I Heart Hamilton


AppleBerry Cafe 312 King Street East
J.H. Gordon Books 314 King Street East

I’m pleased to present our first Seema, who runs This Must Be The Place, one of my favourite local blogs. Seema began her blog shortly before ours and it has been fun to follow along and share our Hamilton finds with each other.

Thanks to Seema for the photo

Having set a date to meet up for lunch, I ended up first meeting Seema earlier in the week at the Supercrawl Pop Up show. We confirmed our plans then and decided on a spot that neither of us had been to – AppleBerry Café in downtown’s International Village, which I had spotted on Twitter. After scanning their page, we learned they make a variety of food and drinks, while specializing in Caribbean food. We were excited to check it out!

AppleBerry has been open for about a month – the green building is bright, inviting, and easy to spot. It’s a small space and they take a lot of walk-in orders, and they also deliver orders to nearby establishments that are along the street. I love the details of the light fixtures that matched the International Village’s colourful logo, one brick wall, and the colourful chalkboard menus. There are only a few tables, and we grabbed the best seat in the place, in a little nook right by the window. Seema and I had a great time getting to know each other better and chatting about the City.

With so much to choose from on the menu, we took some time deciding. I went for the Chicken Quesadilla and Seema chose one of the lunch combos – pan-fried fish fillet with vegetables, rice, and beans. Drinks were a no-brainer. Lemonade! Perfect for the hot, summer day. It was actually my first lemonade of the season. Very refreshing!

After our lunch we chatted with AppleBerry’s owner Opal Osiol, who was so lovely and friendly. We learned that she had run her own restaurant in Turks and Caicos and this is her first venture in Hamilton. We praised the food for being so wholesome and homemade, and she said that’s exactly what she was going for. She made our lemonade fresh right there, and rather than having frozen mixes onhand, smoothies are all made fresh. I’ll definitely be back to try one of those! In our fast-paced world where people want to just grab something and go, it was refreshing to see an approach that was more slowed down and personal. After a quick impromptu photo shoot inside AppleBerry, Seema and I headed back out into the heat to our next stop.

We strolled next door to another new edition to King Street, J.H. Gordon Books. Another colourful and inviting storefront – this one was a beautiful shade of blue. It was an ideal spot for Seema and I to continue our exploring, with me having been an English major and Seema being a teacher. We enjoyed comparing notes on what we read in school and what we’re reading now. I’m on the lookout to continue through the canon of classics, seeking out ones that were not assigned in school. I was drawn to the Shakespeare section of the shop, aptly labeled “The Bard,” and Seema even picked up a copy of Hamlet, one of my very favourites. We could have spent even longer than we did perusing those shelves!

We had a great chat with owner Julie Gordon. The book store has been open for about two months and she spoke of her initial struggles to get the place up and running, no easy feat for a new business in Hamilton. But it was worth the wait – the space is gorgeous and airy with its high ceilings, chandeliers, colourful bouquet of flowers on the centre table, and shelves of a fantastic selection of new and used books lining three walls. The remainder of the walls are accented with antique-looking frames, which are a nice touch. I kept looking around and noting how pretty the shop is!

We learned that Julie is originally from Calgary, and when we got talking about Hamilton, I encountered one of our classic full circle moments we keep having on our Tour. Julie said the first place she ate in Hamilton was Papagayo, and the Mexican restaurant is a special place for us Tourists, since we cite the location as the beginning of our Tour, and we just celebrated our one year anniversary there in May. Bam!

To prove how neighbourly local business owners are, we saw Julie come into AppleBerry to order a smoothie just as we were leaving, and when we were at J.H. Gordon Books, Opal dropped by to deliver Julie her smoothie! I would like to explore some more places along King Street; it’s fabulous to see new shops popping up all the time.

Thanks to Seema for joining me for the day. It was a lot of fun and I was happy to connect with a fellow blogger and a new friend. Be sure to check out Seema’s post about the day on her blog in Part One and Part Two.

- Kristin
2 years ago on 18 July 2012 @ 12:29pm

SWEET, SWEET ICE - June 23, 2012

Sweet Ice Snow Cones Commerical Shoot

When the adorable Meg and Linds of Sweet Ice Snow Cones announced they were filming a commercial and invited everyone to be part of it, they had me at confetti cannons. Avishka and I were excited to take part and cross another new experience off our Check List.

