NEW HANDS SEND-OFF SHOW
Come send off Ben and Spence in style before they jet-set to Europe and hear their debut album Leave With The Night played in its entirety. Plus, brand new merch!
Also on the bill - Illitry and River Tiber.
Thursday, August 8th, 2013
The Casbah, 306 King Street West
— Facebook event page —
— Read blog post —
— Read blog post —
KRISTIN’S BIRTHDAY BASH!
— Event page —
Saturday April 6, 2013
Casbah Lounge (306 King Street West, Hamilton)
$5 (Proceeds going to Hamilton food bank)
DAWN & MARRA
QUAILS IN THE NEST
THE GREAT MACHINE
CRAWLIN’ ON THE ROOFTOP - July 13, 2012
James Street North Art Crawl
Art Crawl gets bigger and better every month! The warmer months are the most fun for Art Crawl, and everyone was out and about, taking full advantage of the hot summer night. I also realized this was our second Crawl this year that fell on the superstitious Friday the 13th (the last one being in April) and thirteen is proving lucky.
First I have to mention my pre-Crawl stop during the day to Green Smoothie Bar. I heard about GSB through Carly, who knows owner Joe Acardi. I got to meet manager Danielle Height and her sister Melissa who were behind the counter creating the smoothies (and who remember us from our YEP boat adventure last summer.) I zeroed in on the Pineapple Banana for my first Green Smoothie experience. After choosing a flavour, you can select one “kick” or three, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Many people opt for an energy boost! I chose the Maca, after the girls explained something about back in the day, warriors would take it for strength. They also mentioned it’s a libido-enhancer, and that never hurts, now does it? With all kinds of kicks to choose from, like coconut, matcha, wheatgrass, cocoa, flax seed, and more, I know I’ll be back to experiment with some different combos. Danielle and Melissa are super friendly and take the time to explain the benefits of each smoothie while they are whipping it up in a very high-tech blender. I enjoyed my chat with them and taking in the modern, bright green and white space. It’s definitely a spot I’ll be stopping by again when strolling along James North.
After a brief flicker of a thunderstorm between my time on James and heading home, the evening cleared up and I set back out to meet Avi at Art Crawl. Although we didn’t get to pop into too many locations this time around, we were on a mission to hit specific spots. Before meeting up, Avi hit up Tourism Hamilton to check out the mouth-watering Beanermunky chocolate display, and I checked out the newly opened Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex, right next to CBC Hamilton. The space is absolutely gorgeous and I loved admiring all the artwork and pieces that would look great in the home. I recognized the work of Andy DeCola on the walls, which we saw on display at Mulberry’s De Facto back at March’s Art Crawl. I also got to meet Lindsay, another Twitter friend, who was working away during the busy Crawl. James North is the perfect spot for the AGH to open their new space, and their main location is still on our to-do list!
Andy DeCola’s work at the Design Annex
From there, it was over to CBC Hamilton to check out their photo booth and speaker’s corner. Arriving early, I got to sort through the props, and with Roger Gillespie’s help, opted for some giant pink glasses. I got to be the first to test out the booth, and when Avi arrived, we put on a few more accessories and filmed a little promo for The Playlist 1.0 – coming up on July 28th! Watch the video and check out their writeup about our show. Thanks to Roger and the folks at CBC for having us be part of this month’s Art Crawl activities, and for the shout out the next day!
Next door to CBC, the girls from Sweet Ice Snow Cones were set up, right next to some acrobats! That’s right, acrobats! This is why I love Art Crawl. Fittingly, the Sweet Ice commercial was playing on loop at CBC, and the video and my entry about it were featured on CBC’s digital round up the next day. And thank you, Linds, for the cute Sweet Ice buttons!
We also made it down the street to check out the new salon, The Ten Spot. The chain has a couple of salons in Toronto, with this being the first in Hamilton. It seems like a great fit for the street and I’ve been seeing tweets from happy customers after getting their mani-pedis! We spoke with Janet and Kathleen and got a nice tour of the salon. I was eyeing all of those gorgeous nail polish colours, thinking about how indecisive Avi and I would be about choosing just one!
