Jay Braaks, A Proud Outcast
Jay “Idol” Braaks, one of Windsor’s particularly talented hip-hop artists, has released his greatly anticipated CD A Proud Outcast. First, let me introduce you to Braaks, for those who may not be aware of who he is. Jay Braaks has been grindin’ in the City of Roses for several years now. I first met him at a spot on the West End while visiting a few good friends. At this point, I was unaware of who he was but that has definitely changed. Jay Braaks is very well-known in the Windsor Hip Hop scene for his lyrical ability, super “swagness”, and his eccentric personality. From being tatted up from head to toe, to wearing neon colours, plaid, and skinny jeans, he’s in a league of his own…you just don’t come across artists in Windsor like Braaks every day.
Jay’s mix CD, A Proud Outcast, is packed with 22 hot tracks and starts off with an inspirational melody and prayer that introduces this insanely amazing piece of work. It leads into the title track “A Proud Outcast,” that consists of Braaks lettin’ people know what he’s all about. He basically tells you that he doesn’t give a damn what you think about him, and that he is proud to be different. The entire CD is filled with tracks like this one that display his lyrical dexterity and seriously sick punch lines. The song ends with Braaks telling us, “Be proud. Be proud to be different. Be proud to stand out. Be proud to be an outcast.” Well, I agree.
As you continue to listen to the CD, you will catch on to the kind of person Jay Braaks is. Whether he is making up his own vocabulary like “Hawwd” or whether he is slappin’ haters in the face like in “I Grind, You Play,” it is apparent that this dude has serious interest in stackin’ money, getting’ freaky with your girl (watch out fellas lol), and bringing swag to the game. Braaks gives us some sweet tracks in which he stops and talks to the listener, especially like in “Tha Lecture” when he is teaching a lesson on how people aren’t happy with “the man in the mirror” and this is why they hate on other people. Braaks tells us to say the hell with the haters, and use it as fuel. The message he gives while talking at different parts in the song is definitely a good lecture that needs to be heard.
Now, while Braaks has an uplifting and inspirational side to his music, at times, he also has a very freaky and cocky side to him. Tracks including “Doing My Thang” and “Freaky Baby” display both of these characteristics. “Freaky Baby” is a song strictly for the ladies and when you listen to it you will understand why. Personally, my advice would be to try a cold shower or indulge in a lot of chocolate after you listen to this track. If his abilities are as well as he portrays, I can understand why he is so cocky!!! The track “On My Own” speaks about his independence and about how there are more haters than supporters when it comes to the hip-hop scene. “Everywhere I go, I feel so out of place, nobody shows me love, everybody wants to hate, but I don’t really care, I’m staying in my zone, cuz I don’t need nobody I’m a do it on my own.”
My favourite track on the CD would have to be “Show You” as it is one of the deepest tracks on the compilation. Braaks talks about the trials and tribulations of his life and how he is expressing his feelings about how he has a hard time staying positive all the time due to all of the negativity around him. The hook explains it best, “My expression is I’m showing you I’m pissed. It’s not hard to tell that I’m going through some shit. I think I’m gonna lose it but I’m hoping I’m wrong, it feels like my emotions are gone.” Braaks really digs deep with this track and I honestly feel like I know a little more about him just by listening to this CD. His exterior has always been admirable and after listening to this track specifically, it is confirmed for me that his interior is just as admirable.
While mainstream music today is strictly commercial with lyrics about money, cars, women, and swag that hold no meaning, it is easy for some to compare Jay Braaks’ music to it as such. However, Jay Braaks has a positive attitude that is enmeshed in his tracks, even the tracks that talk about swag, money, and women. Perhaps not all the time, but if you actually listen to his lyrics and not just the beat like a lot of people do these days, you will notice that there is actual meaning to what he says. Jay Braaks is not only a very talented artist, but his sense of humour, confidence, and personality are something that is missing in today’s hip-hop scene. He may not be the only hip-hop artist in the city with these characteristics, but it is certain that you will never meet another dude like Jay “Idol” Braaks!
* – Denotes Canadian Content!
1 CHAD VANGAALEN* – Diaper Island (Flemish Eye)
2 VARIOUS* – True Blue (Paper Bag)
3 ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS* – Songs of Man (Blue Fog)
4 WE’RE NOT POPSTARS* – Full Colour (Self-Released)
5 SLOAN* – The Double Cross (Outside)
6 AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE – Voodoo Of The Godesent (On-U Sound)
7 THE BURNING HELL* – Flux Capacitor (Weewerk)
8 K.D. LANG AND THE SISS BOOM BAND* – Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)
9 JEFFERSON FRIEDMAN – Quartets (New Amsterdam)
10 LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO – Tales From A Zulu Farm (Listen 2)
11 THE SEA AND CAKE – The Moonlight Butterfly (Thrill Jockey)
12 CORNERSHOP – Cornershop And The Double ‘O’ Groove Of… (Ample Play)
13 EFRIM MANUEL MENUCK* – High Gospel (Constellation)
14 OVERLORD – In Soviet Russia My Heart breaks You (Storm Tower)
15 SHUYLER JANSEN* – Voice From The Lake (Scratch)
16 THE AUTUMN STONES* – Companions of the Flame (Self-Released)
17 JOE GRASS* – Deadlocks (Self-Released)
18 BROWN RECLUSE – Evening Tapestry (Slumberland)
19 K MAN & THE 45S – Got Me Movin’ (Reverend)
20 BILL CALLAHAN – Apocalypse (Drag City)
21 BRONZE RADIO RETURN – Shake! Shake! Shake! (Self-Released)
22 PROGRESS REPORT – Progress Report (Self-Released)
23 PREFUSE 73 – The Only She Chapters (Warp)
24 DAEDELUS – Bespoke (Ninja Tune)
25 ANVIL* – Juggernaut of Justice (The End)
26 DELHI 2 DUBLIN* – Planet: Electrified – Remixes+ (Self-Released)
27 FLEET FOXES – Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
28 PJ HARVEY – Let England Shake (Island)
29 RALEIGH* – New Times In Black and White (Self-Released)
30 LAKE – Giving & Receiving (K)
More Info?: www.cjam.ca
Playlist for The Windsor Scene on May 25, 2011:
The Dollies – Orangutan (Small Parts – 2005)
Hellraiser – Fearmonger (Single – 2006)
With Glowing Hearts – And Jealousy Rears It’s Ugly Head (Single – 2011)
Frontiers – It’s All An Act (Bee-Sides – 2010)
Living With Lions (Rough Around The Edges – Holy Shit – 2011)
Tyburn Tree – August (Parliament of Trees – 2008)
Graydon James & The Young Novelists – Take Your Time (A Small Town Eulogy – 2011)
Tony Coates – Concrete (Demo Tracks – 2011)
The Nefidovs – Mind of the Mob (Set Faced to Stunned – 2011)
Anonymous Bosch – Pulse of Existence (Anonymous Bosch – 2010)
Gnarlie Murphy – Man Bear Pig (ATM/Gnarlie Murphy Spilt – 2010)
Anvil – New Orleans Voo Doo (Juggernaut of Justice – 2011)
The Nefidovs – Fuck John Hughes (Set Faces to Stunned – 2011)
This Is Me As A Woman – Krill (Extravaganza – 2000)
Firelife – Together Again (Firelife)
The Nefidovs – Lipstick and Shotguns (Set Faces to Stunned – 2011)
For those of you who don’t know, this week’s playlist is a bit The Nefidovs heavy because 3/6ths…1/2…of them hungout in the studio with me. And were very good at math while they did it. We had a fun time discussing their new album, the roots of the band, the rapture, and the sort of folks who go to shows in Windsor. The tracks we played off their new album are pretty indicative of the overall quality, which is to say, it’s a good album, go get your fingers on it. Thanks a bunch to Jon, Adam, and Kirk for coming in, it was a great time, and hopefully we can get everyone in together one day.
Here’s a video of the recording of some group vocals for the album that was mentioned during the show today;
For more awesome interviews, be sure to tune in next week, that’s Wednesday, June 1st, , at 5:30, when I’ll have a few members of one of Windsor’s best thrash groups, Weapon of Choice. We’ll be talking about their new recordings as well as upcoming shows and anything else that comes to mind. It’s gonna be great.
Last week Anvil blew things up at The Blind Dog, along with local acts Perpetuate, Final Stage, and Betrayer. The show was a blast with a great turnout. The highlight of my night was seeing Anvil frontman Lips pull a vibrator out of his back pocket and use it to play his guitar. Sounds less cool when I say it now, but at the time it was terrific and I thought I’d fall over with the hilarity of it. That statement along should be enough to make you want to check out these Canadian metal heads, if you aren’t already familiar.
This video’s not from the show in Windsor, but so you get the idea;
For shows this week that you should try, I suggest Villains Beastro on Friday for Tyburn Tree and The Tyres, it’ll be a night of alliterations and rock tunes definitely worth checking out.
On Saturday visit Milk Coffee Bar for This Man Tells Stories, Tony Coates, Rayven Howard, Acousticfire, and The Birds of Paradise. It’ll be a lovely, chill, and caffeine-driven show of acoustic talent from Windsor and beyond, with the doors open for those of all ages to come out and enjoy the music.
That’s all for this week, and remember to be there next time to hear Weapon of Choice live on-air.
* – Denotes Canadian Content
1 SLOAN* – The Double Cross (Outside)
2 MIRACLE FORTRESS* – Was I The Wave? (Secret City)
3 THE BURNING HELL* – Flux Capacitor (Weewerk)
4 FLEET FOXES – Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
5 FORMER THIEVES – The Language That We Speak (No Sleep)
6 GRIMES/D’EON* – Darkbloom (Arbutus)
7 VARIOUS* – True Blue (Paper Bag)
8 ABOUT GROUP – Start and Complete (Domino)
9 WE’RE NOT POPSTARS* – Full Colour (Self-Released)
10 TIMES NEW VIKING – Dancer Equired (Merge)
11 BEASTIE BOYS – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Capitol)
12 CHAD VANGAALEN* – Diaper Island (Flemish Eye)
13 VARIOUS – Original Jazz Classic: Remastered (Concord)
14 DUM DUM GIRLS – He Gets Me High (Sub Pop)
15 HIGH MOTHER* – Gotta Get Love (Self-Released)
16 THE SEA AND CAKE – The Moonlight Butterfly (Thrill Jockey)
17 EASY STAR ALL STARS – First Light (Easy Star)
18 LADYTRON – Best of 00-10 (Nettwerk)
19 AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE – Voodoo Of The Godesent (On-U Sound)
20 TEENAGE KICKS* – Rational Anthems (Self-Released)
21 THE BIRTHDAY BOYS* – Tin Head (Self-Released)
22 ALEX PANGMAN AND HER ALLEY CATS* – 33 (Justin Time)
23 VUSI MAHLASELA – Say Africa (ATO)
24 BILL CALLAHAN – Apocalypse (Drag City)
25 DIRTY VEGAS – Electric Love (Self-Released)
26 FRENCH HORN REBELLION – This Moment (Self-Released)
27 ORCHESTRE POLY-RHYTHMO – Cotonou Club (Strut)
28 TIMBER TIMBRE* – Creep On Creepin’ On (Arts & Crafts)
29 FIGURINES – Figurines (Control Group)
30 CHAIN & THE GANG – Music’s Not For Everyone (K)
More Info?: www.cjam.ca
One of the quieter weeks we’ve had for touring and original bands in recent months, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some biggies going down. Here’s a look at what’s coming through or happening in Windsor this weekend.
