This Saturday December 1st punk rock and rollers The Lucky Ones will be coming down to Windsor from St. Catharines to rock Villains Beastro. Get ready for booze chuggin’ anthems that’ll make you want to get up and move. They are bringing their Stumble Records label mates Take Drugs from Toronto. Also, making their local debut, Windsor’s own The Line Drawn. Admission to this show is $10 at the door and doors open at 9 p.m.
After listening to Toronto band catl’s newest album Soon This Will All be Gone, I expected the frontman to be some wild man who would talk so fast I’d have a hard time keeping up. So I entered our phone interview with a bit of trepidation.
What I was met with surprised me.
Jamie is just a really laid-back guy, happy to answer questions about his band, and quick to chuckle during a conversation.
But that chill attitude is likely to change once he gets on stage at Phog Lounge on Friday night.
“It’s kind of a party atmosphere,” he says, “that’s kind of our thing. You know, the music is simple enough that people wanna dance to it, and that’s what we want.”
Jamie is one of three members that comprise catl. His job is mainly vocals and guitar, and he is backed up by Andrew Moszynski on drums and Sarah K handling vocals and any other thing the band decides to toss in.
Catl’s unique sound is largely defined by Jamie’s style of guitar playing, the product of an unfortunate accident.
“I actually picked up that finger-pickin’-country-blues-hill style back years back,” he says, “I hurt my hand really badly in an accident and I kinda had to change the way I had to play. It actually freed up the one damaged hand and made me play more with my right picking hand, so it’s kind of a forced entry into that situation.”
Jamie also credits his love of music from the 1920s and 30s for much of catl’s sound.
As much as a country band from Toronto might seem a bit odd, the frontman believes that where he calls home doesn’t matter, as long as he’s honest with his writing.
“I think everybody can relate to it. The morals, good and bad, or good and evil, it’s a light and dark kind of thing,” Jamie explains, “You can tell where we’re from, if you look a little further into the lyrics. Like, I do have those urban references in there for sure.”
The band’s most recent album was released in April, and half of it was actually recorded right across the river at Jim Diamond’s studio in Detroit.
“It’s great going down there, and he just has a sound, and we go in there and do our thing, and he does his thing, and that’s the way it comes out,” Jamie says of Diamond’s recording technique, “You know, his studio kind of sounds like it sounds, you know, we don’t have much input into that, we just write the songs and play the instruments, and I kind of like that relationship, and he knows exactly what he’s doing.”
For this weekend’s show, catl will be joined by Detroit music veteran Danny Kroha of The Gories, who will be opening the show with his traditional blues style. Kroha contributed some harmonica to catl’s latest record, and the band is hoping he’ll join them for a bit on stage, as well.
For catl’s first visit to Windsor in two years, the band is really hoping to see a good turnout, and promise to deliver a drunkenly good time to all who attend.
Catl and Danny Kroha will be playing Phog Lounge on Friday, November 9, 2012. Doors are at 10 pm, 19+ are welcome, and admission is $5 at the door.
Recorded with Brett Humber at Sound Foundry Studios in Kingsville, drummer Justin Tessier and guitarist/vocalist Tarek Jafar are trying to send a message to radio stations. After the release of their first self-titled EP they mailed copies to every college radio station in the country, and did not exactly love the responses.
“We don’t really try to focus on genre specifics when we’re making music,” says Tessier, “we submitted [the first] CD to a lot of college stations, and we got a lot of response back saying that they didn’t necessarily want to have such poppy music.”
This was not a problem, apparently, for submission shows like NXNE and CMW, as these guys earned themselves slots in both festivals. Doing so may not have been everything they dreamed, though.
“If you are gonna play CMW or NXNE because you wanna start exploding in Toronto or on the Canadian music scene, I don’t think that’s the proper way to go about it,” said Tessier, “It’s a good, what Tarek and I like to call a resume show. It’s good to be able to tell people in the industry, like booking agents or record labels, if you’re into that sort of thing, that you’ve played these shows. And that means a lot to them because it’s a submission show. It’s like, we were good enough to get in.”
Tessier and Jafar will admit that there are merits to doing these sorts of shows, but they will put a caveat on that. To other bands hoping to play festivals like this, look at it as a networking opportunity, rather than the chance to make your career.
But even with the success of being chosen for submission shows, The Blue Stones were still looking to improve. The replies to their music from college stations had stuck with them.
“We understand that we’re not in any way an out-there radical band,” Tessier continued, “But we didn’t like the pop responses. Some stations that are playing some of our favourite bands weren’t playing us, and that was kind of bugging us.”
So back into the studio they went, this time to Sound Foundry out in Kingsville.
“It was an awesome process. Oh my god, it was so much fun going out there,” gushes Tessier, “It’s just so cool that he’s got this studio out in the county where you can just relax, you know. You do a couple takes and then you get a little worn out, you go outside, and it’s just beautiful. Summer in the county, and there’s birds everywhere, and just, you know, green as far as you can see.”
This was a huge difference from the back of an off-hours metal shop in Toronto, where the first album was recorded. The tracking environment can be considered a big influence on this new disc, one that could possibly help Jafar and Tessier get the response they are after.
“So this next album, it’s called How’s That Sound,” explains Tessier, “It’s almost a response to these stations that said ‘you guys are too poppy’. So we went and we made an edgier sound. We used a lot of analogue stuff, we didn’t do any digital processing with the guitars or anything, which we did on the first album, and now it’s going to be a response. We’re gonna send it back and say how’s that sound?”
Check out The Blue Stones when they release How’s That Sound along with Menos Mal and The Tyres on Saturday, Novemeber 3rd at FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W, main level). The show begins at 10 pm, 19+ are welcome, and admission is $5 at the door.
Coming into it’s fourth year, 2012;s annual Phog Phest is getting ready to be the show of the summer, even if it is coming in at the tail end of it.
Held in the venue’s parking lot at the corner of University Ave. W. and Victoria, this outdoor show is open to all ages, and will be making noise for twelve hours in Downtown Windsor on Saturday, September 15th.
With gates opening at noon, the first hour and a half of the day will be dedicated to budding bands from Windsor’s Jam Space Academy, which helps bring together musicians between ages twelve and eighteen, and coaches them in the art of stage performance. Jam Academy Bands will include; 9 Volt, 24 Sussex, Arcadia, Jinx, Lawless, Lost Weekend, and Tremors.
In addition to this group of up-and-comers, the rest of the day will be filled with some of the best local talent to be found, mingled with out-of-towners who have proven themselves to be fan favourites.
Phog’s blog has a full list of bands, complete with links, descriptions, and visuals, if you care to take a look, but here is a listing of what you’ll find should you decide to stop by (complete with freshly released set times!);
Jam Space Bands (Windsor) – 12:20
Learning (Windsor) – 2:10
Cellos (Windsor) – 3:00
Gypsy Chief Goliath (Windsor) – 3:50
Cobra & Vulture (Montreal) – 4:55
Club Thunderbolt (Windsor) – 5:55
The unquiet dead (Windsor) – 6:55
Vultures? (Windsor) – 7:55
New Country Rehab (Toronto) – 8:50
James O-L and The Villains (Windsor) – 9:55
Rural Alberta Advantage (Toronto) – 11:00
Tickets for Phog Phest 4 can be bought at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. W.), from the UWSA office at the University of Windsor, or from any participating local bands.
CJAM 99.1 FM, Windsor-Detroit’s campus-community radio station is also giving them out periodically this week, so stay tuned in for your chance to call and win. The numbers are;
Windsor – 519-971-3636
Detroit – 1-855-DIG-CJAM
In addition to music, there will be other various activities taking place in the parking lot, fun for the whole family at this all-ages event.
This Saturday, July 14th will mark the end of hardcore “super group” Repetitions. With members from previous and current bands, The Posers, P.F.O.D., The Heatseeking Moisture Missiles, and Follow The Leader to name a few. The band started in January of 2011 and was fortunate enough to play in some pretty killer line ups, which included Napalm Death, Jucifer and Spiderfest 2011 featuring Canadian punk rock legends Random Killing and The Ripcordz. Repetitions have also played with countless great bands all around Southern Ontario, not to mention many amazing local bands such as, Disco Assault, Gypsy Chief Goliath, The Vaudevillianaires, Get Bent, Suppressulant, and the list goes on.
