I took a friend up on an invite a while back to see the Cowboy Junkies in concert at a church on Locke Street. Truthfully I hadn’t really listened to the Junkies since the early to mid 90′s but I thought a Friday night concert walkable from my home, why not.
The concert was held at Melrose United Church at Locke and Homewood. It was a full house with every church pew stacked with Junkie’s fans. The voice of singer Margo Timmins melow and low carried beautifully into the massive space and air of the church.
Hello Hamilton, I’m back! I feel like I’ve been neglecting you all summer long.
August was filled with out of town and out of country visitors plus several weekends of double booked backyard BBQ’s, a lengthy summer cold, a broken toe, and a baby with a ruthless new penchant for walking. Despite the many great things that were happening all over the city this summer I feel like I kinda wasn’t around much.
One evening I did manage to sneak off to one of the Seven Sundays in Gage Park. If this is the first you’ve heard of Seven Sundays; it’s an eight week free concert series at the Gage Park bandshell featuring local musicians (and food trucks) followed by a movie screening. I really hope to make it to more of these next summer -such a lovely way to spend a Sunday night.
There’s something super fabulous about hearing live open air music on a summer evening. There was a great crowd out to see Jesse Lanza perform against the backdrop of the seafoam Geaorge R. Robinson bandshell and the greenery of the escarpment. Sigh -oh summer time.
In the past few years it has become a bit of an informal tradition to head down to Gage Park for It’s Your Festival.
I love summer festivals. Especially ones that are relatively close to our house.
But let’s be honest. I mostly love summer festivals because of funnel cake.
After I got my funnel cake fix we headed over to a little side stage tucked in back of Gage Park for the New Music Expo.
For the past two years this mini concert series has been a fav of Steve and mine. It’s off the beaten track and in many ways reminds me of days when I was weee little teenager and would see bands down by the lake at the gazebo for Friday Night Live in Burlington.
For the most part the bands are raw, kinda gritty, loud and experimental. What I especially liked was that it allowed for Steve and I both to enjoy a show together since Omi could be there too; tumbling around on the grass and clovers.
We only made it for Dobbie Freaks and a smidge of Glasseylashes before we packed it up for the evening.
Last year my highlights were Pucumber Sassquash and The Mystics.
Pucumber Sassquash at the New Music Expo stage 2012
The Mystics at the New Music Expo stage 2012
Happy that there’s still a few summer festivals still kicking it here at Gage Park. Love the seafoam bandshell (don’t ever change), and also love that there’s the Seven Sundays of Gage Park summer concert series, which has a line up of some really great musicians such as the Dinner Belles, Harrison Kennedy, and Jesse Lanza (check her beautifully cool video below), plus there’ll be movie screenings and food trucks. The series kicks off this Sunday July 7th but you can also check their website here for their schedule.
The Dinner Belles playing the bandshell 2012
I leave you with Jesse Lanza’s most recent video shot in Hamilton featuring Jed the dancing guy. Jesse will be playing at the Gage Park bandshell on Sunday August 11th at 7pm for the Seven Sundays concert series.
Last month I finally attended the bi-annual Record Show at the Festival Banquet Centre. I’d seen the flyers for the show around town before and had always wanted to check it out but had never been able to -so I was extra super stoked to go. I prepared myself for an afternoon of record browsing with the hopes of finding some real gems.
The Festival Banquet centre is located on King St. East (to see my post on King East click here). With low ceilings and dim lighting the hall kind of reminded of the multiple friend’s parent’s basements that I hung out in as a teenager. The hall however was still decked out in kitschy wedding decorations and the air smelled like a cocktail of stale alcohol and tobacco smoke. Like most record sales I’ve been to it was pretty much a dude fest with a small spattering of women digging and flipping through the crates.
I went with the hopes of discovering some rare record finds; old jamaican ska, surf, 50/60′s soul and perhaps a little calypso or Nigerian afro-funk. But I was stuck mostly with flipping through various vendor’s collections of The Beatles, The Stones, Kiss and Journey among other boxes of records that you might normally find at a garage sale (priced accordingly cheap 3 for $5). So I guess if you’re into bargain bin rock music and perhaps completing a collection of a specific rock artist then this would’ve been the record sale for you. Don’t get me wrong there were tons of records -maybe too many? I probably would’ve been happier with less records and just a little more quality and uniqueness to the selection. A couple of turn tables with headphones for listening to potential record purchases would’ve helped too.
