Outside on Saturday night in downtown Montreal it was cold. Inside at Club Soda on blvd. St.Laurent – it was hot! Don’t blame it on Rio – blame it on the band who were playing high energy rock n roll …JMA02It was a homecoming for the Montreal-based band after a successful tour in Europe. Lead singer Jonas was pumped from the beginning as he and his mates tore into the first two high octane tunes; ‘All the Pretty Things and Addiction.

Jonas, with the help of his mates ( Corey Diabo on guitar, J.S. Baciu (Bass) and Martin Lavallee banging away on the drums ), danced, gyrated and introduced the crowd into his world. What a powerful world it is. The band is not called Massive Attraction for nothing …

‘What Type of Ride‘ and ‘Here She Comes’ continued the energy,  pausing intermittently while Jonas explained a successful jaunt into places like Germany and shoving his happiness of being ‘home’ down the throats of the audience. A crowd which was hungry for such a rock n roll meal. A crowd filled with females who were hungry for Jonas. 
l Tomalty may be a good looking dude and that attracts a certain denomination yet if it were not for the talent the Massive Attraction totes along in their guitar, bass and drum bags – Tomalty would be a talented singer and a handsome fellow looking for a band.
‘Seize the Day’, one of a couple of hits from the group’s newest album; Big Slice – continued the musical rampage which took place after an awe-inspiring introduction from k103.7fm’s Java Jacobs. The radio station’s morning man and keeper of one of the most knowledgeable music minds – set the table with a band introduction filled with so much enthusiasm, there was no way the band could not have been pumped.

Corey Diabo, Jonas’ sidekick, is Canada’s best kept secret on guitar. Tomalty’simages alter – ego trading riffs and solos which at times brought back the sounds of Frank Marino  into the iconic Club Soda. His solos gyrating along with Jonas’ manic singing style to the likes of ‘Exit Wound’ and another of the band’s latest hits -‘ Burn Bright’.

‘Sweet Disaster’ set the tone for the best song of the night. ‘School Girl’ is one of the purest bluesy songs to travel the core of downtown Montreal in a while. Borderline pubescent sexual lyrics exchanged with sound just as menacing with a backdrop of innocence and flirtation. Jonas’ voice and Corey’s timing quite possibly the only duo to pull off such a combination of r and b, blues and rock. A teasing menagerie of animals caged and waiting to pounce at an audience which at that point were ripe for more.

What came next was a five song ending which appeared to never end. Normally at such a junction following a two hour set, the crowd and even the band have lost a bit of energy. Not on this scorching evening. Not on a final trip that commenced with ‘Burn the House Down’!

Courtesy of Richard Burnett
Courtesy of Richard Burnett

‘Big Slice’, ‘Daddy’ and  ‘Edge of  Seventeen‘ brought the packed bar off the ‘Deep End’. Tomalty never easing up on his powerful performance. Diabo gaining strength  and Lavalee along with his battery partner Baicu – maintaining an anchor profound in a rock seabed.

Jonas and the Massive Attraction were hot. The crowd was boiling over.

Outside never seemed so cold when all was said and done …

Opening Acts for The Rolling Stones Since 1962

July 12, 1962, Marquee Club (London): Long John Baldry‘s Kansas City Blue Boys.

January 1963 London club shows: Cyril Davies‘ All Stars, The Velvets, Long John Baldry.

August 11, 1963 Richmond Jazz Festival: Long John Baldry, Cyril Davies’ All Stars, The Velvets, Acker Bilk’s Paramount Jazz Band, Terry Lightfoot’s Jazzmen, Freddy Randall Band, Blue Note Jazz Band.

August-September 1963 British concerts: Brian Poole & the Tremeloes, The Ghost Riders, Tommy Bruce & the Bruisers, The Checkmates, The Young Ones, The Merseybeats, Dave Berry & The Cruisers, The Doodle-Bugs, The Dynatones.

Fall 1963 UK Tour: The Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Julie Grant, Mickie Most, The Flintstones.

November-December 1963 British concerts: The Checkmates, Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Liverbirds, The Strangers, The Big 3, Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders, The Sheffields, Johnny Tempest & the Cadillacs, The Vantennas, Karen Young, Vance Arnold & the Avengers, The Downliners Sect, The Valiants, Frankenstein & His Monsters, The Crestas, The Rattles, The Escorts, Mike Sagar & the Tornados, The Ricky Allen Trio, The Exchequers, The Detours, The Overlanders, Pete McClaine & the Clan, The Art Tilburn All-Stars, Group One, Glyn Johns & the Presidents, The Graham Bond Quintet, Georgie Fame & the Blue Fames, The Yardbirds, The 4 Plus 1, Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions.

January 1964 UK Tour (& others concerts): The Ronettes, the Swinging Blue Jeans, Marty Wilde & the Wildcats, Dave Berry & the Cruisers, the Cheynes, Al Paige, Joe Brown & His Bruvvers, The Four Aces, Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, Bern Elliott & the Fenmen, Johnny, Mike & the Shades.

February-March 1964 UK Tour (& other concerts): John Leyton, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Mike Sarne, Jet Harris, Billie Davis, Mike Berry & the Innocents, Bern Eliott & the Fenmen, Dustry Springfield & the Echoes, Brian Poole & the Tremeloes, LeRoys, Billy Boyle, The Hollies, The Paramounts, Eden Kane.

March-May 1964 UK concerts: The Marauders, Denny Laine & the Diplomats, Group Z, Barron Knights, Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders, Mike Sarne, Alex Harvey Band, Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds, Jet Harris, Big Dee Irwin, Terry Judge & the Barristers, Mike Berry, The Falcons, The League of Gentlemen, Billie Davis, The Rattles, Mickey Finn & the Bluemen, The Innocents, Miss Olivia Dunn, Dene Hunter & the Sunliners, The LeRoys, The Lou Prager Orchestra, Heinz & the Saints, Pete McClaine, The Mandrakes, Mark Anthony & the Avengers, Four Just Men, The Swinging Hi-Four, Millie Small & the No Names, Julie Grant, Overlanders, Gene Vincent & the Shouts, Avon Cities, Christine Marlowe, Mike Tobin & the Magnettes, Gamblers, Ray Bush Rhythm & Blues Band, Johnny Carr & the Cadillacs, The Echoes, Keith Powell & the Valets, Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers, Chris Carlsen, David John & the Mood, Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers, Applejacks, Dave Berry & the Cruisers, Mark Peters & the Silhouettes, Caravelles, The Monarchs, Freddie & the Dreamers, Simon Scott, Peter & Gordon, Pat Wayne & the Beachcombers, The Outlaws, Dave Dee & the Bostons, The Johnny Quantrose Five, The Barracudas, The Bachelors.

April 26,  1964 New Musical Express Poll-Winners’ Concert (Wembley): The Beatles, The Merseybeats, The Searchers, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, Brian Poole & the Tremeloes, Cliff Richard, The Shadows, The Dave Clark Five, the Swinging Blue Jeans, Kathy Kirby, Freddie & the Dreamers, the Hollies.

May 31, 1964 Wembley concert: Adam Faith, Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders, Freddie & the Dreamers, Julie Grant, The Hollies, Eden Kane, The Barron Knights, The Merseybeats, The McKinleys, The Roulettes, Kevin Scott & the Kinsmen, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Undertakers.

1st U.S. Tour (June 1964): The Cascades, George Jones, Bobby Vee, The Counts, Kathy Carr, Jay & the Americans.

