Monday, July 12, 2010

Hot and Sweaty Jazz at the Rex - Hendrik Meurkens Quintet

The night was hot - almost too hot for the likes of Toronto. Yes the G20 riots are fast becoming a distant memory, and the same street that saw so much breaking glass and smashed police cars is back to normal. On this same street is where you will find The Rex. This is The IT place to see some great jazz performers. The other night was no exception. In 40 degree heat Hendrik Meurkens and his quintet enthralled an extremely hot sweaty crowd with a killer performance.

Check these clips out from that night. These guys really excelled, even with the heat. Hendrik is a virtuoso on both the harp and the vibes - and he's also got some great in between songs patter. After the first set he joked that the band had to get off stage to change their shirts, with all of the heat in the room. For all it's charm, The Rex is not air conditioned, so performers and the audience were dripping with sweat after only a few minutes.

Kudos to the band though - from these clips it is clear these guys were the coolest in the room!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Divine Brown kills with New Classic RnB Set

Gail you missed a good one!

Going to a show in the year 2010 ain't like it used to be back in the day.
Now it is not uncommon to see lots of folks with their cell phones and digital cameras up in the air around the stage.

Last night Divine Brown and her band put on a killer show at the Pickering Jazz Festival, of all places. Thanks to the bundles of cash OLG throws at these types of events Ajax residents were able to get up close and personal with a class "A" RnB singer and her smokin' hot band.

Check these clips out from last night, and then I'll write about why I stopped taping...

As you can see I had to be really close to the stage to get these images. I use a few cameras for my You Tube postings, but I really still like my little FujiFilm camera that doesn't have a zoom function when video taping. This is the camera I was using for the Divine Brown stuff. Anyway, into the fourth song one of the sound guys comes over and says "I'm sorry you are too close to the stage - you must move back." Well I'm used to the security blowhards when going to shows at the ACC or The Skydome (I still refuse to call it by it's other name), but at a small jazz fest in Pickering Village? Anyway, I just packed it in and went for a beer and some jerk chicken.

Not sure what this incident says about Divine Brown, her entourage or the state of live performances in the 21st century.
What do you think? Is it OK to be real close to the stage when watching a band? Is it OK for fans to film and post clips to You Tube? I think that question has been answered - mostly yes.

After the show I asked Divine permission to post and she said "of course".
Gotta say Miss Divine is great to talk to and wonderfully gracious. She's also got great taste in footware, and loves soul food!

Post a comment with your thoughts...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kensington Market - Hotbed of musical talent

There is more to Toronto than the CN Tower and the G20 noise cannon! Take a walk around the Kensington Market area and you'll find music on the street everywhere.
Check some of these folks out - guitar players bringing their sound to the people. In front of the liquor store, and guitar players on the patios of the gotta love Toronto!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Caretakers take on the Indie Radio Show

Jeffrey, Lena and Norm along with Barry Mac brought their accoustic sound to Caledon recently to join DJ Rick Jones and Tom Beyer live in studio.

The new CD Unfinished Thoughts has just been released and it is anything but unfinished. Recorded at the Hamilton landmark Vibe Wrangler Studios this first release for the band has very polished and rehearsed sound. The big wooden studio where they recorded this release has a real warmth that comes out in the Caretakers sound.

The Caretakers emerged from the current hub of Canadian Music - Hamilton Ontario several years ago. But they could have easily stepped off a stage in Greewich Village - circa 1964. With folk music at their roots and the cultural grit of a working class city upbringing, this band fuses Peter Paul and Mary style harmonies with REM inspired melodies with a sometimes swampy '70's inspired southern rock groove.

The Caretakers music speaks to your heart and your mind. They are making music for people who remember a time when folk music was king, and the lyrics and thoughts behind the music meant something. The Caretakers sing about war, animal cruelty, and domestic strife - they are probably not going to be the subject of an 18 year old's tweet any time soon. And that's probably just all right by them.

Check out this clip from their live unplugged radio studio performance...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gogol Bordello one of the best concerts so far in 2010

Ever heard of this band? Let me fill you in.
This large combo played a sold out show at the Sound Academy this week and it was one of the rockinest shows I've seen this year.

Gogol Bordello is a Gypsy punk band from the Lower East Side of New York City. It was formed in 1999 and is known for its theatrical stage shows and persistent touring. Much of the band's sound is inspired by Gypsy music. The band incorporates minor-key accordion and violin (and on some albums, saxophone) mixed with punk and dub.

“Gogol” comes from the name Nikolai Gogol. As one of the most influential writers in Russian and Ukrainian literature, Gogol paved the way for the likes of Kafka and Dostoevsky. He also serves as an ideological influence for the band because he "smuggled" Ukrainian culture into Russian society, which Gogol Bordello intends to do with Gypsy/ East-European music in the English-speaking world."Bordello", in Italian, refers to a brothel or a "gentleman's club". The band was originally titled Hütz and the Béla Bartóks, but Eugene Hütz says that they decided to change the name because "nobody knows who the hell Béla Bartók is in the United States". The band played their first show as the unofficial band at an after-hours club called Ohuetz on Ridge Street, where they became the house band and DJ Hütz became the house DJ.

Gogol Bordello's first single was released in 1999, and since then they have released four full-length albums, and one EP. In 2005 the band signed to punk label SideOneDummy Records. The band has toured tirelessly throughout Europe and America on numerous international festivals and toured with such diverse bands as Primus, Flogging Molly, and Cake. In an interview with NPR, frontman Eugene Hütz cites Jimi Hendrix and Parliament-Funkadelic as among the band's main musical influences. They have mentioned Manu Chao, Fugazi, Zvuki Mu, Sasha Kolpakov and The Clash as influences as well.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Arkells CD Jackson Square now available on

These lads from the Hammer have a lot to be happy about. There is a real buzz about this band and it's easy to see why. Rock n Roll is not dead - just watch this clip and you'll see what I mean.

Their newest release, for which they won at the Hamilton Music Awards is Jackson Square...pick it up by going to this link:

Old school licks with a power and energy seldom found nowadays. Check em out here - caught at the Hamilton Music Awards a few months back.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ben Somer and Matt Paxton Live on the radio

The Hockey Song - what can be more Canadian than hockey and Paul Coffey. Ben Somer brings his A game to the Indie Radio Show and busts out this jem. It is an oldie that he has been playing recently at his latest gigs. Ben's latest release can be purchased by going to:

Matt Paxton is a singer songwriter who is also touring with Ben at the moment. They have a similar sound - the new folk sound for the 21st century. These guys are good friends - just don't ask them to play together - they won't. But it was a lot of fun having them in the studio. Like old friends they joked and kidded each other about a variety of subjects. Oh to be able to broadcast what is said while the mics are off!

Take a listen and look at Matt - he also debuted a new song on the Indie Radio Show.
Check these guys out when they come to your town - you won't be disappointed.