The girls had been filming the commercial all day long, and asked to have everyone meet up in the evening for the last part of the shoot. It was a lovely summer night and we were instructed to dress in bright hues. Avi and I complemented each other nicely in bright green and blue, and when we showed up at Hill Street Park, in a quaint, cozy neighbourhood off Dundurn Street, we knew were in the right spot when we saw the colourful group scattered at the edge of the park.

First up, we had to record some audio to be later dubbed into the commercial. Huddled in a group, we were told to cheer and clap, “wooo!” and “yippee!” which really got our energy going. After a few takes of that, we were told that nearby neighbours thought there was a soccer match happening in the park! I guess we really were convincing!

Taken with Instagram

The delightful local singer-songwriter Kori Pop recorded a jingle for Sweet Ice and our next job was to learn the simple lyrics and sing it back. It was stuck in our heads during the whole shoot!

Sweet Ice
Sweet, Sweet Sweet Ice
You know it tastes so nice
That Sweet, Sweet Ice

We were like a little impromptu flash mob/glee club as we stood in the park and sang out the jingle, which was recorded by the crew. With the guys in the back and girls at the front, our little choir sang the song a few times to get it just right.

From there, it was on to the filming! We formed a procession (another parade!) and were given balloons, flags, and adorable handmade pieces of fruit, which we waved around as we marched down an alley, with Kori leading the way. It was hilarious being in that big group, making new friends, and feeding off of all the colour and energy.

My favourite part of the shoot was the scene when our little parade made it to Meg and Linds for snow cones, and we celebrated by jumping up and down and popping some confetti cannons. Now that’s how you end a parade! I should add, we all did an impeccable job cleaning up the mess.

The last bit of shooting was a casual backyard party scene, where we were treated to those famous snow cones (Avi and I both went for the strawberry – delish) and mingled by the Sweet Ice trailer, adorned with cute little snow cone garland and some fruit. The yard was lit with torches and some had fun with sparklers! Also on hand was Weenies Hot Dogs who was featured in the commercial. I was glad to get to try their veggie dog, having heard a lot about them. Thumbs up!

This has to be one of our cutest tour stops to date. Meg and Linds were overwhelmed with the support from all of the extras who took part, and we were all just as happy to be there!

- Kristin

2 years ago on 12 July 2012 @ 8:30am 1 note

FOLK’D UP FRIDAY #2 - June 22, 2012

Folk’d Up Fridays - Indie Music Series
Molson Canadian Studio 1 Summers Lane

This night marked our second show at HECFI’s Folk’d Up Friday series. It was a busy night downtown as people made their way to Copps Colosseum to catch a concert by renowned musician and composer Yanni. My earliest memory of Yanni is watching a videocassette (oh yes, this was back in the day) of one of his concerts with my parents when I was younger, I believe it was “Live at the Acropolis”. Sadly, I hadn’t listened to his tunes for a while and promptly YouTubed his music once I got home. Anyways, I’m getting off track here. While some people were on their way to catch Yanni in action, Kristin and I found ourselves back in the Molson Canadian Studio, joined by our contest winners Lizzie Gosse and John Steinberg, for another evening of folk music. 

Toronto’s Darren Eedens started off the night. Describing himself as a “folkin/honky tonkin’/ bluegrass musician,” Darren certainly lived up to this colourful description as his sweet acoustic and banjo sounds filled the room. Watching Darren strum away on his banjo as he crooned was definitely something; I’m pretty sure the audience kept their eyes on him the entire time, in awe of his banjo playing and stage presence. I’d taken a listen to some of his tunes beforehand, so it was a delight to hear him perform songs like “Wait For the Freeze” (featuring some fantastic upbeat banjo melody) and “Shadows.” Darren has also got a distinctive, warm voice that carried along the melody wonderfully and lends to the unique style of music he has created, finding his own niche within the folk/roots/bluegrass genre. His music would be perfect for a barn dance, upbeat, fun and I found myself tapping my foot along.

