There’s nothing like some hot dirty jazz on a snowy winter evening and The Hot Sardines certainly delivered! I love the energetic Jazz of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s era. Stride Piano, check. Lively horns, check. Sultry songstress who sings in French and English, double check. Musical arrangements that fuse musical influences from New York, Paris, and New Orleans, CHECK. Ukulele playing tap dancer, wait what? Oh, yes, the taps through each song add another great dimension to the ensemble and bring back the feel of the roaring 20’s, check. All together they make a great ensemble and their fantastic set was over far too soon. Would I see them again? ABSOLUTELY. I sure hope they return to town soon!
Last night Jarvis Church was in town to put some soul into the Shenkman Arts Centre, and he certainly delivered. I have said this before and will repeat it often, I love it when a performer puts their heart and soul into a show, and Jarvis is no exception as he pours his entire being into each and every song with assistance from a fantastic band and excellent backup vocals. The first 40 minutes of the show focused on his most recent album, The Soul Station, Songs of Sam Cooke and was a very fitting tribute to The King of Soul. After the break, Jarvis and the band played good a mix of Jarvis Church and Philosopher Kings songs to keep his long time fans happy. He also gave us a taste of the next album that will be a tribute to Curtis Mayfield (I can’t wait for the album) as well as a rendition of Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears (perhaps that will be a future tribute album). Alas, the end came far too soon, and it was time for the encore party which finished with half the audience dancing on the stage. A great show and one I would highly recommend .
On the spur of the moment, I decided to check out the current incarnation of The Jesse Greene Band playing in the afternoon at Atomic Rooster and I was not disappointed. I haven’t seen the band play for almost 3 years so it was a treat to see them once again. Especially now that Jesse has a new bass player, a new drummer and some new, slow, smokey, blues songs to go along with the selection that is available on her EP. I only wish I had planned to stay for her entire performance, but alas, I had to leave at the end of the first set. I will definitely be seeing her perform again!
On another note, this is the second time I’ve caught an afternoon show at Atomic Rooster and I really appreciate their support of the local Arts and Music scene. I also appreciate Saturday afternoon shows as the late night bar scene is far too disruptive to my schedule. It was great seeing a really good turnout for the show, proving you can do something a little bit different and succeed. I will have to do this more often and since there are some good options coming up with Sweet and the Backbeat next Saturday and Firebelly the last Saturday of November, it will be soon.
Seeing the Powder Blues on November 2nd was a blast from the past for me. I’ve been a fan of the Powder Blues Band since their first album, Uncut, was released in 1980, yet I have never seen them live. As soon as I heard that they were playing Centrepointe Theatre this year, it was obvious I was going to finally make up for this omission and see them live in concert – it only took me 34 years to get around to doing so. All I can say is that it was worth the extended wait! Tom Lavin may be 64 years old, but it certainly does not show when he’s playing the guitar. Add in an extremely talented keyboard player whose hands moved so fast they were a blur, great horns and a rock solid rhythm section and you have the ingredients for a great show from a great band with really good stage presence. I especially loved the stories that Tom told throughout the evening to lead into the songs – it’s an added depth to the music that I love. It was also great to see Tom and the band having so much fun on the stage. In his own words, he wasn’t there because he had to, he was there because he loves playing the blues. Alas, after an hour and three quarters, it was 11pm and time to reluctantly end the set with a single encore. A great show by a great band and one that I would love to see again.
I will admit it, I am a big fan of Fleetwood Mac. The first album I ever owned was Rumours and I played it constantly so I knew the words to almost all of the songs played last night. I saw them perform when they cam to Ottawa in 2009 and I also saw Lindsay Buckingham at Folkfest in 2012, but last night was special with the return of Christie McVie after a 17 year absence. I’m not going to do an in depth review as you can read all about it in the Ottawa Sun and Ottawa Citizen and the setlist is pretty easy to track down as well. What I will say is that Lindsey Buckingham continues to be a very impressive guitar force and was the clear leader of the show last night, playing his heart out and working his way around the stage while the others stayed near their designated spots. Of course, the highlight was having Christie back in the fold, and playing Songbird as the second encore was a perfect way to end a two and a half hour trip down memory lane.
Next up is The Powder Blues on Saturday night!
They say the Show Must Go On, and so it did last night despite the tragic events earlier in the day. Randy Bachman was in town on his Vinyl Tap tour and he was in fine form. I always appreciate a show that includes the back stories behind the bands and the songs, and this tour was designed to do just that. From the days with Chad Allen and the Expressions through the days with the Guess Who (and how they ended up with that name) through to BTO, each song was preceded by a highly entertaining and at times, very amusing, story. In the end it was a perfect counterpoint to the days events and a nostalgic show that’s not to be missed.
I’m now looking forward to my next event – Fleetwood Mac on Sunday and then Powder Blues on November 1st!
It seems I have been lazy lately and have missed a bunch of upcoming concerts. The following have been added to the events pages – I just wish I could attend them all!
