Belle and Sebastian: Friends in T.O.

Photos: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

There is probably no better time to see a band live than when they are not promoting a new album. Two-and-a-half years removed from debuting the fun, bouncy “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance”, Belle and Sebastian hit the stage last night in Toronto with a set that seamlessly mixed greatest hits and deep cuts.

The show, which kicked off the North American leg of their 2017 tour, was a nearly two-hour solid demonstration of musical proficiency. Belle and Sebastian indulged on their penchant for classism, arching back to the band’s chamber-pop days, when the presence of a violin, cello and trumpet was a given.

The easygoing nature of the Scottish group was in full display through lead singer Stuart Murdoch. The gregarious, unassuming Murdoch believes he can take the pulse of the city by their public transportation system (he is not wrong). Stuart was a bit troubled by the TTC, but came to the conclusion once pot is legalized, nobody will mind. Continue reading “Belle and Sebastian: Friends in T.O.”

I Mother Earth

I Mother Earth got their start in Toronto in the early ’90s. Grunge was king back then, and the band, which featured brothers Jagori Tanna (guitar) and Christian Tanna (drums) and vocalist Edwin, definitely fit into that genre.

The band released two albums — Dig (1993) and Scenery and Fish (1996) — before Edwin embarked on a solo career. Two more albums followed with Brian Byrne as lead vocalist — Blue Green Orange (1999) and The Quicksilver Meat Dream in 2003 — before the band went on hiatus.

I Mother Earth got back together in 2012. And while they haven’t recorded any more albums, they have released a couple of singles.

On Saturday Oct. 8 I Mother Earth is in town to play a show at Casino Regina. Tickets are $35, and to give you a sense of what they sound like now here’s the audio for their 2015 single “The Devil’s Engine”:

A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline

This is a remount of a show the Globe Theatre has presented before about the life and career of country music legend Patsy Cline. The musical was written by Dean Regan, and this version is directed by Geoffrey Whynot with Devra Straker in the title role.

The performance is being held at Casino Regina from June 9-18, and more information can be found on the Globe Theatre website.  In addition, the play will be performed as part of the Globe Theatre’s 50th anniversary gala on Wednesday June 22.

The gala will features a number of special guests including Prince Edward and his wife the Countess of Essex, the Globe Theatre’s founder Ken Kramer, and former artistic director Susan Ferley. The gala is at Conexus Arts Centre, and you can find more information here.

To close, here’s video from 1958 of Patsy Cline performing one of her biggest hits “Walkin’ After Midnight”

Young Benjamins

Formerly a quartet, this Saskatoon-based indie folk band seems to have scaled back to a three-piece since it released its debut album Less Argue in 2013.  Three of the four original members are still involved, though, and tonight Neusha Mofazzali, Veronique Poulin and Brynn Krysa will be in town to play a launch show for their new full-length Losing Our Shadows.

The gig is being held at the old McNally’s Tavern in 22 block Dewdney Ave. The back-up band has yet to be named, but the show should get going around 10 p.m. and there’s a $5 cover.

I couldn’t find anything new off Losing Our Shadows so here’s the video for a song of the Young Benjamin’s 2013 LP Less Argue called “Out There (In The Wild)”

Government Town

Government Town is a local indie folk-rock band. They’ve snagged at least a couple of wins/nominations in our annual Best of Regina contest for Best Regina Band and Best Album categories in past years.

Numberwise, the band’s an octet, with the following members: Michael Harmel (Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica); Chris Leier (Guitar),  Brad Vance (Bass), Miles Hoste (Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar), Neil Kapoor (Violin), Alan Valente (Keyboard), Tashia Walters (Back-up Vocals) and Jayson Brinkworth (Drums).

As you might imagine from the range of instruments listed above, Government Town has a lot of potential ingredients for the musical stew it cooks up. Their song-writing also typically is heavy on story-telling, and they’re not shy about drawing on their prairie roots in the songs they create.

On Friday, June 3, you’ll have a chance to see what Government Town has been up to lately when they launch their full-length album (which goes by the title III) at the Artful Dodger. Jerry Knoll is the back-up act, with the show starting around 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10, and to give you a sense of what to expect here’s the video for the first single off the new album called “Home”

The Pack A.D.

For long-time Prairie Dog readers the Pack A.D. need no introduction (but here’s one anyway in the current issue). A garage rock duo from Vancouver consisting of singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller, they’ve been featured several times in the magazine when they’ve passed through town.

Since getting going in 2007, Black and Miller have released five albums. They recently released a new single called “So What” which will appear on their next album, and on Saturday May 28 they’ll be in Regina to play a show at the Exchange.

Tickets are $15 advance, and more information can be found on the Exchange website. Here’s the video for the Pack A.D. song “Animals” off their 2014 album Do Not Engage

Epic-Tom

You can get a bit more information on this event, which goes Saturday May 21 at 8 p.m. at Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum, by visiting the gallery’s website.

Julie Andreyev and Simon Overstall are the two principles, and they’ll be collaborating with Regina Symphony Orchestra members Simon MacDonald (violin), Simon Fryer (cello) and Marie-Noelle (flute) to create a sound art performance. Apparently there’s also some canine involvement, with various new media techniques such as motion capture and live animation used to riff on the interspecies relationship between people and dogs.

