BTW-Starring The Weeknd, Don Graham, Emilia, Buddy Black, Luke & The Apostles, The Heavyweights Brass Band, Royksopp

The Weeknd.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Is The Weeknd losing the plot?  Playing his biggest T.Dot venue yet, the Molson Amphitheatre, Abel Tesfaye jumped on the heavy production facilities like a model in a lingerie store to indulge his theatrics to the max. Of which the new look avec huge flak jacket and coiled-up dreads came over more like a cartoon character than the conflicted S&M master he’s going for. Handful of new songs added to the set, of which the strongest was a remix of Beyonce’s ‘Drunk In Love’. Dude does have the falsetto to pull it off and he did. Still, never a good sign when a cover’s the best new thing y’all have. Sound twitched between noise rock and minimalist r’n’b, correctly arranged and executed. Since it’s all about Abel, there’s little interaction between him and the faceless backing three-piece.

The sound was bigger than big and squeaky clean, a nice counterpoint to the dirty soul on offer here. But there’s a sameness creeping in and it’s about the between songs raps, the images of naked women all wrapped up in their work and even the sound itself. Song after song about Abel’s hard life as a sexually adventurous pop star was getting a shade claustrophobic at the end. He closed out with the best of the new ones, Often, which drew the crowd into a sing along.

Maybe it was the setting or the lack of strong new material but somehow this Weeknd didn’t come across as edgy or dangerous as previous. Which leaves us with a show that was good enough but not the best.

A Night At the MusideumA Night At the MusideumThe Musideum is very likely the weirdest venue in the T.Dot. Part museum of stringed instruments and intimate concert venue, it boasts superb acoustics, a hipper than thou location (401 Richmond St.) and is so all about the music there are no TVs, between-set muzik or anything to imbibe but water. Perfect location for local country singer/songwriter Don Graham, backed by Montreal’s Bobby Cohen on electric guitar and lap steel. The set was all classic country covers, touching on the likes of Hank Williams,  Johnny Cash, “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Lucille”, “Wasn’t That A Party” and closing out with a barn burner of a take on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”, the duo being joined onstage by veteran country vocalist Lisa Hartt, Thomas Wade, percussionist Jim Gelcer, Frankie Hart and Sudbury up and comer Mimi O’Bonsawin, who brings her unique take on altfolk rock to The Gladstone in Toronto Nov.12. Even the owner of Musideum, Donald Quan rattled the keyboards for the finale.

On the flesh-coloured high-heels of her excellent ‘E’ album, expectations were high for Emilia’s official album release show at Revival. Mainly because this was her first big show and both the faithful and curious were out to se if she could replicate the songs in the live situation.  Working with a five-piece band and two backing singers, Emilia drew instant applause by opening with the charting pop single off the Flying Colours EP, "Closer All The Time". Then it was onto the standout jazzified ballad  "The City Misses You" from current album. "E". which connected with every ear in the house. By the time the lady sat down at the piano for the one-two closing punch of "Young And In Love" and "You Make Me Happy" from "E", she owned the house. Emilia left the stage beaming with the knowledge that she’d nailed it and left no doubts she has the parts to be a killer live act.

Buddy Black Photo Credit Amanda MackayBuddy Black Photo Credit Amanda MackayAnother act on trial for his musical life was Buddy Black. The scene was The Cameron and the attraction was the re-release of Black’s vampire infected mini-opera On the Road to Waterloo. So it came to pass at The Cameron on Thursday, Oct. 2, that the nattily attired Buddy Black & The Ghost Umbrellas played On the Road to Waterloo in its entirety, dug into the back catalogue for some crowd faves as re-imagined by Buddy and the Umbrellas and even dropped a couple new things. Dude put on an intense performance, red-lining the vocals through the bottom half of the set and ending with a scalding, punked-out take on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” which totally galvanized the joint.

Mimi O'BonsawinPhoto Credit Lenny StouteMimi O'Bonsawin
Photo Credit Lenny Stoute
Overall, it went something like this:
Twas midnight at the Cameron House
Every creature was stirring, including that mouse
You know the one, lives on yer inner thing,
Gonna make you quiver, gonna make you cry
gonna make you shiver, gonna make you fly
Gonna go on the Road with Buddy Black
Gonna go on the road, ain’t no going back
Watch for a Buddy Black fall mimi-tour coming soon.

Toronto’s sizzling young jazz group the Heavyweights Brass Band celebrate the release of Brasstronomical: Extended Play on Thursday, October 9th at Lula Lounge at 8pm. Special guests include Robi Botos, Kevin Breit and DJ General Eclectic. Featuring three hard-hitting Heavyweights originals – and one wacky cover – this EP may be the innovative collective’s strongest statement yet.

Collaboration is the name of the game, with three of this country's top artists contributing to this release: Dubmatix (remix), Robi Botos (keyboard) and Kevin Breit (guitar). All three are recognized internationally for producing some of the finest music in their respective styles. Complementing the original compositions is the band’s wild New Orleans-style remake of Robin Thicke’s still-controversial hit “Blurred Lines.”
“We’ve been playing these songs live for the last two years and it was a great opportunity to bring in some collaborators that aren't just friends, but artists that we deeply admire.” explains bandleader and trombonist Christopher Butcher.

Founding trumpet player Jon Challoner, on a leave of absence to study at Juilliard in New York, will be on hand for the show. Breit and Botos will be open the evening as a duo, before the Heavyweights take the stage, and DJ General Eclectic will keep the party going late into the night.
 All tracks can be downloaded at:

Sixties electric blues band Luke and the Apostles have been on the roller coaster that is the music business for nearly five decades. From the early days as a popular fixture on the Yorkville scene in Toronto, to cutting hit songs like “You Make Me High” and “Been Burnt”, to shows with acts like ‘The Grateful Dead’ and ‘Jefferson Airplane’ The Apostles have had quite a ride.

After initial success, and some missed opportunities, band members went their separate ways. Mike McKenna brought his blues virtuosity to “McKenna-Mendelson Mainline” and “Downchild”.  Luke Gibson joined the Toronto based “Kensington Market”.

After decades apart, the band has reformed, and is performing a slate of shows in Toronto. Band founders Luke Gibson, guitar icon Mike McKenna and keyboardist Peter Jermyn are supported by David Reaume on bass and Rob Kirkpatrick on drums. Luke & the Apostles Celebrate their 50th @ Hugh’s Room Saturday, October 11, 2014 •8:30PM

Röyksopp Röyksopp will release their fifth and final album, The Inevitable End on November 11th via Arts & Crafts. The Inevitable End is Röyksopp’s most personal album to date and their second album release in the space of six months, following their critically acclaimed mini album Do It Again with fellow Scandinavian legend Robyn.

“With ‘The Inevitable End’ we've moved into darker subject matter, with emphasis on the lyrical content. This candid approach feels very both personal, sincere and conclusive.” says Svein, “With this album it became clear we wanted to make an album in a classical sense even if it's the last one we make,” adds Torbjørn.

Having now created five complete bodies of work, the pair feel like the future is open to being more experimental with how they share their music.  “We feel like this is a goodbye to the traditional album format,” explains Svein. “In our consecutive run of albums, we have been able to say what we want to say and do what we want to do with the LP. We're not going to stop making music, but with the album format as such, this is the last thing from us.”

The Inevitable End features primo guest shots from Jamie Irrepressible, Ryan James (Man Without Country), Norwegian singer songwriter Susanne Sundfør and Robyn.

Happy Thanksgiving!