Photos courtesy of CBC Hamilton
Then it was time for the main event we came for – Dr. Disc’s 21st anniversary festivities! The concert series Raise the Roof kicked off with The Great Machine, The Dirty Nil, New Hands, and The Rest. We unfortunately missed the first band, and came partway through Dirty Nil’s. I was excited to finally see them play. Avi has known those guys for a while, her brother being friends with them. They were just as wild and crazy as I expected, with birthday boy Luke coming down from the roof at one point and continuing to belt out a song, acapella, when there was some technical difficulties with the sound. Those boys go hard! I like to think I made a good first impression, yelling a Happy Birthday to Luke later on as he whipped by, hanging out the passenger seat of a car.
We were then joined by friends Vanessa and Sarah, and we moved up closer to the building to get a prime spot for New Hands. What can I say that I haven’t already about this band? I love these guys; they impress me every single time. Seeing them up on the roof made me think of their recent Southern Souls video, a rite of passage for any artist, which they filmed on the very top of Dr. Disc. The heights would have made me slightly nervous, but all the bands were total pros.
The Dirty Nil
After a quick sprint down to Mulberry, where lovely artwork by Clarence A. Porter was featured in De Facto, we hurried back to Dr. Disc for The Rest. I can’t say enough about this band, either. They are amazing! The seven-piece filled out the rooftop space and Adam’s voice soared, carrying through the air and down the street. It was a treat to be able to see them play again so soon. They are simply the best (better than all the rest?) Their band name lends itself to a good pun. But I mean that! One of the best bands in the City, for me!
The night raged on with me, Sarah, and Vanessa hitting Casbah Lounge for the official Dr. Disc Birthday after party. The fellas of San Sebastian were holding it down on the decks and spinning the best selection of tunes. I may have requested some Soul Decision. I love those guys; it’s always a party when they’re involved. We arrived fashionably early, which is how we roll, and the rest of the bands (pun intended, again) soon joined in. We had an absolute blast and can’t wait for another night like that one.
Yet another fantastic Art Crawl and Friday the 13th for the books!
BREWS N BANDS - June 2, 2012
Brews N Bands Craft Beer Festival
The Casbah 306 King Street West
I’m knocking this event off our Check List – I had never been to a beer tasting before, and it’s something I had talked about doing. What better way to experience my first one than with The Casbah’s Brews N Bands, their first Craft Beer Festival! Casbah’s owner William “Brodie” Schwendiman had shared his excitement for the event with Avishka and I the last few times we’ve attended shows at Casbah, and it sounded like it was shaping up to be a great event and one not to miss. It was a solo mission for me this time around, and quite the mission, it was! A beer mission! If anyone out of the four of us were to tackle this one, it’d be me. Although it was a solo mish, I quickly made friends and had some great accomplices throughout the evening.
It was a fantastic set up – $25 per session (I opted for the evening one) got you 10 beer sample tickets, with the option to buy more tickets for a dollar each. Plus, the price of admission was worth it for the bands alone – you got some incredible live music after the sampling was over. During the day, they had The Sadies, and at night was Colleen Brown, The Wooden Sky, The Dinner Belles, and an after party in the lounge with The Elwins. Local vendors including NaRoma Pizza, Gorilla Cheese, and Mickey McGuire’s Cheese Shop were on hand to make sure everyone balanced their bevvys with some food. Picking up my official Brews N Bands beer glass (which we got to keep – sure to be a Hamilton keepsake item from my travels in the City) I was ready to get started.
The place was absolutely packed and I took a spin around the Lounge and the main room to check out all of the vendors, thinking about how characteristically indecisive my fellow Tourists and I are, especially when it comes to food and drink options. I didn’t hesitate, choosing one at random to get the ball rolling, or should I say, the beer flowing. My first sample was the King Vienna Lager by Beer Barons, which, according to the official description, has a “medium body, gentle creaminess and slight malt sweetness”. I’m by no means a beer connoisseur, so I’ll leave the descriptions to the professionals. It was a nice, light beverage to sip on as I wandered about to look at the others more closely and decide on my next sample.