Next up was Hamilton singer-songwriter Ben Somer, also a Tour friend whom Kristin and I had seen at work at Boxcar Sound Recording Studio. While Kristin had seen Ben perform before, including last month at This Ain’t Hollywood, this was my first time hearing his music live and I was looking forward to his set. Avid readers of the blog are well aware of our musical inclination for sweet, acoustic music and it is no surprise why we enjoyed his music. Ben’s got a unique voice and that combined with his songwriting and guitar playing made for a wonderful set. He played some familiar tunes, including “Codeine,” “Stiff Drinks and Hand Grenades” and “Lies in July,” even playing a song on the piano. Kristin and I ended up picking up a copy of his latest album, The Last One, an album we’ve both been listening to since.

Singer Andrew Penner and percussionist Michael Rosenthal of Sunparlour Players finished off the night with a BANG. This was by far one of the most impressive musical sets I have seen throughout the Tour. Like with Darren, I had also listened to some of Sunparlour Players’ music beforehand, but hearing it live and seeing them perform live was something else altogether. The acoustics of the studio are well suited to this musical series as the sound swells and fills the room, reaching all corners. These guys took things up a notch and gave a riveting performance.

Andrew sang with so much emotion and energy alongside Michael’s musical multitasking, which was just wow. He started off the evening singing backup vocals and playing solely drums but soon enough, he had a bass guitar slung around his neck which he took turns playing along with the keyboard, a bell, tambourine and a harmonica (Kristin and I ‘oohed’ to each other when we saw it). Seriously a musical master. There was something dynamic about each of their songs and it was wonderful watching them sing together, their vocal harmonies only adding to the warmth of their music. I was delighted to hear “Green Thumb” live, an upbeat song filled with twinkling piano and sleigh bells, along with “Runner”. Things slowed down for one song, where Andrew played the piano with Michael accompanying him on the bass guitar. Naturally, there was an encore that rounded out their set nicely.

Now we can’t forget about Yanni, as he was very much present at the Molson Canadian Studio. Many jokes were made throughout the evening by each musician about Yanni, including attempts by the Sunparlour Players to sneak backstage and meet Yanni. Adding to the humour throughout the evening, the Players also promoted their mustard (yes, they have their own line of mustard), telling the crowd to drink up and buy mustard from a band.

It was a true Tour affair as Boxcar Sound producer and Tour friend Matt Montour was in attendance. Kristin and I also had a chance to talk with Paula Perri, the organizer of the Folk’d Up Friday series and learned that she not only knew Matt but had contributed her talents to Ghosts of Memphis’ upcoming album! What a small world. Paula along with the rest of the team behind the Folk’d Up Friday series have done a fantastic job with selecting some fantastic local musicians to take the stage and showcase their talents.

xoxo Avishka

2 years ago on 4 July 2012 @ 1:06pm

LOUD & PROUD - June 16, 2012

Hamilton Pride 2012

Yet another event we can cross off the Check List – I had always wanted to attend a Pride celebration! It meant a lot to me to attend and show my support for the community. I had searched around for information on Hamilton Pride last summer, but it didn’t seem like there was much happening. This year, The Well: LGBTQ Community Wellness Centre of Hamilton took over the organization of Pride and went all out with events all month long to celebrate. There were events such as a trans-only social, youth craft night, workshops, a poetry slam, and of course the main celebration – the Hamilton Pride Festival.

Avi and I met up with good friend and Honourary Tour Member Jamie, at 11am at City Hall for a rally. We were happy to see so many colourful supporters out on this gorgeous day. We kept cool in the shade and listened to the heartfelt and encouraging speeches, including an appearance by Mayor Bob Bratina, who lent his support.

Rally at City Hall

From there, it was time to march! They specified it being a march, rather than a parade, but I love a good parade (“Don’t Rain On My Parade” being my own personal mantra) so I called it that. We marched down Main, rounding the corner at James, and walked all the way down to the Waterfront. Avi and I tried to capture the feel of it with photos, videos, and tweets – there was such an amazing energy being with everyone as we walked in the street, a lane being blocked off for us, and police escorting us alongside.

The Pride volunteers were friendly and energetic, occasionally getting a chant going. One participant played a steady beat on a bongo as we marched, which made us really step in time! Mayor Bob was just behind us and walked most of the way, and a lovely couple in front of us turned around and gave Avi and I some colourful, tropical leis. Then we were really in the spirit!

