As someone who’s spent a fair deal of time in Hamilton, I’ve often felt like Steeltown is like a sister city to Windsor (if the sister was on a mountain). Both are tightly linked to its strong union and blue collar work ethic. Both people are hardened to the realities of fluctuating and crippling unemployments which have forced the community to embrace one another with an iron clad sense of loyalty.
So it’s no wonder that Hamilton’s Wax Mannequin has been so embraced by Windsor music lovers. He tours Canada relentlessly (and more recently with forays into Europe) and he always makes sure that Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) is one of his tour stops. Sometimes several times a year. In fact, I’d wager he’s played Phog more regularly than some Windsor bands. He’s like if Henry Rollins or the New York’s David Johansen had chosen to follow Woody Guthrie or Tom Waits rather than heavier rock and roll. A frantic and captivating showman with a true sense of life in his lyrics, his website states that “(he) now finds himself a forerunner in a strange new movement: roaming recluses and attention-seekers — solo-performers, equipped with laptops, damaged instruments and decaying minivans, making new sounds, informed by hard travel and rough living.”
He’s bringing along a friend from Guelph by the name of Jenny Omnichord, which is the stage name used by multi-instrumentalist Jenny Mitchell when she’s not playing with the bands, Barmitzvah Brothers or The Burning Hell. Under her solo guise, Jenny has released several albums and an EP, as well as the collaborative children’s album, Charlotte or Otis: Duets for Children, Their Parents and Other People Too, which featured collabrations with Andy Magoffin (Raised By Swans, Two Minute Miracles), Wax Mannequin, Shad, Kim Barlow, Ida Nilsen (The Choir Practice, Buttless Chaps), Old Man Luedecke and Tony Dekker (Great Lake Swimmers).
But a word to the wise. If you’re even remotely interested in checking this out, get there early. Wax Mannequin’s legend proceeds him at Phog and more often than not, his shows are packed and sold out by 11 o’clock. So unless you want to be left out in the cold trying to peer through foggy windows (no pun intended), I’d suggest you set 10pm as your target time to avoid missing any of the show…and getting in.
Wax Mannequin with special guest Jenny Omnichord, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), 9pm, 19+
Fri. Feb. 25: Benito Band leads the party charge with the Hung Jury/FourLetterWord & Nefidovs at FM Lounge
Although originally from Canada, the members of the Benito Band are now based out of Belgium. Originally a gypsy folk punk duo, they’ve recently added a third member (an Icelander) to flesh out the sound. As their press release states it, they sound like the product of “Bob Dylan and the Band in a jam session with the Skatalites after a night heavy with Hawaiian girls, old Canned Heat records and too many fugues.” These guys have taken their party vibe and musical carnival from the streets of Brussels to clubs across Europe and the UK, as well as their home and native land. They’re current tour takes them through Windsor on Friday with a stop at the FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West). Joining the boys from Brussels will be a couple of local Windsor acts.
When vocalist Jamie Greer left for Montreal with The Golden Hands Before God several years back, it seemingly signaled the end of The Hung Jury. But the remaining members carried on, changing their name to FourLetterWord and changing the musical style to more of a prog jam band than the bluesier roots rock sound that the Hung Jury worked with. Late last year, Greer began playing on stage with FourLetterWord (who has since replaced original bassist C-Bass with Surdaster‘s Gary Van Lare) incorporating some older Hung Jury songs into FourLetterWord’s new catalogue, first at last year’s FAM Festival then again opening for Grady at the Blind Dog. They’ll be reuniting again for the third time on the FM stage.
Opening the show will be the eclectic sound of the Nefidovs. These guys have been playing a lot lately and it’s been paying off in a gathering of followers. These guys have a sound that can only be described as “Death Ska”. They’re almost grungy garage punk rock but with some serious ska overtones (the horn section helps that). These guys are on their way to becoming one of Windsor’s best live bands.
Benito Band with special guests FourLetterWord/The Hung Jury and The Nefidovs, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, beside Pogo’s), Friday February 25th, 9pm, $5. 19+
While it’s generally considered by most to be Windsor’s best heavy metal or hardcore club, the legendary Coach & Horses (56 Chatham St. West) has warmly opened it’s doors to just about every genre and nook of music. They’ve had folk bands and country-roots bands, electronic bands, solo acts, Celtic…you name it and SOMEONE from that genre has played through there. Well this Friday, the are showcasing a cavalcade of local Windsor and area hip-hop. Hot off the heels of the successful Juggalos show last week, Windsor’s urban poets, both male and female, will be putting their skills on the mic to not only their own inner core of fans, but to a nest of music fans who simply frequent the Coach because it’s the Coach (they’re perhaps some of the most loyal patrons of the bars downtown).
Windsor’s hip hop scene actually have something that perhaps only the electronic scene can boast about – an intermingled culture with their peers across the Detroit river. This cross-over respect is in full effect Friday night, as Dearborn, Michigan’s The Letter B headlines a night of local hip-hop. The Letter B has a real swagger in his beats and the production is completely urban rap. This is the streets. It may not be as hardcore as NWA, but it’s a lot more real than Ludacris.
Jae Cyphe, a Windsor hip-hop artist, will probably be the most comfortable in the murk of the Coach. He moonlights as the MC for the comedic cock-thrash metal band The Sean Connery Super Group. But he’s more of a bit player in that outfit – on the stage with his mic, that is where Jae Cyphe really shines.
Another Windsor legend sharing the stage is Academy’s Kayyce Closed. Kayyce is one of the scene’s best wordsmasters – I’ll bet this is what 50 Cent sounded like before major labels got a hold of them and buffed them up.
So So Sammie, representing the female Windsor hip-hop scene, is also on the bill. I’ve always had a lot of respect for female hip-hop artists because you know they’re probably tougher than most of the guys in the scene. To make it and get respected in a male dominated scene of the thuggery and urban streetworld is not an easy feat. And much like heavy metal, it’s rock and roll brethren, women are normally the subject of the songs, not the delivers. So to be considered a peer is a huge sign of respect. Sammie clearly has this.
