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.
Gypsy Chief Goliath
It’s A Walk In The Mist
Black Vulture Records Sweden
Official Release: December 2011
Produced By: Alex Petrovich
Recorded At: A Muskoka cottage.
2011 has been the best year for many local bands, and Gypsy Chief Goliath is no exception. Technically, the only member who calls Windsor home is lead vocalist/producer Al ‘Yeti Bones’ Petrovich but I know all of the band’s members hold this town close to their hearts, and they probably play live here more than any other city. This band never ceases to amaze me, whether it be their alcohol-fuelled, rowdy live shows or this one-of-a-kind debut album. “It’s A Walk In The Mist” was definitely one of the most anticipated albums of the year, as the band was waiting for a few things to fall into place to make sure the release was a great success. Rest assured, it has been well worth the wait and I honestly can’t think of a local band more deserving of recognition. Now let’s get right into the album itself.
“It’s A Walk In The Mist” starts off with the band’s first single “Black Samurai”, a definite crowd favourite. A slow, heavy, grooving track that never fails to induce head banging. Great guitar solo from lead guitarist Dave Ljubanovich with lots of wah, accompanied by the subtle but essential harmonica, courtesy of Brodie Stevenson.
The second track on the album is “The Return”, which in my opinion features some of Al Petrovich’s best vocals on the disc, which is saying a lot. He does a great job of taking his vocal influences and putting his own unique spin on it. Reminiscent of old school blues and jazz singers such as Howlin’ Wolf and Louis Armstrong.
“Cold Hand Of Death” is next in line, and features deep, groovy bass by John Kendrick. This song is about the inevitability of dying, or so I gather from the lyrics: “When you’ve reached the decision to where you want to live / You know the reaper will follow with the cold hand of death.”
One of the newer tracks on the album, “We Are The Devil’s Thieves”, is a straight-up hard rock track which features banjo? I know it doesn’t make sense to read that, but it really does work in moderation, and they did a great job incorporating a bluegrass instrument into such a rockin’ tune.
“Dreaming In Color” features more of Brodie’s “harmonica harmonies” which is really a staple in G.C.G.’s overall sound. I find Al’s vocals on this track to be a hybrid of Neil Fallon (Clutch) and Brent Hinds (Mastodon), whether it was intentional or not. It really is a great asset to have multiple vocal styles, and this is what sets him apart from most.
“Elephant In The Room” is another classic G.C.G. track, which they have been playing live for as long as I can remember. It is such a heavy hitting song that you can’t help but move to the beat. It’s also worth mentioning that the idea for the album title “It’s A Walk In The Mist” came from lyrics in this song.
“Intermission” is just what it sounds like, and I can only assume they put it on the disc to separate it into two halves. A fun, quirky, mash of organ and Celtic-style wizardry.
The one song that you wouldn’t expect to be on this album is “Chapter Fire”, throwing listeners a fantastic curveball. It is a little outside the box for this band, but a great song nonetheless. It actually shows that Gypsy Chief Goliath can’t and shouldn’t be put in a box, and that’s ultimately what a great band should be all about.
The title “Out Of Control” says it all about the next track. By far the fastest and most aggressive song on the album. Absolutely stellar performance from drummer Adam Saiti. It’s the kind of song that if you listen to it while driving you might get pulled over for speeding.
“Course Of Time” is one of the few tracks I hadn’t heard until I obtained a copy of the album, and it quickly became my favorite song of the lot. It’s a mellow, beautiful masterpiece that was put together perfectly. The song musicians work their whole career to create.
“Listen To Static” has always been at the top of my list for overall well-rounded songs from the group. It takes you in many directions, from “hard as fuck,” to “groove” to “bluesy rock.”
Last but definitely not least, what album would be complete without a sing-a-long! Perfectly placed within the album as the grand finale, Saint Covens Tavern always gets the crowd going with its Irish feel. Whether you find yourself at one of their live performances, or listening to the album in your car on the way to work at 6:15 in the morning, you can’t help but raise your beer (or coffee) and yell “Hey!” in time with the song. It’s the most appropriate way to end this absolutely brilliant album. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa oh oh oh !!!”
It has been my pleasure to review, in my opinion, not only the best local album of 2011, but the best album of any band this year. If you don’t already own this work of art, please buy it and support this band. Also, a new DVD is to be released in the near future. The rumour is that they are already starting to write the follow-up to “It’s A Walk In The Mist,” so stay tuned for more details on their facebook.com page or http://www.yetiagency.com. You can catch them live (I strongly recommend doing so) at Villains Beastro on Saturday, December 3rd, for the CD release party of legendary local rockers Grand Marais.