This Saturday for their last show, they have chosen bands who have played a major role in their short but successful run. The bill includes, Poison Spur (St. Thomas), Gatgas (London), The Syndrome (London) and local friends/brothers Valerie Page and Devilz By Definition. The show will take place at the legendary Coach and Horses in downtown Windsor, which is appropriate as each of the band’s members call this bar home in some way. It is also where Repetitions got their start and played not only their first show, but many memorable shows after.
The show’s admission is $5 to help get the out of town bands home, but with a line up like this it is well worth it. Repetitions would like to thank each and everyone of those who has ever attended a live show, bought merchandise, or even just took the time to listen to the album online. Repetitions would also like to thank Alex “Yeti Bones” Petrovich for an amazing job on recording the album. What are the members of Repetitions going to do now? You’ll have to wait and see but there are great things coming, we can tell you that much.
On behalf of Jay, Sean, Stef and Jill, thank you so much for all of your support. We appreciate all you’ve done for us.
Vesperia has been playing shows for a number of years under the moniker Bolero, be in recent weeks have made the decision to change their name in reflection alteration in band disposition and members. The first release under this name, The Swordsman, proves that the band is still sticking with their initial influences, the only change is they are turning things up to eleven.
Pulling from thrash and black metal, as well as tossing in some traditional folk, these guys have a sound comparative to Alestorm or Eluveitie.
Intense arrangements of deep, guttural vocals, pummeling drums, lightning-fast guitars, and driving bass make for tunes that entices ardent ale swilling and violent windmilling.
Joining them on their journey across Ontario is Crimson Shadows, a band who decided their music scene was lacking a certain sound, and have successfully brought it forth, in their combination of death and power metal.
They have seamlessly blended the speed and intricacies of death metal with the melodies and clarity of power metal. Listening through Glory on the Battlefield you’ll find multiple variations in vocal stylings, helping to keep things fresh from track to track. Guitars aren’t destroyed by distortion, and fit in nicely with a tight drum sound and rolling bass tone. The songs themselves all flow nicely, sweeping through 4 solid tracks.
Locals also on the bill are Final Stage, a well known power metal outfit that has been around forever, despite numerous lineup changes. As well, show-goers will be hearing from Aeron’s Wake, unique in our scene for the use of fiddle, and Nepenthe, who made their debut last month opening up for Cryptopsy with their melodic death metal tracks.
Vesperia, Crimson Shadows, Final Stage, Aeron’s Wake, and Nepenthe will be playing at The Dominion House Tavern (3140 Sandwich St.) on Saturday, June 9th. Doors are at 7pm, tickets are $7ADV/$10ATD, and 19+ are welcome.
This Friday night the city’s best all-ages venue, Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. W.), will be holding a show for the record books.
Coming off of two shows at Canadian Music Week, Toronto’s indie-pop favourites Paint will be making a stop in town. A concoction of The Smiths and a solidified My Bloody Valentine, this is a group that seems more reminiscent of 80’s British alternative rock than the genre’s American counterparts. There is, however, a definite dash of modernity to their sound.
The band’s most recent album, Where We Are Today, was recorded by Ian Smith at Catherine North Studios, where other artists like Gord Downie and Feist have recorded. A collection of moving songs presented in an open, un-assaulting way that makes for a pleasurable listening experience, the live show is sure to be great.
Milk patrons will also have the chance to hear from Katlina and The Gracious, who are currently touring with Paint. This is a group sincere in it’s love for music, and that really shows through in the songs. Katlina started off in metal bands before finding her voice in acoustic-based stylings, and the outcome is simply tremendous. Rich and authentic vocals in songs that draw you in and hold you tight for the duration, this is a set that fans of Crissi Cochrane and Tony Coates won’t want to miss.
There are local bands on this bill as well, Windsor’s very own clash or Foo Fighters and SUM 41, State of Us will be showing off their stuff, as well as Bleach. This is a local band that doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Classic rock style vocals and an overall sound of what Billy Talent would be if they knew how to rock like only kids from Windsor can.
Catch Paint, Katlina and The Gracious, State of Us, and Bleach at Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. W.) on Friday, March 30th at 9 pm. Admission is $5 at the door and all ages are welcome.
Harrow is a small town about 40 minutes south of Windsor. Hailing from here is a heavy metal band, After Ashes. This is a group that takes influence from all corners of the metal genre, and their new demo, Broken Culture is a great reflection of their diversity.
The opening track Fictional Diet is very Lamb of God inspired, while Sweet Relief has more of a Black Dahlia Murder feel, and the title track brings out the prog in a 7 minute epic with vocals that are a mix of power and death metal.
Recorded at with Brett Humber at Sound Foundry Studio is Kingsville, this album is fast, tight, and technical. Playing styles from track to track are diverse, but hold the common theme of being heavy, fast, and in your face.
This young band is clearly dedicated to their craft, and in their debut recording is just a start, as I am certain they’ve yet to reach their full potential as individual musicians and as a band.
Their new demo will be officially released this Friday, January 20, 2012 at The Coach and Horses (156 Chatham St. W, Basement Level) along with scene staples Reasons Lost and the aggressive fucking thrash metal stylings of Weapon of Choice.
There’s a buzz in the air around Windsor, and if you are a part of its thriving music scene, chances are you’ve heard the news.
It’s called 4 on the Floor and it’s a documentary to be filmed in Windsor, all about the local music scene. Says director of the project, Jeffrey David (Wicked Angel, Jeffrey David’s BLUES CONNECTION), “This is for Windsor and the many talented musicians who are here or have come and gone. And it’s for the rest of the world to see.”
What’s being filmed is an experiment of sorts. Four musicians from bands in Windsor, who have never previously worked together, will be thrown on stage with their instruments for a live jam. In fact, these four musicians do not know who they will be grouped up with at the show on Saturday night. When asked what the criteria was for choosing the four musicians for the documentary, JD revealed that “it was not so much based on criteria… I think they will be an excellent representation of how I perceive a group might react in the situation they will be placed in. I would say their [musical] backgrounds are similar. Then again, a great deal of music can be traced back to similar beginnings.”
What they come up with musically will be entirely improvised. The goal of this film is simple: To demonstrate that music is a universal language, and to showcase Windsor’s rich musical history, both past and present.
In addition to footage of the experiment itself, the documentary promises to contain interviews with popular local musicians, music stores, radio personalities, and venue owners. JD and his crew are also putting out the call to Windsor bands for their footage and photos. “We are asking for submissions from local artists to include in the film.”
So what’s to become of a film made about Windsor by a team of Windsorites? According to Jeffrey David, there are big plans for 4 on the Floor. “We hope to enter the film into a number of festivals this year. I would like to see it completed in the first quarter. Some of this will depend on the amount of material we film and the number of submissions. It’s really picking up momentum quickly, which is great.”
The experiment will take place this Saturday, January 14th, at The FM Lounge on the corner of Chatham and Ferry downtown. At 9:00 pm the audience will be treated to music made on the spot by four local musicians who have never worked together. Stick around after the filming and enjoy some open mic hosted by AcousticFire (Dave Bracewell).
Did Windsor’s beast of a music scene inspire the creation of this documentary? As JD put it, “…some really cool things have gone on here through the years. And I’m wondering how many people here have no idea. And if we don’t, nobody does. This film is going to change that.”
For more information about the event, or to find out how to submit photos, footage or music from your Windsor band, check out these handy links.
It has already been announced that Windsor’s newest decet, The Unquiet Dead will be performing as part of Canadian Music Week in Toronto in March 2012, but another local act will soon be added to theoster, pending the outcome of Friday night’s Road Runner Records Sign Me To Showcase.
For only $10 fans can see 11 acts compete for a spot in CMW 2012. The show will take place at The Dominion House Tavern (3140 Sandwich st.) and tickets are on sale from bands now, but are selling out quickly.