FRIDAY MAY 27
Vancouver’s pop-punk darlings and Black Box recording artists Living With Lions are touring the country in support of their brand new disc, Holy Shit!, and that includes a return visit to Windsor and The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.). Living With Lions have been causing all kinds of controversy due to their Bible-themed (and not in a flattering light) new release. Apparently it was recorded on money from FACTOR (Foundation Assisting Candian Talent On Recrodings, a Canadian grant that helps pay for production of CDs, etc.) and when Candian Heritage Minister James Moore discovered the government had just helped fund an album that mocked the Bible, all Hell broke loose (apparently, LWL has given back the FACTOR money). Rochester, NY’s Such Gold is on the road with them, and for this show, locals With Glowing Hearts, Hellraiser and Frontiers are warming up the stage.
Windsor metal giants and CDN recording artists Shinje make a return to the dungeon of the legendary Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level). Always a packed house as these guys have become one of Windsor’s most important metal bands without as much of the fanfare of most. Montreal’s President opens the show with them.
Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West) continues to be one of the city’s finest nurturing grounds for singer/songwriters, and this Friday continues that magnificent tradition. Port Colbourne’s Beth Moore and Guelph’s Jordan Raycroft headline a night of story and song at the intimate Absinthe cafe, joined by Toronto’s Graydon James & The Young Novelists and Windsor’s own multi-instrumentalist Kevin Echlin.
Waker Glass, one of the surprise stars of last year’s FunnelFest, exploded with a couple of great shows following and then disappeared on a self-imposed hiatus to work on their heavily anticipated debut album. While they’re still hard at work in the studio, they’re popping up briefly to breathe and, luck enough for all of us, a quick show before they dive back down to the audio recording depths. Intimately compacted into Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), they’re being joined by Barrie’s Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose.
Tyburn Tree has been a force on Windsor’s metal scene for years now, following the release of 2008′s impressive Parliament of Trees. They will also be the headlining the second show at the new Villains Beastro (256 Pellisier St.) on Friday. In a somewhat odd pairing, they’re playing with quirky indie pop veterans The Tyres, who must be close to finishing their long awaited debut disc…
SATURDAY MAY 28
Barrie’s Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose (who pull into town on Friday for an opening gig at Phog) expand for a headliner spot at The Dugout (300 Ouellette Ave.). Joining them will be Windsor’s latest rock supergroup Years of Ernest (featuring acclaimed singer/songwriter Andrew MacLeod, teamed up with The Locusts Have No King‘s Leigh Wallace, Paul Loncke and Joey “WiseGuy” DesRoches), who are on the verge of releasing their debut album by summer’s end.
90′s Grunge seems to making a strong comeback in some of the newer acts and the line-up at the Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level) is a testament to that. Windsor’s own Olympia, Dr. Altenhof and Planet World team up for a 3-band bill of melodic riffs and strong grooves for a triple threat of dirty rock and roll. Olympia is releasing their new EP More at this show (which includes as a bonus, their previous Welcome To EP).
This Man Tells Stories is the side project of Beijing Bike Club‘s David John Zelko. He’s putting together the debut release for TMTS, but in the meantime, he’s headlining a showcase at Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West) that also features Tony Coates, Rayven Howard, Acousticfire and The Birds of Paradise.
SUNDAY MAY 29
Winnipeg’s power-pop darlings Sons of York bring their Strokes and Weezer influenced sounds to Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) for a special free show, joined by Windsor’s State of Us.
Playlist for The Windsor Scene on Wednesday, May 18, 2011;
The Redstripes – Pink Drapes/Wood Panel (The Redstripes EP)
Den-Igan – Baby Birds (The Square Root of Fun)
Lucas Silveira – I’m Your Man (Mockingbird – 2011)
Betrayer – Partaker of Evil (Shadowed Force EP – 2005)
Final Stage – Dreams if Madness (Through the Mirror – 2007)
Children of Laudanum – Dans Etmek (Synesthesia – 2004)
Red Red Run – Baby Tuckoo’s Lemon Platt (Rejoyce – 2011)
Frontiers – Only With Fire (Bee-Sides – 2010)
Anvil – This Ride (Juggernaut of Justice – 2011)
Solidarity – Will to Power (Overcome – 2009)
September Ending – Leave A Mark (September Ending EP – 2007)
Disco Assault – City Street Kids (Disco Assault – 2006
Closed Casket Funeral – A Special Thanks To The Man Who Invented The Wheel (A Special Thanks To The Man Who Invented The Wheel – 2005)
Bloodshoteye – Just Another Casualty (Expect the Unexpected – 2010)
Mister Bones – Solemn State of Doom (Smell The Strap Sampler – 2006)
Ictus – Coming Through Inertia (Vis Inertiae – 2004)
To all those who listened in today, thanks for bearing with me while everything in the studio gave me a hard time. It was a frustrating day for me, but eventually we got it all sorted, and I was able to play for you some lovely tunage.
Last week was one for some pretty great shows, Lucas Silveira, Sick of Sarah, and Hunter Valentine at Phog were a fantastic time, and the crowd that came out to cheer them on were wonderful as well, and only made the experience that much better.
Saturday’s Gateway Fest was… Interesting. Quality of the bands aside, I’ve developed an issue with all day festivals of local acts like this. Okay, some of them were out of town, to be sure, but how likely are they to return to Windsor when this show got only fourteen people watching them? Show-goers, for the most part, are unable or unwilling to devote 9 hours to a show, and that’s what this was. Those who were willing to pay the admission to see the bands they wanted to did just that – Watched their friends play then left. With smaller shows that last only a few hours, folks are more willing to stick around to see the other bands they aren’t familiar with, therefore getting more exposure for the bands, gaining them new fans, and enticing people to come to future shows of theirs. This helps the bands, the venues, the promoters, and the fans. After this one and Inferno Fest, which went down a couple weeks back, and went just the same way, I’d say we steer away from these massive displays of music for a while, and leave the full-day events to things like Heavy T.O. Or at least let’s not have our shows run 75 minutes behind schedule, because that just makes it entirely too much to handle.
Now that I’ve ranted, let’s look at what’s coming up this weekend.
I know that this, like every other in Windsor, is a busy weekend for music. But if there is one show you make it out to, it better be this one.
Anvil, Betrayer, Perpetuate, and Final Stage. We could not get a better mixture of melodic metal if we tried. A Classic national act mixed with new and lasting local acts, this one is sure to get ridiculous. At this show there will be no cookie monster metal or ridiculous guitar feedback (hopefully), it’ll just be good ol’ fashioned metal to make you throw horns and shake out your luscious locks. This show is 19+, apologies to the underage metal aficionados who wish to attend, tickets are only $15 in advance, get ‘em from local bands or Dr. Disc, and the doors open at 8 pm. Come on out, it’s going to rock hard.
7 Year Riot and Poughboy are releasing albums this weekend as well, for more details on these and other shows, try TWZ’s Weekly Roundup.
Keep an eye on The Windsor Scene Facebook Page, as this week I should be announcing some special guests for next week’s show. This is definitely one you’ll want to tune in for.
* – Denotes Canadian Content
1 CHAD VANGAALEN* – Diaper Island (Flemish Eye)
2 SLOAN* – The Double Cross (Outside)
3 AUSTRA* – Feel It Break (Paper Bag)
4 DIGITS* – Lost Dream (Self-Released)
5 FLEET FOXES – Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
6 GHOSTFACE KILLAH – Apollo Kids (Def Jam)
7 NORTHCOTE* – Gather No Dust (Self-Released)
8 BANJO OR FREAKOUT – Banjo Or Freakout (Rare Book Room)
9 DENGUE FEVER – Cannibal Courtship (Concord)
10 OKKERVIL RIVER – I Am Very Far (Jagjaguwar)
11 THE KILLS – Blood Pressures (Domino)
12 MONOGRENADE* – Tantale (Bonsound)
13 KELLARISSA* – Moon of Neptune (Mint)
14 FEDERICO AUBELE – Berlin 13 (ESL/Eighteenth Street Lounge)
15 THE STROKES – Angles (RCA)
16 AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE – Voodoo Of The Godesent (On-U Sound)
17 BEN WATERS – Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle)
18 LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO – Tales From A Zulu Farm (Listen 2)
19 BILL CALLAHAN – Apocalypse (Drag City)
20 WILDLIFE* – Strike Hard, Young Diamond (Easy Tiger)
21 THIS CITY DEFECTS* – Patterns (Self-Released)
22 DUB SPENCER & TRANCE HILL – The Clashification Of Dub (Echo Beach)
23 FLYING FOX AND THE HUNTER/GATHERERS* – Hans My Lion (Self-Released)
24 PAPERMAPS* – Papermaps (Sparks)
25 THE AGGROLITES – Rugged Road (Stomp)
26 BEASTIE BOYS – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Capitol)
27 THE POLKADELLICS* – One Step Over (Reverb)
28 BROWN RECLUSE – Evening Tapestry (Slumberland)
29 MAGIC SHOPPE* – Reverberation (Optical Sounds)
30 DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS – Go-Go Boots (ATO)
More Info?: www.cjam.ca
This may cause a little bile to creep up into some people’s mouths, but I’ve been a fan of Poughboy since day one. While their frenetic and spastic live shows, seemingly spontaneous songs and nearly unintelligible vocals, and abrasive online presence seemed to initially (and for some people still) create a sense of bewilderment coupled with disgust, they hit a nerve in this guy. As much as I’m a fan of the perfectly constructed pop song, there are days when my ears and very soul ache for something that is disjointed, caustic and acerbic to rip apart the monotony of what I’m feeling and let my mind restart from scratch (such as yesterday’s miserable gray day where listening to the Jesus Lizard‘s Goat and Liar albums back to back, followed by the Melvins‘ Houdini and Stoner Witch finally rebooted my soul). And that is where Poughboy comes in, both aurally and visually.
Upon first seeing them (and subsequently listening to their debut release, an extremely DIY EP entitled Is Your Mother Around?), I was immediately hooked, although initially it was because I thought I was witnessing a Touch & Go version of Steel Panther or Spinal Tap. This couldn’t be for real, could it? After all, three fifths of the band (vocalist Adam Craig and guitarists Vincent Manzerolle and Brandon Butzu) were fresh off the dissolution of one of Windsor’s greatest instrumental maestros (although Craig was on his natural instrument, the drums, and Butzu held down the bass), the bombastically underappreciated heavy math rock of Measured In Angles (whose album History of the Engine was one of 2006′s finest releases, local or otherwise), and drummer David Allan was a rising new star as the drummer in Explode When They Bloom (he’s since gone on to be in other great local acts like Cellos, Which Witch, and long time alt. rock band Area 51). And bassist Darryl Derbyshire sure seemed more Mark Deutom than Derek Smalls.
Is Your Mother Around? was soon followed up with a proper debut, entitled The Gift (which featured many re-recorded versions of songs off IYMA, including the fantastic “Chuck Berry” and “Cocaine and Gasoline”) and a few more shows. Still I wasn’t entirely sure these guys were for real or simply pulling the proverbial wool over everyone’s eyes (including their own).
It wasn’t until the gigging got more intense and they released their follow up to The Gift, a majestic box of nuggets called simply Sorry, that I realized they were the real deal. They were taking an oft over looked scene, that of the serious noise rockers like the aforementioned Jesus Lizard and Melvins, or Cop Shoot Cop and Big Black, and fist fucked into sounds from bands as diverse as AC/DC, Nine Inch Nails and Incesticide-era Nirvana – like a TurDucken of music. To incorporate this new musical growth, a sixth member began to appear at live shows, multi-instrumentalist Martin Schiller (87 Things For The Future, What Seas What Shores, Space Vampire, Star Trek: The Band). Poughboy was here whether we liked it or not and they never failed to impress (or revolt).