We Are The Young: Jam Space’s Jam Academy shows the future of the Windsor music scene is in good hands
A few months back, our own Del Rees attended one of Jam Space’s Jam Academy classes, to interview teacher Dave Allan (known to many as the drummer in such local acts as Explode When They Bloom, Area 51, Poughboy, Which Witch and Cellos) and hang out with all the talented young kids who were attending Jam Academy. Jam Academy is a localized “School of Rock” if you will. Allan, alongside fellow teacher Jason P. Testawich (from Surdaster, Luna Borealis and The Unquiet Dead), instruct upwards of 30 or 40 students, not simply in honing their respective instruments or song writing, but to also show them the sheer joy of performing in a band, and showing them how to interact with each other socially and musically.
This past Sunday TWZ was at their latest performance (which is essentially the full musical “graduation” of the students of the past set of seminars), held at Villains Beastro (256 Pelissier St.) in downtown Windsor. It was a full house to take in the many performances, centred around this classes’ Beatles theme. With the calibre of teachers and the level of commitment Jam Space, we were expecting some real talented kids. Not only were they talented kids, there were some damn talented musicians in the bunch as well. It was a fantastic show from start to finish.
The kids all came from different corners of Windsor-Essex county – many of whom had never played with other musicians until signing up for Jam Academy. Over the past summer, the crew of Jam Space have done a fantastic job honing these kids’ skills, polishing them and releasing them to the public with a confidence and swagger well beyond their years.
The show opened with two performers – 14-year old multi-instrumentalist Sam Poole and 15-year old vocalist Samantha (Sam) Bourque – doing stripped down versions of Beatles songs. These two are vets of Jam Academy and their poise and confidence levels showed that these two were no strangers to the public or the stage. Bourque has a powerful voice for one so young and is very comfortable on the stage – which is perhaps why she’s been performing in musicals since she was 6. Her voice is very theatric and she could easily have a career in Musical Theatre. The duo performed some great Beatles selections – including some not often tackled such as “Dear Prudence” and “Because”. They were joined mid-way through their five song opener by a pair of percussionists, in drum students Sierra Heil (15) and Sierra Simoni (13). They were subtle and restrained, and accompanied the vocal duets of the two Sams, and Poole’s fine keyboard and guitar work.
They were followed by the first official “band” from Jam Academy, Fifth Element. These four kids range in age from 12-year bassist Kael Currie, 13-year old drummer Michael Clayton to 14-year olds Dominique Gatty on vocals and Julia Mammerella on guitars. These four had an edgier punk-pop sound that really came out in the first original composition of the event, the brilliantly poppy “We Are The Young”, which closed out a set that included covers by The White Stripes, Guns N’ Roses and the obligatory themed Beatles. But it was on “We Are The Young” that they truly shone, showcasing their own bravado and creativity, with a truly memorable and catchy pop-punk anthem for the tweens. Hopefully they record it soon!
Atomic Spawn was the next band up and this band was a monster of a jam band. The two Sams from the opening act re-took the stage as co-vocalists, and both percussionists (the two Sierras) returned as co-drummers. If I was to hand out an award for coolest image of the day, it would have to be Sierra Simoni – she walked with a swagger most men can’t pull off and the tall boots holding her drum sticks gave her just enough attitude to hang in a room full of older adults. Fifteen-year old bassist David Gleason held down a solid groove and 16-year old guitarist Dylan Zak (great rock and roll name) towered over the rest of the band and held down the sweet rhythm guitar. But it was the immense talent of 15-year old guitarist Kess Carpenter that caught most people’s attention. Only playing for two years (and playing alongside others for less than one), Carpenter’s sheer confidence and bravado on the electric guitar was head and shoulders above everyone on the stage that day. In fact, she commanded the stage more than many older, more “established” musicians in town can. She attacked the guitar like AC/DC‘s Angus Young and unleashed a hurricane of fret work worthy of some of her heroes like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Steve Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix. Remember her name, because she will be a musical force to be reckoned with when she builds on her stage experience (immediately after her performance, TWZ secured her an opening slot performing at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), alongside Windsor veterans The Locusts Have No King and Vancouver’s garage blues darlings and Mint Records recording artists, The Pack AD, on Wednesday October 19. She’ll be performing her own original material, backed by her teachers Dave Allan on drums and Jason P. Testawich on bass). Carpenter and the rest of the crew from Atomic Spawn rocked through a set list featuring “Come Together”, “Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “Pride and Joy” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”, as well as an untitled original.