Now, I suppose the key to a good beer tasting is pacing. I’m new to the art of the tasting, remember! I didn’t join in until a little bit later, and as the night neared 9 PM, it was a bit of a race against the clock as everyone tried to finish off their beer tickets. Many of the vendors were quite generous with their samples, which didn’t help in speeding up the process! I wanted to get a good range of samples in, and I think I did that. My other samples included a Flying Monkeys Amber Ale, two St-Ambroise brews – their Raspberry Ale and Apricot Wheat Ale, something from Mill St. Brewery, an award-winning Cameron’s Brewing RPA, and I snuck in a Nickel Brook Brewery Green Apple Pilsner just in the nick of time. Phew. CHAMP!
Just when I thought I was done with the beer sampling, later on in the night Brodie handed me a sip of a beer that Dylan Hudecki of local band Cowlick immediately noted, “smells like campfire!” It wasn’t until after we tried it that Brodie revealed it was a “maple bacon donut” beer! It just doesn’t get any more Canadian than that. I don’t know if I could muster a whole bottle; it is a very specific taste, but I could certainly appreciate the explosion of flavour that it was, and how accurate!
That was the Brews, now onto the Bands! Colleen Brown kicked off the show. I hadn’t heard of the Edmonton-based musician, but what a treat it was to be introduced to her delightful folk-pop music. The crowd loved her set, and not just because the beer had fully set in by that point! She was quick to check in with the audience throughout the set and keep everyone engaged. The feisty “Fight! Fight! Fight!” was a highlight for me, as well as the Donna Summer-inspired “Good Girls,” as she put it. Too bad I wasn’t wearing my sequins! Colleen also unexpectedly launched into a bit of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” (made famous by Sinead O’Connor) before launching into her own song “7 Hours and 15 days,” which she said was inspired by the song. Colleen and her band filled the venue with their sounds and they were a pleasure to listen to.
When local favourites The Dinner Belles were up next, I made my way right up to the front of the stage, joining my new friend Steph (I was glad to meet another Twitter friend in person!) and her friends. I was really excited to see the Belles, having experienced their live show for the first time last month with Avi and knowing how much fun they are. Their energy level is incredible and I love watching how the 7-piece ensemble (which was a 6-piece at this show) interacts with each other onstage. They have amazing musical chemistry, and you can tell how much joy they get from playing together. They are a super group – a true meeting of musical, creative minds. They are a hollerin’, foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ PARTY! They closed their set with my favourite of theirs, “Til the Dawn,” which I couldn’t help but sing along to; that wasn’t just the beer! Seeing Dinner Belles play again made me even more stoked for our Playlist 1.0, coming up July 28th!! It’ll be a show not to miss! I’m so honoured and humbled we’ve got a band of this calibre on board to celebrate with us and for a great cause. You better all be there – with bells on! (See what I did there?!)
Toronto’s The Wooden Sky were up next, who I hadn’t seen play for a few years and was really glad to see them again. They played such an impressive set and it hit me that they’re another band that I really need to give a proper listen to. But this is what the Tour is all about – expanding our musical horizons and taking in some new sounds. We’ve experienced a lot of authentic folk music throughout our travels and the depth of this music impresses me and moves me every time, The Wooden Sky being no exception. The crowd was full of dedicated fans of the band, listening intently, singing along, and really feeling the music; I was in good company.
After hearing a few audience members behind me shout, “Oh My God!” a few times throughout their set (which I recognized were undoubtedly requests for The Wooden Sky’s song of that title) I was pleased to hear the band bust out the song at the end of their set. The slow drawl and repetition of “Oh my God, it still means a lot to me,” is such a simple lyric but it resonates so much; I could feel its impact as I watched the remainder of their set from the back of the room. I’m sure it’s a sentiment that everyone attached their own memory to in that moment; I know I did.
Then it was off to an after party in the Lounge where The Elwins ended off the night. I had a bit of a “Where have you been all my life?!” moment with this band. Another band I had heard of but hadn’t yet given a proper listen to, I took a quick listen to their music before heading to the event and right away was really looking forward to seeing them play. Even though my energy was waning by that time, I couldn’t help but bob along to their tunes. They finished off their set with the catchy “Fox Tail” (so catchy, that I woke up the next morning with it stuck in my head!) which they taught us the lyrics too, and some corresponding dance moves. I thought of Avi and Carly, who would have appreciated the moves, the “action dancing” as we tend to call it, when the moves go with the lyrics to a song. Super fun and it was hilarious to see the fairly small group of us who were left in the Lounge shaking our tails like foxes. Troopers, all of us! The Elwins’ playful set was the perfect way to finish off the night. I would love to catch them again when my energy is more up to par! With a successful night had and empty beer glass in hand, I was ready to hit the road, and more specifically, my bed.
I’m thrilled that Casbah’s first Brews N Bands was such an amazing success, and as Brodie tweeted the next day, it made for one of the greatest days in the club’s history. Yet another fantastic Hamilton event that I was happy to see in action and that makes this city what it is, encompassing everything we love about it – the sense of community, the music, and, of course, the love of a good brew.
"SPEAKING OF WEDNESDAY, THIS SONG’S CALLED ‘TWO POINTS MEET’…" - May 2, 2012The Casbah 306 King Street West
After handing in my last paper of the Winter term, I needed a bit of a breather from academia. With plenty of people to visit and things to do, I went back home to the Hammer to take a week off. Although my days were still filled with research, my nights were reserved for some good ol’ Hamilton socializing. And, with Kristin’s schedule chalk full of IHHT stops, I got the chance to do a few things Tour-style.
Tonight, I was joining her to check out some new-to-me music at The Casbah. The prospect of a Stills/Broken Social Scene offshoot (Eight and a Half) is what convinced me to come. To be honest, though, I wasn’t anticipating to be all that interested in the music itself. I was expecting electronica. I was expecting a bunch of technical noises that, although respectable music with a devoted fanbase, is not particularly my taste. Luckily, I was in for a surprise. This music was unexpected. It was impressive. And it has opened up a new chapter in the “music Carly listens to” songbook.
Illitry started things off. Talking to Troy after the show, he explained how Illitry was created when Chester’s mom suggested that Troy should jam with him sometime. Thus, Illitry is two boys from Durham who are in the process of grabbing a bassist and a drummer to round out the band. Kristin and Avi saw them play at the Rich Aucoin show, of which I expected “a mystical, airy quality” to translate into something of no interest to me. Watching them play their music and being so technically involved as to fix their inconsistencies as they played, though, was like watching musical craftsmen at work. They were not playing music, but building something from the ground up. Sounding a bit like Muse with their bassist playing alongside, their entire sound is a full one that they are happy to share with whoever will listen. Check out “Roadtrip" and these boys live ASAP.
Once they finished, The Rest took over the stage. Before they even began playing their set, it sounded like an orchestra tuning up in the pit. It prepared the audience for the really talented players who were taking the stage. This is a large band of seven people. Seven. Indeed, they filled out that Casbah stage. They neither crowded the space nor the sound, though. Each one added something special to the music as a whole that it is impossible to picture The Rest without any of its players. They are all key. Every guitarist adds something to the overall sound, every string is impeccably placed, and a solid backbeat guides every song. Adam Bentley’s voice is a cross between Steve Bays, Win Butler, and Brendan Canning that takes the Whoa-Ohs from Hot Hot Heat, the soul of Arcade Fire, and the pop-rock sensibilities of Broken Social Scene to make The Rest the incredible hometown talent to watch.
Eight and a Half brought the night to a close. Dave Hamelin walked up on stage with his hood over his head as Justin Peroff and Liam O’Neil got themselves sorted on stage. As a fan of both The Stills and Broken Social Scene, I at least knew that the men on stage would be musically interesting. Indeed, they play incredibly fluidly. They flowed so well together that, even though I had never heard their music before, I knew where each song was going. It made sense to me, as a virgin listener, every time they played a sound. Each and every note belongs to each and every song, just as they arranged it. The trio is a successful meeting of some really talented musicians that will find a really interesting fanbase in Southern Ontario and beyond.
Ultimately, this was a night that I thought would be easily defined by my expectations. I thought that I would be able to write my blog post based on what I anticipated that I would see. Instead, it was a night that broadened my music scope more than ever before. It widened the net that I cast when checking out new Hamilton talent. And, really, isn’t that what we all want from a Hamilton night out?