This realization was capped off with one of the show stealing performances of last December’s FunnelFest, when Poughboy literally tore the music scene a new asshole and served it back to everyone in the form of vomit coated escargot with a hint of ballsack. These guys were arrogance and confidence personified and no matter what the critics can say, their music live (and on record) is as tight as Mother Theresa’s anus. That previous spontaneousness is actually a well planned out and executed musical revolution that is as much about awakening as it is about forced masturbation.
And now it comes to this.
This Friday, appropriately right before the sheep and their ram have declared an impending Judgment Day (and they said we’d never see a T-1000 in real life!), Poughboy are releasing their heavily anticipated opus End of Men, a 15-song soundtrack for the forthcoming apocalypse that just very well may be their own White Album (or Blight Album). Packaged with a 36-page cover table book of artwork and representations guaranteed to excite, titillate and offend (perhaps as a finger poke nod to the absurdity of Radiohead’s “newspaper album” release for King of Limbs earlier this year), End of Men is worth the price of admission.
While the Touch & Go presence that was so obvious in early material is still present in the background, Poughboy have matured (well, musically at least) into their own wrecking ball of sound. Their are so many influences present (conscious or not) that they’ve simply re-materialized as what any great band inevitably seeks to become: they’re own voice. This album is monumental, from the epicly powerful “End of Men” to the sing-a-long debauchery of “Gadgets/Teledildonics/The Clutch” (which I guarantee will have more than one of you chanting “Hands up, who wants to fuck!” not only at the show but at church on Sunday) this album delivers in a big way and already may be fit to be crowned 2011′s album of the year. It is a deconstructionist’s cookbook, that starts with a Tool-esque introduction (aptly titled “Introduction”) that segues beautifully into a monster ball crusher called “Rock Salt”. This is the kind of anthem that makes you want to chug Jack Daniels right from the Devil’s teat while your masturbating with a baby seal. “Too Tight” is as close to the Twist as Poughboy could venture and by twist I mean the head of your penis off while dancing. Don’t worry, you can sew it back on while you’re drawn down to the sludgery bottom with “The Fuck Politics”. “Tape 1: My Love Will Eclipse The Fucking Son” is an electronic cacophony that serves as a schizophrenic sorbet to gear you up for the second half of the album with mind bending effectiveness. “The Brazilian” takes over and welcomes you to the New World Order with a swagger usually reserved for rhinos on too much fermented fruit. The Tom Waits meets Big Black “Two Shivs” and the aforementioned “Gadgets” carry through the second half, leading into a highlight and sneaky track entitled “Blackie Lawless Can’t Touch Me Now” that takes sampling to a whole new level of both homage and “Go fuck yourself”. “The Pink Sock” and “The Canary” are both as close as Poughboy will ever get to playing straight ahead rock and roll and even that’s about as close as this humble reporter will ever get to actually fucking Natalie Portman in a phone booth in the Nevada heat (which is pretty fucking far). The penultimate “The Fashion Dyke That Ate Dennis” is an aural descent that gives the listener one final warning to get out before the inevitable “End of Men” occurs, with all its glorious sonic layers and levels of Hell. “Man It Up” closes out with a debaucherous shout out to AC/DC’s “Jailbreak”.
Sonically, Poughboy has never sounded tighter or better produced. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the kind of polishing that mainstream bands like Nickelback or Finger Eleven strive for, but closer to the aural sects of producers like Sylvie Massey (Tool, Rage Against The Machine) or Butch Vig (Nirvana’s Nevermind). They’ve managed to wrangle in all the elements without sacrificing the source or letting the production become the product itself.
So if your ears haven’t gotten too soft on a steady night of Ben Harper or Jack Johnson, if you’ve still got a burning in your belly for what rock and roll has always been about, or you simply like to slow down and watch the carnage after a car wreck, you would serve your eyes and ears well by heading to Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) this Friday night when Poughboy finally opens the corals for the Four Horsemen’s steeds and unleashes the End of Men.
But don’t say you weren’t warned.
Poughboy ‘End of Men’ CD Release with special guests The Mad Ones and (wh)y.m.e.(??), Friday May 20, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), 9pm
Once again, a busy week in Windsor music, with not one but two huge CD release parties, not to mention the Windsor stop for the legendary Anvil. Read on to find out what’s up and what’s going down this week in live music in Windsor…
TUESDAY MAY 17
Toronto’s Wilderness of Manitoba return for another stop at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) while touring to promote their latest, When You Left The Fire. Fans of Fleet Foxes or Yukon Blonde will be in for a huge treat with this one, as Wilderness of Manitoba is another bringing back the huge tight harmonies that made Crosby, Stills & Nash (and for a time, Young) famous, but with a darker tone.
THURSDAY MAY 19
Windsor’s Seven Year Riot unveil their new CD with a release party at LOFT (20 Chatham St. East). These guys have been playing primarily on the road the past year, including a show during Canadian Music Week in Toronto, bringing their high energy alternative rock sounds to great crowds out of town.
Halifax songstress Mary Stewart brings her sweet voice to Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) for an intimate night of singer-songwriting. Stewart’s style is like a more minimal Kathleen Edwards, and this young musician has already shared the stage with such Canadian artists as Blue Rodeo, By Divine Right, Wintersleep and In-Flight Safety. She’s joined by Windsor’s own (by way of Halifax) Crissi Cochrane as well as Den-igan.
FRIDAY MAY 20
The legendary Poughboy unleash their opus, End of Men, at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) for what is sure to be a writhing, reptilian sold out show. These heavy rock deconstructionists have developed a cult status that borders on frightening and rumour has it that this latest CD comes with a huge coffee table book. These guys are guaranteed to disgust and delight. Opening the show are Toronto’s The Mad Ones and Windsor’s (wh)y.m.e.(??).
In the world of Canadian heavy metal, perhaps none have been as legendary and influential as they were commercially unsuccessful as Anvil. But thanks to a remarkable and emotionally powerful documentary a few years back, they’re finally getting the credit and success they’ve so richly deserved. They make a long awaited stop in Windsor at The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.) on Friday, backed up by Windsor’s own metal legends, Betrayer. Perpetuate and Final Stage are also opening the show.
Meters to Miles, who seemed to have disbanded a year ago after a promising single (“American Primate”) leaked, have returned with a force over the past six months. Said single is available on the new compilation disc City of Roses and their live shows have become memorable rock and roll events. They’re playing at The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), and are joined by Years of Ernest, arguably one of Windsor’s best new rock bands of the past few years. Solid classic 70′s rock feel with great licks and vocals.
Instrumental rock has always been a form that Windsor has embraced and last year saw a boom in the genre with acts like Bulletproof Tiger and Red Rows. Another act that quietly began to attract a legion of fans was Red Red Run (who have a new album in Rejoyce), who are playing at The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level), along with Greater Than Gatsby and Diesel Junkies.
Post-grunge band Sophist returns to Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West) with an intimate show at Windsor’s best cafe for music, coffee and absinthe (what a combo!). Opening the show is the classic rock stylings of Acousticfire.
SATURDAY MAY 21
Villains Beastro (256 Pellissier Ave.) unveil their first night of live music with two of Windsor’s finest. The mighty Surdaster are headlining the party with their dirty Southern prog rock and are joined by the infectiously energetic Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers.
Toronto’s Frailfragment brings their neo-grunge hard rock for a showcase at The Dugout (300 Ouellette Ave.).
Toronto indie-pop darlings The Ruby Spirit swing through Windsor on tour with a stop at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West). Windsor’s The Rheostats and London’s Say Domino warm up the crowds.
The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level) bring in the metal thunder with a three band attack featuring Bullet Tooth Tony, Edge of Existance and Starbucket.
Joe Pasco performs at Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West).
SUNDAY MAY 22
Sudbury’s dreamy folk pop band Meadowlark Five stop by Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) with special guests, Windsor’s Ontario Plates.
Music scenes go in constant cycles. There will be a rush of new young and hungry bands that will flood any scene, some doing extremely well out of the gate, playing as many shows as possible, trying to make their mark in the local music community. Over time, the initial class of bands dwindles down, as band members lose the passion or appeal of sludging it out, playing show after show for minimal pay-off, sometimes never progressing past the opening slot on shows.
But as the years carry on, some bands begin to not only rise, but shine. They put in their dues, playing headlining shows one night, to opening first on a five band bill, letting their music dictate their direction and ascent, rather than their ego. They play every venue that will house them, sometimes breaking genre or logic, to expose their music to as many ears as possible, defying the genre borders that often plagues so many bands when trying to break the local stratusphere. You learn more about your craft and your sound playing to unknown ears than you do your friends, and sometimes the truths don’t sit well with some bands.
The Nefidovs are part of the Next Wave of great new bands coming out of Windsor’s music community. Equal parts stoner rock, prog metal, grunge and ska – these guys have combined great songwriting with high octane rock and roll energy, flavoured with a minimal but powerfully effective horn section to create something we here at the Windsor Zene have dubbed “Death Ska” (a reaction to Elliott Brood‘s coining term “Death Country”). These guys are the real deal and have paid more than their share of dues – they’ve equally sold out shows at Phog Lounge as well as opened for other acts, just for the sheer desire to expose their music to as many Windsor music fans as possible.
It has been this tireless pursuit over the past year that has made the release of their debut CD, the brilliantly named Set Faces To Stunned, so highly anticipated. They’ve leaked some demos and early recordings sporadically over the past year, but it was a proper release everyone craved.
Well the time is now. The moment will be tonight. The place will be The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level).
Joining The Nefidovs will be some other faces from Windsor’s great Next Wave, including the oustanding blues rock duo The Blue Stones (who recently released their own eagerly anticipated EP), as well as veteran punk outfit Shared Arms. The Rowley Estate, another newer face, will open the show with their great classic punk sound.
Swing by and check out the future of Windsor’s music scene. You won’t be disappointed.
The Nefidovs CD Release Party with special guests The Blue Stones, Shared Arms and The Rowley Estate, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), 9pm
The Heat Seeking Moisture Missiles, The Coach & Horses,
Last and first time that I witnessed their ‘nuclear assault’ was at FunnelFest in December at the same venue. I had to check this shit out again and I did. For about 45 minutes, I along with all the others in attendance were thrust back into 1986, albeit some of them for the first time. Everything from stonewash jean jackets and Sixx-spiked hair (I’m sure that’s his real hair) to bass players with Cliff Burton hair and ‘Anastasia’ were all on hand.
Can’t say I was ‘caught in a mosh’ but I did experience extreme conditions of ‘Whiplash,’ haha. The latter was one of a feew covers they mastered along with the sleazy hardcore ‘Bite Me You Scum’ from G.G. Allin which they played for Scott Funnel since he’s been known to jam that one out on stage with the boys.
They also boasted some killer originals, notably the sickly ‘Human Centipede,’ furthering their old-school punk appeal. Someone on hand blabbered out “I wanna go home and watch Hardcore Logo!” That declaration itself summed up the feeling you get after seeing T.H.S.M.M.
If you think you’d dig these guys and think it would be a totally radical experience, check them out May 14 @ the Coach. They’re also working on an EP right now which will hopefully be available soon. Well that’s all I got, think I’m gonna pop in ‘Decline of Western Civilization,’ the punk years.