After a small break, the third band of the night hit the stage, the instrumental experimental heaviness of Octomen. This band was highlighted by another guitar virtuoso in 13-year old Nathan McNevin, who hands seemed to move with an empathic dance around the guitar, showing a real precision on timing yet a loose comfort in letting the song lead him. Drummer Chris Cunningham (18) – arguably the best drummer of the night – showed an equal precision behind the kit. Following their Beatles cover – “Day Tripper” – Sam Bourque lent her vocals to the event once again for an Avenged Sevenfold cover, before they closed out with two instrumental originals, “Octoman” and “Octowoman”. The bass duties were filled out by instructor Jason Testawich.
The final band of the night were easily the loudest and heaviest, but were also easily the tightest. Perhaps the fact that three of the four members of Yet To Come – 16-year old Caleb Workman on drums, 17-year old Jesiah Workman on bass, and 16-year old Nathan Workman on guitar – are brothers has something to do with that. Add in 16-year old Dayne Garant on guitar, and you have the prime components for a future hardcore/metal staple at the legendary Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West). While a few of the parents began to filter out while these four guys unleashed the primal sludge doom on their ears, many still stuck around to witness the thunder these guys brought superbly to the stage. And due to time, these guys had to cut their Beatles’ cover and went with an all-original set list.
All in all, this was a fantastic showcase of young Windsor-Essex musical talent. It showed not only what an amazing job that Jam Space owners Jeffrey Bourque and Jason Testawich – as well as Jam Academy instructor Dave Allan – have done nurturing these kids, but also what a plethora of talent lay waiting in the wings to hit the stage once they’ve added a few more years. An incredibly exciting event that left me with goose bumps of anticipation. In the immortal words of AC/DC: “For those about to rock…we salute you.”
Jam Space is a fully functional musical haven suited for band rehearsals, sound recording or even karaoke parties. Located at 2680 Ouellette Ave., behind Tepperman’s and beside Steimar Bakery, it is reasonably priced for all your musical jam needs. Call (519) 972-0008 for more info on Jam Academy’s next sessions or any of their features!
Playlist for July 6, 2011;
Dstruct.O – Nuclear War (Drumstep EP 02 – 2011)
The Unsettlers – Dead and Gone (Oil and Blood – 2010)
Justin Faubert – Mother Nature (Justin Faubert – 2011)
The Blue Stones – More to Life (The Blue Stones – 2011)
StateSideSin – River (The Windsor Zene December Sampler – 2010)
MicLordz and Sauce Funky – Why U So? (Funk You Up EP – 2007)
The Classix – Girl Like You (Live What You Love EP – 2011)
Blurt – Can You Feel It? (The Love) (The Upsides of Effort – 2007)
Falling with Glory – Fight with Honour (The Windsor Zene January Sampler – 2011)
Beijing Bike Club – The Past (The Windsor Zene January Sampler – 2011)
Radio Adelaide – Sex on the Side of the Road (…And On The Brighter Side of Things)
Weirdonia – Green Tables (Single – 2011)
TON – Gutting (Going Places – 2011)
The Nefidovs – Animal Love (Set Faces to Stunned – 2011)
Impending Doom – Aeon of Dreams (Cadeus Sacrilegae)
Faithful Unto Death – All Talk (Coming Home – 2011)
High Mother – Zombie Star (Gotta Get Love – 2011)
As far as exciting shows this week go, there are a couple, but only one has me crazy pumped.
Five Alarm Funk! This ten-piece funkily eclectic group hails from Vancouver, and will be taking over the stage (and then some) at Phog Lounge on Friday, July 8th. They’re playing Burlington on the 7th and London on the 9th, but are nice enough to be taking a detour to Windsor for your entertainment. This show will probably sell out, so advance tickets might be a good idea. You can get them at the venue for $12, or try the night of the show and pay $15. But whatever you decide, remember to bring your dancing shoes, as this is not a show that will have you leaning against walls with your arms crossed.
On Saturday Villains Beastro is hosting a free show with StateSideSin and Diesel Junkies, which is recommended because not only is the price right, the venue is stellar (I’m actually enjoying their atmosphere and Chicken Parmageddon Panini as I write this…) but the bands are good too! Groovy rock ‘n’ roll sure to entertain as the evil eyes of the cinema scoundrels that adorn the walls look on.
Tune in next Wednesday between 5 and 6:30 for more of what is happening in your local music scene.
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.