June-August 1964 British concerts: Millie & the Five Embers, John Lee Hooker, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Barron Knights, Jimmy Powell & the Five Dimensions, The Downliners Sect, Tony Colton & the Crawdaddies, Kenny Lynch, The Echoes, Simon Scott, The LeRoys, The Executives, Mandrakes, The Mysteries, Lulu & the Luvvers, Ray Kennon & the Guvnors, The Sabres, Tom Jones, Patrick Dane & the Quiet Five, Prince & the Paupers, Danny Clarke & the Jaguars, The Falcons, The Worryin’ Kind, Ray Anton & the Peppermint Men, Westcoasters, Ryles Brothers with Dallas, Gene Vincent & the Shouts, The Avengers, Marty Wilde & the Wildcats, Tony Rivers & The Castaways, Kremlins, The Ken Turner Orchestra, The Redcaps, Julie Grant, Long John Baldry & the Hoochie Coochie Men (incl. Rod Stewart).

Fall 1964 UK Tour: The Mojos, Charlie & Inez Foxx, Simon Scott & the LeRoys, Mike Berry & the Innocents.

October 1964 Paris concerts: The Vince Taylor Band, Ron & Mel.

October 28-29, 1964 TAMI Show (Santa Monica): The Beach Boys, the Supremes, James Brown, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Jan & Dean, Gerry & Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Lesley Gore.

2nd U.S. Tour (October-November 1964): The Righteous Brothers, Keith Allison & the Goodnighters, Jody Miller, Tony Bigg, Dick & Dee Dee, Jimmy Clanton, The Spats, The Vibrants, The Soul Brothers, The Misfits, Joel Scott Hill, Alan Black, Fort Wayne, The Shangri-Las, Ivan & the Sabers.

1965 Tour of Australia & New Zealand: Roy Orbison, Ray Columbus & The Invaders, The Newbeats, Chris Hall & the Torquays, The Flies, The Clefs.

Spring 1965 UK Tour: The Hollies, Dave Berry & the Cruisers, Goldie & the Gingerbreads, The Checkmates, The Konrads.

April 11, 1965 New Musical Express Poll Winners’ concert (Wembley): The Beatles, The Kinks, The Animals, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Them, Donovan, Cilla Black, Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, Twinkle, Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames, Freddie & the Dreamers, The Moody Blues.

April 1965 Paris, France concerts: Les Jets, Vince Taylor, Evy & Rocky Roberts.

Spring 1965 North American Tour: The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, The Byrds, Marty Robbins, Herman’s Hermits, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Jenny Rock, J. B. & The Playboys, The Staccatos, The Esquires, David Clayton Thomas & the Shays, The Runarounds, The Nottingham Three, The Fortune Tellers, The Knickerbockers, The Sundowners, Bobby Vee, Freddie Cannon, Bobby Freeman, Reparata & The Delrons, Brenda Holloway, The Hondells, The Ikettes, The Detergents, Billy Stewart, The Roemans, The Intruders, Pam Hall & The Catalinas, The Canadian Legends, Sonny James, Cannibal & the Headhunters, The Premiers, Skeeter Davis, Del Reeves, Archie Campbell, The Newbeats, The Buschmen, The Driftwoods, The Torquays, Don & the Deacons, The Vibrants, The Dartells, The Ladybirds, The Cindermen, The Road Runners.

Spring 1965 Tour of Scotland: The Hollies, The Original Checkmates, The Cannon Brothers, Doris Troy, The Drumbeats, Mike & the Shades, The West Five, The Modells.

Spring 1965 Scandinavian Tour: The Pussycats (Norway).

July-August 1965 British concerts: Long John Baldry, The Walker Brothers, Rod Stewart, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, The Quiet Five, The Fourmost, Sugar Pie Desanto, Julie Grant.

September 1965 Tour of West Germany & Austria: The Rackets, Didi & the ABC Boys, Team Beats, The Rivets.

Fall 1965 UK Tour: The Spencer Davis Group, Unit 4+2, the Moody Blues, the Checkmates, Charles Dickens, The Habits, The End, Ray Cameron.

Fall 1965 North American Tour: Patti Labelle & the Blue Belles, The Rocking Ramrods, The Vibrations, The Embers.

1966 Tour of Australia & New Zealand: Max Merritt & the Meteors, Tony Barber, Marty Rhone, The Four Fours.

Spring 1966 European Tour: Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders, Ian Witcomb, Antoine et les Problèmes (les Charlots), The Newbeats, les Hou-Lops, Ronnie Bird, Les Debs, Les Why Not, Jean-Christian Michel, Cecilia Stam, The Daretakers, The Defenders, the Hi-Balls, Lee Kings.

May 1, 1966 New Musical Express Poll-Winners’ Concert (Wembley): The Beatles, The Who, Dusty Springfield, The Echoes, Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison, The Small Faces, The Spencer Davis Group, Herman’s Hermits, The Yardbirds, The Walker Brothers.

1966 North American Tour: The McCoys, The Standells, The Trade Winds, The Ugly Ducklings, The Rogues, The Ronettes, The Syndicate of Sound.

1966 UK Tour: Ike & Tina Turner, The Yardbirds (incl. Jimmy Page & Jeff Beck), Peter Jay & the New Jay Walkers, The Kings of Rhythm Orchestra, The Ike-Ettes, Jimmy Thomas, Bobby John.

1967 European Tour: The Move, The Easy Beats, The Creation, The Batman (Didi & the ABC Boys), Achim Reichel, Red & Black.

May 18, 1968 New Musical Express Concert (Wembley): Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield, The Move, The Herd, The Amen Corner, Cliff Richard, Lulu, Tony Blackburn, The Paper Dolls, The Association, The Love Affair, Don Partridge, Status Quo.

December 1968 Rock & Roll Circus: The Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithfull, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, Taj Mahal.

Hyde Park, London, July 5, 1969: King Crimson, Family, Alexis Korner’s New Church, The Screw, The Battered Ornaments, The Third Ear Band.

Fall 1969 US Tour: Chuck Berry, B. B. King, Ike & Tina Turner (with Janis Joplin for 1 concert), Terry Reid.

November 30, 1969 West Palm Beach, Florida festival: The Moody Blues, Ten Years After, King Crimson, Spooky Tooth, The Band, Janis Joplin, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, The Chamber Brothers.

Altamont Speedway festival, December 6, 1969: Santana, Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Crosby Stills Nash & Young.

December 1969 London concerts: Mighty Baby, Shakin’ Stevens, David Berglass (magician), Procol Harum.

1970 European Tour: Buddy Guy & Junior Wells (incl. Eric Clapton on 1 concert), Bonnie Raitt.

1971 UK Tour: The Groundhogs, Merlin, Noir.

1972 North American Tour: Stevie Wonder, Martha & the Vandellas, Robert Shields (mime artist).

January 1973 Los Angeles benefit concert: Santana, Cheech & Chong.

1973 Pacific Tour: ZZ Top, Madder Lake, Headband, Itambu, Chain.

1973 European Tour: The Godsquad (Billy Preston with Mick Taylor), Kracker.

1975 North American Tour: The Meters, The Charlie Daniels Band, The J. Geils Band, Furry Lewis, The Eagles, The Commodores, Bobby Womack, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Montrose, Trapeze, The Gap Band, Rufus, The Crusaders, Joe Vitale’s Madmen, Trapeze, Tower of Power, Ethnic, Procession, Mighty Clouds of Joy, The Outlaws, Furry Lewis, New York City steel band.

1976 European Tour: The Meters, Robin Trower, Kokomo, John Miles, Little Feat.

August 1976 Knebworth festival: Lynyrd Skynyrd, 10cc, Todd Rundgren, Hot Tuna, Don Harrison Band.