Playlist for May 11, 2011;
Dylan Punek – Equinox (Dylan Punke – 2009)
Sick of Sarah – Simple Parts (2205 – 2011)
Hunter Valentine – Barbara Jean (Lessons From The Late Night – 2009)
The Cliks – We Are The Wolverines (Dirty King – 2009)
Threat Signal – Revision (Vigilance – 2009)
Goliath – By The Throat (Funweiser EP – 2011)
The Nefidovs – Beg Your Pardon Demo (Set Faced to Stun – 2011)
Shared Arms – Aunt Jemima/Another Sticky Situation (Unreleased Jams – 2009)
The Blue Stones – Vain Vixens (The Blue Stones – 2011)
Gypsy Chief Goliath – Elephant in the Room (The Windsor Zene Sampler – December 2010)
Devilz by Definition – A Gram Short 20 (The Windsor Zene Sampler – February 2011)
The Heat Seeking Moisture Missiles – Hidin’ in the Bushes (The Windsor Zene Sampler – December 2010)
Inoke Errati – Control (The Wink and The Gun – 2006)
Beijing Bike Club – The Past (The Windsor Zene Sampler – January 2011)
Thieves in Remand – Trace of Truth (Single – 2010)
Falling with Glory – Fight with Honour (The Windsor Zene Sampler – January 2011)
What Seas, What Shores – Pave the Oceans (Cordyceps EP – 2010)
Some great shows coming up this week. Like, really great ones. No excuses for being bored over the next few days, as you’ve always got somewhere you could go.
Thursday night at The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave) will be heavy as a really heavy thing (pardon the SYL reference) as Hamilton’s Threat Signal bring to town their monstrous metal, joined by locals Goliath, Blackthorn City, Cyreene, A Dream in the Morning, and what could very well be the final show of Bloodshoteye. Lots of reasons not to miss this one, it starts at 5:30, is all ages, and is only $10 in advance of $12 at the door.
On Friday the 13th, forget superstitions and come to FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W.) where The Nefidovs will be celebrating the release of their first full-length. Their crazy ska-ish-ness will be joined by skater punks The Rowley Estate, pop-punkers Shared Arms, and the bluesy rockings of The Blue Stones, who have recently released an EP themselves. This show is without cover, which is all the more incentive to go, and to purchase the album, ‘Set Faces to Stunned’ which will be available for purchase at the low-low price of $5!
Get more bang for your buck (I’m a used car salesman today, apparently) on Saturday where you can catch 14 bands for only $10 (if you buy presale from local acts) at The Blind Dog. This all ages Rock/Pop Fest is being put on by Gateway Productions, and features Inoke Errati, The Blue Stones, Beijing Bike Club, and The Tragedy of Mariam, among others. The show starts at 1 pm and lasts all day. A great deal and sure to be a great time.
Various Artists, City of Roses (2011), Rockerie Records
Windsor, Ontario, Canada has been tagged ‘The City of Roses’, for its infused structure of multiculturalism, warm climate, and advocated involvement in peace (both politically and inter-personally). Living in a city you learn facts and fictions about your surrounding area. For instance, there are 100-150 species of roses within the world. Here’s another, the Windsor coat of arms has not one but two floral sprays, each containing roses.
Thus, to see Windsor as a multicultural stigma within Canada doesn’t surprise me. On the end of another election day gone the way of the Business class, we see a new opposition: the working class. Some can see this as the end of a ‘middle class’, and in some ways this may be true, but in another, a select number of votes came from an unusual source .. the artists. Those anarchistic, fire-breathing, harmonica toting poets spoke up. So, it doesn’t surprise me to see that a city so rich on working class politics can be so high class on a grass roots arts campaign. And succeed.
Breaking open this compilation disc (which was assembled by musician Jamie Reaume as a charity project for The Hospice of Windsor-Essex) is the excellent ‘Unnatural Disaster’ by Dave Russell. A genius in songwriting, he opens the gates to what is a cavalcade of songwriting success .. local brilliance at its best. Dave Russel has quickly become a favorite in the local acoustic scene, but don’t let this wooden stringed unplugged box in his hand fool you .. he may be the best musician in the city. A local Wilco-esque lumberjack of pop, opening this album pushes him to the upper echelon of local talent in a hurry.
Followed are a series of eclectic bands and songs, sounds and people who create the cityscape of what is a true artistic hub in Canada. One Man’s Opinion, who recently broke up, push out their most catchy tune ala the swan song ‘Save the Last Chord’ . At first listen I was skeptical, but after a few listens I admit I couldn’t get this song out of my head. The power pop continues with Inoke Errati‘s “Make Outs & Movie Stars”, a song catchy enough to be blasted on national radio and lead by what could be Windsor’s answer to Rivers Cuomo .. the true pop kings of southern Ontario. The producer, Adam Miner‘s soft poetic embrace of hermetic songwriting kicks in the center of the album. What a rush of upbeat, thank-goodness tunes.
Windsor see beautiful waters and wildlife, instrumental artist can bring this form of fast indignation to life. Reaume’s Foreign Film Star and (WH)Y.ME.?? showcase a brilliance in poetry without words. They blow out the speakers in intelligence. Yet a ghetto can shine bright too .. the heavy side of the city! Blasternaut‘s “Fever Fever!” is a song that Danko Jones only wishes he could write with members of Wolfmother and/or Jet but couldnt get the talent because they are rollicking through our own city. Greasy power tunes in the vein of Black Mountain are abundant in this city. Windsor is evolving as an Atomic Sludge/ Stoner Rock/ Fuzz Sound city and bands like Blasternaut, The Van Danglers, The Hung Jury (who are now repackaged as The FourJury), and The Standstills are making good ground. The latter (who hail from Oshawa but have been making frequent treks to Windsor’s music scene of late) is making a garage rock sound so big I wanna call it ‘post arena rock’. A power duo with a catchy song that could rival The Black Keys latest bluesy cereal box. Remember the name, The Standstills
City of Roses, our city, has a soft side as well. Tara Watts, who is a staple in the downtown scene always delivers. As beautiful as she is to look at, her words and rhythms are just as touching. An elegant, dark soul in the city. Dusty performs a great southern blues tale in ‘The Ballad of Ronnie Joe’ (featuring guest harmonica from Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe of Big Sugar), a dirty ditty filled with Texas oil and Detroit crime. A guitar teacher to the rest of the city. Leighton Bain follows those blues with a great rollicking acoustic tabernacle that truly delivers.
Since writing for The Windsor Zene, I have been challenged/blessed with the opportunity to review local music: challenged in that I review a copious landslide of musical genres; blessed in that I write reviews pertaining strictly to local talents and get a chance to be part of a burgeoning movement in Canadian music. Windsor is that value cereal box which gave you a variety of flavors. While Montreal gives us the Avant-Garde, Toronto has the radio power pop, Vancouver does the greasy rock and Winnipeg has a Heinz 57, we can agree that Windsor is a face-punch of all these genres., producing full flowers blossoming at any genre. A plentiful city of hearts, guitars, and roses. Roses. The rose as a prolix genre .. well Windsor can be a that of a prolix for the artistic flair that grows in these streets.
Another killer week of music, as May continues to showcase a great representation of local and national acts taking over the stages of Windsor. It’s proving to be a pretty fertile time as well, as we’ve witnessed a large amount of CD releases in the past month (The Blue Stones, Inoke Errati, One Man’s Opinion, Perpetuate, Faithful Unto Death, City of Roses compilation), with several more in the coming weeks (The Nefidovs, Seven Year Riot, King Misfit). Some critically acclaimed indie bands from many genres are sniffing around Windsor-Essex again, which means that the bands and their booking agents are getting excited by the Windsor crowds – which can only mean we’re doing something good here folks. Continue to support local acts so that they can continue to follow their dreams and represent the musical voice of our city. Continue to support national touring acts, show them that Windsor hospitality that has kept national acts like Holy Fuck, The Pack AD, The Rural Alberta Advantage and Fuck The Facts coming back to Windsor despite playing bigger venues anywhere else in North America.
WEDNESDAY MAY 11
Toronto’s Hunter Valentine returns to Windsor for a Rose City stop on their current North American tour in support of last year’s Lessons from the Late Night, released on New York’s Tommy Boy Records. This all-girl rock band falls somewhere between Hole and The Runaways, or a more sugar coated version of Die Mannequin (but by no means less deadly). They’re being joined for their show at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave.) by Minnesota’s Sick of Sarah and a solo set from Lucas Silveira of The Cliks.
THURSDAY MAY 12
Hamilton metal meisters Threat Signal hit Windsor on Thursday with an all-ages show at The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.), with doors at 5:30pm. This show also boasts a top notch representation of some powerful local metal, featuring Goliath, Bloodshoteye (rumoured to be their final performance ever), Cyreene, Blackthorn City and A Dream In The Morning.
FRIDAY MAY 13
The Mark Inside has been a success since they first played Windsor several years ago at The Avalon Front for PA Festival. Now countless packed shows at Phog and a spot on last year’s Phog Phest have garned the Whitby rock and roll outfit a spot in Windsor’s musical heart. They’re hitting Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), bringing another Toronto act, the infectious rock pop of Chang-A-Lang. The show opens with Windsor’s The FourJury, who are coming off some strong opening sets for Grady, The Creepshow and New Country Rehab.
The Nefidovs have become one of the city’s most energetic live shows over the past year with their own brand of “Death Ska”. Playing with an abandon and inserting themselves on a variety of diverse bills has broadened their fan base and created something of a buzz amongst the indie scene in Windsor. They launch their highly anticipated debut album, Set Faces to Stunned, with a huge party at The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), featuring some very talented friends in The Blue Stones, Shared Arms and The Rowley Estate.
British Columbia’s Daniel Wesley brings his rock and roll to The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.), with a bill that also features Toronto urban reggae-folk artist KO, the ska-pop of Toronto’s Rebel Emergency, as well as local representation in the rock of The Mud Lions and the soul stylings of Tony Coates.
Formerly known as Focal Point, local alt. rockers SixtyFirstSecond return to the Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level), along with Silent Movie Type and [NO SUBJECT].
SATURDAY MAY 14
Gateway Productions, a new Windsor-based concert promotions group, is launching their inaugural Gateway Festival at The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.) featuring a massive line-up of some of Windsor’s best metal and indie rock bands together in one colossal showcase. This all-ages festival begins at noon and features Inoke Errati, Falling With Glory, The Blue Stones, The Tragedy of Miriam, We Can Be Heroes, Beijing Bike Club, Hello Audio, State of Us, Bleach, Diesel Junkies, Empty Spaces, No Clue, Letterbomb, Thieves in Remand and out-of-town special guests Breaching Vista, Pull Start Rockets and Truth Be Told. That’s a lot of music.
Though they may have relocated to Toronto to continue their quest for greatness, Bulletproof Tiger will always be a hometown band. These prog metal instrumentalists continue to impress and always pack the place when they return home for shows. Expect the same when they hit The Dugout (300 Ouellette Ave.) with Toronto’s Isoceles Project and Windsor’s Red Rows in tow.
Whenever Lindy plays Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) it feels like he’s from Windsor. Despite being a successful solo musician and member of the national act Major Maker, Lindy always feels so at ease on Phog’s stage and comfortable with Tom behind the bar, that one would assume he was just another regular who also happened to play guitar. That comfortability and familiarity with Windsor always just translates into another great show for the audience. Lindy will actually be playing earlier, with the night closed out by new Windsor funk-soul band The Swillingtones ending the night with a West side dance party. For reals.