This huge showcase – that will probably see a lot of shared stage time and some great freestyling – will also showcase D-Nice & Lyrical Bliss, Midas & Grimm, A-LO and Mike J.
Hip Hop Showcase featuring TheLetterB, Jae Cyphe, Kayyce Closed, So So Sammie, Midas & Grimm, D-Nice & Lyrical Bliss, A-LO and Mike J, The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, below Pogo’s), Friday February 25, 19+, 9pm
Following the demise of clubs like Rum Runners and California’s, Windsor found itself without a true rock and roll home. Sure other venues have live music, but there isn’t truly a bar that encapsulates the rock and roll attitude like those other two did. The kind of bars where you were likely to hear Motley Crue or AC/DC over the sound system and denim or black leather seemed to be the dress requirement.
Well now it seems downtown Windsor is about to get another shot of rock and roll.
Venue Rock Parlour is a new rock club being opened in March by Hootie Perrera, George Marar and Scott Stevens – the three minds behind the highly successful LOFT Nightclub that opened last year. And if you’ve ever met Hootie, you know that this is the bar he was destined to open. Despite his success running clubs like The Room and LOFT, it’s rock and roll and heavy metal that fuel his veins. He’s more likely to be seen in a KISS T-Shirt than a tuxedo.
On Tuesday February 22, they are holding a job fair to hire their complete staff – from bartenders to bar backs, waitresses to door staff. It’s being held at LOFT from 7pm until 10pm, with DJ Vin Vicious spinning tunes.
Venue Rock Parlour – which will bring in live rock bands as well as DJ nights – is located at 25 Chatham St. East, right across from LOFT (and formerly the home of the New Danny’s and Jason’s).
Raised By Swans have done something that a vast majority of Canada’s independent touring acts seem to avoid doing – consistently return to Windsor. While this isn’t always the case (Yukon Blonde, You Say Party! We Say Die!, The Pack AD and various others do indeed make the trek back as geography allows it), the startling reality is that Windsor is just a little too far from London and a little too close to Detroit for many touring acts to consider. And sometimes, the finickiness of Windsor’s music patrons can leave a bad taste in the band’s mouths if they do (witness the ten or eleven people who showed up to see Tokyo Police Club at Phog several years ago, mere months before they played Coachella).
But Raised By Swans are not one of those bands. They’ve been consistently playing Windsor’s stage since the days of the Avalon Front, playing the first PA Festival (a joint music festival of the Avalon and Phog that became a precursor to the now annual Phog Phest), and when the Avalon closed down, they simply made Phog their new Windsor home. Originally formed as an outlet for former Gandharvas bassist Eric Howden to showcase his own material in 1998, it wasn’t until 2005 that he was able to commit full time to the project. Assembling a full band, they finally released their debut album, Codes and Secret Longing, in 2005.
Howden isn’t the only member with veteran Canadian indie rock status – bassist Andy Magoffin (Howden plays guitar and sings in RBS) is the mastermind behind Two Minute Miracles and is a critically acclaimed producer of such bands as Great Lake Swimmers and Constantines and drummer Brady Parr played in the ’90s indie band Salmonblaster. These guys are consummate professionals and musicians who have as much respect for their craft as their audience does.
Currently touring to support the long overdue and highly anticipated second release, No Ghostless Place, this quartet is sure to pack a venue the size of Phog on credentials alone. The new album is a gorgeous songbook of indie dream pop and gorgeous indie soundscapes akin to bands like Besnard Lakes, Great Lake Swimmers and Young Galaxy.
Joining them on their current tour are Toronto’s Pink Moth. These guys are a little more upbeat, with more of an Arcade Fire or Guillemots feel – its still got that dream pop feel but with just a hint of carnivale. They’re a great compliment to Raised By Swans sound.
Opening the show is Windsor’s Two For The Cascade. Drawing on experimental sonics and oft-forgotten articles of sound to augment more traditional instruments, Two For The Cascade’s true strength lies in the darkly awkward pairing of the two voices. Like painful longing or a haunting realization of the truth, Two For The Cascade is the legitimate sound of True Love: it is an epic reminder that quite often you must endure the tidal crashes of the darkness to bathe in the golden beacon of the sublime. At times, hopelessly romantic and painfully naive, at others, brutally honest and starkly aware. But no matter the tone of undercurrent, there is always the resonance of hope in that distance. That regardless of time, space of occurrence, true love will outlast all tragedy. Utilizing such items as Moogs, Theramins and iPhones to flesh out their soundscape, Two For The Cascade have been one of Windsor’s most unique acts.
Raised By Swans with special guests Pink Moth and Two For The Cascade, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), Saturday February 19, 9pm, 19+
The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, below Pogo’s) has groomed most of Windsor’s best metal bands of the past two decades (if not longer), simply because they’ve groomed the crowd. Thanks in great part to manager/booker Scott Funnel‘s work over the past decade (as well as prior manager Nick Belulis and Funnel’s current protege Nicole Feetham), the Coach’s willingness to take a chance on unknown locals starting out and putting many local acts on bills featuring national and/or touring acts, has strengthened the metal scene with a sense of nurturing and loyalty almost unrivaled in Windsor’s independent and underground music scene.
One of the bands who have grown up in Windsor’s metal scene is Pitch Union. Born out of the ashes of Paradigm Shift-X, Pitch Union’s emotionally driven heavy music (trapped deliciously between stoner rock and power metal) has packed the Coach & Horses for years now. They’ve managed to bring their sound on the road across Ontario, further enhancing their sound and improving their chemistry and confidence. These guys know how to captivate a room and crush an audience with their timing and ability to emote through a power chord or a vocal chord. Proof of that is their most recent single, “Yeah!” (which is available for free as part of January’s Windsor Music Sampler).
This Friday, Pitch Union will be teaming up with a more recent band, Planet World, for a huge rock and roll show down in the dungeon of the Coach. Planet World, a band several years in the making, draw on a sound that incorporates elements of such bands as “Hand That Feeds”-era Nine Inch Nails, Stabbing Westward, or Fuel, that electronic sounding hard rock that runs on melody rather than chaos. They’re currently recording their debut album, but two solid first singles are up for perusal on their MySpace.
Pitch Union vs. Planet World, The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, below Pogo’s), Friday February 18, 9pm, 19+
Neverending White Lights, the huge national sensation created by Windsorite Daniel Victor, has been storming Canadian music charts, from mainstream radio to MuchMusic to multiple Juno nominations, ever since the release of his debut album, Act I: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies, and it’s smash single “The Grace” (featuring Alexisonfire and City and Colour voice Dallas Green). A talented producer and soundscape engineer, as well as a multi-instrumentalist, Victor’s talent has allowed him to collaborate with some big names musically despite his independent approach to releasing his own music. His first two albums drew guest performances from such artists as Green, Jimmy Gnecco (Ours), Rob Dickenson (Catherine Wheel), and Melissa Auf Der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins). His latest collaboration with Toronto hip-hop MC J-Diggz, the song “This Time”, has resulted in a recent #1 single on MuchMusic. They reunited the other day at MuchMusic studios the other night to perform in front of a studio audience to celebrate the achievement.
Dave Gold’s path has been quite a bit different with his black metal project Woods of Ypres. A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Gold spent many years in Windsor and formed this metal colossus in the cold of its scene and on the stages of the legendary Coach & Horses – the name itself even stems from Ypres Park in Windsor. He’s taken Woods of Ypres across North America and metal magazines around the globe have continuously praised Gold for his approach to black metal and his continuing journey to push WoY forward without compromising his/its own legacy. The latest Woods’ record, Woods of Ypres IV: The Green Album, is being released on Earache Records and a video for the track, “I Was Buried At Mt. Pleasant Cemetary”, has recently been released. Definitely one of the most sombre (and low key) songs Woods has released, but a token to Gold’s ability to create something so melodic and epic without compromising any of its heaviness.
If you miss the glory days of industrial clubs from the late ’80s to the early 2000′s, Laughing Casket is here to make you reminisce. Their debut album, Dark Hallways, is now available online as a FREE download.
Laughing Casket is the solo project of Dean George, who also plays in local bands Awake To A Dream, EVL and I believe at least two others. But this project – in which George performs all his own instruments – feels like the most personal.
It’s a straight up homage to electronic music of the past three decades, at times feeling like elements from ’80s Front 242 to ’90s Duran Duran while absorbing and transmutating vibes from bands like Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode (he even includes a cover of “Policy of Truth”), Gary Numan and The Cruxshadows. While that may seem a tad schizophrenic, it’s actually a fairly cohesive journey using all the right components.
At times George’s voice sounds like its wavering from Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran to a young Trent Reznor and is arguably the weakest point of the album. Not saying his voice is terrible – it works in almost every instance – but it just seems like it’s missing something. It’s like listening to Trent Reznor’s voice on Pretty Hate Machine compared to how strong it got by the time he’d hit The Fragile. You can just hear that once he gets more comfortable in his voice (and how to achieve how he really wants it to be heard), he’ll be that much better.
With that being said, it’s definitely worth the download. There are some pretty decent songs here and seeing as it’s his first release, I’m excited to see how this project progresses and matures.
It appears that George is planning on taking Laughing Casket live at some point, as he’s assembled a live band featuring some of his band mates to showcase the songs of this recording.
With the amount of heavy metal, folk, punk and rock bands dominating Windsor’s music scene of late, it’s refreshing to see someone take a legitimate shot at tackling a music genre so often overlooked in cities the size of Windsor.
Sometimes a band kind of sneaks into a scene, with no fanfare, no big write ups preceding their debut, often to smaller than normal audiences, but create a tremor that resonates beyond their own knowledge.
Waker Glass is one of those bands who did just that. It should really come as no surprise really, as their members have been in or had stints in some of Windsor’s most successful and acclaimed bands of the past two decades – such as Elephant, Luxury Christ and Treehouse Beggars – and one is in one of the scene’s other up and coming acts, The Rheostats. But they’re debut in the fall of 2010 – an unassuming show with a relatively unknown act called Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers (who have also gone on to some big shows since then) and the avant garde band The STiG (currently toiling as The Thrash Brownies). The crowd wasn’t one of the best the FM Lounge has seen, but the people who were there were attentive. And they listened. By the end of the set, the crowd was filling in a little nicer, as people were texting their friends that there was “something pretty cool” going on at the old Fish Market.
Waker Glass followed that up with a spot on last December’s FunnelFest festival, sharing the stage upstairs at The Loop. For only their second performance, they came through like the veterans they were comprised from, commanding the stage and further cementing their status as a band to watch for. Their sound is definitely “atmospheric” (as several people have said) with an honest to goodness method storytelling that comes from bands like Calexico, Wilco and Automatic for the People-era REM, but delivered more in the style of bands like Mazzy Star. A little bit of sugar sprinkled on the melancholy.
Opening the show is a band that I thought had broken up last year, but it looks like are back (at least for periodic reformations). Meters For Miles is pure and simple, a hard driving pop band that delivers hard hitting pop hooks via an almost punk rock delivery, which again is probably derived from the fact that their members were also in some pretty heavy hitting bands from the ’90s, B Plan and Dirty Harry. Singer/guitarist Dan Marshall also struck gold briefly a few years back when his solo EP was picked up by Universal Records based on the award-winning single, “Dandelion”.
This Friday, Waker Glass and company return to the scene of that first fateful show and I’d bet its far better attended (and appreciated) than their debut. These guys are here to stay.