1978 U.S. Tour: Peter Tosh, Foreigner, Journey, Southside Johnny & the Ashbury Dukes, Patti Smith, Furry Lewis, Eddie Money, Kansas, April Wine, Van Halen, Santana, The Doobie Brothers, The Henry Paul Band, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Doug Kershaw, The Outlaws.

April 1979 Oshawa benefit concert: The New Barbarians.

1981 US Tour: Journey, The J. Geils Band, George Thorogood, Van Halen, Prince, The Go-Go’s, Santana, The Stray Cats, ZZ Top, The Neville Brothers, Iggy Pop, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Heart, Molly Hatchet, Tina Turner, Joe Ely, The Henry Paul Band, The Meters, Stanley Clarke, Etta James, Garland Jeffreys, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, The Greg Kihn Band, Lamont Cranston, Bobby Womack.

1982 European Tour: Black Uhuru, UB40, BAP, The J. Geils Band, George Thorogood, Joe Jackson, Téléphone, TV21, Peter Maffay, Kim Larsen.

1986 private tribute to Ian Stewart (London): Blues ‘N’ Trouble, Rocket 88. With Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Jack Bruce, Jeff Beck & Simon Kirke.

1989 North American Tour: Living Colour, Guns ‘N’ Roses.

1990 European Tour: Gun, The Dan Reed Network.

1994 North American Tour: Jeff Healey, Counting Crows, Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz, Buddy Guy, Bryan Adams, Spin Doctors.

1995 Tour of Latin America & South Africa: Caifanes, Pappo, Las Pelotas, Los Ratones Paranoicos.

1995 Pacific Tour: Cruel Sea (Australia).

1995 European Tour: The Tragically Hip, Bob Dylan, The Black Crowes, Bon Jovi, Éric Lapointe, Robert Cray, Alkbottle, Andrew Strong, Big Country, La Place.

1997-98 North American Tour: Blues Traveler, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam, The Dave Matthews Band, Smashing Pumpkins (with Marilyn Manson for at least 1 concert), The Wallflowers, Third Eye Blind, Jonny Lang, Santana, Matchbox 20, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, El Tri.

1998 Tour of Japan, South America & return to North America: Bob Dylan, Meredith Brooks, Wide Mouth Mason, Our Lady Peace, Buddy Guy.

1998 European Tour: The Dave Matthews Band, The Hothouse Flowers, Big Country, The Corrs, Simple Minds, Jonny Lang, Jean Louis Aubert, Seahorses, Spleen, Soundtrack Of Our Lives.

1999 North American Tour: Bryan Adams, Jonny Lang, Wide Mouth Mason, Big Sugar, The Flys, The Corrs, Goo Goo Dolls, Sugar Ray.

1999 European Tour: Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Ocean Colour Scene, Zucchero, Catatonia, Los Suaves, Rowwen Heze, BAP.

2002-03 North American Tour: Danko Jones, The Pretenders, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland & Dr. John, Soulive, Jonny Lang, The Strokes, No Doubt, Elvis Costello, The White Stripes, Shaggy, Sheryl Crow, Solomon Burke, John Cougar Mellencamp, Lifehouse, Les Respectables, Ryan Adams, Susan Tedeschi, (Ex-President) Bill Clinton.

2003 Pacific & Asian Tour: Jam, Jet, You Am I.

2003 European Tour: The Cranberries, Keziah Jones, AC/DC, Counting Crows, The Pretenders, Stereophonics, Burn, The Hives, The Hellacopters, ZZ Top, Brainstorm, Olimpic, The Darkness, Böhse Onkelz, Toots & the Maytals, The Vue, Starsailor, The Thrills, Feeder, Idlewild, Tim Burgess, Therapy?, DeMens, Clouseau, The Cooper Temple Clause, Simple Minds, Primal Scream, Xutos & Pontapés, Lovebugs.

Downsview Park, Toronto, Canada, July 30, 2003: Dan Akroyd & Jim Belushi (Have Love Will Travel), Sam Roberts, Kathleen Edwards, La Chicane, Tea Party, The Flaming Lips, Sass Jordan with Jeff Healey, The Isley Brothers, Blue Rodeo, Justin Timberlake, The Guess Who, Rush, AC/DC.

2003 Hong Kong concerts: Mick Gerace (Elvis Presley impersonator), Joey Yung, Nicholas Tse.

Pheonix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Canada, August 10, 2005: The Trews.

2005-06 North & South American Tour: Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Les Trois Accords, Our Lady Peace, The Tragically Hip, Buddy Guy, Los Lonely Boys, Dan Akroyd & Jim Belushi (Have Love Will Travel), Alanis Morissette, Beck, Pearl Jam, John Mayer Trio, Trey Anastasio, Wilco, Joss Stone, 54-40, Motley Crüe, Toots and the Maytals, Everclear, Metallica, Jason Mraz, Delbert McClinton, Anick Jean, Sloan, Metric, Antigone Rising, Soulive, Brooks & Dunn, Juan Luis Guerra, Titas, Afroreggae, Los Piojos, Fobia, Alejandra Guzman, Queens of the Stone Age, Merle Haggard, The Meters, The B-52s.

2006 Pacific Tour: Richie Kotzen, The Living End, Airbourne, Nickelback.

2006 European Tour: Feeder, Paolo Nutini, Starsailor, Razorlight, Toots & the Maytals, Simple Minds, Kasabian, Lovebugs, the Dandy Warhols, The Charlatans, The Kooks, Maximo Park.

Fall 2006 North American Tour: Kanye West, Sloan, Alice Cooper, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Three Days Grace, Elvis Costello, The Dave Matthews Band, Ian McLagan & the Bump Band, Los Lonely Boys, Buddy Guy, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Blue October, Soulive.

2007 European Tour: Van Morrison, Daniël Lohues and the Louisiana Blues Club, Starsailor, Biffy Clyro, Loquillo y los Trogloditas, Zenttric, Arno Carstens, Jet, Dado Topic & Time, Regina, The Thirst, Elektricni Orgazam, The Answer, Iris, The Charlatans, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Toots & the Maytals, The Dandy Warhols, The Hold Steady, Frankie Gavin, Tinariwen, The Kooks, The Enemy.

Isle of Wight Festival, Newport, England, June 10, 2007: Keane, the Fratellis, Paolo Nutini, James Morrison, Melanie C, Country Joe McDonald, The Hedrons, Siniez.

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Concert Review – Jesse Cook

It did not take long …

Within moments of Jesse Cook taking the stage, an obvious affection spilled through the seats of Salle Wilfred Pelletier and inflicted the stage with an amorous disease. Getting sick never seemed so much fun.


Cook was in Montreal last Friday on the coat tails of his latest album – The Blue Guitar Sessions. An album which Cook elegantly described to the sold out theater as a disc to play ‘right after you are dumped’. One sad song after another which gave the 47 year old Jesse ‘immense pleasure’ while penning the disc. A happiness which Cook wished upon his audience as they listened to his melancholy tunes.

It was a sadomasochistic offering of the most divine musical intervention.

Cook, along with ‘Chendy’ Leon, Chris Church, Nicholas Hernandez and Dennis Mohammed delivered a mixture of old and new tunes to a fan base which absolutely are in love with the music. ‘Gravity‘ from the album of the same name ( Cook’s 2nd studio offering), erupted the crown into a welcoming frenzy which the musicians on stage reciprocated affectionately.

Emma-Lee_selfportrait1_ed-150x150A frenzy which was nurtured by Emma-Lee. The Toronto-born songstress who was invited to sing on Cook’s new disc as well as be the opening act. Lee warmed the crowd with her voice which appeared to be older than the woman herself. Accompanied by Church, Lee set the table with an outpouring of vocal styling which may one day place her alongside Norah Jones as a top selling act.

