. The exact time is tbd but the line up features many past performers at M&M, performing from 9am to 2pm. Should be a fun and busy day. Details and invitations to follow.

Be well!

Quelle surprise!

Last Tuesday marked a return (as a spectator) to the Linsmore for Indie Tuesday.

First on the bill was a favourite of mine, TC Folkpunk (or better yet TeeCee Folquepunque as will be clear later). It was great to catch TC’s new material and some old favourites. He was in great form and sporting a new Telecaster which is perhaps the best sounding guitar I’ve heard him play to date.

Next was Ghost Town, and band new to me that performed a solid set. Strong ensemble with good vocals.

But the real surprise of the night was the third act, UNT. A power trio, the band launched into great tight metal/psychedelic riffy tunes led by guitarist and lead vocalist Michel Scotta Delorme with Marc Porter and Rick Smith on bass and drums and back up vocals and in French! It was also fun to see Michel favoured a Traynor Bass Master for his amp (yes like the one I let get away in in fit of overzealous purging).

I’ll be posting the blog sans photos for now, but check again later in case I manage to get some of the show.

Be well and Victorious!

Down at the Beach

Work continues on the ante chamber to ManCave Studio, which has cramped my style somewhat. Since my last post, the floor has been dug up revealing the lovely shore sand of Lake Iroquois upon which the studio is built.

Glacial Lake Iroquois was a prehistoric proglacial lake that existed at the end of the last ice age approximately 13,000 years ago.[1]The lake was essentially an enlargement of the present Lake Ontario that formed because the St. Lawrence River downstream from the lake was blocked by the ice sheet near the present Thousand Islands. The level of the lake was approximately 30 m (~100 ft) above the present level of Lake Ontario. (Wikipedia)

A short video of the work is included below.

This brought to mind a song by friend and fellow musical traveller Fraz Milne called “Down at the Beach”. Please take a few minutes to enjoy it!

Until next week, be well!

signature

Mystified

As I am in the heat of the Hots Docs film festival, normal blog scheduling is disrupted. In today’s case, intentionally as I wanted to write about the doc seen last night, Mystify: Michael Hutchence , a film by Richard Lowenstein, that covers the life and tragic death of INXS charismatic frontman Michael Hutchence.

I’ve always felt a connection to this band due probably tenuously by the fact Tim Farris and I both use Tokai Talbo guitars, which I discussed a long time ago.

Tim Farris with Tokai Talbo Blazing Fire guitar.

Beyond that, I was also guiltily fascinated by the 2005 posthumous reality tv series (a form of entertainment I don’t care much for usually) where the remaining members sought a replacement for Hutchence.

The film is revealing (at least for me) in how Michael Hutchence was so profoundly affected by a brain injury that was kept secret until his death and which seems to have clearly led to his suicide in 1997.

If you are interested, the film will be presented three more times during the festival. Just click on the link in the first paragraph above for show times.

Be safe and be well!

Hunkering

Super thanks to loyal friends and fans who made it out for the Black Swan show this past Saturday, considering how many other things were happening as it was Easter weekend.

A special thank you goes out to Fraz and Emmy for being there so often, and to Kevin and Jen for impeccable sound. Particularly, I want to recognize Monkey Fightin’ Snakes for an awesome opening set.

 

 


More Upheaval

Work is about to begin in the basement area leading to ManCave Studio, so there may be some disruption to the blog over the next month. The good news is that this has forced us to tidy up and purge a lot of accumulated memorabilia. During that process, some interesting artefacts have surface. Here’s one with a shoutout to the Nerve, a band I worked with a few years back.

DSC_0130.jpeg
L to R: Alex Vos, David Israelson, Richard Scarsbrook and me.

There may be some show announcements soon…tbc. In the meantime be well!

signature

Continuity

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument, on stage and guitar
Howard in his happy place

There is a link from last week’s blog to this one, and his name is Howard Rabkin. Originally from Montréal, Howard has been a solidly recurring presence at the best shows I’ve attended, providing bass for a number of creative and original artists. Last time, it was in the context of playing with Tyler Ellis, who by the way is performing in Markham on April 27 at The Living Room “A House Concert With A Difference”. The Living Room is a premium space to catch a show. More about the space here.

 

This past Friday, he was part of David Storey‘s band, the Side Road Scholars, at the Tranzac Club, a great show that morphed into a birthday celebration for Lawrie Ingles, who guested a few times at my old ABC Songcircle, and took it over along with Henry Lees last year. David performed new material from his latest album “Made in Canada” (officially released at Winterfolk this past February) and many audience favourites.

img_1207.jpg
Left to right: Lawrie Ingles, Howard Rabkin, David Storey, Henry Lees and Bob Cohen.

By special request from Lawrie, I played Bowling For Dolores at the aftershow/birthday party with a fantastic backup group. Thanks guys!

img_1223.jpg

Howard also works with Evelynne Ross in the acoustic duo Evolution. It’s worth taking a minute to read the bio below for both of these fine artists.

 


This Weekend Is It

This coming show at the Black Swan (Saturday April 20), will be our last for a while. With so much having happened and other things to come (albeit positively disruptive), I will need to focus on one thing to get the EP done, and the project is lagging behind.

So again, here are the posters for the event. The Cats are frisky to play and even more so with Monkey Fightin’ Snakes as our special guests! Those honouring 420 can attend suitably affected.