Marching down James Street

Mayor Bob Bratina in the crowd marching past Lister Block

It was fantastic to be greeted with so much support from citizens as we marched by – lots of waves, car honks, hoots and hollers from people on foot and in the car. Walking down James North was a lot of fun, since by this point on our Tour, we know the street so well. I spotted Dave from Mixed Media, Holly and Jane at White Elephant, and Roger from CBC Hamilton all outside their respective establishments, watching us go by.

Once we neared the James North staple, Mulberry Street Coffeehouse, Jamie and I decided we needed a little pick-me-up, so the three of us took a convenient little detour. After grabbing some iced coffees for a little jolt and to help cool down (and a delicious Dark City Brownie!) we scurried down the street to catch up with the procession, and seamlessly merged back into the flow.

A view of the procession from our detour at Mulberry Street Coffeehouse

When we hit the Waterfront, really one of my favourite spots in Hamilton, I didn’t know what to expect. The festival was a lot bigger than I thought, with the grounds of Pier 4 Park covered in tents, a stage, a barbeque all ready to go, and music blasting. Avi, Jamie, and I had fun strolling around in the sun, taking in all the vendors and sponsors before stopping for a rest under the beer tent to grab some drinks and watch the entertainment. It was some fabulous entertainment at that – there were several drag performers who took the stage and lip-synched to some classic pop hits, looking glamourous as they did! I’m a big fan of the art of the air band - I’m not much of a singer, but that I can do!

We took some more photos in the sun and just thoroughly enjoyed our time at the park and taking in the amazing, positive energy of the day. Check out our video blog of the day below (the first I’ve filmed and edited for the Tour!)

Happy Pride!!

- Kristin

2 years ago on 3 July 2012 @ 6:40pm 2 notes

AVI’S PLAYLIST - June 2012

Robyn Dell’Unto - “This Is A Song About You” [Listen]
I’ve been saving all the letters
I was only writing to myself
Kristin and I were both fans of Robyn’s song “Astronaut” (featured on the Everybody Dance Now, Vol. 5 compilation) and were hoping to catch a performance of hers sometime. We were excited to learn that she would be performing at the first Folked Up Friday show! “Astronaut” had made a lasting impression and it was nice to hear more of her music. This pretty tune, off her album I’m Here Every Night is one of her more folksy sounding songs, it reminded me a bit of Kathleen Edwards actually (who was on my March Playlist). It’s a bittersweet tune; I get the sense it’s about someone who is feeling dissatisfied in their relationship and is voicing this in the way she knows best, in a song, of things she wished this person would do and be for her. It’s amazing listening to one of her upbeat happier tunes and hearing the contrast, just going to show what a talented musician Robyn is.

Lights - “Peace Sign” (tyDi Remix) [Listen]
Where it’s all a blur, you are the hard line 
In the disorder, you are the peace sign 
What happens when you put Lights & tyDi together?? Something magical. It’s fitting to include Canadian singer Lights on here, as one of our dear Tourists, Jenny, is a fan of her music. Not only that, but it was announced earlier this week that Lights will be performing at the Festival of Friends this year! Aussie DJ and producer tyDi is making his second appearance on here, the first being in April for his track “Acting Crazy” (I love his music. Seriously, go check out his album Shooting Stars, you will not be disappointed). This time around, tyDi is on remix duty, putting his own spin on this bassy tune. If you’ve heard other songs by tyDi, then you’ll be able to hear that unmistakeable tyDi sound, from the twinkling piano to the driving synths. This remix gives the original a brighter, more uplifting sound, making it a clubworthy hit and amplifying the empowering lyrics which speak of making peace within the disorder. Lights’ voice in turn, lends itself well to the upbeat remix, it would be neat to hear her collaborate with other DJs/producers on tracks.

Bruce Peninsula - “Pull Me Under” [Listen]
Got my neck, got my throat
Can’t keep my head above the water
This Toronto supergroup blew me away during the first Folk’d Up Friday show at Hamilton Place. Having taken a listen to their songs before the show, I was instantly a fan and seeing them perform live, the energy, musicality and stage presence was a true testament to how talented they are. Their music is rich, layered and has a worldly, almost cinematic and orchestral sound to it. One of the highlights in this song is the rhythm, that changes time from 3/4 to 4/4 to 5/4 throughout, the strong percussion to the powerful vocals and the African sounding guitar line. It’s a darker, emotional song and the whole band comes together and sings in a gospel, choral manner so expressively. Kristin and I loved their set and can’t wait to hear more from them.