Montreal’s Kill Matilda headlines a huge metal showcase at The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level) that also features powerhouses Gypsy Chief Goliath, Devilz By Definition, The Heat Seeking Moisture Missiles and Chatham’s Davis Block.
If you’re looking for a quieter night, Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West) continues to be the nurturing ground for some fantastic singer/songwriters with the Play for Love Show headlined by Samantha Hooey. She’s joined by the voices of Mike Cerveni, Joe Iannicello and Rayven Howard.
SUNDAY MAY 15
One of Windsor’s favourite punk rock sons Orphan Choir return from the road with another show at The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level), with label mates Shared Arms . As if these two alone wasn’t worth the price of admission, their actually the local support for New York’s Sister Kisser‘s Canadian tour, that also brings two of Montreal’s finest, Prevenge and Laureate along for the ride. Gonna be a barn burner of some great punk rawk.
Upstairs at The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), the instrumental beauty of vibe generators What Seas, What Shores will be playing, alongside the quirky experimental pop of Vancouver’s Alicia Hansen, currently touring in support of her latest release, Fractography.
The Twistin’ Tarantulas – Chateau Eau de Gehtto (El Destroyo – 2002)
Justin Faubert – Briolette (Justin Faubert – 2011)
Dave Rusell – Listen to Your Heart (Unnatural Disaster – 2010)
Blasternaut – School Girls (Overload – 2005)
Thieves in Remand – Trace of Truth (Single – 2010)
The Hypnotics – A Modern Romance (Soul at Seven – 2010)
Garler- Dirty Girl (Garler EP – 2002)
The Tea Party – Samsara (Triptych – 1999)
Feal – Ghost in Me (Feal)
Magic Hall of Mirrors – Crystal Ball (David’s Son EP)
Mr. Chill – Do Not Go Quietly Unto Your Grave (Mr. Chill’s Cold Testament – 2005)
Royal Dose – Straight Up (Regeneration – 1999)
One Man’s Opinion – Save The Last Chord (…And The Second Thoughts – 2011)
StereoGeosStellar – Our City Blues (Single – 2010)
Marty Lowman – Cowfirl on Coffee (Dancing with father Time – 2009)
Dave Dubois – New Year’s Eve in a Small Room (Polaroids and Other Little Visions – 2004)
Blurt – Bryce and Kreg (Upside of Effort)
So yes, I’m late getting this posted this week, I know. You’ll have to forgive me.
But to make up for it, I’ve got a pretty awesome show to promote. This Wenesday, May 11th come to Phog at 9:30 for an early show featuring Toronto’s Hunter Valentine. I saw these girls play in Windsor at last year’s Pride Fest, and I fell completely in love. Their music rocks with feminine grace that is in no way soft. The vocals aren’t quite rough, but get jagged in a way that never feels dissonant. The instrumentals feel a bit like pop-punk, but as a whole their sound is straight rock’n’roll.
Joining them is Sick of Sarah from Minnesota. They remind me of 90’s ska-punk, they type of thing you’d hear on an Asian Man Records comp. Another girl-group, this band is not so much a wall of sound, more like fog of music that you’ll get lost in.
Finishing off the lineup is Lucas Silveira from Toronto, guitarist for the group The Cliks. He has a new album, “Mockingbird” available now, and will be gracing the floor of Phog with his mellow and heartfelt instrumental songs.
* = Canadian Content
1 HIGH MOTHER* – Gotta Get Love (Self-Released)
2 ERRORS – Come Down With Me (Rock Action)
3 FLEET FOXES – Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
4 SHUYLER JANSEN* – Voice From The Lake (Scratch)
5 EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY – Take Care Take Care Take Care (Temporary Residence)
6 YOUNG WIDOWS – In & Out Of Youth & Lightness (Temporary Residence)
7 AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE – Voodoo Of The Godesent (On-U Sound)
8 CHAD VANGAALEN* – Diaper Island (Sub Pop)
9 SLOAN* – The Double Cross (Outside)
10 DEEZUZ* – Ammmo (Maintain One Voice)
11 PREFUSE 73 – The Only She Chapters (Warp)
12 JONNY – Jonny (Merge)
13 JENNIFER CASTLE* – Castlemusic (Flemish Eye)
14 VARIOUS – Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & The Big Band Cumbia… (Soundway)
15 LIVING WITH LIONS* – Holy Shit (Adeline)
16 FEDERICO AUBELE – Berlin 13 (ESL/Eighteenth Street Lounge)
17 THE WOODS OF YPRES* – Woods IV: The Green Album (Earache)
18 AN HORSE – Walls (Mom + Pop)
19 THE PROCESS / GHETTO PRIEST – The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed (Temple Gong)
20 JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD – Tell Me (Nonesuch)
21 STNNNG – The Smoke Of My Will (Modern Radio)
22 RICHARD LAVIOLETTE* – Soundtrack To The Life Of A Car Nearly Driving Into The Pacific EP (Self-Released)
23 KIRAN AHLUWALIA* – Aam Zameen: Common Ground (Self-Released)
24 DUB SPENCER & TRANCE HILL – The Clashification Of Dub (Echo Beach)
25 BILL CALLAHAN – Apocalypse (Drag City)
26 MUSIC FOR MONEY* – Flying Birds (Self-Released)
27 K.D. LANG AND THE SISS BOOM BAND* – Sing It Loud (Nonesuch)
28 ORCHESTRE POLY-RHYTHMO – Cotonou Club (Strut)
29 NOAH AND THE WHALE – Last Night On Earth (Young and Lost)
30 JEFF WATTS – Family (Dark Key)
For More Charting Info Visit: www.cjam.ca
Allison Brown has been wowing alt. country fans for years now and we here in Windsor have been treated to her several times before. But we’re going to be spoiled now that she’s moved to the area and tonight is a taste of more to come. Drawing on old-time classic country sounds interspersed with gospel, her sound is comparable to such amazing talents as Emmylou Harris or Gillian Welch. Honest and moving, with the right amount of passion. She is still touring promoting her latest release, last year’s Viper at the Virgin’s Feet.
She’s bringing another troubadour with her, Kingston’s Will Gillespie, whose indie pop is somewhere between Ron Sexsmith and Elvis Costello. Quirky and minimalistic, with almost a vaudevillian vibe, Gillespie’s sound is a stark contrast to Brown’s, but that will only enhance the show itself. The pair are being accompanied by Waterloo multi-instrumentalist “Uncle” Dan Henshall.
Opening the show is another Windsor-Essex folk staple, Erin Gignac. Erin has been one of Windsor’s finest songwriters for the better part of a decade, both solo and as a member of Dresden Sky. If Joni Mitchell wrote songs with Kathleen Edwards, they would sound like Erin’s. She’s being accompanied tonight by bassist Paul Loncke (The Locusts Have No King, Years of Ernest).
Allison Brown with special guests Will Gillespie and Erin Gignac, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), Friday May 6, 9pm
I remember seeing fliers or Facebook invites for all-ages shows at New Song Church a while back and at first I just thought, Oh, cool, another all-ages venue. Scenes in any city need exclusively all-ages venues to nurture the passion for playing live music in front of a crowd. Feeling that electric hum for the first time, looking out and seeing the frenzied look of your young peers watching, listening, those are the moments that create the future musical endeavours we end up following and watching. And then something struck me. I recognized many of the names…they were all bands from Windsor’s hardcore scene. But the venue was a…church?
It turns out that James Livingstone, a member of local Christian hardcore band Faithful Unto Death, along with a few other hardworking individuals, had set up Hardcore Church, a loosely knit group of promoters who brought affordable, safe, all-ages hardcore show to New Song Church (999 Drouillard Rd.) and seemingly with great success.
With his band about to launch their debut, Coming Home, at New Song this Sunday, The Windsor Zene talked to Livingstone about the history of how New Song Church became a Hardcore Church and what it takes to run all-ages shows in Windsor.
What prompted you to start booking hardcore shows in Windsor?
James Livingstone: The advent of Hardcore Church was really the culmination of a couple of things. Firstly, Kevin at New Song Church had run a day long festival of Christian bands on May 30th, 2009 headlined by the now defunct I Am The Vine. It ended up being a really great day of music and hanging out. It was a free show with bands from a range of genres and the fact that no one was trying to make any money or anything that day led to a great day of laid back music and a great turnout. My band, Faithful Unto Death, played our second show on this bill but the idea of regular shows at New Song didn’t really surface until much later.
Faithful Unto Death continued to play shows for the rest of the 2009 and began 2010 playing at the Blind Dog opening for We Came As Romans on January 8th. It was a great show and we had amazing crowd response with a massive mosh pit, which is something that we as a band really enjoy and encourage people to respond and participate in respectfully. Unfortunately this was close to the beginning of when the Blind Dog began hosting hardcore shows and, unbeknownst to us, there was still some apprehension on the part of the Blind Dog staff that allowing kids to mosh would lead to injuries and a lawsuit (and rightly so, just last week a kid fell and broke his neck at a Terror show in the states). This apprehension on their part coupled with us encouraging crowd participation led to them communicating to us and the promoter that had booked us that Faithful Unto Death would no longer be welcome to play at the Blind Dog. We spoke with the owner of the Blind Dog and apologized for any danger that we had unknowingly put his business in and told them that had we known that there were rules against moshing we would have stated them at the beginning of our set. As a Christian band, we had no intention of being defiant to rules set in place nor did we have any intention of encouraging violence against anyone. One of the cornerstone values of our band is non-violence and we continue to push for a positive and peaceful scene and we believe that that is not mutually exclusive with moshing. Unfortunately, the Blind Dog still felt that we would no longer be welcome in their venue so we accepted that decision and moved on to finding other places to play (We were eventually welcomed back to the Blind Dog on May 16th to play with the metalcore big name For Today and moshing is now allowed and the Blind Dog has grown into the premier venue in Windsor for National touring bands from many different genres, not just metal and hardcore.)
Unfortunately for a hardcore/metal band like ours, the options for venues were pretty slim. The only other venues at that time holding heavy music shows were The Chubby Pickle, which was sporadic in hosting shows, and The Coach & Horses, which was 19+, which presented a problem to both half of my band (that wasn’t 19 yet) and our underage friends that would like to see us. It was at this point that I approached Pastor Kevin Rogers and Pastor Rielly McLaren at New Song about the possibility of hosting more shows like the one he had done back in May and another one that they had put on since then. Fortunately they had been thinking the exact same thing simultaneously to us as Kevin’s sons Levi and Jesse had a band that was up and coming but was also looking for shows.
The next obvious choice is why at a Church – and why New Song Church? A church doesn’t seem like a likely candidate for that kind of music…
New Song is actually a very logical choice for this type of thing. New Song is a church located at 999 Drouillard Road and really has a heart and a passion for helping people and meeting needs so, as much as it may seem like an illogical choice for some churches, this is actually right up New Song’s alley. This is the kind of thing they have been doing for years in many different ways. They provide a ton of community services there including meals and breakfasts for people needing a bit of help, addiction counseling, a food bank, clothing etc. So when I approached Kevin about the idea of hosting shows at the church it was simply another need in the community that they had the resources to meet and so it was really something we were all excited about doing.