THE ROYAL ASCOTS - May 31, 2012The Ascot Royals
The Casbah 306 King Street West
It’d been a while since we had seen The Ascot Royals play, the last time being far before the Tour even started! I remember it well. It was February 2011 and Carly, Kristin and I found ourselves at the Casbah Lounge on a cold winter’s night dancing along to the Ascot’s infectious dance rock beats. This Brantford-based band certainly know how to rock a show and Kristin and I were looking forward to seeing them play again, knowing also that the next time we’d be seeing them play would be at our very own Playlist 1.0. And judging by the turnout at this show, this is a band certainly not to be missed.
I arrived at the Casbah after Kristin and we sat at a table (one with those high stools) catching up on all things Tour related, excitedly talking about the fundraiser and stoked to see The Ascot Royals play. We found ourselves looking at the beer taps on the ceiling, which we’d only really noticed at the Dan Griffin show a few weeks prior. Too funny.The Ascot Royals
Juliana Riolino (the band is now called The Red Birds) opened the show with some folk acoustic tunes. Admittedly, Kristin and I weren’t sure who would be starting off the night and had never heard Julianna’s music, so we were in awe when she began singing. She seemed so unassuming as she took to the mic with her guitar, adjusting the mic and her guitar strap before she began strumming and singing along. Julianna’s got a lovely, warm voice that was showcased throughout her set. She played a few songs on her own before being joined by her band who provided just the right amount of instrumentation to balance out her beautiful vocals. Gosh, she’s got a fantastic vocal range and was so at ease performing. Be sure to take a listen to her song "Sunset Song."
Funny enough, I only realized a few days after this show that I had in fact heard some of her music thanks to my brother Deven! And to make things even seem more “small world-esque,” The Dirty Nil (who my brother’s known for ages) were at The Casbah that night! A band Kristin had yet to meet and one whom we were wanting to see perform, we hoped to meet up with them. There was some tweeting back and forth and unfortunately, we kept missing each other. Thankfully, we’ve heard they’ll be making an appearance at The Playlist 1.0, of course to support their frenemies (they have a Twitter feud going) New Hands.
Then it was time for the Toronto’s The Archives to take the floor. Again, this is yet another band with a dynamic sound to them. Their set was filled with driving, rhythmic guitar, melodic hooks and fantastic vocals all coming together to create a neat, experimental rock sound, as evidenced in their song “Sheeps Clothing.”
Following their set was Secret Broadcast. Hailing from Calgary and based in Toronto, this indie rock band fit in nicely with the night’s musical lineup and also with the Tour’s collective musical taste. Oh and also with our “spy” theme (we’ve had the idea of walkie-talkies which fits well with the band’s name). From the rockin’ guitar, to chanting worthy choruses and “ohs” and a bit of tambourine in songs like “Neon Light” and “Raygun,” this is a band with a cool sound and one I could see the whole group of us dancing along to. Be sure to check out their EP which was released on May 22nd!
Last but not least, The Ascot Royals took to the stage with an impressive set that had Kristin and I so, so excited for The Playlist 1.0. Their sound has certainly evolved and changed since we last saw them, though we should still hear strains of familiarity, whether it be in Jimmy’s vocals or the amazing beats (BEATS!) courtesy of drummer Sam Stark and Ben Chauveau on synths that had everyone dancing away.The Ascot Royals
One thing I love about these guys is their energy! Watching them perform, each of them so into the music, the groove, and watching Jimmy holding the mic tightly and dancing around (at one point he jumped up on top of the bass drum and stood there belting his heart out) is something to be admired and appreciated. These guys definitely put their heart and soul into their songs and live performances and their energy certainly bounced off the audience, amplifying the whole room (check out the video below). The Ascots played a mix of older and newer tunes, including newer songs like “Think You’re Better” (listen to the chorus, the vocals and harmonies are fantastic), “Stray” and “Do It All Again” (which had got such a rhythmic bassline and driving drumline) and soon enough, everyone was on their feet taking in the dance rock beats of this fantastic band. They all looked like they were having so much fun and it brought a smile to my face, as I imagined what it would be like to see them at our fundraiser.
Speaking of which, we are excited that The Ascot Royals will be performing at our fundraiser, Playlist 1.0, Saturday, July 28th!