Cook himself is a very funny guy in a self – depreciating way. His banter contains stories of the making of discs, the writing of songs or just tales which come to mind. One such tale was of learning a trick from Dizzy Gillespie. It seems that Gillespie, once upon a time, would toss a handkerchief into the air near the end of a song which he was performing live. Following a few lovely ‘floating’ moments – the handkerchief landed upon the stage and all the musicians in his band would simultaneous ‘wham!’ – end the song. Cook went on to explain how – when he attempted the same thing, the handkerchief fell straight down. No floating. Jesse explained how ever since, he now uses a baton …

A large contingent of PBS employees were on hand for the show. Having made the trip from places such as Burlington, Vt. and Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Cook was featured in a television special and the various suits and their wives / husbands made the trek to bask in what appears their ‘new – found’ hero’s limelight. There was a lot of noise during the show from what appeared to be loyal fans. Afterwards, it was obvious, a lot of these folk were in Montreal for the ride and their musical discussions were limited. There is always hope this will be the start of a musical education for our neighbors to the South …

Especially if they happen to pay attention to the work of drummer extraordinaire, ‘Chendy’ Leon. This man stole the show …


Cook is talented although he does take some criticism from guitar men who believe he is a ‘McDonalds Flamenco player’. In other words, taking the easy route to fame by playing a watered – down version of Flamenco. Leon, however – is the real deal …

His percussion is so profound, it lights up the stage with every kick on bass and zap of a cymbal. The beauty is in the effortless playing. From his first percussion lesson, given to him by his father in Havana, Cuba, when he was only four years old, “Chendy” learned at an incredible rate. At the age of 18 he began his professional career, playing and recording with many famous Cuban bands and artists and  he is the most sought out drummer for Latin music in the country.

The second half of the show contained all the gems. Emma-Lee returned to the stage and sang; ‘I Put a Spell on You’ and ‘Ne me Quitte Pas’. A haunting took place as the lights at Place des Arts silhouetted Lee’s ghostly voice. Cook’s intense plucking via nylon strings – an educational experience as  the crispness of the notes as clear as the sound of a fish splashing into a cool lake in the early dawn.

The encore discovered the band, following a  brief disappearance, returning to stage left and to the right of the audience. A Capella sing a long took place which was a very nice moment. The  musicians’ tales were sung true to heart ..

Let’s hope the PBS people took note …

Gilberto Gil; A Brazilian Mick Jagger?

When a seventy year old man is able to lift people from their seats – over and over and over again …

A flip of the fedora in his direction is not just necessary – it is required.

Photo courtesy of Anne Achan

Gilberto Passos Gil Moreira, born in 1942, is the man responsible for a love – in at Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts last night. Who knew that a man from  Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, could one day be king of Montreal – if only for a couple of days.

Dressed entirely in a white suit and a blue guitar as an accessory, Gil was a presence the moment he took center stage. John Bon Jovi and Stephen Tyler take note. Before the status of Mick Jagger is obtained – an obstacle by the name of Gilberto stands in the way.

Gil is an icon. Gil is a performer and a groundbreaking songwriter. Gil is special.

With his trademark dance moves a la James Brown / Jagger, his falsetto notes arriving on cue and an ability to raise the level of the musicians around him – Gil possesses that ‘something’ which all superstars possess. Elvis Presley had it, Micheal Jackson had it and the man who was at one time his country’s Minister of Culture – is one of the few living who not only ‘have it’, know precisely how to use ‘it’.

Photo courtesy of Anne Achan

That’s exactly what Gil did, utilizing every tool in his white suit jacket to get the audience so involved – the rain outside, a footnote in the long history of Montreal Jazz shows.

Gil utilized his song;  ‘Fe Na Festa’, as an instrument of warmth. A beach – the only thing missing in a theater suddenly alive with rays of musical sunshine. People perked up, they took notice and from that point forward – a sold out theater  were drinking from the palm of the ‘once upon a time’ jailbird’s palm.

‘Vamos Fugir’, ‘Expresso 2222’ and ‘Andar com Fe’ – three songs ripe with a vocal following from the crowd mixed in age, continued a stand-up, sit-down, stand-up roller coaster of a set. The crowd danced, the ushers danced, the band danced and the man himself –  appearing ghostly under a white spotlight, summoned  the only man who may have been able to upstage Gil himself.

Bob Marley appeared. Through song. Particularly – ‘Three Little Birds‘ and ‘No Woman No Cry’. A pair of tunes which rode along within Gil’s four decade repertoire. A duo which delivered smiles to people’s faces and warmth to the coldest of souls.

People were lifted out of their seats over and over again.

Even seventy year old men …

Susie Arioli; Concert Review

Sometimes, poems are written in the dark …

Thoughts and feelings piercing the blackness like a knife profound with emotion. Last night at Place Des Arts – Susie Arioli and her excellent group of musicians delivered lines on a platter spun with golden oldies.

The patrons or as the English say; the punters – recipients of a catalog smitten by the Great America Songbook. Who says Valentine’s day must be celebrated on the 14th of February …?

The songs chosen by Miss Arioli, tunes which placed feminine heads upon manly shoulders – sheer diamonds in a jewelry jukebox. Arioli’s voice, a female version of Mel Torme. Smoother than a velvety fog hovering above a city begging for raindrops of nostalgia.

The first half of the show complimented by My Funny Valentine. A song written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Following a half dozen ‘warm-ups’, Arioli and her backing musicians – appeared to hit stride with the tune which was originally penned for Babes In Arms on April 14, 1937. Arioli’s voice almost mesmerizing in it’s roller coaster indentations.

As he has done for seven discs – guitarist Jordan Officer complimenting the original classic with his clever arrangements and Charlie Christianlike riffs. It is obvious how Arioli and Officer hooked up once upon a time at a Stephen Barry Blues Band jam. A mutual understanding of  songs like ‘Husbands and Wives’, ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and ‘Here’s to the Losers’.

It is difficult to mess up a dinner table set by musicians such as Bill  Gossage (Bass), Cameron Wallace ( Tenor Sax) and Tony Albino on drums. A trio not just primed to fill in empty spaces of a musical scale, primed to headline on their very own if needed. Wallace providing sounds following a childhood education of Clarence (The Big Man ) Clemons. Sultry? Soothing?Ambitious ? All the above.

The song of the evening – “Mother Earth’, originally penned by Memphis Slim. In a show which emphasized Jazz, Officer’s guitar rock – like and menacing while Gossage ( on the stand-up bass), a rock in a weighted down rhythm section complete with Albino’s metronome motions. That is when Miss Arioli was not keeping time with a snare of her own. A pleasant addition to an act void of over – the – top antics …

Miss Susie did not appear in a giant egg a la Gaga. Arioli does not require the bells and whistles. Her vocal chords sounding the charge in a warning of standards to come.

What did come to the surprise of many, were a pair of  Christmas songs. A back-to-back duo fastened to the back end of a two hour show like sleighbells on the Grinch’s back. ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Blue Christmas” – adding a splash of warmth to the most cynical, watered – down enemy of the holiday season. Scrooge was chased out quickly by Arioli’s renditions of the wintery classics …

Another surprise to a non-fan, the presence of trilingual chatter. French, English and Fr – anglais; shattering any preconceived notions that Arioli’s songbook would be under scrutiny from any race or group of people. Add that to the song; ‘Un Jour de Difference’, a musical score penned by Maria Greve and made famous by Lys Gauty – a flicker of Paris candlelight embracing a Montreal crowd huddled together on a cool November evening.

Sometimes, poems are read in the dark …

Misstress Barbara – Concert Review

Techno – pulsating, dance – rave type of music is an acquired taste.