New Song was also the choice almost out of necessity. There had been many venues in the city that had been very short lived or had done well for a bit but then closed due to financial issues. Being in the Windsor scene in another band prior to Faithful Unto Death, I had seen lots of these places come and go, Club 1214, Gino A Marcus, Broken Barrel, Chubby Pickle and the list goes on. These places had all had a profound growing effect on the scene when they were in operation but as each one went under the local heavy music scene seemed to go a bit underground until another venue would surface. The heavy music scene never really went away, the Coach and Horses was still faithfully hosting shows and bands were still starting and playing but it was tough to build a bigger and better scene without a an all ages local venue that could really become a home for that scene.
Most of these venues went under because of the financial problems which are the reality of hosting heavy music shows. It is a tough market to make money in. Having to pay rent at a venue, pay for insurance in case some kid gets hurt, pay for staff, pay for sound equipment, a soundguy, etc. really runs up the operating costs of a venue and therefore runs up ticket prices. These higher ticket prices coupled with the fact that running an all ages venue doesn’t bring in much cash from an audience made up of teenagers and college/university aged students that don’t have a lot of money and most of which can’t by alcohol made almost any local venue for all ages local shows seem doomed from the beginning. How can you expect to make a profit in a city the size of Windsor while still paying all these bills? It’s a tough game even for those with the connections to book national acts.
This is really where New Song Church came in. They generously offered to allow us to work with them to put on shows and to make use of their building. This instantly solved a lot of the infrastructure and financial problems that plague local venues. We could make use of their building without paying rent, we could use their insurance, use their sound system, we could use volunteers to do sound and do doors and book bands. We also do not make any profits off of our shows and the door sales go first to pay out of town bands and then the rest usually goes to a local charity of some sort. This effectively lowered our operating costs to zero and opened the door for us to really just focus on putting on shows and giving bands a place to play, kids a place to hang out and a place for the scene to grow tighter and larger.
How long has the Hardcore Church being going on now? How has the audiences changed since you first started doing this?
Our first official show was on January 29th, 2010 so we have been going for over a year now hosting 1 or 2 shows a month and we have seen some really great growth in the shows there. The first couple shows to be honest were a lot of Christian kids just coming to hang out, some not even really interested in the music, but as time has gone on we have seen more and more just regular kids from the scene come to see New Song as a place to feel at home. We have hosted a ton of different local and provincial touring bands and even a few national acts from the regular and Christian sides of the coin. With each new band that comes in we get a different group of kids in and more of them discover that New Song is not an intimidating place, nor is there some big bait and switch where you come for a hardcore show and someone throws a bible at you, that’s not what we’re about.
Over the last year and a bit we have really seen a cool community of kids grow at New Song, that come to every show and have just become familiar faces. There is a really cool laid back vibe that goes on at our shows, devoid of some of the pretense, ego and exclusivity that can sometimes plague the heavy music genres, and that is the way we like it! The majority of people are there to just have a good time and enjoy some music which helps to make it a more welcoming atmosphere for new people to the scene. There are always new faces at the shows, kids just getting involved in the scene, starting a band and coming to shows. We have been trying to make New Song become a place where those kids can come and feel things out, try and mosh a bit, learn some lyrics, meet some people and feel at home enough to start being themselves and making friends. We all remember what it was like to go to our first couple shows as a kid surrounded by people that were older and cooler and seemed to know everyone and it took us a while to feel confident there. We want to allow kids to start that process in a friendly and accepting atmosphere and I think this has really helped us begin to build a consistent crowd at New Song. We now have more and more new faces every show and that is great, it means that more kids are getting exposed to the music, joining the scene and keeping the momentum of the community going so that in a few years when all the kids currently in the scene are old and tired like me, haha, there will still be a thriving community of artists and fans in the Windsor area.
You’ve got a big show this Sunday. What’s the deal?
As I kind of laid out above, the story of Hardcore Church is really interconnected with that of my band Faithful Unto Death. Our bass player Levi Rogers (son of pastor Kevin Rogers of New Song) and I do all of the booking and promoting for Hardcore Church so this may be a bit of shameless self promotion but here we go.
Faithful Unto Death has been around for a bit more than 2 years and has developed a bit of a following in Windsor. We are a Christian band that really shares a lot of the same values as Hardcore Church. We promote community and relationship in the scene and to show people that maybe there is a bit more to being a Christian than simply the stereotypes that get thrown around these days. We had some great momentum going playing lots of shows in Windsor and out of town as well but unfortunately in October 2010 lineup changes forced us to take some time off. We played our last show with our original drummer Terry Lesperance Jr. and second guitarist Myles Shuurman (ex-I Am The Vine) on October 29th to a packed crowd at our home venue New Song.
Usually the lineup change ends up being the death of the local band but for the last 6 months we have been working harder than ever. We took that time off to totally rework our sound, find a new drummer and write and record our debut album, Coming Home, which just released digitally last week. We spent a lot of time DIY recording our album with the help of Ryan Croppo at Warhead Studios here in Windsor and the result is something we are incredibly proud of and beyond excited to begin playing live.
We put together a lineup of some of our favorite bands that are really good friends of ours to have a big show at New Song for our CD release and first show in over 6 months. We have local Death Metallers Shinje opening up, our favorite local hardcore band Hellraiser playing second (seriously amazing guys that make some really catchy hardcore riffs), following them is local prog-metal whiz kids in Cyreene (these kids are always progressing and growing and they are one of the most talented technical bands in the area these days in my opinion), after them we have a Toronto positive hardcore band Uplift coming down for the party (these guys fit perfectly with what we are trying to do at New Song and have been spreading the word of our shows around the province on their tours).
We are really excited to be back on stage and to do it at our home. It’s going to be amazing to be back in front of friends and family once again so we are pumped and we have a really great set and show planned. Our band has always been about playing live, connecting with kids, making friends and pushing the local scene forward towards a more positive and loving community and we are excited to be back out there playing at home and on the road sharing those ideas. It will be the first time we play the songs off our new album live so we are hoping to see all of our friends and maybe some new ones out Sunday night at New Song Church.
You’ve brought in a lot of out of town bands, some that are fairly reputable and on some pretty solid labels. How do you manage to attract them to such an obscure venue?
To be honest the majority of it has been through friends and through word of mouth. We have brought in a lot of bands that we met while on the road with Faithful Unto Death but recently we have been having booking agents from larger bands contacting us to book signed bands like the Venia show that we had last month. Again, word of our shows got passed from one place to another and so when bands or booking agents are trying to book an Ontario tour that might not be able to make it work at the Blind Dog but still want an all ages show we get the call. We are really a place that compliments the Blind Dog and the Coach at this point, putting on shows that they can’t make work as a business. But yes, our main way of getting bands in is word of mouth. They heard from another band that played here that the show had a great turnout, lots of energy and they got paid, got a free meal, got a place to stay etc. and that just gets passed on and then I get a message when they want to come to the area. I get more messages from bands than I could ever possibly place on shows so we have to begin to sort through that and build lineups based on when we have New Song free, it’s a busy place, and what is best for the scene at that point. We also don’t give bands guarantees since we don’t have any profits banked for us to give them if a show tanks. We promise bands all door proceeds up to a negotiated amount and then the rest goes to charity. So sometimes the idea that there is no guarantee can scare off some bands but with bands spreading the word we are having no problem filling bills and with fans coming out we are getting all our bands paid which is amazing and is really a collaborative group effort of kids, promoters, bands and the church to put on shows which is what we are all about.
We also really want to make a direct link between the fans paying for a ticket and the bands getting paid so that people can feel like they are personally supporting the scene. We believe that it is good to have financial transparency and just tell people how we run things, that may be more detail then you wanted but I will let people know all of that if they ask so that they can know the inner workings of New Song. We hope by allowing people to how direct the connection is between bands and fans that it will help them call New Song home and take ownership of it by bringing out friends to help get their favorite band paid. We always charge 5 dollars for bills with out of town bands and 3 for all local bills.
We also recently had For Today come into New Song with Stray from the Path, Texas In July and Structures which was a show that we partnered with Joel Johnston of Windsor booking to put on. Joel is a good friend of ours and we wanted to do something special to commemorate having put on shows for a year and to see what effect having major label bands would have on the atmosphere we were trying to create at New Song. We had a huge turnout and though there were some hiccups it ran pretty smoothly. We are still discussing the possibilities of doing this again in the future.
Major Label bands are not really our bread and butter at this point though. We are really trying to focus on locals and Ontario bands that would not get a chance to play elsewhere. There are a ton of local bands just getting moving that might not be ready or have enough draw to play at another venue or get themselves out of town. But the only way bands get to that level is to get some practice playing live, sound checking, loading in, loading out, developing stage presence so we like to try and give lots of up and coming new bands a place on bills and to help them get through all those things and give them pointers that will help them grow to their full potential.
What are some of your highlight shows you’ve put on so far?
To be honest there have been tons of amazing bands at New Song but what really sticks out to me is just the environment in general. Fun, friends and music doesn’t get any better. I think some of the big highlights though have been our all local bills. They really showcase some of the fantastic technical and songwriting abilities that are bubbling just under the surface of the scene. I know my absolute favorites have been the bills that had Earth at Night on them. They are by far my favorite band and have really put their own efforts into making New Song what it is. We have also had a couple all day type events with tons of different bands across genres from the city and those have been an absolute blast. Another favorite show was definitely Uplift, Seven Out, Hellraiser and the Rowley Estate last December. That show was a really awesome time and really showcased the positive family vibe that New Song has.
Have you thought of doing shows at venues closer to downtown?
The downtown core has a certain air of inspiration that comes with it in terms of the Windsor music scene. I think that has a lot to do with all the other great venues within walking distance that all run shows across the spectrum of genres and build the scene there. Unfortunately we are kind of a bit away from all that so we aren’t getting a lot of people walking in off the street. It would be great to maybe extend our operation to other churches in the city and provide more shows in a month but for now we are content trying to get everything right at New Song and building the scene there until we have opportunity elsewhere. Again our business model really only works when a church (or another entity?) is covering the infrastructure costs and so it would be great to see other churches step up and offer kids in the area a safe place to hang out but outside of those options we aren’t to sure how to get ourselves closer to downtown.
Anything else in the works for the rest of the summer?
We will be having an all afternoon festival type show on June 12th with a couple out of town bands and lots of locals which will be a good time for sure and we are just starting to brainstorm for July. We will definitely be doing everything we can to put on shows for kids to fill some time while they are off school. We will be focusing on building the local scene from the ground up and continuing to put on shows as long as kids want them.
How has the Church’s response been to a scene, crowd and sound that is known for being a little…un-Church-like…
Hardcore kids fit in pretty well at New Song actually. As I said New Song is not really your typical church and though most of the people that go there won’t be showing up for a hardcore show they are happy to have us there and know that their church is being used to help kids out and give them a safe place to hang out and be themselves. It helps too that the local scene has really been very respectful of the church and its property. We haven’t heard any complaints yet and the way things are going I don’t expect to hear too many. Come down to a Friday night community dinner before a show and you will see what I mean. New song is made up of everyone from neighborhood drunks to suburban moms so it kind of breeds the sort of acceptance that welcomes everyone, including hardcore kids.
We also screen the bands that play at New Song by having them sign a statement of our core values that basically says that they are on board with the positive, nonviolent, accepting and safe environment that we are trying to build. If a band won’t sign the contract then we don’t allow them to play because we believe that we should protect our scene and only allow bands that have the scene’s best interests at heart to take the stage at New Song. We aren’t trying to censor anyone’s expressions but there are some bands that just promote ideas that are counter-productive to building a scene. Especially bands that promote people intentionally hurting other people, that just gets some kid hurt and a venue closed. So really we haven’t had any backlash from the church, nothing but encouragement. It helps that we also aren’t putting on stage bands that are going to tell you to go home and shoot your parents or something like that haha. That might ruffle a few more Christian feathers.