Dia Frampton feat. Kid Cudi - “Don’t Kick The Chair” [Listen]
Have you ever felt like everybody’s watching
Waiting for you to lose
I first heard this tune last month and found myself singing along to the chorus. Taken from Dia’s debut album Red, “Don’t Kick The Chair” is a song that everyone can relate to, speaking about that feeling of desperation where you feel lost and alone in this world; everything has just come crashing down and you just want to give up. “Don’t kick the chair” refers to being able to find the strength to not give in and believe things will get better. It’s an example of a song with a darker sound layered with happier lyrics which is interesting to the ear. From reviews I’ve read of her album, she is a lyrical genius and I’ll definitely have to listen to Red sometime.

Sunparlour Players - “Green Thumb” [Listen]
Go away water, go away sun
I go by the porch light, how green is your green thumb
Singer Andrew Penner and percussion master Michael Rosenthal seemed unassuming when they first stepped on the stage at the latest Folked Up Friday show at Hamilton Place. Once they took their place, instruments in hand, and began playing, it was a whole different story. I will be writing an entry about this show, but man, these guys are AMAZING. Kristin and I were pretty much in awe after their set. They ended off their set (before the encore, that is) with “Green Thumb,” an upbeat guitar and percussion driven song filled with twinkles of piano and sleigh bells that centers around a garden. Andrew Penner’s warm vocals round out this song nicely and Michael takes on percussion duties, playing the bells, drums and keyboard. Definitely a highlight for me.

Dan Griffin - "Emily" [Listen]
And every little word that I say to her
It buzzes in her mind like hummingbirds
And they’re hanging on tight but they’re moving so fast
Dan’s making his second feature on my Playlists, his first being back in April. Kristin and I really enjoyed his belated CD release party at the Casbah last month (entry coming soon!) It was a family affair that evening and Dan had his father join him on stage for this tune, where Mr. Griffin accompanied Dan on the violin. As I stood there listening to the song, captivated by the lyrics, which paint a beautiful picture of Emily, a woman waiting for that special someone. It was lovely hearing this live and watching Dan and his father perform this together. Take a listen to his album Leave Your Love which you can download for free from his website.

Morning Parade - “Headlights” [Listen]
Cause like a rabbit in your headlights
I am the beckon to your call
This Brit alt-rock band made an impression on me back in 2010 with their song “Under The Stars” which I heard on The Vampire Diaries, a show known for featuring a fab selection of music from up and coming musicians. Since then, I’ve been following their musical journey and was excited to learn their self-titled album would be released here in North America this year! This song is one of my favorites. Guitar driven with a fantastic melody and strong vocals, “Headlights” is about losing yourself in someone, finding yourself caught in headlights with your feelings for someone. You can hear influences of bands such as Coldplay in the guitar but MP have managed to find a sound all their own. 

The Human Orchestra - “On With The Show” [Listen]
I’ve been following this Hamilton supergroup over the past few months and have been entertained by both their tweets and their tunes. “On With The Show” is a perfect tune to showcase on a Tour Playlist. There are elements of fiesta (the trumpet) and fun percussion (we like to think of ourselves as a percussion band) evident throughout the song. These cool cats (nine of them in total. That’s right, nine) blend together folk, rock and jazz to create a neat fusion of sound that sounds fresh and unlike anything I’ve heard before. This is definitely a group I would love to see perform live and one I am certain my fellow Tourists would enjoy.

xo Avi

2 years ago on 29 June 2012 @ 3:03pm

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?!)

The Dinner Belles

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.

The Elwins

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.

- Kristin

The Elwins
2 years ago on 26 June 2012 @ 4:37pm 1 note


We’re excited to share a SECRET event happening today at NOON!!

The organizers of SUPERCRAWL 2012 are hosting a FREE surprise pop-up show today, Monday June 25th at NOON in front of the Tivoli Theatre building (108 James Street North).

Vancouver band Said the Whale will be performing, along with Hamilton’s own Terra Lightfoot!