HANDS AND BEATS - April 19, 2012
The Casbah 306 King Street West
We’re on a roll lately with the fantastic shows happening in Hamilton! This lineup was amazing – Allosaurus, New Hands, Hands & Teeth, and Wildlife. I rolled into Casbah a little early, just in time for one of their craft beer tastings in the Lounge. Casbah’s owner, William “Brodie” Schwendiman has done a terrific job at stocking Casbah full of local, independent, craft beers, and while I’m not yet a beer connoisseur, I can certainly appreciate all of the varieties and what must go into crafting just the right brew. Be sure to check out Casbah’s first “Brews N Bands” Craft Beer Festival on June 2nd. I chatted with Aron D’Alesio, singer of Young Rival, who was bartending, and joked about my inability to distinguish between beers, much less critique one’s flavour, while swishing the brew around in my cup, trying to look like I fit in at a tasting. Avishka met up with me shortly after I sampled my beer, and then it was time to head upstairs for the show.
Allosaurus kicked off the night, and right away, Avishka and I looked at each other, and knew we were fans of the Hamilton band. Seeing the familiar set up of an electronic-pop music duo, which we’ve seen before (we’re realizing how awesome Hamilton’s dance/electro music scene is!), we were curious what their live show would be like. As soon as their matching blazers and pants lit up, (yes, lit up!) we were on board. We loved Brad Melle and Evan MacAlpine’s playful onstage presentation; they danced about with no inhibitions, making their set so much fun to watch. A highlight for me was their song “Emma-Lee,” which was recently featured on an episode of Degrassi. Ah, young love. Their closing track, “Hello St. Louis” was also a banger, and they pulled out all the stops for that one, dancing up a storm! Again, I always regret not having glow sticks with me. We really must remember that when checking out these electro acts!
Avishka and I were particularly excited to meet New Hands and see them play, after hearing so much about the Hamilton band. We have heard great things about them from major music figures in the City – their producer Michael Keire (and we recently visited his studio where the band has been working away), Lou Molinario of This Ain’t Hollywood, and Mark of Dr. Disc. And now they have the official I Heart Hamilton Tour endorsement (if I may be so bold as to put ourselves in that category), as we are quite smitten with the group!
They have a unique sound that boasts a variety of influences. There are some 80s synth sounds in there (as I noted in my April Playlist, which features “This I’ve Heard”), and they have a more danceable sound than we were expecting, but they also have a darker sound to their music, too. I still can’t get over Spence Newell’s vocals; it’s like he’s channelling it from somewhere else. He even gave us a personal shout out from the stage, which meant a lot! The guys have such a fun chemistry onstage and off; you can tell how much fun they’re having and that energy is infectious. “Whichever Way You’ll Have It” was promptly stuck in my head after the show – love the breakdown in that song. Drummer Gord Bond is also a talented visual artist, having his art featured at McMaster’s Wise Up (the annual School of the Arts exhibition) and winning an award. They are currently working on their debut full length album and I can’t wait to see and hear more from these guys.
From one “hands” band to another, Toronto’s Hands & Teeth also put on a great show. Avi and I had only heard of them through Carly, who sent her recommendation. Being a fantastic music-recommender, I always take a listen to everything Carly sends me. With her being away on a Detour in Kingston, music has been a way to keep in touch, with our constant messaging over our newest finds. Avi and I liked Hands & Teeth’s set up and particularly liked how much the band switched up their roles, taking on different instruments by trading them off amongst each other and by divvying up the vocal duties. It made for an interesting set to watch and offered something different from other bands. I couldn’t help but notice they have a song titled “Sound of Hamilton,” off their latest album, Hunting Season. How apropos!
Another Toronto band, Wildlife, headlined the show. I had heard of them, but hadn’t given them a proper listen. I listened to some tracks before attending the show and really liked what I heard. Seeing a band live is always a different experience, for better or for worse, and Wildlife’s rip-roaring set was completely for the better! It made me like them even more; they played an amazing set. To continue with our love of theatrics, they had a fog machine, and, although that was not the most fun to breathe in, as we were pressed right up to the front of the stage, it worked; it added a certain mystique. I absolutely couldn’t get over drummer Dwayne Christie, who hammered it out back there like I’ve never seen. I laughed, later on, when I read New Hands’ Tweet: “Spence watching @wildlifeband’s drummer ‘He’s moving so fast I feel like I’m watching a claymation video!’ #swag”.
It was such a wicked lineup - we were very impressed!