Again, Epic-Tom goes Saturday at 8 p.m., and once it’s over video documentation of the work will be on display at Neutral Ground (203-1856 Scarth) until July 7. Admission to the concert is $10.

Cathedral Village Arts Festival

2016poster (2)Prairie Dog has partnered with the Cathedral Village Arts Festival since 2000 to produce the festival’s official program guide. The guide for the 2016 festival went out in our May 12 issue. The CVAF is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and our issue also had look back with author Ken Mitchell and CVAF staffer Deb Jones on how the festival got going way back in 1992.

The 2016 CVAF kicks off with the traditional parade and picnic on the holiday Monday May 23, and features a variety of arts and culture events that run each day until Saturday May 28, when the always popular street fair is held on 13th Ave.

One anniversary highlight is a 5X5 gala that is being held on Friday night that will showcase five different arts disciplines: visual art, music, dance, theatre and literary arts. CVAF artist-in-residence Evie Ruddy has also created a walking tour of the Cathedral neighbourhood that can be accessed by downloading an app. You can read more about it in this CBC report.

You can get more information on all the Cathedral Village Arts Festival activities here.

Lowest Of The Low

If you were a fan of indie Canadian rock in the early 1990s the Lowest of the Low out of Toronto was likely on your radar. Fronted by Ron Hawkins (guitars, vocals) with David Alexander (drums), Stephen Stanley (guitar) and John Arnott (bass) the band released two albums Shakespeare My Butt (1991)  and Hallucigenia (1994) before breaking up.

In 2000, the band reunited for a series of live shows that resulted in a live album called Nothing Short of a Bullet. They subsequently released a new studio album called Sordid Fiction in 2004, and have gigged together intermittently since then.

On Friday May 13, the Lowest of the Low — with Dylan Parker (bass) and Lawrence Nichols (keyboard, vocals) joining Hawkins and Alexander — will be in town to play a show at Casino Regina. Backing them up will be the Regina band Coldest Night of the Year.

You can find out more on the Casino Regina website. And to get the memories flowing here’s the video from 2011 of the Lowest of the Low playing their song “For The Hand of Magdelena”

Colter Wall

A relatively new face on the Saskatchewan country/roots music scene, Colter Wall has been garnering a fair bit of attention both in his home province and south of the border. The other day, in fact, Wall played at opening set at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in support of American roots legend Lucinda Williams.

Twenty-one years old, Wall thus far only has one EP to his credit, Imaginary Appalachia, released in 2015. But he’ll likely be adding to his recording output soon.

If you want to check Wall out, he’s playing two sets at Shannon’s Pub at 2118 Robinson St. in the Cathedral area on Saturday May 14. And to give you a sense of what his sound is like, here’s video of him performing a song of his called “The Devil Wears A Suit And Tie”

Cirque De La Symphonie

This is the last Shumiatcher Pops concert of the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-16 season, and the RSO is winding things up in style with a guest appearance by an internationally touring group of circus artists who will perform a variety of acts in “concert” with a program of classical and contemporary compositions played by the RSO.

Cirque de la Symphonie will be held on Saturday May 14 at 8 p.m., and ticket information can be found on the RSO website.

To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s a brief promotional trailer:

Farewell To Victor

After 20 years at the helm of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, maestro Victor Sawa is stepping down. On Saturday May 7 the RSO will join forces with the Regina Philharmonic Chorus, Halcyon Chamber Choir and some guest soloists to present a farewell concert.

The program features two iconic compositions by Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 9. You can find out more about the concert, which goes at Conexus Arts Centre on Saturday at 8 p.m., by visiting the RSO website.

To give you a taste of what to expect, here’s video from 2012 of a flash mob performance of the last movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 which is known as Ode To Joy and was inspired by a 1785 poem by Friedrich Schiller

A Duck In New York City

duck in NYCOn Sunday May 1 at 3 p.m., the Regina Symphony Orchestra is presenting this family concert at Knox Met Church. The program title is derived from a story/song created by singer-songwriter Connie Kaldor about duck born on the prairies who dreams of dancing on Broadway, and follows his adventures as he makes his way to the Big Apple.

Kaldor will perform with the RSO during the concert, which will be preceded by one hour of family-friendly activities starting at 2 p.m. Alan Denike is the guest conductor for this concert, and ticket information can be found on the RSO website.

George Thorogood & The Destroyers

When this Delware-based blues/rock group were mere pups in the music biz they cemented their status as legends with an epic 50/50 tour in 1982 where they played 50 shows in the 50 American states in the space of 50 days. And yes, that included gigs in Hawaii and Alaska, which they did on back-to-back nights sandwiched between shows in Colorado and Washington State.

Frontman George Thorogood is 66 now, so presumably he’s slowed down a bit from those days, but he and his band still have a well-deserved reputation for being road warriors. On Friday April 29, George Thorogood & the Destroyers are in town to play a show at Conexus Arts Centre. Curtain’s at 7:30 p.m., and you can get ticket info on the CAC website.