The showcase will be split into two halves; the first will run from 5 pm until 9 pm and will be all ages. The second half will begin at 9 and run until 1:30 am. This bit is only for those 19 and up, but one ticket provides access to both halves.
Part one will feature bands on the lighter end of the musical spectrum, starting off with pop group HelloAudio. This is a group that has played with West-Coast dance-pop sensations These Kids Wear Crowns, and who plan on releasing their first full length in 2012.
Shortcut to Last have been receiving a fair bit of attention this year, releasing an album, a slip ‘n’ slide themed music video to their first single Two Minutes in Heaven off the album of the same title, and playing numerous shows in the area. Their Bowling for Soup-esque sound is always a crowd pleaser, with pop-punky and upbeat rhythms drawing audiences and winning over new fans at every show.
With a new band member and new EP, We Can Be Heroes will be vying for a spot at CMW 2012 with their brand of dancey-pop-punk. Catchy Synth Loops and crunchy guitars create interest and define the sound of this young band.
The Tragedy of Mariam are an eclectic group that take influence from pop, punk, alternative, and hardcore bands. The result is similar to an edgier Yellowcard with more heart. They recently opened for Silverstein when they visited Windsor.
To finish off the first half of the night is female lead, heavy metal prog-rock outfit Perpetuate. With keys, operatic vocals, and intricate playing, this is a group that has carved a place for itself in the local scene, and can be found on bills with varying genres. Their first, self-titled album was released in April of this year and is currently being distributed by CDN Records.
From here the night moves into the 19+ portion of the showcase.
Against All Evil is a new band who have been “silently creating their EP at SLR Studios”. Featuring members from Richie Nix, Radio Adelaide, and Thieves in Remand, this is their second show after opening for Mic Lordz and sauce Funky in November. Pop infused alt-rock that is ready for the radio, this band is half The Black Maria and half Fallout Boy. The sort of music that you can’t really call out for having anything wrong with it, except that maybe the melodies get stuck in your head.
Slaughterhouse on the Prairie haven’t been around for as long as some bands on this bill, but by relentless playing they have built themselves a strong local fan base. Now a fixture in the city’s metal scene, they are currently working on recording at Spectre Sound Studios.
One of Windsor’s more successful acts in recent years, Assassinate the Following… will join the bill as well. Playing progressive heavy metal with passion and heart, ATF… have toured with Protest the Hero and Abandon All Ships, and their 2009 album Massacre of the North is available through CDN Records.
A local classic, Betrayer has a history of winning battle of the bands competitions, so it will be interesting to see how their practised, old-school metal fares against such an eclectic group of more modern-sounding bands. But regardless of the night’s outcome, Betrayer is always a group worth seeing, with defined stage presence and no question as to what they’re about musically.
Ravenscode is another band in it’s infancy, but one that has found itself an audience in the Theory-of-a-Nickle-Creed fan base. After sprouting from a cover band in early 2011, they have spent this year touring Ontario and using their style of radio-friendly, crisp, alternative rock to win over audiences.
Another relatively new band, King Misfit is comprised of guys from Windsor, LaSalle, and Amherstburg. Epic, symphonic, and progressive, they’re like a less-heavy Dream Evil, and their vocalist even sounds a bit like Niklas Islefdt. They released their debut album Under Ancient Ground in the spring, and this is their second area show since then. Their songs are long, sweeping, dynamic pieces of polished rock that are very listener friendly.
Good luck to all bands participating in Friday night’s showcase, and hopefully music fans will take advantage of such a stellar lineup and go show their support for their favourites.
Road Runner Records Sign Me To Windsor Showcase takes place on Friday, December 16th and The Dominion House Tavern (3140 Sandwich St.). Tickets are $10 ADV/$15 ATD, and provide access to both halves of the show. Part 1 begins at 5 pm, is all ages, and features HelloAudio, Shortcut to Last, We Can Be Heroes, The Tragedy of Mariam, and Perpetuate. Part 2 begins at 9 pm, is 19+, and features Against All Evil, Slaughterhouse on the Prairie, Assassinate the Following…, Betrayer, Ravenscode, and King Misfit.
Visit The Loop (156 Chatham St. W. Upper Level) this Friday, November 25th for a look at some of Windsor’s finest alterative bands.
Betrayer has been part of the scene for years, is in fact one of the city’s longest-running acts. After winning a number of battle of the band competitions and doing a fair amount of touring in Ontario, they took the better part of 2010 off, but returned earlier this year with a new member and new material. Since then, they have tirelessly played shows across Southern Ontario.
With the sound of a classic metal band, Betrayer is a throwback to the traditional sounds of Iron Maiden and Megadeth, while still keeping their own sound and style of song writing. A far cry from the guttural vocals of many meta acts happening today, frontman Jeff Klingbeil’s style of singing is smooth and rich, operatic, and clearly practiced.
Joining them onstage is another long-standing local group, Pitch Union. Also with vocals that stand out, this band has a lot more to offer, too. Their live performance commands attention as the room is filled by kaleidoscopic music with a distinct edge. The vertex between 70‘s psychedelic and modern alternative metal, Pitch Union has been playing shows since 2004, and there is definitely a reason they’re still drawing crowds seven years later.
The third and final band on Friday night’s bill is a newer one, post-grunge progressive outfit Awake to a Dream. And, despite the name, their music has nothing to do with the film Inception. Instead, they’re blending sounds from the early 90s with modern progressive rock. The outcome is an eclectic styling of music that takes unexpected turns in genre and structure. Live performance by Awake to a Dream is generally amusing with it’s between-song banter, group members “quitting” mid show, and the possibility of a ukulele solo. Also keep in mind that these guys will be releasing their first album on New Year’s Eve at The Coach and Horses.
Betrayer, Pitch Union, and Awake to a Dream will be playing at The Loop (156 Chatham St. W, Upper Level) this Friday, November 25th. Admission is free, doors open at 9 pm, and you must be at least 19 to attend.
Sept. 30 – October 8: Harvesting The FAM Festival showcases Windsor’s Creative Community with it’s 6th installment
What a difference five years can make. It was five years ago, in the summer of 2006, when two local creative types – film maker Ben Young Hart and artist/musician Murad Erzinclioglu – beginning looking for new and bigger avenues to showcase their crafts (Young Hart’s film “Hot Tw*t” and both Murad’s experimental electronic project (wh)y.m.e.(??) and his visual art). As plans for the multi-media screening, performance and art opening begin to unfold (the show was initially intended to also feature art from “Hot Tw*t” production artist Maryam Yousif), it also explodes. The duo meet up with former UWSA Director of Student Life and local promoter Meghan Carbone and low and behold, Harvesting The FAM Festival was born. Windsor’s largest inter-arts community festival was hatched.
After months of planning, Harvesting the FAM Festival launched in January of 2007 as a one-day, ten hour festival, incorporating all three levels of the CAW Student Centre at the University of Windsor. Film screenings by area film makers, art exhibits by local visual artists, as well as non-stop musical performances by such various acts as Measured In Angles, MicLordz & Sauce Funky, Ron Leary, Days Fade, The Hung Jury, Portia, FURS, and Explode When They Bloom made the first foray into Windsor’s creative collective conscious since GreenArtsFest folded in the late ’90s.
The desire to top the success of the first festival was immediate and plans were sped up to make Harvesting The FAM Festival II happen in the fall of 2007, just eight months after it’s first inception. Working once again with the University of Windsor, an outdoor stage was added to expand FAM’s presence on the campus. More and more screenings of new local film makers, more visual arts displays and even more musical performances ensued, this time from such acts as The Golden Hands Before God, The Locusts Have No King, VEX, Orphan Choir, Lodown, Lone Locust, Kero, What Seas What Shores and Two for the Cascade, as well as returning FAMily members Measured In Angles, Portia, Tara Watts and James O-L & The Famous Last Words. Musically, the show saw double the features of the first installment, going from 12 to 25 films, 30 to 45 visual artists and 21 to 35 musical acts. It also marked the first involvement with local fashion designers.