So what’s the mission of the Hardcore Church?
Our mission is really simple. Our mission is to create community by serving the Windsor music scene. We really just want to help kids out, give them a place to call their own and help them to know that our caring for them extends beyond just shows into whatever they need from us as they go through life. We are not pushing a major Christian agenda here; we believe that our faith calls us to love and serve and that this is one way to show kids that they have value, that they are worth something and that there are people in this world that care for them. It sounds like a hardcore show might be a really strange way to do that but honestly I was a kid that didn’t have the most amazing childhood story but I found refuge and friends in the music scene and it made a huge difference. This is one of the few ways that you can give a kid in that scene a sense of being cared for, of being important to someone and something. We believe that it is through spending time with one another and spurring each other onto better things that we can grow as individuals but more importantly as a community and a scene. So come out to New Song for a show and experience a really friendly and fun atmosphere where you can begin to get connected. We want to add you into the family. Look for me (James Livingston) or Rielly McLaren, Kevin Rogers or Levi Rogers or ask for us at the door. We would be glad to introduce you to people and show you around whoever you are.
Faithful Unto Death CD Release Party with special guests Uplift, Cyreene, Hellraiser and Shinje, Sunday May 8, New Song Church (999 Drouillard Rd.), All-Ages, 6:30pm
* – Denotes Canadian Content
1 MOGWAI – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop)
2 GRIMES/D’EON* – Darkbloom (Arbutus)
3 NICK LOWE – Labour Of Lust (re-issue) (Yep Roc)
4 YOUNG GALAXY* – Shapeshifting (Paper Bag)
5 SWEATSHOP UNION* – The Bill Murray EP (Urbnet)
6 CRYSTAL STILTS – In Love With Oblivion (Slumberland)
7 LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO – Tales From A Zulu Farm (Listen 2)
8 VIVIAN GIRLS – Share The Joy (Polyvinyl)
9 AMBISONIC* – Arp (Self-Released)
10 AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE – Voodoo Of The Godesent (On-U Sound)
11 D-SISIVE* – Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye (Urbnet)
12 MY SON THE HURRICANE* – You Can’t Do This (Self-Released)
13 MOTHER MOTHER* – Eureka (Last Gang)
14 C’MON* – Beyond The Pale Horse (Self-Released)
15 WILLIE NELSON AND WYNTON MARSALIS – Here We Go Again (Blue Note)
16 THE RIDERLESS* – Atelier Gild (Kinghaxi)
17 DJ BRACE* – The Electric Nosehair Orchestra Presents Synesthasia (Nostomania)
18 SHANNON AND THE CLAMS – Sleep Talk (1234 GO!)
19 BROWN RECLUSE – Evening Tapestry (Slumberland)
20 OBITS – Moody, Standard and Poor (Sub Pop)
21 SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB – Unentitled (Alternative Tentacles)
22 SERENA RYDER* – Live (EMI)
23 WYE OAK – Civilian (Merge)
24 DAEDELUS – Bespoke (Ninja Tune)
25 VARIOUS – Bossa Nova From Around The World (Putumayo)
26 CONCERNS OF ROYALTY* – Concerns of Royalty (Self-Released)
27 DUB SPENCER & TRANCE HILL – The Clashification Of Dub (Echo Beach)
28 HEY ROSETTA!* – Seeds (Sonic)
29 PAPERMAPS* – Papermaps (Sparks)
30 ROXANNE POTVIN* – Play (Black Hen)
More Info?: www.cjam.ca
Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) opens its doors for a rare Tuesday night show, but its an intimate and quiet one (compared to past shows). Featuring Saskatoon’s haunting sounds of The Deep Dark Woods, as well as Shuyler Jansen and Windsor’s own Dave Russell.
Quebec’s Celtic punk rawkers Farler’s Fury are gonna make it St. Patty’s day all over again when they play at The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level) on their cross Canada tour on Wednesday. They’re joined by Suppressulant, Bad Assets and Get Rad!
The charity compilation CD, City of Roses, to raise funds for The Hospice of Windsor-Essex, holds it’s launch party at The Manchester Pub (546 Ouellette Ave.) at 8pm. Tix are $15 and include the CD, which features tracks from local mainstays like Inoke Errati, One Man’s Opinion, Tara Watts, Vultures!, The Hung Jury, Blasternaut, Dave Russell, (wh)y.m.e.(??) and more. Live performances from Dave Russell & The Precious Stones, Blasternaut and Vice Aerial launch the disc.
Halifax’s Rebekah Higgs swings by Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) for an intimate set, that includes Crissi Cochrane opening up the night.
Local stoner rock legends Pitch Union return to the Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West), with special guests, the amazing Cellos.
The 70′s Mod rocker sounds of Toronto’s The Tranzmitors hit Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), with support from Windsor’s The Hypnotics.
At 12 midnight, Jeff Burrows (The Tea Party, Crash Karma) begins his annual 24-hour drum marathon to raise money for local cancer charity Transition to Betterness out at The Franchise Grille (2601 Lauzon Parkway). He’ll be jamming for 24 hours on drums with several local musicians, including Drop Dead Famous, Twisted Sisters, Shade Stone, Vice Aerial and The Joys. Burrows will be closing out his Saturday night with his local supergroup Is There A Band In The House? that also features Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe (Big Sugar), Daren Dobsky (Vice Aerial, Magic Hall of Mirrors), Nick Belulis (Porcelain Mary, Royal Dose) and David Cyreene (feal).
Local alt. rockers One Man’s Opinion are calling it quits (for now) but not before an EP release/farewell show at the Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.). Joining them are local favourites StereoGoesStellar and The Brilliance.
The industrial mayhem of Uxbridge, Ontario’s Promonium Jesters infiltrates the dungeon of The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level) this Saturday, alongside Adaptive Reaction and Orphan Grinder.
Calgary’s Ryan Bourne brings his guitar and band to Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) on Saturday for some classic Canadian indie. He’s bring fellow Calgarians Deadhorse while Windsor’s Red Red Run opens up.
If nothing here floats your boat, The Dugout (300 Ouellette Ave.) has 10,000 Witnesses, a Clutch tribute band, rocking their stage.
Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) and their nearly weeklong musical journey concludes with Victoria’s Northcote. Opening the shows are solo sets from faces/voices better associated with some of Windsor’s top bands. David Dubois (The Locusts Have No King) and Jesse Fellows (Shared Arms) will be starting things off.
Hardcore Church continues their hardcore shows at New Song Church (999 Drouillard Rd.) with the heavily anticipated release of Faithful Until Death‘s Coming Home. They’re joined on this huge bill (starting at 6:30pm) by Right Before The Rise, Cyreene, Hellraiser and Shinje.
When Venue Rock Parlour opened it’s doors just over a month ago, it seemed like downtown finally had it’s down-and-dirty rock and roll venue it had been sorely lacking since the days of California’s or Rum Runners (or more recently, a void left behind by the closing of The Avalon Front downtown). But despite it’s rock motifs, cheap Jack Daniels and best intentions of the ownership, it soon became apparent that it was unfortunately more of a dance club in rock club’s clothing. While still a hot downtown destination, the lack of live music and just a few too many dance club mash-ups have left more than a sour taste in the mouths of many people still aching for that rock and roll dive with just a hint of class, that new venue with a unique vibe and atmosphere, that promises to not only have live music, but showcase some of the area’s finest rock and roll gunslingers.
Well it looks like you might just have your wish.
On Thursday May 5th, Villains Beastro (256 Pellissier St.) will open their doors at 7pm for what promises to be one of the most uniquely themed rock bars in the world, let alone Windsor. Built around a motif of popular villains from pop culture – such as Boba Fett, Predator, Mumm-Ra and Dr. Doom – this rock and roll bar will be the kind of bar you’d find Lemmy from Motorhead sitting at playing his touchscreen. And the man behind the idea is also one of Windsor’s true rock and roll warriors, Geoff Zanetti. As the frontman/bassist for the indelibly loud rock monsters known as The Jet Trio, Zanetti was one part Lemmy, one part Neil Fallon and one part David St. Hubbins. Although his rock balls are big enough to thunder from the stage, he’s also just as likely to show them to you when you’re not looking. His humour is as much as part of him as his love for music, and his passion and desire to get Villains open – despite a few set backs over the past 10 months – has been admirable. And being in the corridor of Windsor’s “music district” (right between Phog Lounge, Milk Coffee Bar, The Dugout and The Loop Complex (FM Lounge/Coach & Horses/Loop)) already guarantees the foot traffic from the clientele Zanetti is after. And being within stumbling distance of Venue Rock Parlour as well, I can actually see these two bars complimenting each other. If Venue Rock Parlour is Whitesnake, then Villains is Clutch. And some nights you want to “Slide It In”, while others you want to “Drink to the Dead”.
Their grand opening party is this Thursday night at 7pm.
Jamie Reaume is a busy guy. Apart from playing several nights a week at various bars, taverns, pubs and clubs around town (including his own full on band jam night, Tuesday Night Music Club, at The Manchester Pub every Tuesday night), he’s also been a member of some of Windsor’s most popular and successful rock outfits. From the sonic melodicum of the under-rated Foreign Film Star to the power trio QOTSA-esque riffery of The Golden Eagles, from taking a step back from the spotlight to play guitar with Dave Russell & The Precious Stones, or putting together a new alt. rock supergroup called Awkward Sex (featuring members of One Man’s Opinion), Reaume eats, breathes and sleeps music. And for someone with a powerful set of lungs, he also has a heart equally as big.
Years ago, Reaume launched Winter Rose, a series of compilation albums put out to assist local Windsor charities. Consisting of donated tracks from various friend musicians, these were principally funded by Reaume himself in an effort to give back to the community who took him in from the mean streets of Chatham many years ago. While the Winter Rose compilations did really well, Reaume always wanted to do better.This Thursday, Reaume launches his latest CD, entitled City of Roses, with all monies raised going towards The Hospice of Windsor-Essex. Featuring new or unreleased tracks from local bands like Inoke Errati, One Man’s Opinion, The Hung Jury, Dave Russell, Vultures!, Tara Watts, Dusty (featuring Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe), Leighton Bain and more, as well as some vintage nuggets from bands like Blasternaut and Reaume’s own solo venture, Foreign Film Star.
This Thursday night, Reaume is throwing a CD release party for City of Roses at The Manchester Pub (546 Ouellette Ave.) and it’s going to be a rock and roll funfest, with live performances from two of the album’s contributors – Dave Russell (with The Precious Stones in tow) and Blasternaut – plus The Manchester’s resident Thursday night house band, Vice Aerial, a jam band supergroup featuring Daren Dobsky (Magic Hall of Mirrors, Is There A Band In The House?), Josh Zalev (Huladog, Mr. Chill & The Witnesses), Mark Calcott (Huladog, Theory of Everything) and Luke “Big Lou” Pelotte (The Crawford Yard, The Hung Jury, Theory of Everything). Tickets are $15 (which includes a copy of the CD), with all money going to the Hospice. Advance tickets are available at The Manchester or JamSpace. You can still attend without getting the CD, but there will be a $5 donation at the door.
TWZ recently spoke to Reaume about the compilation.
