March 2012

Canadian Slacker Music Fest Boogie Throwdown. Or Whatever 2012

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Story: Lenny Stoute/James Lizzard

Photo at right: Last Year’s Men

So when’s the last time you saw a dude smash the splinters out of his axe to end the set? If you were at The Silver Dollar as Saturday night slid into Sunday that was exactly what went down courtesy of young Geoff Schilling. The boy plays lead axe with South Carolina foursome Last Year’s Men who deal in a sound mashup of thrash and speedcore rock wedded to Southern Gothic. That no one else is doing this is for sure, the jaw-dropped crowd mesmerized as hollow-eyed singer Ben Carr intoned his dire tales of dirty deeds over an ominous drumbeat echoing from the piney woods. When the guitars erupt it’s like somebody took the lid off a boxful of vengeful spirits. Along with Carr and Schilling, Last Year’s Men are bassist Montgomery Morris and drummer Ian Rose and y’all should catch them when you can.

Know what else you don’t see much of anymore? The classic knee drop, that potentially career-ending move what separates the men from the kids. But if you stayed around after the LYM set at the Dollar, you witnessed not one but three full-on knee drops from The Mercy Now bassist/frontman Russ Fernandez. The homie hammerheads were showing off tracks from current EP, Love Battles a collection of their trademark crunchy rock riffs married to heavy and danceable rhythms just this side of a mosh. The by now mostly fans in the house got into it in a big way, a testament to this crew’s way with three chords and as many hooks per tune, with “ Need Some Money” close to a template.

Cashbox Canada Celebrated March Music Madness at CMW

Cover, March 30, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

Photography: Michelle Foran

Cashbox Canada kicked of March Music Madness on Wednesday, March 21st with a great night of live performances at Toronto’s Orbit Room. The event was produced by Irene Carroll of ISEE and Kit Watson of RockitGirl Media, and a fine job these two whirlwinds of promotion did to make the live music showcase a huge success. The room was filled with industry icons including Moses Znaimer, Richard Flohil, Jane Harbury, Dale Peters, Thomas Wade,Peter Linseman, Lauren Tutty, Anya Wilson, Tom Jackson, Ralph Murphy and Much Music veteran VeeJay Michael Williams as host for the evening. The acts reflected the diversity of Canadian music with Country crooner, Punk girl, and Folk/Rock cuties, and somehow it all made sense.

Look Good Feel Better – A Charity Variety Show with Donna Ferra

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On Tuesday April 17, in support of “Look Good Feel Better” (LGFB), there will be a Charity Variety Show hosted by Amsterdam Brewery.

The event includes the world premiere of Donna Ferra’s "Little Red Dress" video and the BEST Little Red Dress CONTEST, Special Guest Speaker & LGFB Executive Director Sherry L. Abbott, performances by artists’ Donna Ferra, Gavin Slate & Eliana Jones, 'Baldini' - Man of Magical Mystery!, dance presentation by 2011 Miss Perfect 10 Canada - Rinya Cyrus, Master of Ceremonies - Carla Sacco, makeovers by makeup artist Jakson Barfitt & free professional photos by Ken Aitkens for any donation, Amsterdam beer tasting, art auction of paintings & photographs, silent auction, raffles, 50/50 draw and more.

Country artist Donna Ferra has partnered with LGFB for her video premiere single "Little Red Dress" is one of our events to help to raise awareness & money for this incredible charity.” "Little Red Dress" is available on itunes with profits from song sales going to LGFB. The "Little Red Dress" video was directed by Adriana Maggs, a 3 time Gemini Award winner for producing and writing the CMT series Three Chords From the Truth & 2010 Sundance Film Festival Award winner for Grown Up Movie Star.

There will be a Special Guest Speaker Sherry L. Abbott, Executive Director, Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) Foundation, home of cancer support programs.

The Sheepdogs: Learn & Burn

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Independent

Slavish copying or inspired recreation?  That’s the question this album from Saskatoon’s shaggiest quartet inevitably raises. The thing’s a complete throwback to the glory days of Seventies classic rock, delivered straight up, no chaser and no apologies.

So yeah, it’s great for playing Spot The Reference; among the easier ones to spot are Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Band, Allman Brothers, here a Beatles, there a Pink Floyd, ‘most everywhere a whiff of The Guess Who.

This band conjures up the soul of period rock’n’roll not only in intent but in their flawless exzecuition and attention to detail. They aren’t trying to reinvent or resurrect anything; they’ve thrashed the barriers between old and new.

This is what separates them from contemporaries like Kings of Leon and The Black Keys and what will carry them far. It’s already taken them from Saskatoon to boat cruising with Kid Rock to three Juno nominations (Best Single, Best Album, Best New Group) on Sunday’s show.

No point in getting into highlights here, as if you’re into this kind of thing, there’s not a false note to be found. Myself, I liked the cheekiness of “Catfish 2 Boogaloo” and the Zeppelinesque strut of “ I Don’t Know”.

Just like The Band revived American Southern Gothic for the American market, The Sheepdogs have to know this stuff’s gonna to go over large in the U.S. even without that Rolling Stone cover.

This way to the bank y’all.

James Lizzard

Dizzy G: Wild Women

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Indpendent

This un’s all about da blooze, playing 'em, living 'em, loving ‘em, served up with affection and humour by a seasoned road warrior.

The dude known as Dizzy G has done his time in the bar wars, regularly heading out from his Moncton base to spread the love. While the Dizzy G band is currently a quartet, Da D-Man turned to a handful of special guests to flesh out the more high-spirited of the album’s 13 tracks.

Of high spirits there is no lack, likewise with that good ol’ Canadian homeboy humour.

F’r instance there’s the title track, a shakeass blues rock boogie for all the wild women we’ve lusted after, been awed by and sometimes thrashed by. Made funnier by the 58-second follow-up, ‘The Hangover’, a snippet of the wild women’s morning after during which someone threatens to kill a dog.

Overall, this is part beer drinking party and part slow blues for the ladies. If there’s a theme here it’s observations on the bar life from a working musician’s perspective.

Makes sense then that it opens with the bar band’s workhorse, 8-bar blues. “G Spot” comes out in shufle time with sparkling guitars riding atop and a squaking harmonica keeping it rootsy.

Dizzy’s guitar skills are more advanced than the vocal chops but that’s only occasionally problematic and only delete-worthy on “Endless Life”.

Big props to the dude for introducing us to vocalist Charnelle Armstrong who gets it all perfect on “ I Can’t Remember”, working smoothly with the squalling, strident guitars.