All You Need is Police Protection! Fifty Years Since The Beatles Played in Montreal; Part Two

How time flies …

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The Beatles took the world by storm. Creating a sensation which – to this day; remains unmatched. What was it about these four lads from Liverpool? Their hair? Their suits? Their silly English accents combined with even sillier humor?

All of the above for sure yet without an amazing ability to create timeless tunes, sing-a-long melodies and poignant love tales; the imagery meant nothing. Face it – even cute puppies grow up!

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Please listen as John Oriettas and I discuss The Beatles as well as John’s upcoming performance on Sunday September 7th at Oscar Peterson Hall. An occasion for his group; REPLAY – to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ only two shows in Montreal. An occasion to mark history …

John? Paul? Geoge? Ringo?

 

MBD9 Final

 

Visit Replay here!

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Grace Potter; Sagging a Bit …

Grace Potter and her band of merry Nocturnals appeared at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theater on Thursday night …

Or did they?grace1

It was the second appearance by the Vermont -based group in seven months at the very same venue. Maybe they should have waited.

Or – stayed home.

Grace herself – one of the most talented and energetic female singers to come out of the United States since a certain Miss Joplin. The passion and voice, something special – something desirable on so many levels. Her band. Tight as the screws which fastened the frames of the foundations of the many females who have come before. Smyth, Hynde and Turner. Three of a numerous crop of infectious and ground-breaking female singers who paved the way for the likes of Potter to captivate an audience. To enlist an army of impersonators such as Lee-La Baum of Montreal’s The Damn Truth.

In songs such as ‘Apologies’ and ‘All Over You’ – Potter delivers heartfelt innocence through country-inspired ballads. Songs which seperate her from the pack of Pat Benatars and Deborah Harrys. Bordering on Jewel, Taylor Swift and even Shania Twain – Grace invitingly opens the door to a soul which cries out for love while sending sweet gentle kisses. The Nocturnals – led by guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco, a perfect backdrop to Potter’s sometimes haunting vocals.

Too bad two hours of ballads do not make a show.

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Upbeat numbers such as ‘Ah Mary’. ‘Medicine’ and ‘ Stop the Bus’ – agonizingly fading into each other like a long drawn -out tooth pull. Too many songs sounding similar which harmfully placed Grace’s voice into a syllable bordering on annoying.

In the group’s February appearance – songs such as ‘The Lion The Beast The Beat, interrupted classically by the likes of Neil Young‘s Cinnamon Girl and Jefferson Airplane‘s White Rabbit’. Tunes which gave the opportunity for Potter to display her versatility. Her range. Her passion. Her bluesy, Joplin – esque mystique.

Without that punctuation on Thursday night – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals sentenced the crowd to a mundane event complete with instances of excitement. Like a stripper removing her gloves and placing them back on – Potter and the band teased and never delivered.

If not for the courage of ‘Nothing But The Water’ ( parts 1 and 11) and Paris (Ooh La La), the Nocturnal ship would set ground on a deserted island and nobody would bother searching for them.

The concert seemed mailed in. Potter’s banter – so fake and shallow, the grace8normally appreciative applause when an artist mentions the ‘home’ country ( Canada – for those taking notes at home), half the decibels of the band’s last appearance.

Sadly – Potter et al, either lost amid a tour which sees them venturing to Rio de Janeiro on the 20th or running out of gas in a career which seemed to hold so much promise. Joplin was twenty-seven when she died. Grace Potter and The Nocturnals – just about to enter their ‘teen years’. Far too young to fade away. Far too young to burn out …

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals were in Montreal last Thursday.

Were they …?

The Beach Boys; Summer Fun!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong

When Mike Love helped write the words for ‘Wouldn’t It be Nice’, the opening track on The Beach Boys’ 1966 album ‘Pet Sounds‘ – you have to wonder if almost fifty years later, he would have known his words would ring so true …

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Does it really matter?

For everyone in attendance at The Beach Boys’ show at Maddie’s Place Saturday night  – it did not. Young, younger, old and older – witnessed something special. Songs that are timeless. Tunes which posses  a label that is tossed about too easily. In the case of The Beach Boys, timeless is correct and they – along with The Beatles; wrote the book themselves.