Despite the growing success of the Festival – with an increase in crowd and community support – the University decides to withdraw backing of the festival and organizers (now beyond just the principle duo to involve a team of community volunteers) decide to move future festivals to the downtown core and instill the idea that the festival should happen once annually rather than the previous idea of it happening twice annually.
Harvesting The FAM III ran from September 12 to 14, 2008 in downtown Windsor, incorporating the live music venues that have nurtured original music in town – Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), The Loop Complex (The FM Lounge, The Coach & Horses and The Loop, 156 Chatham St. West) and Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Ave. West) – as well as coffee shops, art galleries and more to make the downtown core a central celebratory hub for Windsor’s vibrant creative communities to showcase their talents to the rest of the city. The additional days allowed for more freedom of shows and again the roster increased, to 30 films, 60 artists and a staggering 80 musical acts, including new additions Michou, The Peace Leeches, Salt of the Chief Cornerstone, Perilelle, and The Square Root of Margaret, plus multiple returnees from the prior two festivals.
In 2009, Harvesting The FAM IV continued to strengthen the realities of the downtown core being the central breeding ground for original new music (although more and more venues outside of downtown are realizing the strength of original new local music). There was the usual cast of local music star power (The Locusts Have No King, James O-L & The Villains, Tara Watts, Square Root of Margaret, Sledgehammer, etc.) as well as notable FAM debuts for The Stand Stills, The Golden Eagles, The Vaudevillianaires, Magic Hall of Mirrors, Silent Movie Type, and Which Witch. It also marked the debut of the FAM Fashion show at the Loop, with electronica music composed by local artists Kero, VEX and FURS. One of the co-ordinators for the 2009 festival, Emily Copeland from CJAM 99.1 FM, also organized some hip-hop and electronic symposiums featuring many Detroit electronic and hip-hop artists at Empire Lounge (now Untouchables).
Last year, Harvesting The FAM V exploded with even more films, art showings and yes, more live music! Indie pop favourites Yellow Wood and metal icons fiftywatthead were welcomed additions to the now week long endeavour. It also marked memorable FAM debuts for Years of Ernest, Surdaster, Red Rows and Red Red Run, as well as amazing sets by surprise national touring acts Hot Panda (from Edmonton) and the unforgettable entrance from My Son The Hurricane (from Vancouver). Carried by the reliable sounds of veteran FAMilia The Locusts Have No King, George Manury, Monique Belanger, ASK, Explode When They Bloom, Eric Welton Band, The Vaudevillianaires, shinje and much more, the FAM festival officially became the once a year “can’t miss” festival for fans and musicians alike.
This year’s line-up for Harvesting The FAM VI – running from September 30 until October 8 – continues to grow on it’s humble beginnings from the University of Windsor, including the addition of two new live music venues joining the cast of host sites – The Dugout (300 Ouellette Ave.) and Villains Beastro (256 Pellisier St.). Learning the lesson of “less is more”, the event is scaled back slightly, with just over 50 acts performing, one day of film screenings (October 4th at Milk Coffee Bar), and two venues showcasing art exhibits (Milk and Phog) throughout the duration of the festival. A more concentrated festival means that less ground needs to be covered and people can access much more of the festival. Musically, this year’s festival features the long awaited return to the Windsor music scene of Salt of the Chief Cornerstone and The Sean Connery Supergroup, FAM debuts from acts such as The Blue Stones, Repititions, Dave Russell, RYE, Cellos and Diesel Junkies, plus local heavyweights such as Surdaster, The Locusts Have No King, Orphan Choir, Poughboy, The Nefidovs, The Vaudevillianaires, Kaycce Closed, Kero, Vultures?, Explode When They Bloom, The Rowley Estate, Jae Cyphe, Years of Ernest, James O-L & The Villains, Two for the Cascade and much much more! Also, this year’s festival is dedicated to memory of Bradford Helner (who played several previous FAM festivals), the local musician who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly a month ago.
The great things about FAM Festival is that there are many waves of FAM. One is the familiarity of the faces you see every year: be it the amazing bands who only get consistently stronger in their crafts, or the fellow music lovers in the audience. Another is the camaraderie shown by all the musicians who frequent each show. And another is the unpredictability of the “debuting” bands. Who can forget the debut of little-known Death or Comber at Milk in 2008 (or Shawn Daniel at the same venue in 2009), where people where pouring out onto the street, the walls of the small venue unable to contain the bodies who had come across this amazing new act. Or the unparalleled entrance from funk maestros My Son The Hurricane to their show last year at the Loop when they marched up Chatham Street playing horns and drums, announcing their own arrival?
FAM Festival has truly become an annual rite of passage for the local Windsor music scene – the scene that creates their own songs, who play the “dives” or seedy parlours that day-folk scorn, just to get their songs heard. Sometimes they play for $100s of dollars, but mostly it’s for enough to cover their bar tab – but hey, at least it’s not “Sweet-fucking-Caroline”. The FAM Festival becomes that celebration that their is a collective group – whether their playing thrash metal or hip-hop – of individuals in this community who thrive on creating music, regardless if they’re making money of it. They tour, many of them outside of Windsor-Essex, they sell CD’s, sell on iTunes – but they all love to create. If you’ve ever wanted to truly taste the music (as well as films, art, fashion and more) that is truly coming out of Windsor-Essex county, this is the festival to check out. Not only is the entire festival free to the public, but there is literally a taste of something for everyone, from rock and roll to hip hop, heavy metal to folk, blues to electronic. These aren’t musicians covering songs from British or American bands – these are musicians telling their own stories, stories cultivated right here in Windsor-Essex. And what tales we have to tell.
Welcome to the FAMily.
Harvesting The FAM Festival takes place throughout downtown Windsor from Friday September 30 until Saturday October 8. All events are FREE to the public. Check the website here for complete listings and line-ups for all musical acts, film screenings, art exhibits and fashion shows.
Sat. Sept. 17 – Phog Phest returns for its third year (or, How The Little Venue That Could Became The Little Venue That Did)
When Phog Lounge – the little venue that could – won the CBC Radio 3 Searchlight contest for Canada’s Best Live Music Venue (an on-line voting across all of Canada to determine the best live music venue in the nation) a collective “What the fuck?” was heard for miles (and provinces) around. By all definition – and no offence to either owners Tom Lucier or Frank Incitti – Phog shouldn’t have been anywhere close. It’s stage is minimal and barely fits a three piece band, let alone a band the size of The Unsettlers or Five Alarm Funk. It’s capacity is 65 people which is nearly half the size of some of the venues a LOT of the acts that come through there usually play (such as The Pack AD, Tokyo Police Club, Julie Doiron, Arkells, and Yukon Blonde over past years). There is only a small PA for bands to work with and there’s no one there to do sound – unless one of the patrons at load in time knows how to work the board for you. And let’s not discuss the bathrooms, shall we?
But you know what helped push this little orange shack to the highest vote getter across all of Canada, ahead of such legendary venues as The Horseshoe Tavern, El Macombo, Black Sheep Inn, Call The Office, The Commodore Ballroom, or La Sala Rossa? The Phog Spirit. That’s what. What is the Phog Spirit? It is a genuine feeling of intimacy and loyalty that Phog’s patrons have. They will take chances on bands they have never heard of simply because they trust Tom’s instincts when it comes to booking great Canadian indie music. And while he usually gravitates to the indie rock/alt. folk circuits, he doesn’t exactly shy away from metal, hip-hop or punk. On nights where no live music is present, many a soul spends their last few hours of the evening exchanging entertaining quips and banter with bartenders like “Big Joe” O’Brien or the dour Frank. There are people who go to Phog to play Scrabble with the same ferver someone else might go to see Eric’s Trip‘s Julie Doiron. And many out of town acts – such as Lindy, The Schomberg Fair, Wax Mannequin or Square Root of Margaret – often get mistaken by some casual listeners or goers as Windsor acts because of how often they make the trek to Phog to play. They’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the owners and staff, the patience, attentiveness and respect shown by those in attendance, and the sheer good times and balls-to-the-wall party vibes Windsor can exude (seriously, tour out of town or travel, and in a lot of “big” cities, people are marveled at how much alcohol Windsorites can consume on a regular basis and with abnormal haste). A small tightly knit community – and lots of ex-patriots and touring acts – voted daily for weeks and weeks to show their support for their little indie watering hole. One by one the big names dropped from the contest – people voting for Lee’s Palace or Zaphod Beeblebrox assumed their scene was big enough that one vote each would win them the contest – while Phog continued to storm forward. Every day Tom barraged the Phog phriends to overwhelming annoyance, but most of us still voted. And then in February of 2009, more Windsorites tuned into CBC Radio 3 than ever before to listen to the announcement that Phog Lounge in little old Windsor, Ontario had won Canada’s Best Live Music Venue.