If that wasn’t enough, Supercrawl’s much-anticipated musical lineup will be announced by Junior Boys frontman Jeremy Greenspan!

Also in attendance – Gorilla Cheese, Willie Dog, and Sweetness Bakery food trucks will all be at the pop-up show, just in time for lunch.

plus 2012 Musical Lineup announcement
Monday, June 25th at 12 noon
108 James Street North
Free event

Thanks to our friends at Sonic Unyon for letting us in on this little secret!

See you there!!

P.S. Check back to this entry for some photos from the day!

There was a fantastic turnout today on James North for the Supercrawl Pop-Up! It was a beautiful day for an outdoor show. Sorry for no Said the Whale photos - I was over at Gorilla Cheese and lost my prime spot in the audience (the “Sarducci” was delish!) But they sounded great, and I look forward to seeing them again at Supercrawl. Terra Lightfoot sounded amazing as always, and even played my favourite Dinner Belles’ tune, “Til the Dawn”. Her vocals impress me every time I see her play; I just love her sound.

Accompanied by Honouary Tour Member Krystal, I also finally got to meet Seema from This Must Be the Place! I had fun chatting with her, as well as another friend to the Tour, Kathy Woo. We ran into Mark from Dr. Disc who was nice enough to share some Sweetness Bakery cupcakes with us. We were spoiled!

Be sure to check out the full musical lineup on Supercrawl’s official website. I’m particularly stoked for Hollerado, Young Rival, and New Hands! I can’t wait! It will be an incredible couple of days (September 14 & 15). To get a feel for what you may be in for, check out my entry on last year’s Supercrawl. I’m sure this will be the biggest one yet!

- Kristin

Getting set up

Terra Lightfoot performing

My Gorilla Cheese sandwich. Taken with Instagram
2 years ago on 25 June 2012 @ 8:06am 2 notes


Metric – “Youth Without Youth” [Listen]
Can you read my mind? Read my mind?
Follow along to the end of the song

I’ve always been sort of a casual Metric fan, but I do really like their stuff; they never fail to grab my attention with the energy of their music. Pure rock’n’roll! And Canadian, to boot. I love a strong frontwoman, and Emily Haines is a fierce performer and has such a cool vibe about her. As the first single off their fifth album, Synthetica, I can’t get enough of this one, especially the driving drum beat.

The Dirty Nil – “Fuckin’ Up Young” [Listen]
There ain’t nothing you can’t do
Another tune about the recklessness of youth – I thought would be a good transition. The gritty, distorted rock’n’roll of this Dundas trio has been on my radar for a while, but I have yet to see them play. I can just imagine the energy, though! In an epic battle for the ages, the band’s “Twitter feud,” as I’ve been calling it, with New Hands has resulted in some hilarious tweets.

Juliana Riolino – “Lone Ranger” (Southern Souls session) [Listen]
Got a picture of you in my head
I get a picture that I just regret

I first caught wind of Julianna Riolino when Avi and I saw her open for our very own Ascot Royals in May, and I was impressed by her striking vocals. She has a rough-around-the-edges sound and she sings with a lot of soul. Hailing from Welland, the singer, accompanied by a full band, doesn’t have many songs available just yet (I’ve been listening to “Sunset Song” over and over on her Bandcamp page) but this track was recorded by local video site extraordinaire Southern Souls and made available for download, along with “So I Can See”. She is a promising talent and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Julianna.

Drake ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga – “The Motto” [Listen]
You only live once, that’s the motto
Ok, questionable lyrics aside, I do enjoy this beat. If you’ve been following, we enjoy our beats. So much so, when a particularly good beat comes on, Avi, Carly, and I have been known to look at each other and declare, “BEATS!” This is the second Drake track on one of my Playlists, and fitting, since Take Care just made the prestigious Polaris Long List. But maybe I’m not so hip; I had to Google the meaning of “yolo,” so, make of that what you will.

The Elwins – “Stuck in the Middle” [Listen]
Take me off your test now, you know I passed with a ninety one
You’re making a mistake; how do you do this and call it fun

As I say in my entry about Casbah’s Brews N Bands (coming soon!), I had a “Where have you been all my life?!” moment with this band from Keswick, Ontario when I first saw them play at that event. They have such a fun, playful sound and I really hope they venture back this way again. Honourable mention to one of Carly’s last Playlist picks – their cover of Beyonce’s “Countdown” with Luke Lalonde of Born Ruffians. Classic.

