Reviews

Iggy Pop at Dundas Square

Iggy Pop 1

What was once old is new again

By Bill Delingat
It was some 40 years ago when the phone rang and the agent said, “how would you guys like to open up for the Stooges?” the reply was “Iggy and the Stooges, you got to be kidding?” Well they weren’t and here we were off to Guelph University, a hard rock quartet from Toronto called “Draco” on a cold winter evening flipping out that not only would we be some of the first this side of the border to hear the notorious Stooges, but actually open up for them. The press was full of stories of self mutilation and stage diving of the front man that called himself “Iggy Pop” and we couldn’t wait to meet and talk to him; well that didn’t really happen. We arrived for sound check at one of the University’s Convocation halls somewhere on the fringe of the campus with wall to wall carpeting and a stage placed at one end. Back in the make shift green room we were told that the “Stooges” had arrived as there was speculation they may be a “no show” and we would be sharing the change room with them. The band members were all very friendly and we were swapping ideas on what kind of guitar strings do you use and what kind of amp etc. but no Iggy. In fact he was there but in another persona, James Newell Osterberg, Jr. born April 21, 1947 a shy young guy who peered in every now and then and we assumed was the roadie or techie and it wasn’t until he donned the drummers belt with a huge buckle that the metamorphosis that began “Iggy Pop” was in the house.

IN GODDO WE TRUST

Goodo Live

By Bill Delingat

When the hit musical “Rock of Ages” was scheduled to come to Toronto, someone should have thought of a production of “GODDO”. With the monolithic backdrop and all the lights a blazing this was as much of a theatrical setting that any theatre goers would pay for and on top of it all, this was the real deal. In its own way, it was scripted, as the stage was set for the 35th reunion of the power chord heavy metal trio that gave us hard edge tunes like “Pretty Bad Boy, “Under my Hat”, “So Walk On”,” Sweet Thing” and many more, joined together for a concert and film shoot for a soon to be released TV show and DVD documentary appropriately named “IN GODDO WE TRUST”.

Megan Morrison: MOVIN’ ON

Megan Morrison

(Unsigned)
by Lenny Stoute

Newest country darlin' on the horizon is the real deal; a rodeo ridin’, calf ropin’ big smilin’ blonde from Holstein, ON. Can’t get much more cow town than that nor more hometown girl than Megan Morrison. The lady’s just dropped her second album, Movin’ On and it shows an artist rolling straight up that blacktop to US success travelled by Shania, Terri Clark and pioneer Anne Murray. It’s trafficking in country pop with loads of citified appeal and a knack for a heart-tugging country lyric.

The album kicks off with the catchy one-two upbeat combo of ‘Everywhere I Go’ and the aptly titled ‘Dancing In The Rain’, then swiftly shifts gears for ‘I Can Love Anyone I Want To’, done with a more defiant edge than the version cut by Nashville alt country comer Cindy Roberts. This pattern pretty much continues throughout, a back and forth between upbeat pop and reflective country balladering.

Even as it pays all the right dues to Nashville, ‘Movin’ On’ comes off as an accomplished sophomore offering with a distinct personality. Producer Joel Feeney gets much credit for shaping the sound and as co-writer of three of the album’s tunes. He keeps a radio-friendly ear on the proceedings without applying too much sheen, which allows Morrison to step outside her persona in embracing the protagonist’s cheeky innuendo in ‘Party Girl’ and the downright gritty perspective of ‘Old Habit Town’.

Two Roads to Exile

Simon Wynberg

by Dr. Robert Tomaro

Walter Braunfels – String Quintet
Adolf Busch – String Sextet
by ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory)
on RCA Red Seal

German composers Adolf Busch and Walter Braunfels were linked in life by twin tragic destinies of Nazi persecution that decimated their careers. Now, happily, they are linked aesthetically and effulgently on this new release by RCA Red Seal. Their chamber music is performed exquisitely by ARC, one of Canada’s premier ensembles. Comprised of senior faculty members of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, ARC breathes vibrant new life into these important and long neglected offerings.

The composers, who we find here on parallel musical roads, were actually quite different in life. Busch, a blond, square jawed Westphalian and a famous violin virtuoso, was universally hailed by the public and the Nazis, alike. Hitler dubbed him “our German violinist”. But Busch was a true Cosmopolitan and was horrified at the onset of anti-Semitic hatred. He would admonish audiences from the stage if he saw Nazi salutes in the house: “Go to your brown shirt meetings and do that, but not here”. He would rail at correspondence that closed with “Heil Hitler”, replying: “That’s not a German greeting as far as I am concerned”, both terribly dangerous practices at the time.

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn

Jake

By Ron Bennison
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Venue: The Panasonic Theatre – 651 Yonge St. Toronto
April 28 – May 16, 2010
Performance Schedule: Weds - Thurs 7:30 PM, Fri - Sat 8:00 PM, Weds, Sat, Sun 2:00 PM

This one-man show written, conceived and performed by Jake Ehrenreich, takes us on a journey of what it was like to grow up the son of Polish holocaust survivors in Brooklyn, New York in the ‘50’s. Accompanied by a 4 piece band on a set that looks like a Brooklyn tenement, the show is a coming of age tale of a man who discovers the most important thing in life is Mishpucha.