America‘s Band’ are not just America’s band because they came from America. They did not receive the majestic title because they wrote and sang about the stars and stripes. At one point – before Vietnam, before Watergate and before the word started to get around of the ‘true’ American way, The Beach Boys represented what America sold itself as through propaganda. A country built on innocence. Structured by apple pie, baseball, muscle cars, beach, sun, sand and pretty girls. A society Utopian as a painting and The Beach Boys Utopian as the paintbrush.

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American was unmasked. The Beach Boys were eventually unmasked. Their songs; masked to this day. A musical form of The Lone Ranger. Heroic anthems that can save the day. Innocent lyrics about innocent times. Innocent music for anytime …

Saturday, many in attendance on the South Shore of Montreal were not born when “Help Me Rhonda‘, ‘California Girls‘, ‘Surfer Girl‘ and ‘In My Room’ were invading the airwaves. Saturday, many in attendance were alive, well and cruising the roads in their T-Birds, Corvettes and Corvairs. Heading to the beach to catch rays, girls, guys and the sweet harmonies of The Beach Boys.

mike7Listening to ‘Little Deuce Coupe‘, ‘ Surfin’ Safari’, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice‘ and ‘Barbara Anne’ in 2013; a time trip back. A reverse slide into a pool of nostalgia. A tub of fun awaiting even the most cynical of souls. Old men with glints in their eyes as their memories take a trip down Route 66 or Highway 401. Middle aged women, once more; wrinkle -free and looking for Mr. Right as the glistening sun highlights their virgin breasts.

Kids and teenagers. Pupils of  iPods, iPhones and MTV. Hearing many of the songs for the first time. ‘God only Knows’, ‘Fun,Fun,Fun’, ‘I Get Around’ and ‘Good Vibrations’ – piercing their innocent ears with delight and escalating quickly to desire. Witnessing what was – at one point; commonplace. Beach balls flying around a concert hall. Smiles launching the inflatable orbs from hand to hand and sometimes foot. Real Beach balls – not the hallucinogenic type of the Hendrix crowd. Real Beach balls – not the digitally – enhanced ones invented by over zealous record companies anxious to make a buck.

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The Beach Boys are no longer The Beach Boys. Mike Love ( on Saturday night) – the only original member on stage. Their last ‘hit’ as a group; the charming and timeless Kokomo from 1988. Over the years – the group have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Saturday night – it did not matter …

You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But lets talk about it
Wouldn’t it be nice

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The Virgins Concert Review; Too Much Attitude!

The Virgins

For a while – it all seemed dicey …

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The Virgins. an American band who just happened to open up for Iggy and The Stooges ( once upon a time ) – seemed destined to not draw any attention late Sunday night.  A half hour before the show, a crowd of less than capacity did not fill Club Soda. As the band took their place, an onslaught took place.

On and off the stage …

When one thinks of Jazz, the writers of songs such as Rich Kids do not come to mind. The quartet – a blend of Punk, Blues and Alternative may have paid the price for doing what they do AT A JAZZ FESTIVAL. Thankfully, by the time the band took to the stage, the venue filled up – somewhat.

It was time to play …

aaaaaLead vocalist Donald Cumming is not one for banter. Let’s get that straight. In his own words; ‘I go into my own little world up there’. What a strange world it is …

Hot of the heels of their new disc; ‘Strike Gently’, an album released on Cult Records and produced by The Strokes’ front man Julian Casablancas – the band took the stage and commenced a foray into everything that has been heard before yet with a different spin.

‘Venus in Chains’ – the first single from the new disc, pulled off with an innocence of the days of The Beatles. An original boy band sound. Something which Cumming is proud of as he set out to do a pure Rock n Roll record.

” I am happy with the record. It is songs that I wanted to do which I was unable to do with my old record company. It is simple rock sounds and I think I have grown as a songwriter. Julian allowed me to do that on this disc. I am grateful.”

‘Venus in Chains’ is that type of song. A harmonious chorus set the crowd’s acccsmiles in complete unison with the rhythm of their feet. No angry guitar riffs, no biting heads off bats. Just a song along the lines of Lou Reed’s happiest moments. A combination of The Velvet Underground meet the ‘Oneders’ from the Tom Hanks’ movie; ‘That thing You Do’. A great experience for anyone in the crowd.

