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HUNGRY FOR TORONTO MUSIC! ****************************Toronto Bands | Toronto Venues

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Wacken Metal Battle Toronto 2014 – Plan Your March


Sat, March 8 @ Hard Luck, 772a Dundas St. W. – Event Details

The Parallax
Sovereign Council
Psycho Mad Sally

Fri, March 14 @ Hard Luck, 772a Dundas St. W. – Event Details

Our Covenant
The Fiction In Folklore

Fri, March 21 @ Rivoli, 334 Queen St W. – Event Details

Burning The Day
The Curse Within
Empyrean Plague
My Hollow

Fri, March 28 @ Hard Luck, 772a Dundas St. W. – Event Details

Beg For Mercy
At Dawn’s Edge
Shattered Remains

Fri, April 4 @ Rivoli, 334 Queen St W. – Event Details

Shotgun Cure
The Blackcloud Syndicate
Dawn Vally
FINAL TRIGGER (Special Guest Headliner)

Toronto – Semi-Finals:

Sat, April 26 @ Hard Luck, 772a Dundas St. W. – Event Details

Sat, May 3 @ Rivoli, 334 Queen St W. – Event Details

National Final:

Sat, June 7 @ Opera House, 735 Queen St E. – Event Details

SKROU doesn’t skrew around when it comes to their music.

skrouSam Kirou has been contacting me for the past 2 years trying to get me to cover his band SKROU. Other than the cute band name, a play on Sam’s own name, the band didn’t seem very remarkable and I thought they’d last 5 minutes and be gone.

So when Sam contacted me again recently, I finally relented. “Okay Sam, tell me what’s so great about SKROU.”

Sam is the kind of musician I like. I love Sam’s tenacity and persistence. In fact, I believe those two words define him, tenacious and persistent. Sam is not ever going to give up. He wants to be a rock star. He wants his band to be a success. His attitude is what it takes.

The band SKROU is his. He is the lead singer and songwriter and the band is built around him. The members can change, but SKROU is Sam. They are a hard rock foursome currently made up of Sam Kirou, guitarist John DeFino (Tic Toc and Flyte), bassist Paul Bradstreet (aka Bobby Love), and a pretty interesting drummer, Owen Tennyson (Blue Peter and Charge Of The Light Brigade).

I’ve never gone out to see SKROU perform live. I’ve had a chance to listen to an advance copy of the debut CD. They have a CD party planned at Legends on the Queensway (formerly formerly – that bar is starting to remind me of Prince) for April 11, 2014.

Sam is the band Manager. He says he spends 6 hours a day working on his SKROU. They are playing in bars now, but he wants the band to tour. He’s talking to booking agents now about touring with other bands. Skrou wants to play to large crowds. They want to introduce themselves to more people and get their music out there. Having the new CD will help with that. Having CDs to sell and a merch table will help toward the cost of the impending tour across Canada. Sam’s determined. Skrou will tour not just in Canada, but US, Europe, Japan and Australia. Sam will make it happen.

When he finally gets you to pay attention and take their music in, that SKROU will put a smile on your face.

Oak and Elm – Weekend Warriors

Jay Edwards has had 27 brain surgeries. Aaron Peters is so fascinated with Jay and his talent and his struggles, he’s decided to make a movie about it.

Oak and Elm

Oak and Elm

As a result, I’ve been getting to know Jay recently. Last weekend I went to an open mic event at 160 Bartley Drive to hear him sing. He sat around waiting and waiting to be invited up. Finally, he decided it was his turn and he stood, no mic, no accompaniment, and started singing an original song. After the first verse, the noisy crowd became silent. Jay’s voice is strong. He sings with strong emotion. His words are well written, heartfelt and easy to relate to. There is something very Kurt Cobain about him. At the end of the song, an emotional audience broke into loud applause. People came up to Jay to pat his back. He looked to me, his new acquaintance, to see my reaction. I was emotional, smiling and fully approving of his performance.OAK-&-ELM-9

While I was at 160 Bartley, the staff there let me know about a networking event happening the following weekend that included 5 bands performing in the evening. It’s been a while since I profiled a band, and I was impressed with the space, so decided to check it out.

I wanted to concentrate on OAK and ELM,  an “Experimental” Folk Band, out of the 5 bands that were performing. They came in from out of town (St Catherines), so I wanted to meet them while I had the chance.

 ”We just do it for fun, really.”

“We just do it for fun, really.” This was the theme of our conversation. I had heard that the band was doing a lot of travelling. I naturally assumed touring. I wanted to know if they were looking for more gigs and what sort of attention they wanted so I could write an article that might be helpful to them.

One of the organizers of 160 Bartley said she first met the band at a retreat in the mountains in B.C. When I asked the band about that, they said she met Jon, Jon, Mike, Stacey, and Melissa who were travelling in B.C. at the time. Em and Josh drove separately on a Grey Hound bus to meet them at Dawson’s Creek. The members of the band were travelling across Canada for 2 months writing songs and playing acoustically while they travelled. They even played for a radio station in Dawson’s Creek.

The band has played Toronto’s Cherry Colas and other southern Ontario venues. They say they love to just jam together and play at family and friend gatherings. They say they hope to get more Toronto gigs this year.

What for? Why do they want Toronto gigs? The band says “It’s something we all do, we might as well do it together”. Sometimes there are as many as 9 people in the band. Members change. They are in and out of the band fluidly as they attend University, travel, work. They think they are just playing with their friends. “It’s fun”. I was starting to imagine them kicking a ball around a soccer field.

I kept asking the band questions, hoping at least one of them would tell me they were serious about their music. They are all fine musicians and lovely people. As it turns out, not one of them is serious.

They did make a point of saying though, they try to play for no cover charge as much as possible. Not every bar will agree to wave the cover charge, but the band doesn’t ask to be paid. Don’t they realize they are taking the space at the venue away from another musician or band? Don’t they realize they encourage the venues to not pay for musicians? I don’t support that.OAK-&-ELM-1

“I’m writing my Masters, I can’t do this anymore”

It was breaking my heart. I felt my time had been wasted on them. I don’t cover weekend warriors. I’m trying to support indie musicians who are trying to be heard, because getting heard is so difficult for them. Most of them don’t have money or even a supporting network of people. Many of them work their way from the ground up with second hand instruments. Most of them are elated when someone offers to pay them for their work as a musician. So many of them are highly talented and no one can hear them because the weekend warrior is playing their gig.

Jay Edwards sits in the background enjoying the band.

Jay Edwards sits in the background enjoying the band.

I thought of Jay, who was out there somewhere in the venue. He was watching the other musicians perform. No one had thought to invite him to sing that night, despite having heard him silence a room the week before. These are the people Jay is competing against. In fact, these are the people all the serious indie musicians are competing against. The weekend warriors who get booked in Toronto venues because they’re talented and entertaining. It doesn’t matter that they don’t really care. It doesn’t matter that the gig is not helping to advance their music career. It doesn’t matter that they will disappear from the music scene to get on with their “real lives” one day soon.

In contrast, Jay is trying to get some music recorded to sell. He wants opportunities for an audience, so he can rake in some of the cover charge and have his music heard. He dreams of one day selling a song that he wrote. Jay told me “music is it for me”.

So is this article going to leave the band feeling hurt? Maybe insulted? Perhaps, but i believe this is a discussion that needs to happen. I follow 457 Ontario bands/musicians on Twitter. I have 778 listed on my website. That’s a lot of talent. I think it’s fair to say there’s also a lot of weekend warriors, and consequently, a lot of starving musicians.

Oak and Elm is:
Josh Di Iorio - Guitar/Banjo/Vocals
Mike Cameron - Lead Guitar/Vocals
Emma Fleury - Accordion/Ukulele/Guitar/Vocals
Steve Del Duca - Keyboard/Synth/Melodica/Chitter-Chatter
Jordan Phelan - The Authority (Bass)
Long Jon Papa B - Saxophone/Mandolin/Guitar/Vocals
Jon Marleau - Percussion/Vocals

Yee-haw! Two Toronto country bars open saloon doors this week

Toronto’s gone country? Just look at them bars.

Two new rootin’-tootin’ establishments will open their saloon doors this week, inviting Torontonians to pull on their cowboy boots, fasten their belt buckles and test all manner of other yee-hawing stereotypes.

Mechanical bulls will buck their way into the Entertainment District at the Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon (250 Adelaide St. W., above Adelaide Hall) and the Boots & Bourbon Saloon (725 Queen St. E.) in Riverside.

Read more…

You probably missed an important thing at City Hall yesterday

It’s nice to hear non-scandalous things coming out of City Hall these days. It’s even nicer when these non-scandalous things are positive. It’s a double bonus when these non-scandalous positive things have to do with the music industry.

A month and a half ago, Rob Ford and a few council members, along with key members of the Toronto music industry ventured down to Austin, Texas to meet with mayor Lee Leffingwell about the joint initiative called the Music City Alliance, which is meant to improve the industry here in Toronto.

Read more…

CANADA’S BEST ROCK feat Bernadette Connors & The Collective

The first of an OhJustEatIt! video series called CANADA’S BEST ROCK. This episode features Ontario Rockers Bernadette Connors & The Collective. Join OhJustEatIt! as we discover the fascinating world of indie music in Canada, starting with Toronto.

facebook-button-smallConnect with Bernadette Connors & The Collective: https://www.facebook.com/BernadetteConnorsMusic


facebook-button-smallConnect with Aaron Peters Band:


Angie-4 sqCANADA’S BEST ROCK Casting Call:  read all about it …

BREAKING NEWS: Proof that the sky isn’t falling on touring musicians in Canada

“As of 11:22 PM August 28, 2013, the Change.org petition has 32,883 supporters. I bet not one of them read the government press release.” Angela R Campbell, OhJustEatIt.ca

The reason I started this blog in the first place was because I realized there were a lot of really great Canadian musicians gigging in Toronto…FOR FREE. It was great for me, a single mother who couldn’t afford concerts. I didn’t like going to bars at first, but once I realized the music was good and the bars are actually really decent in this city, I rather enjoyed getting out. I made a game of it. It was like music roulette…would tonight’s band or bands be good or bad? Continue reading

LYRIC DUBEE: Opening for LEE AARON Friday August 16

On Friday, I’m heading out once again to see one of my favourite Toronto indieLyric-Alive-Wallpaper-800x600 musicians, Lyric Dubee. The last time I saw Lyric was at his CD release party at Cava Lounge in Barrie. It was a great turn out at the new fancy Barrie bar and restaurant. Lyric’s good friend Virgil Scott was the MC. Jacqueline Lovely also sang with Lyric.

Later I heard that Lyric had joined a band called Revelation 17 with Jacqueline Lovely and they were booked to open for Lee Aaron at the Rockpile (Aug 16). Later I heard that they would also open for Holly Woods & Toronto (Aug 10).

So let me tell you what’s most interesting about this story. Lyric is 15. Continue reading

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