Caper Radio continues their string of grassroots concerts this weekend, hosting an acoustic coffee house at the Cedar’s Club on Sunday. An all ages event, the show caters to a crowd of literally all ages with a lineup featuring Black Tooth Grinn and The Den Scholars amongst others.
I have previously reviewed tracks from The Den Scholars, who have quickly become my favorite local band, but the gem of the show is an acoustic set from Black Tooth Grinn. A bitchin’ rock band, BTG translate perfectly to an acoustic setting. I had the chance to catch them over the holidays at The Upstairs Club and it was one of the best shows I have ever taken in. Adding Mallory Williams and Alicia Penney to the group creates more harmony and atmosphere than one band should be permitted, while the vocals of Chuck Knott and Travis Morrison really hit the spotlight. The songs have so much heart and leave you wondering if this is what people thought when they first saw Dylan and Young playing in the ’50s and ’60s.
But the weekend doesn’t start on Sunday! Tonight at Wentworth Perk, The Den Scholars make their debut along BTG organist John Gill. It should be interesting to see the inconveniently large group take over the coffee shop, showcasing their beautifully melodic sound. Mr. Gill will also hit Governors Pub later in the evening for a songwriters circle with Alicia Penney, Yvette Rogers, and Dave Daix (of Seek Out Ships).
Friday night sees Governors Pub host a sold out evening with Donnie Dumphy. Dumphy, who you may have seen at Evolve or on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, is a Newfoundland hip hop artist with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. The humour is not lost on this writer, as Dumphy has a down home charm while rapping about poppin’ wheelies on his dirt bike and drinking screech. One wonders if this might be what Stompin’ Tom would sound like if he grew up in the ’90s. While Friday is sold out, Governors has added shows on Sunday and Monday which are selling quickly. Grab a ticket, it’s going to be a show.
Saturday night is a full night on the town with both Governors Pub and The Upstairs Club playing host to shows. At Governors, The Sinister Kids hit town alongside John Gill fronted Heartwood Slacks. The Sinister Kids are fronted by Mike Dalton of the Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble and feature Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel members Mike Ouelette and Greg Hann as the rhythm section. The Upstairs Club has an early show in support of earthquake relief efforts in Japan and New Zealand, featuring The Tom Fun Orchestra, The Colin Grant Band, Buck and Kinch, and Hash Jesus. For a great cause, the show will also mark Tom Fun’s first Cape Breton show in a while.
I had the chance to head to The Upstairs Club last Saturday night for Tom Fidgen‘s hometown CD release. Admittedly, I am a huge fan, but even still was blown away by the sheer amount of great material Fidgen has crafted over the years.
To begin the evening, Tom hit the stage with just an acoustic guitar and played through a cross-section of his discography. A lot of new songs were played, some written after his latest album launched in January, while some old favorites (and even some Sunfish tunes) were peppered throughout. His rich voice has not faltered in the least and I was refreshed to hear material to which I had not previously been exposed.
To follow this, Fidgen hit the stage with Sunfish bandmate Scott Brown and Young River drummer Matt Thauvette for a full band set. Accompanied by Dave Mahalik on accordion and Ed Woodsworth on pedal steel for a couple of tracks, it would be hard to describe this set as anything but perfection. Sunfish favorites like “Whiskey Don’t Go Bad”, “Stoke the Fire”, and “Diamonds to Dust” whipped the crowd into a frenzy, while the songs from his new CD held their own as well. The highlight for me was “Tar”, a song from Fidgen’s previous CD Beyond Before. Woodsworth’s pedal steel work transformed the swells of the original recording and added to it new life.
Track of the Week: Heartwood Slacks’ “The Ones You Know”. From the same show at St. George’s Church as last week’s entry, this song shows the potential of the band and of John Gill as a songwriter. Since Caper Radio released the videos of the show to YouTube, this has been a constant on my playlist. Check them out Saturday night at Governors Pub.