That day was our announcement to the rest of Canada. We have a music scene. Our city may not recognize it, but you will. And we’re going to show you.
To celebrate that occassion, Phog held their inaugural Phog Phest in July of 2009, out on University Avenue in front of the venue. Sponsored in part by CBC Radio 3, it featured a line-up that included Holy Fuck, Green Go, Arkells, The Pack AD, The Kramdens, and Megan Hamilton plus a plethora of local acts, such as Michou, Orphan Choir, Yellow Wood, The Locusts Have No King, and Field Assembly. It was a huge success as it was the physical unification of CBC Radio 3, Phog Lounge and everyone who voted that tiny 65-person venue to the top spot in Canada.
Last year, Phog Phest was moved into the parking lot next to the venue at 157 University Avenue West, and included local vendors and artists, creating a smaller scale Lollapalooza atmosphere. Shows inside the venue were scrapped so that all focus would be on the main stage out doors, that utilized national headliners Young Rival, The Mark Inside, Lindy and Raised By Swans mingled with local heavyweights Magic Hall of Mirrors, The Locusts Have No King, The Bulletproof Tiger, James OL & The Villains and VEX.
This Saturday, the third Phog Phest arrives upon us and the trend from last year continues as national headliners Elliott Brood (whose deep Windsor connection was evident and appreciated when they held their last homecoming at the Capitol Theatre past Christmas), Grand Analog, and Detroit’s The High Strung (the first US act to play Phog Phest, best known now as the band who did the theme for the TV show “Shameless”), are on a bill that features great local talent in Explode When They Bloom, What Seas What Shores, fiftywatthead (doing their acclaimed AC/DC re-working/tribute set), The Swillingtones and ASK. Once again it’s being held in the parking lot next door.
And once again, it’ll show us that Phog Spirit and remind us just how we made the little venue that could, the little venue that did.
Phog Phest 3, Saturday, September 17, Phog Lounge Parking Lot (157 University Ave. West), 12noon until 12midnight (outside), after-party with DJ Jamie Greer inside (midnight to close), tickets are $15 (being sold in advance and at door), All-Ages
Thurs. July 28: Pitch Union, Vaudevillianaires and The STiG rock the Loop for special fundraiser for victim of ALS
This Thursday night at The Loop (156 Chatham St. West, top level), several area musicians (Pitch Union, The Vaudevillianaires and The STiG) answered the call from friend and music scene supporter Andrew Wong, who was throwing a benefit to help friend Scott Sefton. Sefton was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Wong wanted to help raise money to make Sefton’s home wheelchair accessible. Guest writer Jeff Stiles contacted Scott to update people on what the future holds in store for him now that his life has been so dramatically altered.
Up until early last year, Scott Sefton was a union plumber and pipe-fitter in his mid thirties. He was a strong, hard-working young man with a wife and a family. In the spring of 2010, he felt a stiffness in his neck and was sure it was a pinched nerve. He was accustomed to heavy lifting in his work and it ‘just made sense’ that this was a work injury. His doctors even felt it was a pinched nerve. But it didnt get better. Tingling in his left hand led to weakness. He went for an MRI to diagnose the problem further. Suspicions grew and Scott was sent to a neurological specialist in London where, test after test, it would reveal the unfortunate scenario. Scott had ALS.
ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease as it has come to be known in North America, is a motro-neuron disease that is caused by the degeneration of nerons in the spinal cortex – the brain center that sends messages to body parts. People afflicted with it lose muscle and speech control, become weak, and develop breathing and respiratory problems. As the muscles begin to atrophy, other problems then set in such as pneumonia. Patients have trouble getting out of bed, walking or swallowing. Physicist Stephen Hawking is a living example of this disease and how it affects the body. Although medications can slow the symptoms, the downward spiral gradually continues and the result is almost always death.
Scott talked to me by phone in a voice that sounds like an old sailor who has seen everything and drank from every bottle in his travels, but it’s the disease talking. In his voice, it’s clear the disease has a grip on him. Tragedy, itself, begets emotion but its hard not to be emotional when you see someone trying to rise above their own suffering. It is quite sobering. It’s a story of love. A one-day-at-a-time committment to get the most out of each day.
Here is my interview:
Jeff Stiles: How did you react to the news?
Scott Sefton: It was pretty shitty at first. I was in a funk for about month or so but one day i woke up and said “If you have 5 days to live, how would you live it? Do you want to cry on the couch or do you want to enjoy every minute that you have?” I’ve got two little kids – a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old. So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started enjoying every minute. I felt I was allowing the disease to take over quicker if I was depressed.
Jeff: What does a bad day involve?
Scott: I don’t wake up feeling bad, neccessarily. I have a hard time walking, so i fall quite a bit. And little things like holding a bottle of water – I get down a bit if I drop it. Or if I trip and smack my head off the tile. It’s frustrating. I used to be a pretty strong guy. People take things for granted – like I have hard time holding a fork in my right hand. My left hand is pretty much shot. I get frustrated as the day goes on but I sit down. Relax. Get my bearings.
Jeff: Do you have days where you feel great?
Scott: I do. When you talk about the disease they call those plateaus. Where everything levels off. I’ve had a couple of those days but not many. You just pray that they come.
Jeff: Has this made you religious?
Scott: My wife was brought up Catholic but I didnt really have a background as a kid. I believe in God but i just think there something out there that can help me, I guess. I pray for a cure and to be normal again.
Jeff: What kind of adjustments have you had to make around the house?
Scott: We’re putting an addition on the house for me that’s wheelchair accessible. The wheelchair is a definite possiblity in the future and we’ll need a speacial tub or shower ’cause today it took me 20 minutes to get in the shower ’cause I couldn’t get my leg over the ledge. That was frustrating. Pissed me off quite a bit. But we’ve been making the house more wide open for the day when that (wheelchair) comes. My outlook is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Jeff: Those sound like words for everyone to live by.
Scott: When you see the shit on the ALS website, its pretty grim but I’m not gonna read up on the disease and base my life on what its done to others. I don’t really want to know what its done to other people and other families. I just want to live my live and deal with each day as it comes. The shit on the website is depressing and I dont want that in my head.
Jeff: What do you feel you’ve gained from this struggle so far?
Scott: I was the guy who would hold a door for someone in a wheelchair or someone in need. But now I just feel so much more for them because I’m in the same spot. Y’know?
Jeff: Has this opened your eyes?
Scott: One minute you’re fine. The next you’re not. Enjoy what you’ve got today ’cause you never know.
Jeff: Is there physical pain?
Scott: My back and legs have a lot of pain. The doctors say its because the disease is attacking part of my body and the pain comes from the fight that results from my body trying to ward it off. the disease is trying to get at it.
Jeff: How invloved are you with doctors?
Scott: I am part of a study that tries to answer a lot of questions about environmental factors, like exposure to stuff like asbestos. There is also something else called familial ALS that tries to see if it is in a gene but that’s not what happened to me. I’m just an unlucky guy who happened to develop it somehow.
Jeff: How has your family adjusted to the disease?
Scott: My kids don’t really know. They just see that dad needs a cane. My wife has been fantastic. Right from the beginning, she took the positive role. Even when I got down, she was positive right from the beginning. She has been my rock. She has her bad days but we keep our appearances up, put on a good face. We take a step back when things dont go well but we try to stay positive. Like i said, “we hope for the best but expect the worst.”
you can read more about the disease here:
A benefit for Scott will be held at The Loop on Thursday July 28th. Door open at 9:30pm. a donation of $5 will go towards the renovation of Scott’s home in order to make it wheelchair accessible.