Cowlick – “Wires” [Listen]
You can tell me anything you want
Yet another Hamilton band that I’ve gotten to sink my teeth (or my ears?) into more through exploring the City, and I really should have sooner! Better late than never. I met musician Dylan Hudecki in my travels and soon got to recognize that whenever the lighting at a show at Casbah all of sudden got really cool, Dylan was behind it! Digging into Cowlick’s second album, Wires, it grabbed me right away and I look forward to catching a show. The catchy title track had to be included on my Playlist - I love the change in tempo and how rocks out at the end.

Kanye West – “Paranoid” [Listen]
Anyone who don’t know you like I do
Will never know you

What do you do when you’ve already put every released New Hands tune on your Playlists? Include a song that they’ve covered! So, this one’s going out to new my bffs of New Hands. I was lucky enough to witness the first time they covered this Kanye tune, a top favourite of Evan’s, he said, last month at This Ain’t Hollywood. I always loved the track too, so it was another moment of clicking with New Hands! I was hanging out with them on the patio when inspiration struck and they decided to include the cover in their set. They did an amazing job of it – from those first few notes, the crowd was on edge, ready for the song to kick in. Spence’s vocals totally lent themselves to the track and they all looked like they were having so much fun with the song. I’ll say it again, guys – I’m requesting it at our Playlist 1.0 on July 28th!!

Fiona Apple – “Every Single Night” [Listen]
Every single night I endure the flight
Of little wings of white-flamed butterflies in my brain

I’m such a huge Fiona Apple fan and am so excited to hear new material – seven years was a long wait! I remember writing a review of her last album, Extraordinary Machine, for one of my last classes in high school, which was part of a huge project on the artist, and it was one of my favourite school assignments I’ve ever had. I don’t know where my love for Fiona started; somewhere around the time I sneaked a watch of the “Criminal” video when I may have been too young to see it. To this day, I’m enamored by her voice, lyrics, and what a true, original artist she is. Listening to the new album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, I had to keep stopping, being struck by so many of the lyrics. I cannot wait to delve into it deeper.

The Rest – “Young and Innocent” [Listen]
There’s no reason to be overjoyed
The Hamilton band are celebrating the release of their album Seesaw this month, so I had to include a track! I first saw lead singer Adam Bentley play at Threshold Studios’ grand opening on St. Patrick’s Day with Avi, then Carly and I saw the full band play in May, as they opened for Eight and a Half at Casbah. We were so thoroughly impressed with The Rest (sorry, had to – I enjoy rhyming) and they’re another band I’m happy to discover through our Tour. There are so many different sounds to this impressive 7-piece band that it’s hard to pin down. Check out their CD Release June 30th at Christ’s Church Cathedral with New Hands - sure to be spectacular show!

San Sebastian – “In Or Out” [Listen]
So you, you wait, you hesitate
And I’m just fine, cause there’s only time

Oh, San Sebastian. This one’s a late addition to my Playlist, and certainly not a new song to me; I’ve been hearing them playing it since they were Pumps. The band included this older track of theirs on their debut full length, Relations, only slowing down the tempo. The acoustic version suits the song perfectly, letting the emotion in Mike’s voice really come through. Pair that with a beautifully nostalgic video of the band’s history, and you’ve got yourself a hit. I can’t wait for what’s next for these guys!

Dan Griffin – “Stars and Satellites” [Listen]
25 years old and I worry that I might never take the time I need
’Cause my head has always been so much older than my shoulders can believe
And it won’t be long before I’m on my own
And I’m hoping that the stars and the satellites will always bring me home

One of the founding members of hometown band Arkells, Dan Griffin released a solo album last year, and it is really something special. Avi and I attended the belated CD Release for Leave Your Love in May, where Dan played pretty much the whole thing, plus a cover, being joined by Julie Fader, and duet with his father on the violin. As the opener of the disc, this song really stands out to me amongst what is a solid album from start to finish; the lyrics are just beautiful. The album is available for a free download on Dan’s website. Hop to it! It has been in my regular rotation.

- Kristin

2 years ago on 21 June 2012 @ 11:00am 1 note