Waker Glass with special guests Meters to Miles, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, beside Pogo’s), Friday February 18th, 9pm, 19+
Friday’s show at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) could potentially one of the sleeper hits of the year. Not that it’s the best line-up of music that Phog will ever put on in 2011, but in that it’ll probably be grossly under-attended yet everyone who was there will have been blown away and will rave endlessly to everyone who wasn’t there how dumb they were for missing it (although I’m hoping I’m proven wrong and it’s packed).
The show is highlighted (but not encompassed) by headliner Invasions, from Toronto. These guys have a great sound, taking parts from various overused genres (psychedelic, garage rock and 70′s punk) and merging them into a great nostalgic vibe that feels like someone else but is comfortable enough to not having you care. At times they sound like a fuzzier Television, or a more melodic version of The Horrors, or even an edgier Young Rival. Or if Windsor’s Years of Ernest were more 70′s New York City CBGBs in delivery. They’re currently touring to support their new 7″ EP, Covered in Jewels, and we’re one of the first stops on the tour.
They’re bringing along with them a fellow Toronto band, Give Us The Daggers, Invasion’s label mates on White Girl Records. These guys have a slightly more indie pop feel to them, perhaps more akin to a more streetwise Amos The Transparent or what Broken Social Scene may sound like if late 70′s Iggy Pop sang for them. These guys were the Exclaim! Magazine Critic’s pick at Candian Music Week in 2009, and have had similar impressive showcases at NXNE and Pop Montreal.
The local opener on this bill couldn’t have matched more perfect than Olympia. Although a relatively new band on the scene, it’s comprised of some veterans, as their members have played in such local juggernauts as The Dead’s Elite and Who Shot JR? But the sounds they were known for are barely audible in this formation – the thrash metal and aggression have been replaced by a structured mastery of great rock and roll riffs and angst ridden melody. And they pull it off fantastically. It’s got a lot of guttural grunge overtones in it, sounding like lost recordings from TAD or some other unknown Seattle band from 1989 (they must be keenly aware of this as well, as they even have a song called “Sub Pop Wiki”), with a hint of that local dirty blues metal sound that bands like Explode When They Bloom and Death or Comber have pulled from. It’s a maturation process that have seen bands like The Reason or Orphan Choir seam from a seemingly hardcore place and mellow out without losing any of their credibility. They’ve just taken the lessons learned in past projects and emoted it differently with the same success.
This is going to be a night of a lot of energy and emotionally charged post-modern rock that is going to surprise a lot of people. I hope this show gets the attention it deserves because if it’s not packed this time around, I would suspect that in six months time, this same bill will be lined up out the door.
Invasions with special guests Give Us The Daggers and Olympia, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), Friday February 18, 9pm, 19+
The Indecent is not a Windsor band. I don’t think they’ve ever even played in Windsor before. But this band that features a set of New York City triplets (all of whom are 17 years old) just signed a major record deal with Warner Bros. And by that, I mean with the parent company, not a little subsidiary that will simply get distribution by Warner. No, they’re getting the Big Time treatment (or as Orson Wells said in The Muppet Movie, the “Rich & Famous Contract”).
So why are they being reported on in The Windsor Zene then, you ask?
Because the fourth member – the only one who doesn’t share a similar DNA pattern – is Windsor drummer Nicholas Burrows. Check that last name. Sound familiar? That’s because he’s the teenage son of Windsor rock and roll veteran Jeff Burrows, he of Tea Party (and more recently) Crash Karma fame (as well as popular rock jock on The Rock 100.7 FM in Windsor).
How did this happen?
Well when they were shopping demos, it was the ear of producer Stuart Chatwood who decided to take them in and polish their sound. Only problem was, the trio didn’t have a reliable drummer. Luckily Chatwood had an ace in his sleeve. You see, Chatwood was also a member of The Tea Party. Yes, that Stuart Chatwood. As in the former bassist in The Tea Party. So he called up his old partner in crime Mr. Burrows, who just happened to have spawned his own young percussionist.
So now young Nicholas Burrows is the drummer in one of the hottest industry indie buzz bands in recent memory (don’t worry, not a lot of people have heard of them outside the industry…yet), and are about to release their debut album on Warner Bros. Records. For reals.
Their sound is definitely inspired by the grunge era of the early ’90s (before it was watered down and went from Nirvana and Mudhoney to Candlebox and Gin Blossoms) and their sound is definitely more of a tribute to their own tastes and appreciations rather than simply trying to tap into something that will fire nostalgia triggers. These kids seem to be the real deal. They write and perform their own music and seem to have more edge and rock and roll sincerity than Avril Lavigne or Sum 41 showed when they first appeared on the scene as youngsters.
Here’s their latest single, “Lucky Ones” – give ‘er a listen. And if Jeff Burrows has any say in the matter, I would assume we get at least one show from them in Windsor before they’re thrown on a major tour. In which case, Detroit may be our only chance to catch them so close to Nick’s home town.
When Windsor punk legends Sewing With Nancie disbanded in 2003, a collective “Why?” seemed to raise from the streets of Windsor. For a decade, SWN was a surefire thing. They were one of the first (if not the first) punk band in Windsor to tap into the SoCal punk sound in the early ’90s (before it was watered down by mainstream alternative radio into the Simple Plans of the world). But SWN backbone – vocalist/guitarist Adam White and guitairst James ‘Cubby’ Nelan – refused to give up the dream and pushed on, relocating to Hamilton and renaming their project The Reason. The rest is history.
Following their debut EP, Problems Associated With Running, they were scooped up by Smallman Records and immediately began work on their follow up release, 2004′s Ravenna, which drew critical acclaim across the country and saw them joining bills with the likes of Alexisonfire, No Use For A Name, Strung Out and Murphy’s Law, playing such prestigious festivals as CMW and playing big bills such as Edgefest and Wakefest.
Juno winning producer Gavin Brown (Billy Talent) approached them about working on their next record, which became 2007′s Things Couldn’t Be Better (which also scored Sara Quinn from Tegan and Sara to provide vocals on the track “We’re So Beyond This”).
But after a decade perfecting their punk pop sound in SWN and then progressing to a more edgier post-punk sound in the Reason’s initial few releases, White and Nelan decided it was time to change sound once again. Perhaps inspired by working with a new producer in Steven Haigler (Pixies, Clutch) and a few personnel changes, The Reason developed a more classic rock feel with the release of last year’s FOOLS. That’s not to say they’ve suddenly become a band not worth paying attention to – they’ve just taken what they’ve learned over the past few years and polished it into a smoother diamond.
Still touring for that release, The Reason return to their old Windsor stomping grounds, playing a show at The Blind Dog (761 Ouellette Ave.) next Thursday February 24th and advance tickets are only $10 (available at Dr. Disc downtown or on-line at TicketScene.ca) or you can wait and hope it doesn’t sell out and pay $15 at the door.
Here’s a little SWN treat…
The Reason with special guests Gentlemen Husbands, StereoGoesStellar and Explode When They Bloom, The Blind Dog (761 Ouellette Ave.), Thursday February 24th, 19+, $10 Advance/$15 Door
Despite still being several days away, it appears that the guys from Inoke Errati may be already sitting comfortably in the knowledge that the release party for their new EP, Make-Outs and Movie Stars, will be to a full house.
This Sunday, Windsor’s premiere power pop kings release the highly anticipated follow-up to 2006′s The Wink and The Gun, a 5-song EP produced by the band themselves, with engineering and mixing done by Joel Bruyere (of Thousand Foot Krutch) and mastered by famed engineer Joao Carvalho.
Inoke Errati are a stand out band in many ways, perhaps mostly because of their determination not to sit back and simply wait for good things to happen for them. They’ve toured, played with national touring acts, and sold out venue after venue around Windsor by good old fashioned hard work. The fact that they’re well on their way to selling out The Loop (156 Chatham St. West, above Pogo’s) – which is no small feat, as it’s capacity is 440 people – by pounding the streets and taking a personal approach to selling tickets, is proof positive of the rewards hard work and dedication to your craft can net. At press time, they’d sold well over 300 tickets and they printed 400. Which, if your math skills are calculator reliant, means that there’s only room at the door for 40 more people to get in (if you want to get advance tickets at only $5, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Inoke Errati – a fixture in the local music scene since 2003 – have stuck around as long as they have for the same reason veterans like Ten Indians, fiftywatthead and Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe have. They don’t chase fads, they don’t try and predict what the music industry wants to hear, they simply do what they do best and stick at it. In Inoke Errati’s case, it’s write infectious powerpop with big hooks and a story that everyone can relate to. And they realize that rock and roll, once you strip away it’s pretensions, it’s wardrobes and it’s MTV gloss, is really about uniting as many people as possible through the power of a good chorus and the energy created by the interweaving of the music makers and their listeners. Which is something this power(pop) trio have mastered in spades.
They’ve kept the new EP tightly guarded (even their MySpace only offers clips), so here’s a listen back to their big single from their last record, with a new video recently made by local film maker Gavin Michael Booth.
Doors for the show are EARLY, so don’t say you weren’t warned. Doors are at 7:30pm, with the music starting at 8pm. Opening the show are two great new bands – Shortcut to Last and Beijing Bike Club – as well as The Greatest Invention, the new moniker by the band formerly known as Credible Witness. The plan is to have Inoke Errati finished earlier so they can celebrate the release party out in the crowd as well, with DJ Vin Vicious taking over to close out the night.
Inoke Errati ‘Make-Outs and Movie Stars’ EP Release Party, with special guests The Greatest Invention, Shortcut to Last and Beijing Bike Club, with host DJ Vin Vicious, The Loop (156 Chatham St. West, above Pogo’s), $5 Ticket, 19+, Doors at 7:30pm, Show starts at 8pm
Local Windsor musician Ryan Yoker toiled away for years in Windsor’s local music scene, crafting his brand of BritPop inspired by classic British rock bands like the Kinks and the Beatles, as well as those from the ’90s crop, like Oasis, Starsailor and The Verve. With his band Stratus, Yoker played some well received shows but the band never truly hit the expectations, particularly those placed by Yoker himself.
With a bravado and swagger that have alienated Yoker as much as it has helped endear him, and failing to find the right “fit” of musicians in his home town, he packed up his guitar and amp and hit the mean streets of Toronto looking for like minded musicians to share his vision and shape his sound.
There, he met vocalist Tommy Preisler and the two quickly forged a relationship that laid down the foundation for what would eventually become Bombs. To further this motley arrangement, Ottawa drummer Phil Mailey and Halifax bassist Adam Osborne were inducted into the line-up, creating a truly national musical outfit. Now a four piece, they recorded their debut EP, Bombs Over Windsor, which, along with a series of U.S. dates in New York City, New Jersey and beyond, attracted the attention of New Jersey indie label Mint400 Records.
After a short but successful tour, Mailey was replaced with another Windsorite, Alex Carruthers, on drums. As they prepared to record their follow up release, Carruthers left the band to pursue his own projects (Red Rows and Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers), and his spot behind the kit was solidified with Ken Boville.
Today marks the official release date for their new EP, These Trains Run On Time, on iTunes and in select music retail shops across the country. With Yoker as the principle songwriter, once again he draws inspiration (and pays homage) to his hometown (as he did with the title of the debut EP), with the lead off single, “Windsor”. Another track, “Patch on My Parka”, appears on the Windsor Zene January Sampler.
Windsor music fans who are in the Toronto area can catch Yoker and the boys from Bombs with a special EP release party at the infamous Lee’s Palace on Friday March 4th.
One thing that’s always made me curious is why Windsor and London’s music scenes haven’t cross pollinated more. I know if you were to go by the OHL you’d think there was a terrible dislike with the two nearby cities, but I can’t see that carrying into something like a music scene. In fact, apart from the odd singer/songwriter exchange, the scene that seems to cross over the most are the most extreme.
This time around, it’s London’s turn to send the goods and they’re being delivered to the legendary Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, below Pogo’s) and it’s in the form of grindcore/noise band Disleksick. They may not be the noisiest group I’ve ever heard, but they may be the most ambitious. Between split 7″ records, split CD singles and split cassettes (??), Disleksick released a staggering 51 (yes, fifty one) recordings in the last year. From what you can listen to online, the recordings are pretty rudimentary, but I think this may have been done intentionally. I’m sure if they had more money they may be a tad crisper, but I think the DIY quality adds an element of horror to it – like recording in black and white (and with a shakey Blair Witch camera). It’s effect in what it adds.
Although after listening to the recordings online of another of the London bands coming down, The Syndrome, I’m inclined to think there’s a shortage of either a) studios or b) friends who have GarageBand. The recordings are still totally DIY here and it’s starting to make me feel nostalgic. It’s the kind of thrash that in the ’80s made you question your genruality – was it punk or metal? I always thought that about DRI. These guys would do well with Windsor’s own The Heat Seeking Moisture Missiles. That kind of musical brutality. That “neck sore for days later” kind.
The third London act is the instrumental power metal of Cadmium. These guys are definitely more melodic driven than the other two, but they’re still metal. Think Iron Maiden without any vocals and you’re in the ball park. They’ll be a great middle set act to catch to your metal chops fill before the chaos erupts with the last two bands.
Opening the bill is Windsor’s Suppressulant, one of the last remaining hardcore bands in the city. By hardcore, I mean like in Minor Threat or searchingforchin, not Alexisonfire. These guys spit aggression like broken teeth after a curby.
Disleksick, The Syndrome, Cadmium and Suppressulant, The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, below Pogo’s), Saturday February 12, 9pm
Originally from Owen Sound, Ontario, Graham Playford travelled throughout Canada and the U.S. before finally settling on Montreal as the locale to work on his music. His voice and arrangements are reminiscent of the kind of Canadiana that usually finds home on Six Shooter Records – it almost has an Alberta feel to it. He definitely has the confidence and weight of a troubadour that has seen a great many places and probably seen his share of heartaches and triumphs.
As Canadian as Playford feels, his Montreal travelling partner Shane Murphy sounds like the epitome of Americana – he sounds like every honest part of Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle and John Prine. It’s a working man’s roots, country that stopped short of heading into the malls and becoming new country, or the farthest ghost town in the old West that rock and roll would stick it’s dirty boots into without actually becoming country.
The local on the bill is Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers, fresh off a high octane closing set last week, opening for another set of Montrealers, Random Recipe. If last show was any indication, they do well with folk from Quebec. If these guys end up closing out the night (which I would expect may be the case as the other two are playing solo from what I understand) it will be a great compliment and release. Two very sincere songwriters pleading their lives through melody and song followed by a dirty Windsor rock and roll dance party.
Graham Playford, Shane Murphy and Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), Saturday February 12, 9pm
To many these days, Tara Watts is the sultry roots rockin’ vixen who makes up 1/5 of one of Windsor’s finest musical congregations, The Locusts Have No King, but for many years prior to her saddling up with those outlaws, she was simply regarded as one of the musical community’s finest performers and songwriters. Two years back she released the beautiful Eric Welton produced About Love, an 11-song manifesto about love, heartache and Camels in Canada, featuring musical appearances by such musicians as the enigmatic Johnny West, percussionist Sally Zori from Kenneth MacLeod’s Windsor Salt Band and Huladog, and Stefan Cvetkovic of Michou and Efan! fame. She was also one of the city’s most beloved Open Mic hosts, running Phog’s Monday night faithful, Open Mic Surgery for years (filling the big shoes of Ron Leary before her quite admirably) until she stepped down to concentrate on her schooling last year. But while The Locusts Have No King take a break to begin work on new songs for a new record and band mates Leigh Wallace, Paul Loncke and Joey DesRochers turn their attentions to their other project, Years of Ernest (alongside Andrew MacLeod), Watts is getting back out and offering us up an offering of what she does best. Sit down with her guitar and tell us a song.
This Friday, you couldn’t ask for a better setting to experience Tara Watts than with an early show at Taloola Cafe (396 Devonshire Rd.) in Walkerville. They always start their shows early and on time (8 pm) so it’s a great excuse to pop in and try one of their many teas or coffees or grab a light snack before heading out for another later show. Or call it an early night but still manage to grab a show.
Tara Watts, Taloola Cafe (396 Devonshire Rd.), Friday February 11, 8pm
For those used to Phog Lounge’s more traditional sounding bands – indie pop or Canadian roots – you’re in for something a little different this Friday night. The multi-talented songstress Paisley Jura of Halifax brings her Paisley Jura Quartet (and 200-year-old double bass) to Phog Lounge as she tours across Canada in support of latest album, Time Is How You Spend Your Love. Her sound is difficult to define – somewhere between Joni Mitchell jazz years, Emmylou Harris and Holly Cole and even that isn’t entirely accurate. Let’s see if her press bio can shed a bit more light:
Paisley’s songs are hooky vignettes with twists of sophisticated harmony and subtle orchestration that steadfastly refuse categorization. She flips easily between Canadian folk, cabaret, jazz, Celtic, country and pop, tying it all together with her compelling lyrics and rich vocals. You can hear the wide palette of Brahms, Sibelius, Bach, Stravinsky, Mahler, and Kurt Weill contrasted with the simple stories of Johnny Cash or Emmylou Harris. Her voice has the innocent quality of a young Ella Fitzgerald; her songs can mimic the open acoustic jangle of Pat Metheny Group; the rawness of Tom Waits; or the directness and later experimentation of Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell and Bjork. She is, according to The Globe & Mail, “an old-soul chanteuse with savvy pop sensibilities.”
Opening up the show will be the sounds of Windsor’s own Kevin Echlin, a multi-instrumentalist who broke on the music scene about a year ago, and immediately impressed people with the maturity of his ear and crafting.
The Paisley Jura Quartet (Halifax) with special guest Kevin Echlin, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), 9pm,
Cottam’s Peter Boyer – the main force behind Windsor’s storytelling folk troupe Same Latitude As Rome – is perhaps one of Windsor’s most underrated songwriters. Perhaps its that at first glance he just looks like one of Windsor’s elder statesmen, and that perhaps this is just something he needs to do to stay young. But you’d be grossly mistaken making an assumption like that. He’s a critically acclaimed songwriter – last year his tune “Song for Louis Riel” got an honourable mention in the Great Lakes Songwriting Contest (anther song, “Easy Street” took the same at the 2007 affair), the year previous “The Faerie Queen” took the same honour at the UK Songwriting Contest. In 2008, their album Which Side of the Line Are You On? was nominated for Best Folk Album at the 2008 Independent Music Awards in Toronto. And his talent has carried on – he’s the father of the Boyer sisters – Anneke, Christine and Heather – who dominated the late ’90′s and early 2000′s of Windsor’s live music scene as Anneke’s Star.
This Friday, Same Latitude As Rome – named after the fact that Cottam (and Essex County) shares the same latitudinal co-ordinates as Rome, Italy – bring their unique folk sound to The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, beside Pogo’s) and bring in a few guests to share the night.
Opening up the night is George Manury, one of Windsor’s most beloved and respected musicians. Longtime drummer/vocalist in rock and roll stalwarts Ten Indians and electrorchestral pop group Two For The Cascade, as well as prior stints in indie rock faves itzjunk and Magic Hall of Mirrors, Manury released and toured for a gem of an EP entitled simply george m. The track “MilesDavisKindaBlueSundayMorningRain” is a killer.
Also on hand are the eclectic sound stylings of the schizophrenic Thrash Brownies. In the past month, this is their third moniker, having previously performed as The Mellon Collie Flowers (at FunnelFest) and a lengthy stint as The STiG. A smattering of fuzz, groove, the occasional melody and dark sense of dread and satire (with Jeff Stiles at the helm, would you expect any less?), these guys – regardless what they’re name is – are one of the music scenes hidden treats.
There’s a lot of shows Friday night showcasing the new youth movement in Windsor’s music scene. This one is a reminder that we still have a few veterans who continue to play with the same passion and desire after all these years as they did when they were the same age as the young bands sharing the night elsewhere.
Same Latitude As Rome with special guests The Thrash Brownies and George Manury, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, beside Pogo’s), 9pm
Tony Coates has sure come a long way in the past year. I remember seeing him a year or so back playing at Open Mic at Phog, wondering who this new voice was. He had a deft soulful storyteller tone in his performance, like a deeper Bright Eyes, and people in the room were just captivated. I knew it was only a matter of time before his voice caught on around the scene. He’s now playing regular gigs around town – he opened for Austin, Texas via Winnipeg roots outfit Twilight Hotel last month at Phog – as well as shows at Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West), where Tony will be performing. His latest song posting”So High” shows a far more Jacksoul side of Coates than the usual Ben Harper/Jack Johnson fare he started out as – it will be nice when he finally gets a full band together and some of his songs are finally fully realized.
Also on the bill is newcomer Mary Allan, whose voice and talent have landed her the hosting duties of Milk’s Tuesday night Open Mic. Drawing on inspirations like Bon Iver and Broken Social Scene, she’s only going to get stronger with the right shows and crowds. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that Coates and Allan will be performing together as well.
Opening the show is another face of the future for Windsor’s singer/songwriter circuit (and beyond) Den-Igan Haslip – and I must say, if you haven’t heard her yet, you’re in for a treat. She’s the latest in a line of Windsorite roots troubadours like Ron Leary, Tara Watts and David Dubois. She has an organic feel like Sarah Harmer or Kathleen Edwards, but somehow with a little more edge despite almost sounding more fragile. Check out the song “Pancakes, No Heart Aches” to get a sample of her story.
If you’re looking for a quiet night of stories and laughs and a moments to reflect, this just might be the best place in Windsor to be on Friday night. If nothing else, it’s an intimate showcase featuring three of the brightest young talents in the next generation of local musicians and songwriters.
Tony Coates & Mary Allan, with special guest Den-Igan Haslip, Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West), 9pm, $3 cover
Several years ago, MicLordz were a straight up hip-hop duo. Their shows did moderately well in a hip hop scene that has long been overlooked (and sometimes grossly misbooked or promoted) and even became one of the first acts to cross over into venues traditionally “non-hip hop” (such as the famed and never forgotten Avalon Front). But despite the limited success of their CD, Family Tree, there was something missing. Enter funk jam band Sauce Funky and the rest is musical history. Since the combos united and became simply MicLordz & Sauce Funky, the sky has been the limit for this explosive live act. At times combining the energy and excitement of bands like House of Pain and Rage Against The Machine, MLSF almost sound like a permanent hip-hop/funk metal hybrid, as if they were constantly creating their own Judgment Night soundtrack. Musically, it’s got more guts and gusto than Kid Rock, and MC’s Boots and AlerG spit barbs back and forth more like a Super Hero duo than enemies. This is a tight knit group of guys who are putting it all on the line – the heart and soul, their careers, their own money – to make it.
So far they’re doing just that.
They’ve toured throughout the entire country of Canada and much of the United States, either fueled on their own ambition (and I’m sure a few credit cards) or as part of a tour, most recently as the support for Psychopathic Records recording artists Twiztid. This offered them a great deal of North American exposure to a rabid fan base of Juggalos across the nation. Working inside a cult following will create a great base for them to jump off of and it seems like it has already provided that leap. After this small home stand, they’re packing up and hitting the road again, this time in support of Sen Dog, the legendary hip hip MC from one of the rap/rock creators Cypress Hill.
But before they head off into the sunset with their ammunition, the boys are returning to the scene of many of their crimes to record their first ever live performance DVD. The University of Windsor’s CAW Centre (on campus) will provide the back drop this Saturday as MLSF return the good will that U. of Windsor crowds have been showing the past few years in helping these guys achieve their dreams of making it in this fickle music industry.
Tickets for the show are $10 and are available at the UWSA offices or via the various band members. Doors are at 7:30pm, with the show to start shortly thereafter.
MicLordz & Sauce Funky DVD Shoot Party with special guests The Classix, Central Slang and Jay Braaks, University of Windor CAW Student Centre, Saturday February 12th, 7:30pm, $10, Licensed/All-Ages Event
Now I’m sure a lot of you younger folk are wondering who the hell is Jack Scott? Well, faithful Windsor Scene readers over the years (or listeners when I hosted the CJAM radio show) have probably seen/heard the name once or twice – he is one of the people I always claim to be part of “The Big 3″, a I don’t mean the auto companies or the band that Ron Leary briefly had with Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe and Scotty Hughes. I’m talking about the three biggest music stars Windsor produced pre-1970 that influences music. One is Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence, Windsor singer/songwriter who moved to San Francisco in the 1960′s and joined Jefferson Airplane (played and co-wrote on the first album) before leaving to form Moby Grape (and subsequently record his critically acclaimed solo record, Oar). Another is Dorothy Collins, a Windsor born jazz singer who went to the United States and became a huge star in 1940′s radio, singing on all the major radio programs of the time. A protege and then wife for famed Chicago bandleader Raymond Scott, Collins got her start on the popular TV-via-radio program Your Hit Parade.
And then there is Jack Scott.
A Canadian-Italian born Giovanni Dominco Scafone Jr. in Windsor, Ontario, he changed his name to Jack Scott by the age of 18, when he decided to pursue music as more than hobby. He formed a band called the Southern Drifters around 1954 and played with them around the area until signing with ABC Records in 1957. Although he recorded two well received singles for ABC, it wasn’t until he switched labels in 1958 that things took off. His first single “Leroy” hit #11 on the Billboard charts, but it was the B-Side, “My True Love”, that made him a star, hitting #3. Scott became the first nationally recognized white rock and roll star from the Detroit area. Despite relocating to Hazel Park, Michigan, he kept his backing band Canadian, employing another successful Windsor group, The Chantones, to back him up on these records. He recorded several more hits for Carlton, including “Goodbye Baby” (#8 on Billboard) and “The Way I Walk” (#35, which also became a minor indie hit for The Cramps), before he switched labels once again, to Top Rank Records in 1960.
His tenure at Top Rank added four more hit singles: “What In The World’s Come Over You” (#5), “Burning Bridges” (#3), it’s B-side “Oh Little One” (#34) and “It Only Happened Yesterday” (#38).
Although he initially began in the vein of early rock and roll, similar in style to singers like Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent, by the time the 60′s ended, he had steered closer to country music, following the roots of his earliest love, southern hillbilly (bluegrass) music. He jumped labels with more ease this time, recording for Captitol, Groove and Dot amongst others, even scoring a minor country hit with “You’re Just Getting Better” in 1974.
In 1977, famed BBC Radio 1 producer John Peel asked Scott to record a Peel Sessions – which he did. That may seem an odd fit, but keep in mind Jack Scott holds the distinction of having more U.S. singles chart (19) in a shorter period of time (41 months) than any other recording act except The Beatles. Pretty impressive company (although it pains me to think that the cast of Glee may eclipse this…).
Although he was simply a few years too soon to really get caught up in the rock and roll fever that dominated the Sixties, Scott has always remained busy in the music industry (he still plays periodically in the Detroit area). And music historians have not forgotten Scott’s impact during the early days of rock and roll. Bruce Eder, editor for All Music Guide to Rock (3rd Edition, 2003) commented that “with the exception of Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, no white rock and roller of the time ever developed a finer voice with a better range than Jack Scott, or cut a more convincing body of work in Rockabilly, Rock and Roll, Country-Soul, Gospel, Country-Pop or Blues”.
In 2007, he was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame and yesterday, he was announced as one of the newest inductees in the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame.
Congratulations Jack. It’s been a long time coming.
From the press release:
TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ – The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame/Le Panthéon des auteurs et compositeurs canadiens (CSHF/PACC) announced today their 2011 inductees, among them are Robbie Robertson, formerly of The Band, and French-Canadian songwriter Luc Plamondon. The 2011 inductees will be honoured at the CSHF’s 7th annual gala, presented by BMO Nesbitt Burns on Saturday, April 2, 2011, at the George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts. Tickets for theApril 2nd CSHF gala, starting at $55.00, are now on sale and are available through Ticketmaster at 416-872-8111, on-line at www.ticketmaster.ca, or in person at the Toronto Centre for the Arts box office. The full line-up of performers for the 7thannual gala will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to recognize and honour the accomplishments of our songwriters, and to educate Canadians about our rich songwriting legacy,” says Dominic Denny, Executive Director, CSHF. “The work we do would be impossible without the loyal support of our sponsors, including our presenting sponsor, BMO Nesbitt Burns.”
For the first time since its inception, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame will induct songwriters and their entire body of work. “In past years, the CSHF has inducted specific songs from Canadian songwriters, but we felt it was also important to acknowledge their entire portfolio of songs, and their overall contributions as Canadian songwriters and storytellers,” says Sylvia Tyson, President, CSHF.
This year, the following songwriters will be inducted into the CSHF: Robbie Robertson and Luc Plamondon (Modern Era 1970 – 1985); Pierre Létourneau and Jack Scott (Radio Era: 1939 – 1969); and Roméo Beaudry and John Stromberg (Pioneer Era: Up to 1938).
Here’s two clips of two great early songs. “My True Love” the song that really launched him and a personal fave, “The Way I Walk” (live from a TV appearance).