The Montreal collective known nationwide as The Unsettlers will be playing an intimate showcase this Wednesday night at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) and if you don’t get your tickets soon, you may be on the outside looking through foggy Phog windows. This 10-piece gypsy symphony is coming in hot off the heels of critically acclaimed performances at the Montreal Jazz Festival as well as two solid performances at this year’s Festival Epicure into a venue that holds but 65 people. On past visits to Windsor, they’ve played far bigger rooms, but this time, things are going to get sweaty.
The Unsettlers are a hard band to categorize musically. With ten members adding their sounds (and with ten unique personalities attached), the band is like a jamboree of emotions, ranging from the whisky melancholy to the excitably gypsy. Somewhere between Tom Waits and Gogo Bordello, you’ll find The Unsettlers and even that description is pushing it. When the ashes settle, when you’ve run out of record store/radio created sub-genres of music (East Euro indie gypsy-folk swing?), all you’re truly left with is a sound that is 100% Unsettlers.
Two of the principle music writers have close ties to Windsor-Essex. Pianist Dustyn Lucas (who resembles a five and dime Schroeder from the Peanuts comics on his little piano) is from Kingsville and frontman B.W. Brandes is a long time veteran of Windsor’s music scene, toiling in the popular ’90′s band Big Daddy A & The Merves as well as serving as the bassist in the psychedelic rock supergroup The Golden Hands Before God… during their last year of playing and touring. But whatever their Windsor roots planted, it was their almost Muppet Movie travels that created the entity that is now the Unsettlers.
Gestated on the West Coast, where Brandes and Lucas teamed up with the lovely Genevieve Schreier and Brie Nelson as well as Sudbury native Santosh Lalonde, they relocated to Montreal where they picked up more members, swelling to the ten piece congregation of impressive musicians and even more impressive drinkers, creating a groundswell of music that is as undeniably infectious as the band is talented. They’re still touring promoting last fall’s ambitious and epic double CD Oil & Blood, a Coen Brothers-esque carnival ride of death, love and graveyards that served as a monstrously fun follow-up to the haunting self titled debut from a few years previous. In that the past few years, they’ve played countless shows and festivals (including this year’s Montreal Jazz Festival, several Montreal Fringe festival appearances, shows at the prestigious Montreal concert Osheaga, and a run playing at an actual carnival Quebec), recorded a live EP for CBC Radio (which essentially previewed some tracks for Oil & Blood mixed with some favourites off the debut), and played more shows in a year than some bands play in their career. And in between breaths, members of the band have created side projects (using principally each other) such as Brie Nelson and Her Other Men, Bad Uncle and Deer Ashes, Dear. This is a family who lives together and plays together. They know each other’s intricacies and delicacies so well, that they’ve created the perfect commune of music and social interaction.
And all of that is evident when you watch one of their shows. This isn’t just a group of ten musicians playing to check each other’s ego. Each note is carefully inserted, each line spit with the ferocity it deserves, each moment is fully and absolutely realized – this is a show. This is the way music was designed to be presented by people who enjoy each others’ musical company equally as much as they enjoy yours.
In anticipation of the rush of people expected, Phog is preselling tickets for this show, so one would advise you get there soon. Tickets are $10 each for an evening with The Unsettlers (no opening act, three straight hours of show) and it’ll be worth all the oil and blood in the country.
An Evening with The Unsettlers, Wednesday July 13, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), 9pm, $10 in advance and door, 19+
The City and The Sky is an acoustic duo that perhaps many of you have never heard of until right now, but who you probably know one of the two musicians involved. It’s a new project featuring singer/songwriter David John Zelko (Beijing Bike Club, This Man Tells Stories) and singer Cerah Steele (who wowed a lot of people earlier this year with her video for the soundtrack recordings for Gavin Michael Booth’s film, Still Here). While trying to flesh out his own solo project, This Man Tells Stories (which has a Cat Stevens-Paul Simon feel), Zelko met Steele and they decided to jam on a few songs and the result was enough to convince Zelko to enter into a full musical collaboration with the flamboyant Steele.
There’s no recordings as of yet (although you can listen to a couple of Zelko’s early efforts for This Man Tells Stories) but they’re making their debut performance this Saturday July 2nd at the legendary Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level) to unveil their new entry into Windsor’s diverse music scene.
TWZ recently caught up with David and Cerah to find out a little more dirt on this seemingly unlikely pairing.
The Windsor Zene: David, you’ve successfully lead a rock band (Beijing Bike Club) through Windsor’s diverse musical seas and then launched your solo project, This Man Tells Stories. How did The City and The Sky emerge?
David John Zelko: The City And The Sky originally started off as just myself a.k.a. This Man Tells Stories. While playing around with my music, I felt like expanding my horizons and I figured the best way was to add a female vocalist to add some harmony and just make the vocals and the lyrics more powerful.
TWZ: How did you end up hooking up with Cerah Steele for the project?
DJZ: I posted an ad up on the Windsor/Essex Musicians Board along with Kijiji – gotta love Kijiji! – and had a few people send me some messages saying that they would be interested. I wasn’t just looking for a fantastic voice but also looked for someone with dedication and also a feel for the music scene. I met up with Cerah Steele at a Tim Hortons and we talked for a while, then headed off to do some jamming. The moment I heard her sing some harmonies with some of mine I knew that she was the perfect choice for a collaboration.
TWZ: Cerah, how did you first become aware of David John Zelko and what lead to this being your original music outlet?
Cerah Steele: I first heard of Dave through a post he made on Windsor-Essex Band/Musicians network. He was asking for female vocalists to be part of a musical duo he was putting together. I sent over a message saying I was interested. We did the good ol’ Essex County thing, went to Timmy’s and then played some accoustic tunes at Sadler’s.
TWZ: You’ve been gaining some local attention for your work, on record and in video, for the soundtrack to Gavin Michael Booth’s film Still Here. Did that inspire to start working on material of your own?
CS: The work I’ve done with Gavin Michael Booth on the Still Here soundtrack has been a great outlet to stretch my range. I sing in a “character voice” for the movie. She is a sweet sounding 17 year old and I, however, am a 28 year old ex-smoker. Recording in that voice was quite the challenge. Needless to say, hearing the recordings with my voice sounding so different, and getting positive feedback has been hard getting used to! The opportunity to work on original material with Dave and show people MY style and my “real” voice is exciting
TWZ: David, how do you approach The City and The Sky differently from working in Beijing Bike Club?
DJZ: With TCATS it all started off with all of my solo work and we plan on building together to make a music monster, both booking shows, merch, different band related things. The same thing goes for Beijing Bike Club, we work as a team to get band related things complete, so I really approach them both in the same ways if you think about it.
TWZ: Do you intentionally write songs for The City and The Sky and other songs for Beijing Bike Club or do you just write songs and they gravitate towards the appropriate project?
DJZ: Usually with Beijing Bike Club, we write the music together and then I go off and write lyrics once it’s all finished. With TCATS, it’s a whole other animal, – a TWO headed animal…and they say two heads are better than one!
TWZ: Cerah, how has the songwriting process been with David so far?
CS: Dave has been doing his solo thing as well as his other group Beijing Bike Club, so needless to say, he has quite the stockpile of originals already written just waiting to be brought to life! We are still a very young project, so right now we’re just nurturing Dave’s baby, but he’s been really inspiring and I think the musical power of the two of us together will be something to look forward to.
TWZ: You’ve long been a strong supporter of the local arts scene and a familiar face at many shows. How does it feel to be jumping to the stage from the audience?
CS: I’m no stranger to the stage. I’ve been performing since a young age, and attended Walkerville for the W.C.C.A program, which gave me opportunity to be on stage a lot. More recently, I lent my vocals to two local albums. Aquila‘s debut album Imperium and BLOODSHOTEYE‘s album Expect the Unexpected. This opportunity, however, to showcase our own original material is going to be a soul baring experience I won’t soon forget…
TWZ: Where can people hear some of the music?