“Private Affair”, a song which was the group’s first single from their debut album in 2008 – toted for the predominant late – teen – early 20’s crowd at Club Soda. That song – along with a slew of hits introduced mainly via television and movies;  (Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries), songs such as ‘ One Week of Danger’, ‘Rich Girls’, ‘Fernando Pando’,’ Love is Colder Than Death’ – became a soundtrack for the evening. No one will accuse The Virgins of being a Led Zeppelin – wannabe. Their niche is the internet -raised, health conscience, world -weary ( in their minds) teen travelers which make up the suburbs.  A feeling throughout the club was watching a band appear via MTV. Not -so-much live.

That is not taking anything away from the group at all. Musically …

Guitarist Xan Aird , Max Kamins (bass) and John Eatherly (drums) – along with Donald on guitar and vocals are talented. Xan especially delivering almost monumental solos. A tight unit yet too much within themselves.

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Aird – ‘Hair Today’ gone tomorrow?

Aird – completely lost within his hair as is bassist Kamins. The pair may as well been playing in their basement while a record skips nearby. No crowd interaction at all – not even a smile. Sadly, this takes away from the experience and delivers an image of pirates looting from the audience. A CD playing in the background is more exciting. Drummer Eatherly, the only member who appears to be involved in the concert. On time and on cue. A delight to watch and listen to.

The Virgins ( in their defense) just arrived from Germany the day of the show and are on the heels of a long tour. Montreal being near the end.  An excuse? Not really …

The Rolling Stones’ average age is sixty-nine. Their shows?

Never dicey …

 

 

 

Serena Ryder – Feels Like Home

Serena Ryder, hot off the heels of a MMVA for ‘Rock/ Alternative Video of the Year for her new song; ‘Stompa‘- considers the success of her new album; ‘Harmony’, somewhat home -based.

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“The entire album was recorded in L.A.”‘ Says Ryder.'”After almost ridding myself of sixty songs which were penned for the sessions, I decided to simplify everything. ‘Stompa’ took just three hours to record and the entire album was completed in a few weeks.”

Much of the disc’s feel was concocted with an idea of simplicity as the thought process. Ryder wanting to ‘have fun’ and evoke feelings of happiness to whoever hears the songs. Forget their bad days and move into an upbeat state of mind.

‘I had written a lot of songs in Ashbury, my place near Toronto.” Explains Serena.” We have converted a two car garage into a studio and it is covered in raw cedar. The whole thing is like a sauna. We call it the cottage. It is also decorated by all these old antiques we discovered in and around my neighborhood. Religious statues and that type of thing. It makes me feel comfortable when I am there and it allows me to feel like I am having fun while I am writing and recording.”

For Serena, that feeling delivers her to a growing up era in Peterborough, Ontario. A place where she educated herself musically surrounded by a community of musicians which were and continue to be – a strong source of inspiration.

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‘Really – it was such a diversity of music growing up. All the musicians I grew up with had it in their blood. One day it was alternative you heard and the next – more popular – type music. There was always something different and it was always a lot of fun.”

Enjoying the process of recording her new album and what is turning out to be her hit song (Stompa) – was first and foremost in Serena’s thoughts. The Juno award winning singer wanted to relax and dive into a session where not too much thinking was going on. Something which happened somewhat accidentally for the 30 year old singer – songwriter.

‘Stompa’ started off as this easy guitar riff. It was just so simple and happy. It

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had a primal feel and that kind of worked and set the tone for the rest of the album.We added some hand claps which went wonderfully with the toned down (instrument-wise) feel. It puts a smile on my face and I hope it is infectious …”

‘Harmony’ is Ryder’s sixth studio album and so far – a listener is able to grasp many different genres from the singer who was once labeled a ‘teenage Aretha Franklin‘. That moniker due to Ryder’s immense vocal range. She is considered a mezzo-soprano, able to hit perfect pitches and sustain a controlled vibrato. A three octave singer and someone to make Canadians proud.

‘It has been quite the trip in the past few years.”Admits Serena” Now I have this celebrity – music styled life and it is quite a difference for me. I do not forget my roots and I am the same person I always was. This is evident in my new album. I owe everything to the wonderful people in Peterborough who taught me everything I know.”

Serena Ryder remains home -based; through and through…

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Grace Potter and The Nocturnals; Stay Awake for This Show!

Grace Potter visited Daryl Hall‘s place and was very nocturnal about it …

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You see – Mr. Hall, of Hall and Oates fame, conducts an on-line broadcast from his home. Potter, joining the likes of other guests from previous episodes such as  Joe Walsh (Life’s Been Good) and Cee -Lo Green ( F*ck You) to sing along with Hall and his band-mates. It is easy to  see from this footage – why Grace Potter and The Nocturnals are enjoying so much success.

