One of my favourite places in Hamilton is Jackson Square’s rooftop. So I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise (cause great minds think a like -right?) that it’d also be the chosen meeting place of Hamilton cheerleader and architectural lover Thomas Allen of Rebuild Hamilton. We met up on top of Jackson Square for an unusual evening gathering of likeminded folks.
We spent most of the night on various downtown rooftops talking about non other than our true love… Hamilton.
A few years ago I stumbled across a Southern Souls video of Jay McCarrol’s that I kinda fell in love with.
The melody of the piano, the voice and lyrics of Jay and the simplicity of the backing band (featuring members from Zeus, Golden Dogs and his sister Stefanie) all made for a recipe of unabashed repeat song listening, which in all honesty does not happen much these days. The video itself is so warm and beautiful it left me feeling all sorts of glowy on the inside.
I searched for some info about Jay to see if he was working on an album and if/when/where I could get it. But besides spotting him and Taylor Knox (who currently has his debut solo album out) backing Hayden, when he came to town at The Casbah two years ago, my search pretty much came up empty handed.
Taylor Knox and Jay McCarrol backing Hayden, Casbah Nov. 2013.
Until… I recently discovered Brave Shores which is duo made up of Jay McCarrol and his sister Stefanie.
Their debut album is called Never Come Down AND they’re playing tomorrow night at Mills Hardware. Although (from the few of the songs that I’ve heard from the album) this new indie rock electro-pop outfit is nothing like my first intro into Jay’s music and piano playing but all the same it’s still really awesome.
The show at Mills is on May 6th 7-11pm $12 in advance/$15 at the door.
I used to be an art crawl regular and could probably count on one hand the number of crawls that I’ve missed. But with this past year’s crazy cold winter and trying to stick to the little one’s bedtime, I’d have to admit that recently we’ve attended only a handful of art crawls. But with the longer days of summer here we decided to throw caution to the wind and take Omi out of his bedtime time routine and hit up June’s art crawl to check out what all we’ve been missing.
Art crawls in the warmer weather are always so busy! The streets were packed and I noted a significant increase in the number of street vendors and busking musicians. I always love seeing the street and community so alive on art crawl nights but then I also wonder where everyone is all those other days of the month.
We headed down James onto Barton where I saw this ghostly and gorgeous door. A door like this seemed like it would have a few stories that it could tell.
On Barton we dropped by Hamilton Audio/Visual NodeMulti-modal‘s (HAVN) for their second year anniversary party. The space was all tinfoiled up and shiny with some music that was just about to get underway. Incidentally, for tonight’s art crawl (July10) HAVN is hosting the launch of “384″ zine. There’ll be music by DJ’s Motëm & Muffled Suitcase, plus some limited edition screen prints, a few acrylic paintings on wood panels, and animated visuals.
Our last stop of the night during June’s crawl was at Dr. Disc, where Steve and I took turns running down to the lower floor of Dr. Disc, to check out RE-DUO - a collaborative art exhibit by Jo-Anne Balcaen and Donna Akrey - while the other stayed with Omi and rocked out to Hachey the Mouthpeace‘s beat boxing session on Dr. Disc’s roof top.
RE-DUO was such a fabulous show! I loved the humour of the re-do covers and how spot on they were. I especially loved how they used common-place items to stand in for accessories and hairstyles. For example, in the image below, simple black construction paper did the trick to re-do that Ian & Sylvia album cover.
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 Doobie 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.