So tell us a bit about this latest compilation, City of Roses…
Jamie Reaume: It’s been around 6 years since I released the Winter Rose compilations, (and) I had an opportunity for corporate sponsorship with Blackburn Radio this time around and I wanted to showcase some of the talent Windsor has in it’s scene in 2011. The album is an amazing snapshot of one corner of Windsor’s scene, this easily could have been a double release. It was a pleasure to organize and I thank Blackburn Radio for their generous contributions.
You’ve done several charity compilations for Windsor before. Why do you think doing these kinds of things are worth doing?
JR: It’s a great way to get people to work together, hopefully this will be a spark for bands to play together, appreciate each other, go to more local shows, maybe even collaborate. We have so much talent in Windsor, this compilation’s mission is to expose that while at the same time bringing people together for a good cause with a local focus.
How did you go about with the line-up for this year’s CD?
JR: I really wanted to hand pick songs that I love from artists around Windsor and some cool friends from Sarnia and Toronto. If people had unreleased music I was all for that as well, we actually had some songs recorded or remixed for City Of Roses specifically, huge honour. When I received everyone’s track I stitched together a lovely ride for the listener starting at one end of the genre spectrum and calmly flowing through to the other end. Windsor is rich with songwriter’s and soundscapers, this compilation is proof of that.
What tracks stick out to you?
JR: Here are my Top 5: “American Primate” by Meters To Miles, because it has a brilliant catchy attitude. “Lolita” by The Hung Jury, because it crushes your chest, gigantic. “The Wander” by Between Blinks, because it’s about zombies, listen close. “The Ballad Of Ronnie Joe” by Dusty, because Dusty is epic and the song features Mr Chill on harp and he’s a bad, bad man. “The Hardest Part”, by Leighton Bain. a really great performance, beautiful voice.
What is it about Windsor that creates such musical diversity do you think?
JR: The musicians I know are really passionate and honest, often working on many projects at the same time. True colours burn the brightest and widest.
What have you got planned for the CD release party?
Dave Russell & the Precious Stones will be opening the night, Blasternaut follows, Vice Aerial finishes. Great bands, Great food, great drink at The Manchester with a bunch of friends. Sounds like a party.
City of Roses CD Release Party, featuring Dave Russell & The Precious Stones, Blasternaut and Vice Aerial, Thursday May 5, The Manchester Pub (546 Ouellette Ave.), 8pm, Tickets $15 (includes CD)
There’s really no need to get into the why of This Is War. All that really needs to be understood is the what of This Is War. The motivations and underlying concept deserves explaining, and we’ll talk about that later, but either way, once you hear this you’re going to at least tacitly understand what drove Scott Warren to put this thing together. You’re going to know Scott from around. You’ll probably have heard at least one of the bands he’s either fronted or played drums for in the last ten or fifteen years, be it Bombast, Lone Locust or more recently, Vultures!. You might also know him as one half of the production team behind the Rockerie, a fully functional studio that runs out of a warehouse on Windsor’s west side. I know Scott as the drummer who replaced me in the long-defunct Johnny El Camino, many years ago.
So Scott and I have stayed in touch. I suppose it’s sort of hard not to stay in touch with someone so active in such a small, local scene. But we’ve remained relatively close. Even if you’re not a fan of what Scott’s done musically, you’d be able to recognize that it’s good and that the man knows what he likes to hear which I have respect for.
You’d know this if you’ve heard any of his bands, but there’s a fairly consistent undercurrent there and it sounds a little like Queens of the Stone Age or the Foo Fighters. Maybe some Soundgarden and the more ‘tuneful’ aspects of the Melvins tossed in there for good measure. If it’s got Scott’s name attached to it, it’s rock and it might just have a nice, tasty hook in there too. Of course all of this depends on who he’s playing with at the time, but to use the tried and true music journalism cliche, his ‘output has been consistent’. A good sense for song craft? Check.
Scott and I had been tossing emails back and forth for a while; “Hey, let’s do this.”, “Why don’t we write some songs together?”, and so on. Scheduling can be a bitch, so nothing ever seemed to materialize. When you’re a musician in a smallish local scene where everyone knows everyone else, there is never any shortage of those drunken conversations on a Saturday night, where you pat each other on the back, extol the virtues of the other’s work and talk at length on how you should do something together in the future. That’s what this had been between Scott and I. Except sober. And via email. The point is that nothing ever seemed to work out.
And then the whole ‘This is War’ thing happened.
Ever the prolific promoter, Scott started tossing photos and posts out on the Facebook and if you were paying attention, you could tell that something interesting was going on. Pictures of amps and tracking sheets, song titles and updates from the studio. From what you could gather from the vague and sometimes cryptic little bits of information that Scott was pushing out, there were a couple of things happening: a) It’s a ‘solo’ album. b) It’s a ‘solo’ album in the loose sense of the word, and c) There’s going to be some impressive guests on this album.
This was more than enough to pique my curiosity as it would be an example of what the man can do without having to co-operate with anyone. If it’s his album, the involvement of others would be kept on a short leash. He’d be asking for help, but only asking those whose contributions would fit most closely with his intentions.
I know some of these guys. From what I could gather online, Andy Langmuir (Vultures!, Lone Locust, Bombast) was involved. As were Jeff Riley (Vultures!, Somatose) and David Allan (Explode When They Bloom, Poughboy, Cellos). There were a couple of allusions to some guest vocalists too, but until that point we’d been kept in the dark about who exactly those guests were. Details only trickled out, so we’re left wondering exactly what the scope of the whole thing is. Song titles like “Know That You Know Nothing” and “Easy Off”; Scott’s playing guitar; There’s 17 songs in the works…Then I get this email, two days after Valentine’s:
“Wrote a track on Sunday for my album that can only be executed by you. Interested?”
Fuck yes, I’m interested.
I had dropped the more traditional idea of collaborating with Scott when This is War started happening; the man was busy doing his own thing, exercising his own demons and I didn’t want to get in the way of that. So now I’m being invited into the fold. Neat-o. Shortly after this exchange I was sent a track via Soundcloud and it was not at all what I was expecting. In hindsight, I hadn’t really known what to expect, but this was not it.
Heavy. Noisy. Bizarre. “September’s Whore” plays out like some kind of Morse Code nightmare in slow motion, with an undercurrent of static that breaks into a sort of catchy, sort of morose chorus. Wrap it up with some more static and then do the whole thing again. I’m left scratching my head and thinking ‘what in the name of Christ am I going to sing over this’ and then the pressure is on. Scott knows what I’m capable of, and he knows my particular limitations, and this is what he sends me. Okay. Game time.
Time passes, and as is par for our course we miss some connections here and there and I started to fret about whether or not my ‘grown up’ schedule was going to allow me to contribute to this. I want to be in the studio with Scott, and I want my name somewhere on the behemoth that this album is eventually going to be, but I don’t want to hold him up. My understanding is that things are rolling along and it’s becoming a beast with seventeen heads and if I stall too much longer I’m going to miss my boat.
Somewhere along the line I have a conversation with the drummer in my band, who had just contributed to This is War. “It’s fucking good”. He describes a carefully constructed and apocalyptic motherfucker of an album that can be a bit overwhelming. There are some heavy guitars at play, and even more heavy emotions. Some kind of hard-boiled fist fuck of an album that demonstrates Scott taking a troublesome situation and turning into some troublesome art.
The man got dealt a shitty hand some time ago and if you’re Scott Warren, when life hands you shit-lemons, you forgo the lemonade altogether and make a cathartic concept album about the road from losing what you think is everything, to rebuilding and then coming back stronger in the end. So now the heat is on not only to schedule some studio time with the man, but to put an appropriately troublesome/apocalyptic/hard-boiled stamp on it.
Fuck. What am I getting involved in here?
Pulling up in front of the Rockerie is an interesting experience. Hidden inside a dry storage warehouse, which itself is tucked away on a side street in the west end, you get the sense that you’re entering into some kind of near-future, post-industrial crime drama, where gritty detectives duke it out with gang members in abandoned warehouses. It’s Robocop. Or one of the sets from that shitty ‘93 Emilio Estevez movie Judgment Night. Scott met me at the padlocked gate and we wound our way up some stairs and past palettes loaded with odds and ends on their way to supermarkets and distributors. It’s cold. It’s got a concrete floor. And it’s lifeless, except for Scott, myself and a single dove who has taken up residence in the rafters somewhere. A door on the other side of the big room opens into a modest, but fully functional and professional two room recording studio and then the whole thing makes a bit more sense.
The studio itself reflects a little bit of the building, which in turn reflects a little bit back on the region. Let’s not forget that this is Windsor, so it’s apropos that you’d be recording in a semi-run down warehouse, in a semi-run down part of town. Moreover, it’s an album about losing shit and then getting shit back, written and recorded in a town that some might say has lost it’s shit and is also in the process of getting it’s shit back. Let’s not wax too poetic here, but the whole thing works on a couple of interesting levels. And I’m thinking all this before we even get started…
He plays me a couple of tracks and I’ve got to admit, I’m a little struck by exactly how all over the place this thing is. And not ‘all over the place’ in a scattered sort of way, but like a mix tape put together by someone with a very keen ear for the last twenty years of rock music. In terms of construction, they don’t get any more polar opposite than “September’s Whore” (the Sturm and Drang doom parade that I’ll be on) and “The Pinkest Slip”. The latter struck me as one of the prettiest, saddest things I’d heard in a while; all acoustic strumming over layers of hypnotic synths and percussion sounds. He’s got softly sung (and apparently improvised) lyrics over a bed of dreamy psych-balladry. Quiet. Bittersweet. Great.
We start talking about the way things have been coming together for This is War and it becomes even more apparent that Scott is putting everything he’s got into this. There’s not only an emotional attachment to the songs that are brewing, but it’s all being done at the expense of considerable time and energy too. I’m sure that the ‘giving birth’ analogy gets tossed around much more than it should, but the way Scott frames this album is such that it’s an incredibly apt description; A whole lot of blood, some pushing and then wham… something brand new is laid out on the table.
And then we start talking about what we’re going to do, cloistered away in a building that feels a lot like the apocalypse happened, on a gorgeous afternoon when we should be on picnics and flying kites. Before the headphones even go on we talk about evil, and making people uncomfortable with sound. We talk about biblical imagery, noise and how best to capture something that’s going to hopefully gnaw at people a little bit. Maybe even scare them too.
Without sounding too presumptuous, that’s exactly what happened.
Working with Scott was an interesting experience; we discussed things and there were intentions laid out before he hit the record button, but inside of this there was a whole element of surprise and chance at play. We tried things, hooked up old, dirty microphones to old, dirty amps; we tried singing in one room, then another and then we tried getting me to move around the studio, we tried whispering and howling and adding effects to the whole mess. In the end, what was sent to my email inbox the next day sounded an awful lot like what you would expect the Southern Baptist idea of a day of reckoning to sound like. Dense, heavy and scary-as-fuck.
And now we wait.
He’s got the beast trimmed down to a lean 13 songs from the 17 he wrote in the first place. A couple more guest spots and then his own vocals and the it’s done. There are rumblings that a live show might be in the offing, but let’s deal with one thing at a time. It remains to be seen exactly how this thing is going to be released, but I can guarantee you’re going to want to hear it.
There is no shortage of wispy singer songwriter types around, strumming some BS and trying to give us all a taste of what they’ve got going on inside. Emoting and strumming and emoting some more. The pool of solo talent is a shallow one, lacking in anything remotely interesting. But this is a little different.
When you see Mr. Warren around town this weekend, buy him a drink and start harassing him about when you’re going to be able to hear this album that he’s been cooking up. Trust me, it’s going to be worth it.