In the end we did end up buying a couple of albums. Steve got Rush: Archives (a triple album: Rush, Fly By Night and Caress of Steel), and I picked up a Barbara Lynn album.
We put them on in the evening Steve rocked out to some Rush, and later I danced Omi to sleep with Barbara Lynn’s sweet voice.
Some of my favourite evenings of this summer were spent at Bishop Park in the Stinson neighbourhood.
Every Thursday evening from July 7th until August 25th the neighbourhood surrounding Bishop Park gathered to hear some fabulous live music. Songs from the Bishop showcased local Hamilton musical talent from the likes of Terra Lightfoot of the Dinner Belles to Adam Bentley from The Rest plus many other fabulously talented musical acts.
The times I’ve gone the crowd has varied from about a hundred people to an intimate gathering of neighbourhood folk. People seemed to know each other. They’d gather on the park benches, on the grass or on lawn chairs to sit back and take in the musical act of that particular Thursday evening.
In the canopied shade of Bishop Park we would sing along whenever we could. Kids often busted out into awesome dance moves and routines, and overall there was just a real sense of community and neighbourliness.
I loved how the late summer sun was sinking behind the trees, and you could just tell the summer season was coming to a close.
The most recent concert I saw in Bishop Park was the last one of the summer. Adam Bentley, who was integral in putting on Songs of the Bishop, played for us. His voice is so beautiful and it carried wonderfully in the open air -almost hauntingly. It was a different sound and a real treat to hear Adam sing in bare bones form -without the ambiant wall of sound (from his band The Rest) that usually accompanies him.
I only ever made it out to two evenings of the Songs from the Bishop and wish I’d come out for more. I really do hope that next year the concert series continues.
I love all the secret little things that are happening in Hamilton all the time. It makes me adore where we live and gets me excited for what new creative initiatives we will discover in the months and years to come!
I leave you with a little music from Hamilton’s The Rest. They do have a new album out so go out and get yours!
I love summer! I also love that I have the summer off this year, and that there is so much to do locally in the city to fill up my days.
Just this week I sat on the rooftop of Jackson square and ate my schnitzel sandwich from the market; in the breeze, with the sun, and the beautiful sound of Terra Lightfoot‘s voice singing CCR and Fleetwood Mac covers carrying through the open air. Sigh.
Two young ladies "rushing" the stage.
The next day I headed to Gore Park for their grand opening of the new designated pedestrian area and their Summer Promenade’s first of several weekly events. So nice to see pedestrians taking over that space and seeing crowds of people gathering and hanging out at Gore Park. The Gore Park Promenade event with vendors, and live music runs Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 11am-5:30pm until September 15th.
Image by Jason Leach taken from Raise the Hammer
Last night I joined the Stinson neighbourhood in Bishop’s Park for their weekly Thursday evening concerts: Songs From the Bishop, running from July 5th to August 23rd. It was such a nice and laid back community event, it just made me love where we live more than ever.
I feel like I say this every month… but tonight’s art crawl is going to be an awesome one! There’s a craft show being put on by the newly open Mint Studio in the Sonic Unyon building (3rd floor).
Blush’s pink trailer coming all the way from Guelph selling gorgeous and delicate women’s clothing in partnership with Beaux Mondes.
The Sweet Ice Snow Cone ladies will be out selling their refreshing treats. Check out their promo video it is so adorably sweet!
The AGH’s new Design Annex will be open for its very first art crawl.
Dr. Disc will be celebrating its 21st birthday with bands like The Rest, New Hands, The Dirty Nil, and Greg Preston & The Great Machine playing on their rooftop. Plus after Dr. Disc’s Raise the Roof event there’s an after party at The Casbah. That’s a super packed crawl!