Especially if ‘Disco Duck‘ was considered dance music when a listener was thirteen going on thirty.

Photos courtesy of Kid Mercury Entertainment

Misstress Barbara;  former DJ – turned – songwriter / producer / singer, comandeered her computer to Club Soda on Friday night to instill her techno music to anyone who was in attendance. This was her first Montreal show under the title of her new disc – Many Shades of Grey. Her first album – ‘I’m No Human’ was released in 2008 following the advice of friends to try her hand at singing.

Barbara knows something about the techno circuit. She has traveled around the world as one of the top DJ’s for sixteen years before settling down to croon. Judging by the crowd and reaction, the same amount of folks would have filled the place if a Panda Bear was on stage. This is not a knock on Misstress Barbara’s singing or songwriting ability. That part – she has down. What Barbara needs to learn is how to entertain.

A show such as this did not include drug-induced ravers swinging out of their minds to fast paced beats. The attendees, stood in one place and danced. Well .. swayed is a better word. Their eyes never leaving Misstress Barbara’s perch on stage. How did she return the favor? By being dull …

Boring in banter and boring in creativity.

The one story she attempted to parlay to an equally mixed French / English crowd – thwarted by her own guitar player. Drowned out by the six stringed dude with his attempt at distortion. Hello …? Practice was at six …! Did you not get the memo Mr. Madonna – guitarist wannabe …?! When she got down to telling her tale of slipping a note to a beautiful woman at a bar to invite her to a show for free – an ending worthy of a bad sitcom finale stole the show.

“There are many beautiful people in Quebec.” Declared Barbara from her stance. “I could get them all at my shows for free. But … that would not be good for sales.”

Barbara stood behind her computer doing what Barbaras – turned – DJs – turned -singers do. Once in a while – a tambourine appeared as she slapped it on her hand or hip. Then – for extreme excitement, a drum stick clashed mightily on a symbol to the right of her office ( computer ) at the desired peak of a tune. Keith Moon she ain’t …

‘The Right Time’ and ‘I’m No Human’ battling for the title of song of the night – according to the rush which swamped the crowd at the appearance of both. The show was two hours long. Who knew one song could be that long? A non-techno type of music fan would have deciphered the show as such.

There were no peaks and valleys. Just one continuous beat with a packed Club Soda staring at Misstress Barbara, her computer, and some dude on guitar who was late for sound check.

Hey …!

Rick Dees never realized just how good he was …

David Usher – Moist for a Few …

David Usher performed at Club Soda on Thursday night. The former front man for Moist brought his solo act and a new album along for the ride.

‘Songs from the Last Day on Earth‘ is Usher’s eighth solo album since his former band left the scene in 1997. There is not a big difference between the sounds now and then except for Usher’s softness shining through a bit more.

Thursday night, he performed favorites such as “Silver” and “Push‘ from his Moist days yet it was the mostly female audience who may have gotten wet. Especially those in the first few rows as Usher launched some water their way during his two hour set. Usher is a talented singer who just happens ro be a very good looking guy. Something he appears to not take too seriously during shows.

‘And so we Run’ was the best tune of the night and his loyal followers seemed to agree as they sang in unison to one of his trademark songs. ‘ The Music‘ was right up there and it – along with ‘And so we Run’ ‘ played in the first half hour. These songs hooked people into Usher’s world and he had the females eating out of his hand.

The bantering in between was an indication of his charm. It is easy to have confidence when a singer is aware of his sex appeal, which David clearly has.

Love will save the day‘ and “Lonely People‘ were played out with great musicianship from a backing band who appeared on great terms with their meal ticket. It is obvious Usher and his mates are close as Usher’s experience of being in Moist has eased the process.

All in all a great show, Usher’s tunes have a hint of Coldplay in them – either that or it is the sound which is the flavor of the month right now.

David Usher is not ‘Alone in the Universe’.

Sagapool – Not your Father’s Folk Music

‘The guy in the hat. Call the guy in the hat…!’

That’s all I knew about Sagapool previous to their show Wednesday night at L’ Astral on Ste.Catherine  Street in Montreal.

Now – much is known…

Guilliaume Bourque ( the guy with the hat), clarinet player and co-founder – explains the feeling  when the band discovered they had won the Felix award for best instrumental group in the province of Quebec.

“It was such a nice feeling. We felt we won not just for ourselves but for our families, the former members and anyone who has helped us out over the years. Fourteen years is a long time and we could not have done it alone.”

Wednesday night, judging by the amount of people in attendance ( including a few babies), it was obvious the band‘s first show to promote the new album was a success. Each song concluded with ovations that could have deafened an otherwise perfect eardrum.

What Sagapool offers is a blend of  folk, jazz, funk, punk and just about everything in between. Think Arcade Fire without lyrics and a few less members. Says Guilliaume;

“There are three of us left from the original line-up. Myself, Zoe Dumais (on fiddle) and Luzio Altobelli on the accordion. We were originally called Mamouche but we changed the name because the style of music had changed that we were playing. The name Sagapool came to be because a lot had changed in our lives. We had kids, got married and bought houses. All this altered the way we approached writing and the band now contained a story – hence the word Saga.” He continues. ” Pool – funny enough,  is like a ‘hockey pool’ – meaning we are a pool of musicians. That’s how we got our new name – Sagapool!”

Guillaume was pleased with the way the show went. The group wanted to portray a more energetic  performance than what comes across on the new disc. The CD reflects a ‘wintery’ feeling – according to Guillaume, and it is not accurate on the sort of band they are;

” It’s hard to write music without the feelings you have sometime. As I said earlier, our lives changed and we were in a cozy, comfortable place. That is how the album comes across …”

The show at L”astral – was exciting in other ways as well. It was the first time the group used advanced lighting techniques for a backdrop on stage. The work was done by Mathieu Denomcourt – a fellow whose talent appears endless.One effect which was simply mesmerizing, were red ‘leaves’ flowing from the ceiling to floor in an endless loop. The theater was black while pianist Alexis Dumais ( the brother of Zoe) played a beautiful song on piano. The song; Coeur D’Aiguille was magical and the ‘make believe’ leaves – like petals on a flowing river …

Dany Nicolas ( guitars, mandolin and banjo ) along with Marton Maderspach ( drums, percussion), are the remaining members of a group who are departing on a tour in February. Ontario then out west.   Places they have been before with the exception of Perth, Ont. They were supposed to play the Montreal Jazz Festival last summer but things fell through. Instead, their Wednesday  show was part of the Jazz All Year Long series.

” Arcade Fire really put Montreal on the map.” Explains Guillaume. ” When we were playing in Vermont and Maine, people thought it was cool we were from the same place as them ( Arcade Fire ). Even though at that time our English was not that great …”‘ He laughs.

Sagapool does have a couple of songs with words. On the albums under the name Mamouche. There may be some more in the future …

“All the members are so into writing music, we don’t want to write words! We have friends who have written stuff – maybe we will use them!” Says Guilliaume. ” Right now we are going to enjoy the holidays then hit the road. We will do more shows in Quebec in the future, after all – except for Marton, were are all Quebecers.”

Sagapool or rather – the members, all met at school. A music conservatory. A place where dreams became a reality for Guilliaume. There remains one question …

Will he continue to wear his hat during interviews?

Listen to one of the new songs here!

The Hi – Fins; Everyone’s Cup of Tea

A record collection contains many gems.