The show seems oddly disjointed at first as Ehrenreich starts the show with a Yiddish lullaby Yankele , then discusses his boyhood feelings of ostracism around that namesake while we watch a slideshow that seems to poke fun at his father – a man we will soon learn he has the utmost respect for. An immediate segue into back-to-back medleys of classic rock-and-roll songs and classic contemporary Christmas songs feels very out of place until Ehrenreich explains that all of these songs were written by Jewish people. So sets the stage for Ehrenreich honouring his roots, his family and his community for the new heritage they have created in the wake of genocide.

Sandro Dominelli – The Alvo Sessions

Sandro Dominelli
CD Review by Bill McDonald

The Alvo Sessions is the most recent addition to Sandro Dominelli’s growing discography. Like his previous recordings, this CD is comprised of a combination of his own compositions and some interpretations of those by other artists. Also, like some of his other recordings, he does not draw strictly from the “jazz world”. In this case, the Alvo Sessions includes Chris Issak’s “Wicked Games” and Keith Jarrett’s “Personal Mountains”.

Accompanied by Rez Abbasi (guitar) and Chris Tarry (electric bass), Dominelli offers up a number of interesting tracks. The common theme throughout all is the balanced interplay between the three musicians and an eastern atmosphere underscored by Abbasi’s guitar.

Highlights include the version of “Wicked Games”. Like the original, the melody is presented in a simple, clean fashion with as much importance placed on space as the line itself. The guitar solo keeps true to this premise, offering only slightly more density. This contrasts nicely with the following track, “Number 11” with musical complexity from both guitar and bass and driving rhythms from the drums.

Burn The Floor – It’s a Full-on Inferno!

Burn The Floor
By Natasha Slinko

If you want to have your heart pumping and your foot tapping, and want to feel like jumping out of your seat and dancing, then the high energy Burn the Floor is a must see.
On opening night at the Canon Theatre, audience clapped and stamped and gave this incredible show and cast three standing ovations.

With more than twenty dancers of incredible caliber, some of which were participants in the super craze of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ world-wide - from Russian with Love, to the sultry beat of Venezuela, to incredible talent from Germany, Latvia, the UK, to down under Aussieland, and of course the USA. Also joining the cast, are headliners such as Latvian Anya Garnis and Russian Pasha Kovalev (USA So You Think You Can Dance) to the elegance and grace of Australian couple, Damon and Rebecca Sugden, who took your breath away.

Two drummers/percussionists, Joseph Malone and Giorgio Rojas, filled the back of the stage and kept the flow and beat of the show moving at a high-speed pace. The cast was also joined by two very talented singers, Mig Ayesa and Rebecca Tapia, whose voices filled the air and added that extra little bit that made the show even more entertaining. The music was hypnotic and the orchestra didn’t miss a beat.

Irene Atman in Concert

Irene Atman
By Bill McDonald

While not yet a well known entity in the local Toronto scene, jazz vocalist Irene Atman made a substantial stride in that direction with her concert last Friday evening at the Jane Mallett Theatre.

Born in Toronto, Atman was influenced very early, listening to her father’s old records stored in a box in the fruit cellar. “Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Doris Day -all of the greats. I just loved them”.

Her professional career began at 19, while studying history at the University of Toronto. During that time, Atman sang with the Stan Hiltz Orchestra, recorded with the Boss Brass, and performed with Tony Bennett. She also performed with local stalwarts Guido Basso, Dave Young, Terry Clarke, and Peter Appleyard.

In 2008, she focussed on promoting her self-titled debut CD release and toured Canada and the United States. Along the way, she also made stops in Australia and Japan.

In 2009, Atman relocated to New York City to record her second CD, “New York Rendezvous”. On this recording she is backed by noted NYC musicians Frank Kimbrough (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), Matt Wilson (drums), and Joel Frahm (tenor and soprano saxophones).
In this homecoming concert, she was accompanied by Canadian A-List musicians, Dave Young on bass, Guido Basso on horn (both Order of Canada recipients), Robbi Botos on piano, Rob Piltch on guitar, and Ethan Ardelli on drums.

Kenny MacLean Releases CD – Completely.

Platinum Blonde

By Bill Delingat

Thursday April 8th marked the long awaited release of the late Kenny MacLean’s CD “Completely” at the Mod Club in Toronto. MacLean, best known as the bass player, singer and writer for Platinum Blonde “ who were inducted into the Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame at this year’s Canadian Music Week, passed away on November 24, 2008 three days after he played his last show at the Mod Club. Mclean had featured singles from his than unfinished new C.D. at the event.

“I miss him so much. We decided, because of Kenny, that we would get back together. It was great to play together the other night. We wish Kenny was there.” – Mark Holmes, March 12, 2010, speaking at the Royal York Hotel Awards ceremony about their Hall of Fame performance. Mark would also be performing Kenny’s song “Don’t Look Back” at the C.D. release night.

HIP KITTY

Hip Kitty Cover

by Sandy Graham

If you could harness the raw originality of the 1960s Jefferson Airplane and the dynamic power of Heart from the 1970s and ‘80s and transport them to the 21st century, you’d probably end up with a sound very similar to HIP KITTY.

Make no mistake, this is not an ordinary band with a cute name. These folks can play! And sing! And write great songs!

From the very top of The Art of War CD, with the ethereal orchestral intro leading into the first cut “The March of Tzu” right through to the 14th track “A Same New Day,” this group will grab your auditory attention and will not let you go until the last note stops ringing.

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