Oct 21 – Paper Lions @ Neat Coffe Shop
Oct 23 – Babes4Breasts @ Southminster United Church
Oct 23 – The Trews @ Mavericks
Oct 24 – The Trews @ Mavericks
Oct 24 – Paper Lions @ Zaphods
Oct 26 – Sarah Smith @ Poutinefest Noon show
Oct 29 – Angel Forrest & Jean Millaire @ Le Petit Chicago
Oct 31 – Monkeyjunk @ Blacksheep Inn
Nov 1 – Monkeyjunk @ Blacksheep Inn
Nov 7 – Jully Black @ Neat Coffee Shop
Nov 11 – Riot & The Blues Devils, Ben Racine Band @ Le Petit Chicago
Nov 15 – Amos the Transparant @ Neat Coffee Shop
Nov 19 – OBS Fall Fundraiser @ Irenes
Nov 26 – Michael Kaeshammer @ Neat Coffee Shop
Nov 26 – Dan Livingstone, The Griffintown Jug Addicts & David Gogo @ Le Petit Chicago
Nov 28 – Jarvis Church @ Neat Coffee Shop
Dec 5 – Monkeyjunk @ Neat Coffee Shop
Dec 6 – Monkeyjunk @ Neat Coffee Shop
Dec 10 – Guy Bélanger, Adam Karch @ Le Petit Chicago
Dec 10 – Skydiggers @ Neat Coffee Shop
Dec 19 – Wicked Mercy @ Blacksheep Inn
Dec 20 – Arrogant Worms @ Neat Coffee Shop
Mar 28/15 – Arrogant Worms @ Shenkman
It looks like the new year is going to get off to a good start. This week I received notice that Nikki Yanofsky will be playing Algonquin Commons Theatre on January 22, Big Sugar will be playing an acoustic show at Shenkman Arts Centre on January 30 and Barstool Prophets will be playing Shenkman Arts Centre on February 28. That’s in addtion to the Firebelly show Cabaret La Basoche in Gatineau on January 30 and Bryan Adams playing Canadian Tire Centre on February 20 and I’m sure more shows will be announced in the coming weeks.
When I heard that Monkeyjunk, Steve Strongman and Guy Belanger were going to play a show at the Museum of History I was ecstatic. I have been a Monkeyjunk fan since 2008 and had yet to see them this year. I have also been watching for upcoming shows by Guy Belanger and Steve Strongman and to have them all together in the Museum theater was exceptional.
Going in, I had no preconceptions about what to expect (this was the third show the three had done together), so when I saw the stage setup, I was intrigued. Two sets of drums, to sets of guitars, extra microphones. The logical mind says this was setup to make the change over easier. The creative mind thinks maybe we’re in for a special treat.
The show started off with 25 minutes of just Steve Strongman at which point he was joined by Guy Belanger for the remainder of the set. And a great set it was. Guy’s haunting and animated harmonica playing complemented Steve’s guitar and singing nicely. That alone, was worth the price of admission.
Next up was Monkeyjunk for their headlining set. And a great set it was. I love the fact that Tony got to take the spotlight more often with some blistering and extended guitar solos and Matt even had a chance to show his drumming talents in a great solo. By the end of the set the crowd was on their feet dancing away to the band jamming on stage. And then, far too quickly, it was over.
Or was it? Of course not, it was time for a 20 minute encore, only this time with a twist. Steve Mariner came out first and started riffing on the harmonica. He was then joined by Steve Strongman playing his harmonica, at which point you knew it was going to be a very special encore. Naturally, Guy Belanger joined them and then Tony, Matt and the rest of Steve Strongman’s band. Both Steve’s then switched to their guitars so we had 4 guitars, 2 drummers and one fantastic harmonica player. I was completely blown away, as was the audience who stayed on their feet for the entire encore. By far, the best Monkeyjunk show I have seen. Bravo to everyone who put this amazing show together.
Next up for me is Randy Bachman on October 22 and Fleetwood Mac on October 26, although I may catch other shows before then (there are lots to choose from right now).
Yesterday I finally had the chance to catch two sets by Sabrina Weeks and Mike Hilliard playing at Atomic Rooster and I was not disappointed. Sabrina has a fantastic and powerful voice and she used it to full effect on a range of music that included her own songs as well as blues standards such as Big Mama’s Hound dog. With all the musical choices yesterday (JW-Jones had his CD release party at the Rainbow and Emilie-Claire Barlow was playing Centrepoint with the TSO), I’m glad I chose to see Sabrina. A dose of Blues and Swing definitely brought me out of my funk and was well appreciated and our chat in between the first two sets provoved that she’s not just a great performer, she is also a great person. Hopefully she’ll make it back to Ottawa next summer during her annual tour.
Next up for me will be Guy Belanger, Steve Strongman and Monkeyjunk at the Museum of History next Saturday, October 4.