The Dave Clarke Five, the Kinks, the Monkees, the Who, the Stones and the Beatles. Six groups which make up a good contigent of the British Invasion. Now – if it were possible to sit and listen to all these bands plus a few more in one night – LIVE, would a music fan sit at home? Of course not  …

Montreal group the Hi-Fins, provides exactly that. A taste of the British Invasion right in the neighborhood. An evening without the kids or the headaches of daily life. Paul McCrowe, the bass player, explains how the band achieved it’s name;

“Spy ( the guitarist ) and I have known each other since we were twelve. Spy was heavily into crosswords and we were trying to come up with a name. So there was a word that he came across “hyphen”. We both liked the word and came up with “Hi-Fins”, which – if you read between the lines, the symbol hyphen is there plus Hi-Fi.” He continues.” Hi -Fi is 60’s technology for  noise solution. All in all the name is a play on words. We thought we would be clever enough for someone to maybe figure it out when they see it! Some have …!” He laughs.

One thing which is simple to figure out is the band is blessed to have Mitchell Field on board as the drummer. Field grew up in England and was one of the fortunate few to have watched the Beatles play at the Marquee Club in London. Long before the band gained cult status.

“I was nine.” Says the fifty- seven year old Mitchell. ” I saw them all back then. The Kinks, the Who – it was a lesson which made me passionate about music and right then I decided to be a lifetime musician.” Mitchell left school and started to live his dream and played drums for Johnny Lee Hooker at one time. He then went on to play  with a band called Hellfield in the late seventies in Toronto. That band obtained moderate  success and opened up for bands such as Foreigner, the Cars and Kim Mitchell.

“Ya – we are very fortunate to have Mitchell in the band.” Says Paul. ” It is a funny story of how he joined.” He laughs. ” We put an ad on Craigslist and he answered it. When he came for the audition, he said ‘ Okay boys – show me what you got …!’ Spy and I looked at each other for a second and said ‘um…why don’t you show us what you got! We are auditioning you …!”

From the get -go, these three guys hit it off and following the second song in ‘the audition’ – a certain chemistry existed. They did not have to work too hard at achieving their very own ‘wall of sound’. ” People come up to us all the time and ask whether we have taped music playing in the background.” Says Spy. ” Or – they ask if we have a guitarist hidden somewhere. The sound is all in the way Paul plays bass. It becomes like a second guitar and the band’s sound is fuller.”

That must be the case. In a recent show at Le Pionnier, the room was packed with all ages. The kids in their early adulthood seemed to really dig the music that their parents grew up on. They were boppin’ and dancing all night long. Right along with their parents to ‘A Hard Day’s Night ,’ Satisfaction’, ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘My Generation’.

A concert with the Hi – Fins contains many gems…

Listen to the Hi -Fins here

Please stay tuned for a more in-depth interview with Mitchell Field and the boys ….

Rick’s Rockin’ Hallowe’en Bash (or How I Met Mick Jagger )

The scene …? Brutopia.img_3026

The place …? Downtown Montreal.

The feeling in the air …? General malaise and spookiness.

The reason …? Hallowe’en!

A shiek on drums, a nun on bass, a conehead on guitar, a giant – sized man of Haitian  descent on vocals and a straight – unabashed Mexican on the congas …

The name of the band? Kebeko …

The type of music? Caribbean – led, in your face, rap/ r and b / rock dance type stuff. The assorted ‘ghouls ‘ and boys boppin’ til three am. At one point, a gay pirate / Keith Richards leading a harmonica – charged finale worthy of an encore laden with power.

Enjoy through the eyes of Captain Jack Sparrow



















Please stay tuned for part two of my interview with Sass Jordan

Air Supply; Making ‘Money’ Out of Nothing at All …

Not sure what happened last night …


Air Supply played before an almost sold out crowd at Metropolis and it wasn’t pretty. Sure, some of the mostly forty ( + ) year old women in attendance were pretty. Sure some of the mostly twenty (+) year old barmaids were pretty – heck, even one bouncer was kinda cute .. Following that – pure ugliness; musically.

That’s not to say it was a bad show. It was a very tight and talented unit who backed up singers Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock. The ugliness came in the lack of anything bordering on  ‘out on a limb’, cutting edge music. Every guitar solo sounded the same in every song, a monkey could have played the simple drums beats and …  get the picture … ?


Therein lies the beauty of Air Supply. There are no risks – therefore no losses. Status quo for the boys from down under and the women love it. The men? Let’sjust say it was go with the wife to Air Supply or eat frozen donkeys for a month.

Watching Air Supply is amazing however.Amazing how many songs they have written and performed with the word ‘love’ in the title …

‘All out of Love’, ‘Making Love out of Nothing at All’, ‘Lost in Love, ‘The One you Love’ … If love is not in the title, then the rest of their catalogue is about losing a woman, getting her back or how lovely she was to begin with. Hundreds of men went home last night and were smacked just because they were not a member of Air Supply. This pair know women more than a gynecologist with six sisters.


The band put out a greatest hits album in 1983. The same year, the band apparently gained writer’s block and never wrote another hit song (they lost that ‘loving’ feeling ). Thank the Lord! If they had not misplaced their talent for writing love songs, the Olympic Stadium would have had to been rented and that’s costly. Besides – the Metropolis is the type of place for a ‘love’-in …

Graham and Russell are old pros. They perform their ‘love’ songs with ‘love’. Constantly touching their hearts after each song and saying the right words to the women who were crying out from their chairs with each passing hit. Russell ( not Russell ), creating the tender ( upload to YouTube) moment and serenading a blonde – haired beauty into submission or at the very least – his dressing room …


One woman, who was (for all intensive purposes), negative three years of age when Air Supply was high on the charts and ‘love’ – practically threw her panties at the stage with every song. Jumping, shrieking and acting as if she were her Mom at a Beatles concert circa 1964.

Not sure what happened last night … Whatever it was, you gotta ‘love’ it!

Tune in to K103.7fm at 5:15pm and hear me discuss the Zachary Richard show, Air Supply and hear a song by … ?


Zachary Richard ; Zydeco comes Home

Are stories your thing …?

If so – a Zachary Richard concert is the place to be. Historically, musically and most importantly; emotionally.

Last night at L’Astral, as part of the Jazz All Year Long series, M. Richard of New Yorek, Louisiana – utilized numerous skills to pulverize a sold out crowd into submission. A happy submission …

‘Le Fou ‘ is Richard’s 20th studio album and on stage, surrounded by Nicolas Fiszman on bass, Eric Sauviant on guitar and Justin Allard on drums – the ‘ adopted’ Quebecer introduced his new disc to a welcoming, predominantly Francophone audience.


Beginning with the first song of the night, ‘Laisse le Vent Souffle’ (Let the Storm Wind Blow) – Richard made sure the emotional gusts were captured by an audience obviously in love with the man.

The first set contained folksy songs which arrive from a profound place in the holder of three doctorate degrees’ heart.  Seldom do words flow from fountain of truths as is the case with M.Richard. The lyrics in songs such as ‘ La Chanson des Migrateurs’ ( The Migrant’s Song) and ‘Original ou Caribou’ ( Moose or Caribou ) transcend the plains of consciencness.

There are messages in each song and this singer (who just happens to be a published poet as well) – delivers notes of resistance and mankind’s craziness in such a manner, acceptance is not just a fact – it evolves into a way of life …

Musically, Richard strums the guitar, plays the harp and accordion. Musically, Zachary Richard and his backing band fly above most artists occupying the high levels of charted music. The Black Keys would be a great opening act for a foursome this divine.

And … M. Richard is funny to boot!

Following the first song and sweeping the band introductions out of the way, Richard explained that a lot of tunes the audience would be hearing – ‘they would not know’! ‘ Its okay …’ Continued Richard. ‘ We don’t know them either!’