If you’re looking for a nice strip of beach not too far away from the old hammer then head to the little oasis of Port Dalhousie. Just outside of St. Catharines proper is this beauty of a lakeside park. With its whispering silver poplar trees and long sandy banks perfect for wading you could spend a day lounging and picnicking. We went before school was out, so the beach was quiet and calm. People were busting out their picnics for dinner, and firing up their hibachis for hotdog roasting and bbq’d burgers.
I would definitely come back here for a day to enjoy the sun and sand. There’s ice-cream shops, pubs and patios all before you hit the beach, as well as, an old school carousel from the early 1900′s that charges only 5 cents a ride!
Truth be known Lakeside Park and Port Dalhousie were not on my radar of places to visit. Steve on the other hand, being a huge Rush fan, had secretly known about this park and had suggested we go. According to Steve, Neil Peart drummer of Rush, had grown up in Port Dalhousie and had written the lyrics of song Lakeside Park specifically about the park in Port Dalhousie.
Midway hawkers calling “Try your luck with me;” Merry-go-round wheezing The same old melody A thousand ten cent wonders Who could ask for more A pocketful full of silver The key to heaven’s door
Lakeside Park Willows in the breeze Lakeside Park So many memories Laughing rides Midway lights Shining stars on summer nights
Days of barefoot freedom Racing with the waves Nights of starlit secrets Crackling driftwood flames Drinking by the lighthouse Smoking on the pier Still we saw the magic Was fading every year
Everyone would gather On the twenty-fourth of May Sitting in the sand To watch the fireworks display. Dancing fires on the beach, Singing songs together… Though it’s just a memory, Some memories last forever.
There have been many Toronto visits the past month.
Last weekend I headed into the city to meet with my friend Vern, to check out City of Craft, and to show my support for the Day of Action rally at Queen’s Park (my first rally ever!).
I didn’t take a lot of pictures this visit. But one picture I did manage to snap was this one of Spadina station. I love how a lot of the subway stations in Toronto still look so retro. I particularly like the contrast of this red bench against the rusty yellow honeycomb-esque tiles.
I’m a big fan of Afie Jurvanen’s (aka Bahamas‘) music. I loved his first solo album Pink Strat, and I’m definitely loving his latest album Barchords. If you want to dig back further into the musical vaults, I would have to say my fandom started when Afie was the frontman of the band Paso Mino, which also consisted of multiple members from the band Zeus (whom I also love). Afie’s got a great deep smooth voice, his guitar riffs are catchy, and the songs are simple, sweet and speak for themselves.
We checked out the Bahamas show at the Casbah a few weeks back. It was a busy week; two shows back to back, Bahamas one night and the next night Sloan. The venue was packed with a fairly young university crowd and much busier than previous Bahamas shows we’ve seen in Hamilton (the good word must be catching on). My mind was blown with the first song Lost in the Light, with the gospel-like harmonies of backup singers: Carleigh Aikins and Felicity Williams and Afie. Seeing and hearing the song played live was so breathtaking. It was really soul shattering, the whole place was vibrating, and everyone was swaying. I think I had goose bumps the entire show. My highlight was when they played Never Again. When the song ended someone in the crowd shouted “Play it again!” and the audience cheered it on. Afie hit it up one more time, the whole room went ape shit belting it out and joining in with the powerful harmonies of the backup singers. They could have played it on repeat and I would’ve been peach as pie.
If you like the sound, and want to pick up the album you can get them local in the Hammer on vinyl at Cheapies and Dr. Disc.
For more Bahamas’ videos check out Southern Souls’ page here.
I’m always happy to see Zeus play in Hamilton. Not only do I love their music and think that they are fantastically talented musicians, but they are also some old friends so it is always nice to see them stopping through town on their tours.
Their debut album Say Us was released in February 2010 by Arts and Crafts and is A-mazing. At their show last week at the Casbah we got to hear some newer songs that I hadn’t heard yet, and they did not disappoint. Their next album is set to be released in early 2012 but they have been releasing multiple 7″s throughout the year. If for some reason you have yet to listen to Zeus you are missing out on something really special. You just need to listen.
One of my favourite songs off of Say Us is Heavy on Me. There are instrumental harmonies that climax into an orgy of solid rock godness. If I were in the band I’d feel like a total rockstar playing this song.
*The Casbah, 306 King St. West, Hamilton, 905.521.4441