DJZ: As of right now, we don’t currently have recordings with me and Cerah – but if you wanna get a sneak peak of some of the tunes we’re gonna be working on, you can take a look at the Band Profile on the This Man Tells Stories.
TWZ: What do you envision for The City and The Sky a year from now?
CS: Lots of shows under our belts, maybe an album (or two), Billboard Top 100, a Grammy….ya know, the usual.
TWZ: What do you have planned for TCATS’s debut show?
DJZ: We plan on having the first show this Saturday, July 2nd and it’s going to be at the Coach & Horses and FREE. As for other acts, the only one we have on the bill so far are The Birds Of Paradise. We wanna make it a fun show, have drinks with friends, and celebrate the birth of a new band in the Windsor music scene……oh and if everyone sees this, we wanna fill the place!
The City and The Sky with special guests The Birds of Paradise, Anti-Freeze and Pierre Le Chef, Saturday July 2nd, The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level)
“There is a direct line between My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Ringo Deathstarr. And it stops at Slowdive Central. If you retain any fondness for those three – and are mentally aroused by a spot of melody-heavy guitar pop – you will adore the ‘Starr” The Guardian (UK)
One of the most exciting sounds to come out of the UK at the tail end of the 1980′s and into the new decade of the ’90′s was the merging of noisepop (My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Slowdive) with the shoe-gazing (Chapterhouse, The Pale Saints), creating a new breed of noise-gazing (yeah, I totally made that genre name up). Bands like Spacemen 3 became Spiritualized, Primal Scream found its Screamadelica, and The Boo Radleys re-introduced us to “Lazarus”. And while some bands have touched on the genre in doses (such as Pink Mountaintops, The Besnard Lakes or Deerhunter), it’s never been so perfectly and deliciously replicated as by an unlikely band from an even unlikelier state (Texas). The Austin trio known as Ringo Deathstarr.
Currently on their first headlining tour to support their debut full length, Colour Trip (on Sonic Unyon Records), Ringo Deathstarr are no stranger to the road. They’ve spent the past few years honing their sound on tour with such acts as The Dandy Warhols, A Place To Bury Strangers, Black Angels, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead and The Raveonettes. And this Tuesday they chose Windsor’s own Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) as their area stop.
If those sounds weren’t enough to entice you, opening the show are Windsor’s own Cellos, a fairly new band (recently featured as an Emerging Artist here on TWZ) featuring three of Windsor’s most respected and accomplished players – Singer/guitarist Kyle Marchand (Orphan Choir, What Seas What Shores), bassist Joe Rabie (Surdaster, Red Rows, Star Trek: The Band) and drummer David Allan (Poughboy, Explode When They Bloom, Which Witch). These guys have developed a passionate and local following with only a handful of shows under their belt and their mesmerizing live show is creating a well deserved buzz.
This show by all accounts should be packed. Ringo Deathstarr are starting to gain some real indie buzz momentum that feels like what happened when bands like Tokyo Police Club or Arkells played Windsor. You could almost feel their stock rising as they were playing and deep in your heart you knew that the likelihood of them playing a venue as intimate as Phog Lounge (or even Windsor) are pretty scarce.
Do yourself a favour and cancel whatever plans you had for Tuesday night. Head to Phog for 9pm. And let your ears come on and feel the noise.
Ringo Deathstarr (Austin, TX) with special guests Cellos, Tuesday June 28, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), 9pm, 19+
In pro-wrestling, there is something called “ring psychology”. What this means is, that the performers in the ring use body language, actions (or in some cases, lack of action), expressions and nuances to make the audience respond accordingly. They feel the story being expressed by these series of events and they are driven to feel a certain kind of emotion. They are either intrigued to cheer for a wrestler or they are moved to boo a wrestler.
In music, there is a similar psychology. Booking your band appropriately – be it venue or timing – is crucial in creating a proper “buzz” or interest in a return appearance from the audience. If you play the wrong venue too early, you will ostracize yourself. If you play too often, you run the risk of being considered a house band, where the music is secondary to the experience of actually being at the show, which often leads to people eventually leaving your shows to check out something either a) newer, or b) less over-exposed.
Kevin Buckridan, the dark mind behind the Windsor quartet Two for the Cascade, is all to familiar with this music psychology. Two for the Cascade are one of the city’s finest bands, fielding invites to countless local festivals, opening for many nationally respected touring acts, and cast with some of the scene’s most beloved and respected performers, yet their annual resume of gigs is usually far less than what some bands in the scene play in a month.
You see, Kevin comes from a school of thought that art is created by a passion within the artist. It is driven by an uncontrollable desire to release something from within – be it painting, music or what have you – because it needs to be released before you can move on to your next endeavour. It is a sentence that must be said aloud before you can begin the next paragraph. His music (which is sometimes co-written with his wife and co-vocalist/electronics manipulator Stefanie Zaccagnini or, on brief occasions by Theramin/multi-instrumentalist Holly Brush) is a dark revelation of himself and it is written more to exorcise than to appease any audience in general. He doesn’t feel the need to play four times a month to ingrain their hits into people’s minds or play gigs simply to hob knob with the Canadian indie band of the moment. These songs are real, the effort is intended and the result is a calculated risk that he is only open to doing on his own terms.
And luckily he has the perfect cast to compliment what many may consider a rather dark outlook. For one, his wife appears to be the exact opposite of him, but in the most complimentary way possible. She is the Angel to his Beelzebub, the Yin to his Yang, the perpetual smile to his eternal grimace. When the two sing separately, one can hardly imagine what kind of tragic aural devastation may occur if the two should collide – sort of like a vocal version of crossing the streams. It’s real bad, Ray. But when they do intertwine, it becomes something hauntingly beautiful. Like the voice of a dead lover trying to raise the spirits of the deflated one left behind. I’m not sure if Stefanie’s silky voice coaxes Kevin’s devilish snarl to embrace something a little more golden, or Kevin’s darkness offers Stefanie’s light a more reasonable option hovering in the greys, but whatever it is, it is captivating and entrancing. The songs are simple songs of painful devotion – almost begging to ask why someone like her would want to lower herself to someone like him, as she tells him the answer is simple. Because they are quite simply, in love. It is a true musical case of Beauty and the Beast.
The other two members of the band offer a similar counter-balance to the dynamic of the two frontpersons of the band. Holly Brush, one of the city’s only active Theramin performers, is almost reactive of Buckridan’s psyche. It rises and falls like an cacophonous orchestra of sound – part whale music, part neurotic breakdown – accentuating the feral movements of Buckridan on stage. Meanwhile, behind the drum kit, veteran musician George Manury (who has performed in such Windsor favourites as Ten Indians, Magic Hall of Mirrors, and itzjunk, as well as an on-going solo career) plays his set with the precision and grace of Stefanie’s voice. His movements are flawless, his sticks moving as if by themselves. The expression on his face is like that of a child listening to a life changing record for the first time, smiling and grimacing as sounds fluctuate around him on its virgin voyage.
Buckridan is not one to let any diagram roll on with any sense of predictability, which is why he also employs multiple musical applications from his iPhone (something he’s been doing for years now, long before it became indie rock standard), a myriad of pedals and several guitars, and why Stefanie has also been known to work the dials on Moogs or use any number of percussive instruments gathered from trips to other countries.
This Friday, Two for the Cascade return to the Windsor stage with a special show at The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), with two rising stars of the local scene. The Swillingtones is a new act featuring some established local musicians (as featured in a prior Emerging Artist piece here), who have been winning over crowds quickly with their original late ’60s/early ’70s soul sounds mixed in with some fantastic reggae covers to create an energizing vibe.
And opening the show is the disturbingly captivating voice of Zarasutra, a brilliant young songwriter who is barely old enough to play in the bars she infrequents. Another recent focus of an Emerging Artist article, she only gets better with each passing show and her future is definitely one that should include music as its staple.