With such ‘Socratic’ gems tossed into a salad bar containing pure Louisiana – based Zydeco fruits of love, Richard had the audience ‘alive and jumping’ in the second set.


The songs ‘Sweet Sweet’,’ Clif’s Zydeco ‘ and ‘ Dancing at Double D’s’ – kicked even the most dormant moose into a mood reserved for an anxious child on Christmas morning. The ‘ slightly above middle – aged ‘ crowd stood , clapped and slapped in anticipation of every note arriving from a stage equipped with talent.

‘ You don’t know how this song ends ‘ Quipped the sixty – two year old songwriter right in the middle of a song. ‘ It’s okay – neither do we ..’

Just another element of humour which – along with the music, brought numerous smiles to the enthusiastic crowd. Numerous smiles and numerous standing ovations.

‘Most people think I am Quebecoise’ Stated one of the patriarchs of the Cajun sound from center stage. ‘ I am from Louisiana and was the only white boy growing up in my neighborhood. I remember cleaning the glass with my hand and looking through a window at all the Zydeco musicians playing Cajun music …’

As mentioned … Zachary Richard is a storyteller …

Watch Zachary Richard video here!

Thrill Me Up; Dawn Tyler Watson and Paul Deslauriers both Nominated for A Maple Blues Award!

Last year, there was a duel at L’Astral Theater on Ste. Catherine St. East. A venue on the cusp of downtown Montreal.


In the right corner, wearing a brown top and jeans – Dawn Tyler Watson. A woman who posesses the voice of an angel. Vocal chords blessed from deep within …

On the left, bearded and loaded with guitar fingers talented beyond comprehension – Paul Deslauriers. A man who should be writing the score for spaghetti westerns 2013.

The duo had just recently completed an album and they appeared on stage to promote it. ‘What a debut’ if the response of the audience that evening was any indication …

The show commenced with trepidation, musically and the amount of love being tossed around the L’Astral. Well – that did not last long.

‘Thrill Me Up’ broke the ice and the energy kept filling the glasses. The song is one of the new ones on the pair’s  album. A song which has caught on in the Ottawa region and has become a staple on the airwaves. An upbeat kind of song with Paul and Dawn’s voices matching intermittently. A tune which keeps great company by blues standards with a chorus to die for.


The audience began to tune in and another new song; Small Ceremonies, was the backbreaker. A beautifully sung ballad. Watson’s inner child playing nonchalantly with Deslaurier’s tender riffs. A bedtime tale meant to be serenaded to a bride or groom to be…

Watson’s fiance was on hand back then among the patrons, amorous banter took center stage as ‘Miss’ Dawn urged the audience to appreciate the one special person in their lives. All the while –  while encouraging the single people to retain hope. A beautiful message from a beautiful songstress and person.


The Beatles’ song ‘ Can’t buy Me Love‘ is on the new album and was just one of three eye – catching covers carried out by the duo. ‘The Rain Song‘ and ‘ Going to California‘, originally penned by Mssrs Page and Plant of Led Zeppelin fame, brought the house down. Renditions very worthy of calls from Zep themselves.

The jaw – dropping moment came halfway through the second set. Jacques Brel‘s song; ‘Ne me Quitte Pas‘, made famous by none other than Edith Piaf – may have brought tears to some people’s eyes. A fact which was pointed out by a standing ovation upon completion.


Paul Deslauriers and Dawn Tyler Watson go together as two songbirds should. Deslauriers, along with Steve Hill – is the best guitarist in the province of Quebec and maybe in Canada. Watson has few equals in the voice department.

Sometimes duels are friendly …

Maple Blues Nominees – 2013

Tune into K103.7fm Friday at 5:15pm to hear me discuss the music scene in Montreal.

Some photos courtesy of Kid Mercury Entertainment.

Visit Dawn’s Site Here!

Visit Dawn and Paul’s Site Here!

May as well Visit Paul’s …lol

Colin James in Concert











Colin and I - PreShow

Suddenly – it was 1988.

Just like that, Colin James transported a mostly middle-aged audience to the days when mortgages were something their parents understood …

It was as effortless for the current British Columbian native as his guitar playing. Times may have changed yet James remains the same – physically and musically.

” It’s great to be back in Montreal!” Shouted James a quarter a way into his ‘Jazz All Year Round ‘ concert at Metropolis. “Unfortunately we are leaving right after the show so there will be no running up and down the mountain for me …! Which is what I do!”

With those words, an audience which to that point was undecided – broke down the barrier of uncertainty the way a first kiss would do on a first date …

There’s nothing fancy about a Colin James show. Straight bluesy rock n’ roll supplied by a backing band standard by blues standards. Bass, drums,keyboards and sax. Oh and guitars which delegate the ebbs and flows appropriately.

Interweaving old and new songs – James is all business in concert. No endless banter, no jumping into the audience – no frills … Just hard edged guitar solos performed by a man who has performed in every situation and with almost every guitar legend. It shows …

“Ok guys, let’s keep it simple!”James stated to his band moments before they hit the stage. It was a planned huddle which will take place practically five nights a week for the next little while.

Says James;

” We are awfully busy these days …, not much time to do anything for ourselves. It’s run, run, run right now …”

From new songs such as ‘Fool for You’ off his latest album; Fifteen, to older ones – ‘Five Long Years’ and ‘Why’d You Lie’, James delivers them all the same. Improbable vocals untarnished by sucess. Improbable vocals tarnished by the love of music …

The highlight of the night in most people’s views was a version of the classic Van Morrison song -‘Into the Mystic’. Hard to say if the song is that good or if James’ rendition catches fire. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ was a lowpoint. A standard non -creative guitar riff afraid to go on its own. Lennon was a rhythm player and James could outduel the former Beatle easily. Instead – Colin stays true to the original on disc and unfortunately, in concert as well.

A new track from his latest disc, ‘I Need You Bad’, was played too early in the show. A gut wrenching riff was introduced to an audience just sitting after filling their cups. A tune which should have been played near the end or as an encore …

A performer should leave the audience wanting more. Not departing on a wanton note.

James is a young man. The future is ahead of him while the past burns brightly in the corridors of Canadian rock history. That is the message the forty seven year old should push. That is the message Colin James, a disciple of Stevie Ray Vaughn, did not.

Hence the lack of youngsters in the crowd.

Tune in to Rick Keene on K103.7 fm

Friday the 28th of September will be my debut on air at k103.7fm at 5 :15 pm. This will be a regular feature every Friday on the station. 

Sean Mckeogh, the afternoon host and I –  will discuss the people I have interviewed, the cd’s I have reviewed and the upcoming shows in Montreal. It will also give an opportunity for the station and I to play and promote a song from a new artist and album.

Please contact me if you would like me to listen and review a cd. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime to have your music introduced to the listening public …

Thank you for your support, thanks to k103.7fm for providing an opportunity for me to do this but most of all – thanks to all the musicians who keep the world sane.

Tune in … won’t ya?


Rick Keene

Ile Perrot Blues Festival feat. Steve Hill













Photos courtesy of John Waring

Steve Hill Solo Recordings Volume One is available on his website. A can’t miss for fans of the ‘real’ blues …

Carolyn Fe Blues Collective at the House of Jazz

Outside, it was chilly.

The rain came and went like an unwanted vagrant who has pressed his luck panhandling once too often …

Inside – the House of Jazz welcomed one and all with it’ s fiery ambiance. A band of bluesmen providing the engine for a warm evening’s jaunt.

Drinks were flowing as smiles accompanied the delicious food.

Ladies and Gentlemen … I give you an evening with Carolyn Fe Blues Collective ..













Up next … A review of the lovely Brie Neilson’s cd!

Photos courtesy of Kid Mercury Entertainment – Montreal’s most dynamic kids magician and entertainer!

Tune into K103.7 fm and listen to the great music by even greater people!

Strangers in the Night 8







April Wine Set List
John Shahar
Shahar and Tripano
Me and Pete Marier – The Beat
Me and Pat Kerton – Part owner;Cunninghams Pub







Miss Teen Canada and Rick Keene

Photos property of Rick Keene ©
And Lehomardclubhotography

I Think I Busted a Button on my Trousers … Hope they don’ t fall down; Part Two

It was all about the music.


Women and even drugs tossed aside if it interfered with the tunes. Their founder; Brian Jones, cast from the love of his life as drugs and erratic playing interrupted the Stones’ legacy. A premature death in life – a fitting death for a rock n roll figure.

Hunt, Faithful, Bianca and Pallenberg. Add Jones’ many conauests. The damsels in constant distress. The women who some bore offspring, the women who could never be Yoko Onos …


Mick Taylor ended the sixties giving the Stones a lead guitar until the lifestyle, their lifestyle, would no longer suit the graduate of the blues . A legacy imprinted into the discs of some of the greatest tunes to bring in the band’ s second decade. Love, was not in vain.

Enter Richards’ twin. Ronnie Wood. A five string sparring partner. Someone to practice the fine art of weaving . Who better to return the Stones to their roots – who better to keep the peace between Jagger and Richards. Who better to keep the band rolling into a new decade of a changing music world.


Satisfaction – one of ( if not the biggest ) anthems of the sixties. Miss You – one of the biggest ( anthems ) songs of the seventies. How does a band, almost twenty years into a career carry on and top that? With the exception of old blues men and solo artists – the band was entering uncharted music waters.


Start me Up.

The biggest song of the eighties. A tune which made even the famous tongue logo – wag with envy … Three decades, three hugely succesful anthems which set the band up for a forray into corporate America.


Tumbin ‘Dice , Happy, Beast of Burden. Play with Fire, Get off of my cloud, Waiting on a friend – an arsenal small in the Stones’ catalogue, huge for every band with the exception of the Beatles.

Richards ‘ pulled through a ten year heroin addiction. A blind Angel from Quebec – hitching a ride to Toronto. Pleading with a judge to not place the rock n roll convict behind bars for heroin trafficking. A blind Angel the guitarist claims saved his life. A blind Angel who has been flown to a show on every tour since …


Muddy Waters, discovered painting the ceiling at Chess studios to earn some money. The band’s hero. A man partly responsible for their very existence – forced to manual labor because of greedy record executives. The revenue from the group’ s next show, placed into the pocket of the original Rollin ‘ Stone.

Elvis, the Beatles, the love generation, glam rock, Disco and Punk Rock. Dead. Zeppelin, Gram Parsons, Morrison, Joplin and Hendrix. Dead.

The Stones rolled on …

The eighties and the largest grossing tour Rock n Roll would witness to that point – a glint in the Glimmer Twins’ eyes. A tour which was about to commence …



First things first.

What is witnessed in this documentary/ concert film, is not for the faint – hearted. In other words; Justin Bieber fans stay away.

‘Make it Funky‘ tells the tale of New Orleans music. A combination of blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, soul and funk. Rock n roll? You bet …

According to one of the performers in the almost three hour concert which is featured in the DVD, New Orleans music has a sound of it’s own. Keith Richards knows a little about sound and about being different.
This docu- cert weaves a fine road through a thick tapestry of N’Orlean mud. The groundwork as astonishing as the music itself. The groundwork the architectural plans of modern day music.

Meet the Neville clan. There are quite a few of these home grown boys carrying the messages of music in their instrument cases. Aaron, in what may be the most compelling statement of the film, tells how his song ‘Tell It Like It Is ‘ grew into a global monster hit. Mr. Neville did not receive much money for it – in fact, next to nothing. Profoundly, Neville explains how this was a good thing. The riches he richly deserved, would have surely killed him.


Make it funky sheds light on the darkness called racism. Many of the founding fathers of modern day music discovered themselves banished from the clubs which showcased the very tunes they themselves made famous.

The origins of this movie commenced inside the head of Allen Toussaint. If James Brown is the godfather of soul, Toussaint may be the patriarch of the New Orleans sound. By no means did he invent it yet there are few who carry the torch so highly and publicly as Toussaint.

What the Rolling Stones have done and continue to do for the forefathers of blues, Allen is doing for the greats of New Orleans.


The late Earl Palmer, considered the grandfather of Rock n Roll drumming is featured and honoured by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas and the human riff himself – Keith Richards. Palmer, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 84, provides the backbeat for the musical journey from the days of segregation through to the newest member of the Neville clan on guitar.


You got horns, you got funk on the piano and you got a whole lot of New Orleans ripping up the stage. This is soul- defining stuff which pretty much makes the majority of music since seem amateurish in comparison.

Toussaint knows; first things first …

When The Road Bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan

You cannot walk straight when the road bends 

roman proverb

When Johnny Depp gives a testimonial for a film, a musician or a toaster oven; people listen. In the documentary: When the road bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan, people are there to listen and listen some more…

The film follows an eighteen show American tour with Gypsies from four countries. It is fitting the show opens up with th e line; “Don’t worry, she’ll follow the lights! They don’t call her the Queen of the Gypsies for nothing!”

Fitting because the darkened walk towards the lights is symbolic. The general public watching this film are led toward costumes and music most have never listened to – or seen.

The Queen of the Gypsies begins to sing. Aside from the language – she could be an older Celine Dion with an added few pounds. An older Celine Dion without the fake emotions. The Queen sings with profound conviction. What arrives from her diaphragm is lived. Picture your grandmother who gave birth to eight kids and raised them alone. This is the depth of experience which sets the tone for the film.

A tone you do not catch at the corner bar. Not in America anyways.

The film’s and the organizer’s intent is to bring people together though music. It must be through music as many of the performers don’t speak the same language.


Romanian is one of those languages spoken and it is by the founders of the tour. A group of stringed musicians who support their village with the funds raised by their music. They are called Farat and are responsible for actor Depp’s involvement.

Mr. Depp met these guys during the filming of the movie: The Man who Cried. It seems Depp shared a small trailer with these men for two months. A time spent playing music for hours with wine exchanging hands. The music was the means of communication – along with eyeballs and hand gestures …

Depp’s mission is obvious.

He pleads for the public to re – learn their ignorance of the myth of the Gypsy. A stigma attached over the years through the very medium which made him famous – film.

In Depp’s words; the Nazis perpetrated a genocide on the Romanian people. The murder of thousands of woman and children. Killings which left the inhabitants to roam. Also in the actor’s words; the Gypsies will not steal your socks or whatever. The sad thing? A weight these people, these beautiful people – carry with them everyday.

The real star of the film is the positive vibe in the music and the characters. A script could not be written to portray these people accurately.

Beginning with the Queen of the Gypsies to the old man who funds school fees to young musicians in his village, this documentary provides hope to the downtrodden. Music keeps the spirit alive.

In each song from another of the touring acts from India, the group Maharaja tells stories. Something the leader can do through his own personal experiences.


His mother died from cancer when he was a boy and his father soon followed; death by drinking his pain away. The young man was left to care for his younger siblings. Something he does though music and dance.

Director Jasmine Dellal continues her quest to tell the tale of Gypies through Flamenco – another of the movie’s many influential sounds. Dancing, vibrant colours and equally vibrant characters. A great mix for the open – minded music fan.

Four musical acts – four types of Gypsies.

The road keeps bending. It’s up to the viewer to make things straight the next time they think of the word Gypsy.

* This film is available on DVD at Pointe Claire Video.