Last weekend I had a couple of shifts at the Upstairs Club and got to catch two pretty amazing shows. I am a lucky fella sometimes.
Last Friday night was a showcase organized by Phil Tarr under his Sydney’s Hottest Independent Tapes group. Known for somewhat lo-fi and experimental music, S.H.I.T. had a more inclusive lineup with Generic Shit, The Liquid Vapours, and Black Tooth Grinn hitting hte stage at the North End’s little bar.
Generic Shit is a two piece drum and bass duo consisting of Phil Tarr (Mess Folk) and Red MacDougall. The songs were of a very droney, downtrodden style that reckoned of ’80s new wave to me. I found the songs and the liberal use of reverb on the vocals to be well crafted in its mood and atmosphere while not being undermined by the simplicity of the bass riffs and beats.
The Liquid Vapours are a rock’n’roll heart attack. The band rips through a varied set of rockabilly, garage, and punk rock in furious fashion. Having only heard some stuff on the interweb, I was pleasantly surprised to see the songs transition exceptionally to the live stage.
The night ended with Black Tooth Grinn going full tilt into the night. Being the first chance I’ve had to catch their full live set, I was quite surprised to hear such an early ’90s influence in what I had believed was a strictly classic rock style group. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of Zeppelin and the Stones to go around, but hearing hints of grunge era rock sweetened the pot just a little more.
Saturday night was Royal Kush and Mista Mack‘s video party for “The Show”. I arrived as the group ran through the song a number of times before the audience showed up to get some early footage. Adding Mista Mack and Mischif to the usual Reggae/Hip Hop ensemble upped the energy from the group’s usual sound.
The night began with McKenzie College students hitting the stage for a mix of covers and originals. While a talented crew, the band suffered from perhaps a short sighted choice of cover songs and often struggled to keep up vocally. Short sets by Mischif, Mark Cee, and Mista Mack followed and were all quite energetic and well representative of the upper echelon of local hip hop. Royal Kush ended the night be getting everyone up dancing to their groovy tunes, climaxing with the full audience video shoot of “The Show”.
As summer starts to peek through (the rain’s gotta end sometime… right?), all our favorite watering holes and coffee shops are filling out their schedules with talent from all over the place. This week is jam packed, so let’s do a quick hit on what is happening.
Governors Pub will start the weekend on Thursday with Danny MacNeil, Donnie Calabrese (Buck and Kinch), and Brett Jerrett (The Den Scholars) playing some tunes. Brett Jerrett is one of the best up and coming songwriters I have heard in a long time, his set endearing and mind blowing each time I see him.
Friday night has local rockers Black Tooth Grinn joining Halifax’s Billie Dre and the Poor Boys for a solid rock n roll show, while Saturday night opens up both floors to over a half dozen DJs spinning the night away.
Over at Wentworth Perk, Ian MacDougall (Tom Fun himself) delights the coffee crowd with his ragged folk tunes on Thursday night. Since I won’t get around to next week’s column in time, you should also make a note of next Tuesday’s show with Rock Ranger’s Jay Smith. Smith is coming off tour with Matt Epp and often moonlights as the trusty guitar slinger for the Matt Mays band, while also being a pretty incredible songwriter himself.
Continuing with their series of Saturday afternoon concerts, the Cape Breton Fudge Company brings Seek Out Ships to their little stage. I had a chance to play here a few weeks back and have never been made so comfortable and treated so well by a venue in my life. The atmosphere (and the fudge, of course) are top notch!
TRACK OF THE WEEK: Crowdis Bridge’s “Wasting My Time”. These guys have become one of my absolute favorites to listen to during any activity. This, the first track from their CD, is perhaps their best, with an incredible melody and the catchiest chorus I can recall. The mandolin riffs blow my mind each and every time. Take the chance to see these gents next time they are out!