Two for the Cascade is a band that doesn’t simply create music, they create atmosphere. They create an aura. And they will work that aura like Poseidon worked the sea. Sometimes the waves will be calm and gentle, sometimes they will be fun to frolic in, and sometimes the skies will turn dark and they will try to crush your chest and rip out your heart.
Two for the Cascade with special guests The Swillingtones and Zarasutra, Friday June 10, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), 9pm
If you’ve been to see any metal show in Windsor over the past few years you’ve probably seen her. Fiery red hair and a personality to match, Jeanette Giroux has been one of the local metal scene’s biggest supporters. With her devilish smirk, that glint of something-evil in her eyes and her Dio horned fingers raised high in the air, she’s been a superfan of many of Windsor’s most enduring metal bands and a supporter of the new breed.
But she’s more than just a metal fanatic. In fact, she runs her own fashion company, Tainted Red Clothing, who has been turning heads for several years now with its unique “one-of-a-kind” stamp on a line of clothing that at first glimpse appears to be off the shelves of Hot Topic (back when they were still cool and had more edge than flair) or from the Noir Leather vintage racks. Giroux takes vintage metal or rock shirts and Bride-of-Frankenstein’s them into fashionable wearable clothing for the fashionista in every rock and roll girl’s soul.
On Friday June 17th, Giroux’s Tainted Red Clothing is holding a massive runway showcase entitled simply Tainted Red Rocks The Runway, held at The Loop (156 Chatham St. West, top level). Doors are at 9pm, with the runway show beginning at 10:30pm sharp. There is a $15 cover charge for the event but all proceeds are going straight to the Canadian Diabetes Association. The event is hosted by Alex from The Rock 100.7 FM and following the runway show, Tainted Red is throwing a loud and heavy afterparty on the Loop stage featuring three local heavyweights: Blastphemy (featuring members of TON and fiftywatthead), TON and Gypsy Chief Goliath.
To top this off, ALL of the clothes you see on the runway will be available for sale by silent auction directly following the runway show itself. And if you’re hungry, downtown Windsor’s newest pizza joint, Slices and Squares Pizza, will be giving away free pizza all night long!
The Windsor Zene recently talked to Jeanette Giroux about the upcoming event and talk a bit about her passions (for fashion and metal) and what you can expect next Friday at The Loop.
TWZ: First off, what first drew you into the world of fashion?
Jeanette Giroux: It all started with a big old Led Zeppelinshirt I found at a second hand store that I loved, but it was too big. I altered it to fit and zazzed it up the back a bit and got lots of compliments. Then I bought a few more big shirts and changed them up too. My mom taught me how to use her sewing machine and I just started dicking around with it in my spare time. It was all really simple stuff in the beginning. I had no idea what I was doing. “Rough around the edges” was an understatement. But it wasn’t a love for fashion that started it all…it was a love for rock and roll – I wanted to sport my favourite band shirts but wanted to still look good. It was not the fashion industry itself that got me interested. In fact, I really don’t agree with a lot of the ideals of the fashion industry at all! They eat their young, then throw them up! I’m just a regular girl making clothes for regular girls. I like to say its like Rock N’ Roll met Couture – then threw up on a hanger. But I digress. Way back when I first started messing with fashion, the more shirts I was altering, the more compliments I got…girls started asking me to make them stuff. You can’t find this stuff anywhere and that’s when the old hamster wheel started spinning upstairs. I just started making more things…and the pieces started getting more complicated with the more experience and more mistakes I made. Im self-taught. I learned from my mistakes, so sewing/fashion is what I did for fun, altering old band shirts and creating crazy rock fashions. I even started making dresses out of those flag-fabric band posters you can buy at music stores. Its all about getting creative with it. I wouldn’t even say I’m PART of the world of fashion. I’d rather be considered part of the world of rock!!!
You’re style is very against the grain of normal fashion. How did you create a style that is so unique?
I’m inspired by rock and roll and heavy metal. I love the crazy outfits from the hair-metal era. Ya knw? Basically Tainted Red is a more everyday wearable subdued version of any rockstar’s wardrobe. Lets be honest, you’re not going to wear KISS boots at the grocery store, but I take aspects from those styles and make them my own…I make them so that any rocker-chick can stand out, look sexy and feel comfortable.
What came first, the metal or the fashion?
Metal. Next question, ha-ha!
Do you do multiple versions of each piece or are these all one-of-a-kinds?
Everything is ONE OF A KIND, guaranteed. That’s probably the best part of Tainted Red. You’ll never go to a show and see some girl wearing the same thing as you. And if you’ve ever been to any rock concert, you’ll notice there’s a pseudo-uniform that most rockers wear. Jeans and a black band shirt. I show up in a Slayer dress and get proposed to! It’s hilarious! It’s a way of actually being different in a sea of people who are different. Does that make sense? Tainted Red clothing makes you stand out for sure. I get compliments left and right because it is SO different and unique. I realize it’s a niche market, but I don’t really know of anyone who’s doing the same thing as me. Plus you know everything is one of a kind because I use old vintage shirts that are rare in themselves. So, I’ve got the eco-friendly Green-thing going on too. I go to Value Village and find big old womens blouses (’cause they have the most fabric in them) and cut them up and use the fabric in my own designs. It’s fashion recycling for the rockers of the world. So that makes the pieces even more rare. I’m not out buying bolts and bolts of the same fabric. Everything is different. Hands down. I’m too sporadic and easily bored to make the same thing twice. Life is too short and my creativity is too broad for duplicates.
What’s been your hardest piece to part with?
The motorcycle jackets, for sure. They take DAYS AND DAYS to make. I put a LOT of work into them. They’re animal-free leatherette. Lots of studs and detail. They are one of a kind, perfectly lined and top stitched and they’re sooo HARD to make. They’re my pride and joy. For the amount of work that goes into them, I barely break even with the price I put them at, but they’re so rare and unique, it’s worth every penny. Any girl would be lucky to have one though. I’ll be hunched over my machine for hours and hours at at time for days and days….some of the language that comes out my mouth when Im trying to pin or sew a tough part or something…I almost feel like I should frame them when theyre done after the strife I’ve gone through to finish them, so its hard to part with them, but when I see a girls face light up when they try it on and look in the mirror for the first time…it makes it ALL worth while.
Was it important to include some of Windsor’s local bands for your event?
Well, hard and heavy music inspires my designs…so it only makes sense to have the music that started it all…end it all. And since Slayer was busy that night…I opted for the next best thing, haha! The bands playing happen to be my local favourites, so I had to have them come out. It’s every rockers dream. Badass music and hot girls dressed in leather and lace. I’m proud to be from windsor. We have a great music scene and the local artists stick together. This was evident during FunnelFest and now Windsor’s artsists are coming together again. Maybe to not such a great extent….but I have a LOT of local talent helping me out. Everything from hair and makeup artsists, to the clothes, stylists, photogs, MC hosting, videographers, bands/ musicians, and the list goes on. Even the man writing this article! We help each other out and it’s a great artistic community to be a part of. Locals helping locals. I love it.
What else is planned for the event?
Well the show is being MC’d by local radio personality “Alex” from 100.7 The Rock. She’s going to do a great job! Downtown favourite, Slices and Squares is giving away free pizza. I’ll have other treats there too. Tickets are 15$ at the door and proceeds are going to the Canadian Diabetes Association. And the BEST PART…most of the stuff on the runway will be for sale in a silent auction after the show. I mean, how often do you get the chance to buy one-of a kind rock fashion right off the runway? Its going to be an event you wont want to miss! Most events in Windsor are just bands playing, which, don’t get me wrong is one of my favourite things to do…but this is a DIFFERENT type of entertainment tacked onto the good stuff. Fashion, Food, drinks and ROCK! I personally cant think of a better way to spend an evening.
Tainted Red Rocks The Runway, featuring Gypsy Chief Goliath, TON and Blastphemy, Friday June 17, The Loop (156 Chatham St. West, top level), Doors 9pm, Runway Show 10:30pm, music to follow, $15 Cover Charge (proceeds to Canadian Diabetes Association)
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.
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
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)