Monday, March 30, 2009

Death or Comber: Giving Life to Lonesome Open Mics and Ramblin' Rock and Roll

When you host an open mic for an extended period of time, it's hard to keep your shit fresh. If no other musicians show up, you play three sets on your own and it's generally to the same faces who have seen your song and dance (or blurs of it here and there) before. I'm not bitching, I love those faces and most of the time they make me feel like I'm keeping them fairly pleased, it's just nice for all of us when something quality pops in unexpected and the open mic can serve its finest function.

The fellas in Death or Comber have found their way to the DH in various forms on various occasions. Sometimes it's just Kurt and his guitar, sometimes an electric to flush it out, sometimes the whole crew, bass, drums and all, blocking the entrance to the kitchen telling you it's too late for deep fried pickles. Whatever way they come, these guys always make my night more enjoyable. They'll always play a couple of choice covers (Joe Strummer or Irene Goodnight) to get themselves warm, but they are always more focused on their originals, which are certainly that.

Death or Comber has a rambling folk style that mixes elements of harder electric rock with strong song-writing to create a folk/punk hybrid which doesn't disappoint. They are fairly new to this scene, but in the past four or five months I've heard their name being positively thrown around more and more. This Thursday (April 2nd) Death or Comber plays The Whiskey downtown with The Mind Frames and the ever-entertaining Peace Leeches. The show starts at 10 pm sharp with the Mind Frames, and after a brief musical pause for the A channel news, Death or Comber takes the stage before the Leeches bring us home. I think that this will be a very fun evening so come out for a drink to close out the semester or just because you're interested in what I'm pitching. The Whiskey is located at 300 Ouellette Ave., beside the Honest Lawyer and beneath A channel.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Tyres: Rolling Once Again

In the past two evenings I've caught The Tyres twice. As I heard them for the first time in quite a while on Thursday night, I was reminded of how much rock and fun they've provided in the past ten years around these parts. The Tyres have played every venue this city has seen even briefly open its doors to live music. I've seen them at the old Press Club, The Bridge, Venues, The Coach, The Loop, Billie's, The DH, all of them, and their show rolls on steadily every time no matter where they are or who's in front of them.

When people talk about bands being tight, I always think it goes further than just the music itself. When I go see The Tyres I don't know if I'm more entertained by their music or their banter. These guys have known each other in this form for so long that their presence together is very naturally clever and humourous. You can't under value qualities like that with bands. If a group keeps you entertained even while their tuning or adjusting equipment, it is a huge ace in the sleeve and it just makes the whole experience more enjoyable for all involved. Their songs don't veer too far from that characterization either. They are often witty or somewhat tongue in cheek, but never at the expense of the music. These mo-fo's can all play, and all their parts are thoughtfully constructed with various displays of effective harmony.

When Damien Zakoor (long time drummer) packed his bags for Montreal this past year it seemed as though the era of The Tyres was in jeopardy. This is not the kind of band who could get a sessional drummer to cover Damien's parts and all would go on, sometimes that just doesn't cut it. I doubt that The Tyres would have ever really "broken up," but distance is tough no matter how loud your amp is. The good news through all of this is that Windsor is in Daimer's blood and what with all our present prosperity, he just couldn't stay away (I once had a cat like that). He's back behind Dominic and Ken where he belongs now, and all is right with the world. If you have never seen a Tyres show, you must keep an eye out. There surely is "Rock to Discover."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When Irish Eyes are Dilated...

Well, Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody! I'm not going to feature any one band or venue today because I think that a day like today lends itself to pub-crawling and stumbling from place to place. From this moment (noon) onward, jig your way around this city and spend some time in some of Windsor's authentic pubs for the real Celtic experience.

There is music everywhere and throughout the day today, so I'll only point to a few spots specifically in the event that you`re stuck. Micks Irish Pub (28 Chatham St. East) has music all day from various Celtic crews such as Tartan Army and Kenneth MacLeod and the Windsor Salt Band later in the evening. The Aardvark (89 University West) sheds its blues persona for the day and hops on board with the green theme with music starting at 6pm and continuing onward with Kenneth and co. early and Ron Leary and Kelly Hoppe doing their thang to get you to tomorrow. The DH will most certainly be jumping all day long, so come on down for Irish food and drink and with music beginning at 9pm from yours truly.

Hope everybody survives the day and does it up right. Some people don`t get the point of St. Patrick`s Day, but the point is simple and endearing if it is interpreted in the right light. Go out and get drunk. Have fun with your friends, enjoy some good music and food and revel in good cheer just because there`s a whole year to worry about other things and you`re excused for the day. Don`t get so bombed that you end up in a ditch or the drunk tank, but if you`re someone who has never dug the whole character of the day, give it a try and work on your final portfolio of whatever tomorrow. Good cheer possesses rejuvenating power ya`ll, immerse yourselves in it, don`t hate, participate. Too Ra Loo Ra La!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Well Done Welton! Renaissance Man Eric Welton Making Strides.

Producer, singer/songwriter, sound man, photographer, bartender, advertiser, collaborator, optimist, fan. Eric Welton is a man of many hats. Coming to Windsor as a Chatham export a few years ago, Eric has lent his willing and capable hands to just about every musician in this area in one form or another. He's made posters for six packs, recorded albums for 20's, been there to help you mix the sound live, and written and performed in entertaining fashion, West to East, while always hoping to get a few more folks together on any given night, to share some tunes and collaborative energy just to see what happens. I've got to say, it's nice to see that mind frame making progress and paying dividends.

In the last year, Eric has recorded and pressed Travis Reitsma's album Blue Beard, written, recorded and pressed his own album, Fool Heart, recorded and assisted in production on the Tara Watts upcoming release, About Love, and has had his hand in about a thousand other projects aside from gigging. The drive behind Eric's humble demeanor is relentless and impossible to overlook. In the recent past, Chatham rock giants Square Root of Margaret officially added Eric to their roster and guaranteed the man a future in a legitimate, touring, collaborative. Eric has continued to pursue solo gigs or gigs with a shifting lineup in The Eric Welton Band, and will play under that heading Thursday March 19th at The Whisky (Ouellette and University, under A channel) starting at 10pm. The bill also includes West side veterans of rock, The Tyres and the dirty punk styling of High Mother to close it down.

The Whisky is below A channel on the corner of University and Ouellette right beside The Honest Lawyer. Although this joint has been more of a cover band venue in the past, Jamie Greer has got his hands in that place, and that means local, indie music was bound to work its way in there. Jamie is the hardest working promoter of local music this city has got, so I suggest checking out (but not replacing me with) his blog, Musically Speaking. Thanks for reading gang and good shit once again Eric, keep at 'er.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Original Gangstas: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Original Lady Eyes

I once read an interview with Jeff Tweedy where he said that the key to rock and roll success rests in not letting your band break up. It sounds simple enough when I read that back to myself, but I do know better than that and I know that such a thing functions as any meaningful relationship does, with dedication, faith in your teammates and sacrifice.

Nothing that sappy and cheesy would ever come from the mouths of the fellas in the Original Lady Eyes but I think that something should be said for the way these guys go about their business and the way they've been doing it for quite some time. Long ago in a West Side galaxy close to here, I went to high school with these guys when they were rocking orange jumpsuits and jamming as "Cats Pajama's" and various other things. They were then as they are now, very funny, very kind, very talented down-to-earth gents, and although they do not possess that boastful, shamelessly self-promoting quality some musicians do, they demonstrate why such people are always speaking about and standing by themselves.

The Original Lady Eyes are a solid collective of old high school friends who have progressed musically together for the last decade or so. Their sound is full bodied and easy to listen to, but they maintain the balls (is edge a better word for ya?) which defines good rock. There are three guitarists in this group who never sound intrusive or like they're stepping on each other's toes, and Matt (drummer) and Dwaine (bass/vocals) have been kindred spirits for as long as I have known them. GO TO THEIR WEBSITE, LOVE THEIR MUSIC.

The Original Lady Eyes play Phog Lounge on the 28th of March with a multiple band bill I've yet to fully see. You can catch them at the Starbucks (I refuse to link Starbucks) downtown a week before that on the 21st at 6pm if you're old, don't like the nightlife or get too drunk too early. Check these guys out in any form you can and if you're a musician yourself, I highly recommend Dwaine as a production engineer who understands just how broke you are.

********The title of this post, its creator and The Original Lady Eyes mean no disrespect to the Original Gangstas shown below and wish to admit our collective subordination and acknowledgment of their clearly apparent superior bad-ass-ity. Thank you. ****************