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.
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.
Ultra brief blog this week just adding details to the Linmore show mentioned last week and scheduled for October 15.
Guest will be:
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.
This Saturday (August 24, 2019 – 9:30 pm) will be my first full show at the new Relish, albeit not with the Cats but with the one-of-a-kind Salabama. I’m very excited and proud to be called upon to be second guitar for this one particularly as Sal has recorded many of the tunes we will be performing in the ManCave Studio and this will be a great opportunity for you to get a sneak peek of his upcoming album.
The Answer to Last Week’s Quiz
The bass feet posted last week belong to as follows:
Super brief as there is a lot going on in the other aspects of life.
Renovation has reached a significant turning point, one where I have removed the stuff stored and cluttering up ManCave Studio thereby more or less reclaiming the space. Just in time too as I have a session scheduled tomorrow.
New Open Mic
A new open mic is starting up this Wednesday at The Cut, which appears to be formerly the St. Louis Bar & Grill. The host for August has impeccable credentials in that it’s David Macmichael who has been doing the same at Relish B&G for many years. It’s on my calendar to check out and I expect to report back next Sunday.
Our story begins in ancient times in a Toronto east-end bar.
The Only Café at that time hosted a Saturday open mic, and led by multi-instrumentalists Derek Downham, Tim Bovaconti and Terence Gowan. I used to go there as often as possible, particularly to support John Pelubski, and see who else might surprise everyone by showing up. At that point, I was still too intimidated by the talent and repressed to play at this venue.
One of the “regular” bands I often felt was a highlight of the evening with their energy and originality included a drummer named Jace Traz. It took a few years to make the connection that this was the very same individual I would know much better as a regular at Relish.
Jump forward a few years, and the aforementioned Relish connection begins. Jace would often be there subbing on drums at Stir It Up Sunday when regular co-host Paul Brennan was away, and for other bands when needed, including on one occasion for me.
But what really got my attention was when Jace would switch to guitars and play original material. That’s when I realized I was hearing one of Toronto’s greatest undiscovered power-pop phenomena. Jace’s hyper-catchy melodies and rhythms layered over lyrics ranging from the delightfully metaphoric Pistachio Girl, through the more self-deprecating Fake, and to the darkly cautionary Rape Van. Few songwriters could blend disparate subjects like mathematics and heartbreak, like in the beautiful Divide. Each of his appearances was a highlight of the evening and a consistent audience favourite.
Tonight (July 23, 2019), Jace will be performing a set at the Linsmore Tavern. I hope all of you reading this will be there at 8 to see and hear for yourselves. Check out the links above too for a preview!
Relish 2.0 opened its doors last Saturday to an enthusiastic and plentiful crowd. The place was humming and, judging from the non-stop activity by staff, it seems business was very brisk. The location is prime, with plenty of regulars there and many walk-in patrons.
The first (ever) band up at 7 was the $6 Tall Boys, with frontman David Macmichael also celebrating a birthday. I’ve heard David, Jace Traz and Arch Rockefeller many times before, always enjoying it, but there was a unique energy to it that night, and special appearances by Chelsea Reed and Dean McKinnon for an extra bit of special. The sound was vastly different from the old Relish due to significantly larger dimensions in all directions, and masterfully mixed by Rick Henry. The space is impressive yet still comfortable and welcoming, with lots of decor elements from the old venue to make regulars feel at home.
The food menu included all my favourites, some of which I sampled, promptly served. All in all, it felt like the place had been running for weeks, rather than just a few hours. Kudos to Joanne Clayton and the entire staff who have obviously invested themselves fully into making it the best transition it could be.
I plan to be back this Sunday for my first Stir It Up at the new location (I was away for the actual inaugural) and expect to report on that shortly after.
This blog will mark the first part of a transition for Relish Bar & Grill, a venue often mentioned as it has been key to my musical journey. After well over a decade at Danforth and Cedarvale, the club is pulling up roots and moving west to 511 Danforth, near Logan.
I was fortunate to be there for The Last Stir, where I performed my own Relish Song, probably for the last time. Here is a demo version.
It was also perfect closure as I finally got to play my cover of fellow traveller Michael Cuddy‘s excellent Sink or Swim for him. Despite a false start and forgotten lyrics, I conveyed the essence of the new arrangement and Michael seemed to like it. It will be going into the FatC set list as my featured cover.
This weekend, the new Relish (2.0) opens new doors on Saturday and I intend to be there. Check back next time for how that went.
Too much going on this weekend so this post is a bit late.
First in importance was #37 anniversary for Mrs. Félix and the Cats and me. Great run so far and hoping for many more.
Second, a fair bit of time was devoted to the seemingly never ending ManCave Studio anteroom (aka our rec room) finishing. With luck, the next post will feature an announcement of completion.
Third, a fun show at the Black Swan thanks to Phillip Vonesh! I opened the show solo and had the good fortune to have Paul Brennan sit it on drums for a few tunes as well. Thanks Paul for keeping me in time!
I also had the pleasure of backing Phillip for his set. My gratitude to Philly Vee for trusting me to be a “Spare Part” for the night. Great songs!
Sandwiched in between sets 1 and 3 was Mudlust and the Short Walk featuring Ryan Schmidt on guitar and vocals, Paul Brennan on drums and David Macmichael on bass. Ryan’s raw yet tight and intense blues laced compositions always strike me as amazingly honest and real. A must if you see him performing anywhere.
That’s it for this week! A couple of shows are on my cale far for this week: the Jitters at East Lynn Park Wednesday and the Marwills at Relish (1.0) on Friday. Come on back to read all about them.
Sunday is traditionally the Christian day for spiritual contemplation, with the aim of saving one’s soul.
And what could be more redemptive than an afternoon of music at one’s of Toronto’s time-honoured temples of live music: the Black Swan Tavern.
Rather than do a standard all-Cats show though, I thought it might be more praise worthy to invite Salabama to be part of the service. If you follow the blog, you will know that he has recorded a good number of demos at ManCave Studio, so it was natural for for the Cats to be his back up band.
The afternoon opened with a energetic set of FatC originals, then a second set of Salabama songs, and ended with a third set of jammed covers. Despite the beautiful weather and the draw of the Pride Parade, we had a respectable turnout, so much so that the club has asked us back for the early fall. Dates TBC.
Thanks to the friends and family who came out, to Sal for being the inspiration for this event, and as always to NeMo and Chris for their talent and enthusiasm.