Potter is a ray of sunshine.

She glows like a radiant flower upon a greyish stone. Oh – she can sing also. Boy can she sing! Her band? A powerhouse of Blues and Rock. A powerhouse of soul …7645873030_d8f3c9bb5b_m

For a band, now in their 13th year, the past decade has been filled with hard work. In the early stages, two hundred plus shows a year was the norm rather than the absurd. Recently, a fourth album has been released titled; The Lion the Beast the Beat.  The group collaborated with The Black Keys member Dan Auerbach in such songs as  “Stars”, “The Divide”, “Parachute Heart” and  “Never Go Back”.  This disc follows their highly successful third album – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. An album which catapulted the group into a stratosphere which  contained several dates opening for The Dave Mathews Band among other accomplishments.

Yet the band has not forgotten their roots.

In June, 2010, coinciding with the release of album three, the band  performed a free concert in Vermont and stuck around for three hours afterwards meeting and mingling with their fans. A high five is necessary. In this day and age where money appears to dictate everything – the band’s gesture, a welcome relief to music lovers everywhere.

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Potter herself, a woman whose vocal style has been likened to Janis Joplin, appears to not stand still. Among her many collaborations is the recent rendez-vous with Kenny Chelsea on the track; You and Tequila. A song which reached the third position on the country charts in the U.S.

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals bring their loveable nature along with numerous hits to the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre on Feb. 7th in Montreal. An Evenko production.

For everyone who attends the show – nocturnal is the word. It will be a long and pleasant evening …

Tune in at 5:15pm on Friday Feb.1 on k103.7fm for a chance to win two tickets.

Tickets – http://www.evenko.ca/en/show/event/grace-potter-&-the-nocturnals-6957

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/events/298944626884389

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.

Related Articles;

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; Changes are Standard

Jazz crooner Susie Arioli did not plan on being a singer…

Art – or rather drawing, was her thing. In fact , she even enrolled in a four year Fine Arts program at Dawson College in Montreal. Something she did not finish because it was too confining for her free – spirited ways.

‘It is a lot of work being an artist.” Says Susie. ” There are a lot of things, tedious things involved in the process. It is not like singing where you just show up, sit down and open your mouth and sing. I’m not lazy but I guess my personalty suits what I am doing …”

Arioli has been doing the   ‘singing thing’ on and off since her late teens and early twenties. Starting from singing at any hotel / club which had a piano. Something Susie says was quite common in Montreal in the eighties.

” I would go from place to place looking for bars with pianos and sing. Thinking the whole time how great I was. When you are young, you have no idea just how good you are not. It takes an experience to humble you a bit …” Says Arioli.

Susie’s experience of being humbled took place as she took the stage and realized the reverb box was missing during a gig in a big hotel. Arioli  does not care who you are – without that tool, any voice will not sound very good.

” I was singing top forties stuff with a sprinkling of jazz.” Explains Susie. ” When you are doing other people’s songs, you must try to produce them accurately. Without the reverb box, I went through a painfully educational experience. Even Madonna would not sound good without it. I’m not saying she can’t sing, she would not sound as good. Everyone uses it …”

Arioli, following her humbling lessons, truly discovered her talent working with the Stephen Barry Blues band.  An experience which she holds dear to her heart. It was the first time she worked with true professionals. She followed their jams which sometimes took place at community centers. Her older sister and her getting right into the experience as the pair designed posters for the band.

“They were true gentlemen. I was not thrown into a situation where I was singled out with catcalls or something. They were so nice and they helped me to take my ‘ heart-pounding anxiety’ and harness it into something meaningful.”

The rest, they say –  is history…

Susie Arioli along with her arranger / guitarist Jordan Officer, have combined for seven albums and have traveled all over the world performing Jazz standards for an ever growing fan base. Her big break came when she was asked to open for Ray Charles’s show in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts in 1988. An opportunity which opened the door for a singer whose voice has been compared to a young Ella Fitzgerald – before the iconic singer became known for scat.

” Ella, Sarah Vaughn and a young Billy Holiday are the singers which influenced me the most.” Says the Toronto – born, Montreal – raised Arioli. ” I grew up listening to them  along with Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. My parents were kinda beatniks. They were very cool. My Dad was Italian and used to wear those wife beater shirts and he was a very hairy man. Looking back – I think he must have really stood out …” Laughs Susie.

Susie also holds Brazilian singers in high esteem. Mostly because they sing with their mouths close to the microphone. In doing so – a low, deep in bass sound is parlayed to an audience. Something which Arioli admires.

The late guitarist Jeff Healey is another person the singer admires. Susie had the opportunity to sing with Jeff on her ‘Pennies from Heaven’ CD in 2002.

” Jeff was a great guy. He had this amazing collection of 78 records and the cool thing was – he could tell you which song it was by feeling the grooves. There was no brail. He would pick one up, run his fingers on the grooves and tell you what song it was. A truly amazing thing.”

Jordan Officer, Susie’s partner in crime since the beginning, is another person who Arioli holds high as far as his talent goes. Officer, the arranger of practically every song on Susie’s collection of seven  CDs –  is on his way out.

” Sometimes, a comfortable place can be creatively restrictive. ” Admits Susie. ” I think it has become that way. Not just for me but for Jordan as well. He needs to grow and so do I. He won’ t be completely out of the picture, he just won’t be my main guy anymore.” She continues. ” I have my own identity and so does he. We have both been living in this beautiful cocoon. It is too comfortable and too easy. Sometimes we need new challenges.”

Arioli is in the process of  ‘auditioning’ four guitarists for her next album ( a tentative Autumn release) and at least one of them is a big name. A name which Arioli would rather keep secret for now.

For now, including a show at Place des Arts on Thursday November 22, Officer and Arioli will be together on stage along with other band members Bill Gossage ( Bass), Cameron Wallace ( Tenor Sax) and Tony Albino on drums. They will be performing a list of songs from Arioli’s newest CD; All the Way, as well as a couple of Christmas tunes. The rest of the show will contain songs from the Great American songbook. Some staples of Arioli’s choices will be included because of audience appreciation.

” I just read an interview with Tony Bennett. After all these years, he still subtracts or adds songs by the way they are received during a performance. As a performer, you’d be stupid not to.” Says Arioli. ” The audience is the consumer. You must ( or should ) perform what they are paying for. If not – how long can you be a supplier for?”

Some changes are standard …

————————————————–

Show starts at 8pm at Salle Wilfrid- Pelletier Thursday 8pm

Stay tuned for a review.

Old ( er ) Musicians Never Die – They Play with their Sons …

image

The above photo was sent to me by Mr. Wayne Cullen.

Wayne – along with Ritchie Henman ( the original drummer in April Wine), were the two drummers in The Dudes, one of the best bands to play in Montreal in the 1970’s. The group included David Henman and Brian Greenway of past and future April Wine fame respectively.

Wayne is pictured above in his second appearance with a band called Livewire. It is the first time Wayne has played with his son Jeff, a bass player.

As tight a rhythm section you will find …

Please tune in at 5:15pm on k103.7fm to hear me discuss my week’s adventures … Thanks!

Just Between Jerry Mercer and Me

It may have been a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. Do the days of the week matter when the phone rings and a Canadian rock legend is waiting on the other end of the call? The bruises linger from the self – inflicted pinching that took place on my right arm as I took the receiver from my ex and spoke to April Wine’s drummer.

I arrived at Mr. Mercer’s home the following day. A greeting ensued at the front door of a beautiful house located a hop, skip and drum roll from the Cajun Blues restaurant. Jerry introduced me to his current wife and his son Sean. His daughter (the server), was also hanging around and her and I laughed quietly with the irony of the circumstances that joined us together in this ‘after hours’ club.

Once the formalities were completed and I was cultured to the fact that Jerry`s daughter was studying piano and the son – a drummer just like Dad , Jerry and I moved from the kitchen and carved a path to the den. The scenario became a video in my mind, a picturesque view of the waterfront took center stage through the bay windows.

 Fame

 “I have an office… Gold records on the wall … Just leave a message – maybe I’ll call …”

Whether or not Mr. Mercer has, “accountants pay for it all …” (more of the songs’ lyrics ),  is something I do not know. It was of no interest to me and frankly – none of my business . What I do know – Mr. Mercer did call me back. I stood there. 

The hair on the back of my neck and on top of my

head along with all the tiny ones that guarded my scrotum –  were standing on guard. Shivers traveled the length of my body. Overcome with nostalgia and the sheer magnitude of what lay before me, my knees developed a mind of their own and searched the floor.

Life ‘s been good so far …

Glints of sunlight recoiled off the yellow discs that adorned the walls. I was the victim. I lay dying on the desert floor in a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western as the golden vultures with the names ‘I like to Rock’, ‘Just Between You and   Me’ and ‘Roller’ encircled me.

    “If nervousness and anxiety were to be the ailments that killed me – a death on Jerry Mercer’s floor was not necessarily a bad thing ” I thought silently.

Jerry motioned towards the sofa and we sat.

The ( then ) sixty – one year old could sense the three-year-old schoolchild that currently invaded his couch and he immediately put my senses at ease. He asked about my children. As any parent is aware – there is not a disaster in the world that the idea of offspring dancing through your mind, like angels on a cloud – cannot heal.

“So where do we start?” Jerry asked in a kind way once my tales of tots were completed.

“I thought you would know … “I responded with a nervous laugh. I was not convinced this was the proper time to inform Mercer that this was indeed – my inaugural biographical interview.

Where does one start? At his birth? In his parents’ bedroom …? Should we get them on the phone? Who knew?

“Why don’t we start with how you became a drummer?”The words escaped my mouth and the resonance eased my novice-batting stance. I was ready to step to the plate. The pine tar tossed aside.

 The only interview I had done to this point was never published. I was not over – whelmed during that one and the fact that the majority of my questions were about the Rolling Stones – had everything to do with it.

Annie Liebowitz, the famed photographer, was in town with a collection of her photos. They (the photos), were on display at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts and my journalistic mentor was kind enough to donate his press pass. He was well aware of my obsession with the ‘World’s Greatest Rock n Roll Band’ and Ms. Leibowitz had been the band’s official photographer for their historic 1972 and 1975   tour.

It is one thing to know a great deal about a subject and a completely different one when you are learning as you go. Not only that – with all due respect to Ms. Leibowitz,  she never ‘rocked my world’ with a ten minute drum solo’!

In the beginning …

Mercer began his tale as Yannique brought us refreshments. My borrowed tape recorder on full alert as the’ rocker’ informed me of his tribal beginnings in the art of percussion.

He started playing in a marching band when he was fourteen as an extracurricular activity. Once he completed school at Verdun high school, he commenced working at IBM and was set to indulge in a career with a growing company.Then, one afternoon, he heard something that altered his life and in the process – startled his parents.

  “I was listening to AM radio. My hit parade was the hip radio show back then . All of a sudden the Ray Charles’ song ‘What’d I Say ‘came on. I had never heard anything like it. I thought to myself ‘that cat has swing!’ I knew right then and there – I wanted to become a drummer!”

Mercer informed his parents of his decision and promptly quit his job to pursue music. His dad told him that it was like ‘jumping off a diving board into an empty pool ‘.Yet, in Jerry’s words; they were very supportive. ”They were Christian and very religious people. I could never have asked for a more loving environment to grow up in.”

Jerry then began his pursuit of all things music. He began studying all of the great drummers; Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa and Max Roach.

He would sneak into the Maurice Richard arena and crawl up on the catwalk to get a bird’s eye view of his idols as they came to town. High above – he would watch with precision as Krupa introduced his talents to Montreal. Buddy Rich would arrive the following week and make everyone’s (including Mercer) jaw drop to the concrete floor. The rafters were also the place that Mercer witnessed an up and coming talent ply his trade as an opening act for the Isley Brothers. It was a young Jimi Hendrix with Mitch Mitchell banging away on drums. Mitchell fast became another hero to the young Mercer.

“Music was much easier to get into back then.” Mercer continues.” You had four choices – Jazz, Pop, Rock or Country. These days there are so many different genres with each one having a sub – genre. I do not envy kids today. Even with all the advancements and the ability to self- record, it is such a difficult environment. “He goes on to say with a laugh.” Even the drugs today make it much scarier than my day.”

Mercer bought a small kit for fifty dollars that consisted of a snare, a high hat, a bass drum and one tom. He would play along to the songs he heard on the radio and whichever records he managed to purchase or get his hands on. He never learned to read music. He learned to play with the feel of the song and this prepared him for his first gigs. He met up and played with Trevor Payne and the Triangle.

Payne

Thus began a long winding journey into the world of rock n roll that almost ended in suicide…

To be continued …