Here’s video from 2014 of the band playing one of their best-known hits “Who Do You Love?”

Jason Collett played The Exchange with Kalle Mattson (pics/setlist)

© Chris Graham Photo 2016

© Chris Graham Photo 2016

Jason Collett kicked off his Canadian tour tonight (20/04/2016) in Regina at The Exchange. Collett recruited fellow Arts & Crafts rockers Zeus as his backing band for this tour in support of his new album, Song And Dance Man.  Ottawa singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson opened the show. More photos & Collett’s setlist after the jump.

Continue reading “Jason Collett played The Exchange with Kalle Mattson (pics/setlist)”

Matthew & Jill Barber

Matthew’s a few years older than his sister Jill, and got his start in the music biz a few years earlier, but they’ve both become well-known on the Canadian music scene.

Matthew’s a singer-songwriter who fits in the indie folk/pop category, while Jill has similar roots, but has done the bulk of her performing lately as a jazz vocalist.

On Thursday April 21 the Barbers are in town to play a show at Casino Regina that’s being presented by the Regina Jazz Society. They’ve apparently just released an album of cover songs called The Family Album so I expect they’ll be performing some of those songs, plus also some of their own material.

The concert is a fundraiser for the Regina Jazz Society, and also includes a silent auction. Tickets are $25/$30, and you can get more info on the Casino Regina website.

Here’s video from a few years ago of the siblings doing a song called “All I Do Is Dream” by another set of siblings the Everly Brothers

Joe Satriani

Both as a performer and a teacher Joe Satriani is a certified musical legend. Born in New York State in 1956, he’s either tutored and/or collaborated with some of the biggest names in the guitar biz from Steve Vai and Brian May to Kirk Hammett and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Since 2008, Satriani has also played guitar with the blues rock super-group Chickenfoot fronted by Sammy Hagar and including Michael Anthony (Van Halen) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). He’s also recorded over a dozen solo albums of instrumental blues and rock.

On Tuesday April 19 Satriani is in town to play a show at Conexus Arts Centre at 8 p.m. The show is subtitled From Surfing to Shockwave which covers albums recorded from 1987 to 2015. You can find out more info on the show, which will include contributions from Marco Minneman, Bryan Beller and Mike Keneally, on the the CAC website.

Here’s Satriani’s 2013 video for his song “Always With Me, Always With You”:

Jason Collett

In late March we had an alumnus of the Toronto music collective Broken Social Scene pass through town. That would be Emily Haines, who currently fronts the Canadian rock group Metric. On Tuesday April 19 another former member of BSS plays Regina.

As a solo artist, Jason Collett has eight studio albums to his credit — the most recent being Song and Dance Man which was released in February. For some time now, he’s had a regular back-up band that has also released material of its own under the name Zeus.

Zeus will be performing with Collett on Tuesday, and the opening act will be Ontario singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson. The show goes at the Exchange, and tickets are $15 advance and $20 door.

To give you a sense of what Collett’s been up to lately here’s the video for the title track off his latest album:

The True Jive Pluckers

True Jive PluckersThis Pops concert is the second last of the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-16 season. It goes Saturday April 16 at Conexus Arts Centre and features the local trio The True Jive Pluckers composed of (from right to left in photo) Ed Minevich (violin), Stephen McLellan (bass) and Jack Semple (guitar) who will sit in with the regular symphony players to perform a mix of classical, blues, tango, gypsy, klezmer and jazz tunes.

The concert starts at 8 p.m., and ticket information is available on the RSO website.

Further to the Pops series, with new conductor Gordon Gerrard coming on board in 2016-17 to replace Victor Sawa, the RSO has decided to discontinue its annual Oscar tribute to movie music. Instead, it’s put together the following line-up of concerts:

Reimagining Broadway with Sarah Slean
October 22, 2016
Gordon Gerrard, conductor; Sarah Slean, vocals: Mike Janzen, vocals/piano/arranger; George Koller, bass and Davide Direnzo, drums.

A Celtic Tenor Christmas
December 3, 2016
Mélanie Léonard, conductor

Fifty Years of Bond…James Bond
February 18, 2017
Gordon Gerrard, conductor

Prairie Pops with Jeffery Straker
March 25, 2017
Gordon Gerrard, conductor; Jeffery Straker, singer-pianist; Connie Kaldor, special guest

Time for Three
May 6, 2017
Gordon Gerrard, conductor; Nikki Chooi, violin; Nicholas Kendall, violin and Ranaan Meyer, double bass

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage

I’m totally flying blind with this blog post on some multi-media performance that’s being held at Conexus Arts Centre on Friday April 15 — I even asked around the office a bit, but no one could shed any light on what the hell it might involve.

Going by the description on the CAC website, apparently there’s some famous TV and movie franchise that’s been kicking around for a few decades now and to commemorate some anniversary it’s having a production company called CineConcerts has assembled a live orchestra that will perform scores composed for the TV shows and movies coupled with iconic images and video from the franchise projected on a giant screen.

The performance on Friday gets going at 8 p.m., and here’s a promotional trailer for the show that maybe those who are more in the know than me and my Prairie Dog colleagues can glean some useful information from: