Pictures & words by EHAB ARAFEH
This past Sunday the Holy Oak was a lot more packed than usual- but that’s to be expected considering the stellar line up they had that night. Playing that night were some of my favorite Toronto musicians. First on the bill was Flood and Pass. The 2 piece band consists of Philips Saylor and local singer songwriter Simone Schmidt. The duo traded songs from their own projects, as well as sang some original numbers that they plan on recording soon. Their soft ballads sounded beautiful and kept the packed café in silence.
After them, Holy Oak regulars- the Living Daylight Stringband came on. They play every 2nd Thursday of the month, and are truly one of the hidden gems in the city. They’re a five-piece old-timey band (picture drawn while some of the other members were on tour) that just has that quality you look for in a band. Playing a slew of traditional old songs that you just can’t help but tap your feet to- or even let out the occasional holler. It might not be everybody’s taste but I love it, it’s why I keep going back to see them and they definitely did not disappoint that night.
Here are some images Ehab & I created while @ Wavelength 592 last Saturday night at Bike Pirates.
The show marked the return of Wavelength curated shows, after a brief break following #WL14 this past February. It felt pretty cool to hang out in Bike Pirates after dark (the volunteer-run, learn how to DIY repair space feels pretty punk even when it’s not in the middle of holding a show). The night started off loud and heavy, with an ear-shattering performance by Toronto Homicide Squad. New Positions continued in the same vein of aural assault, weaving some electronic sounds into their blanket of dark vibes. With tracks which would fit nicely over a montage of Vietnam war footage, B-17 was hard rock with a heavy handed dose of psychedelia (and my stand out band of the evening). Then we were dragged back into the darkness by masked performers White Ribs, whose set was more than a little occult feeling- with mad chanting over jarring, stabbing instrumentation.
Aesthetically, Wavelength’s return stood in stark contrast to the love fest they threw last February (although, Wavelength shows are always pretty warm- even when line up is designed to assault the senses). For many of us in the audience, this dark detour seemed to provide us with some much needed catharsis. I walked away from the show feeling psychically refreshed- like as if I’d had some emotional spring cleaning.
Wavelength continues with the second of their shows in a bicycle themed venue next Wednesday, April the 9th- when Picastro drops their new record at Cinecycle. There will an early show 7:30, and a late show 10:30- with 2 different openers. For more deets see Wavelengthtoronto.com
My latest piece is a 2ft X 4ft mixed media work on canvas, titled “#mediacircus (to stupefy & amaze)”. I chose to do this piece as mixed media to reference the various, and changing ways that we consume media- and features elements of painting, collage, poster design, social media, and drawing. It will be on display *TONIGHT* at the Super Wonder Gallery as a part the Super Big Top show, which features circus themed artworks.
When I sat down and decided to work on this piece, it just seemed obvious to work with the ideas of “media circus” as well as government based on “bread & circuses”. After a whole year of seeing nothing in the news but Miley Cyrus twerking up on everything, one Rob Ford scandal after another, and people getting pumped for an Olympics held against a backdrop of human rights violations- it seemed obvious who the subjects in this painting needed to be. Our fascination, and need to follow these kinds of scandalous news stories never ceases to amaze me- and in a way you kind of have to admire what a good show someone like Rob Ford puts on (if only to keep from crying). So this is a salute to the lowest common denominator in public opinion and governance. My way of giving the public eye what it seems to crave.
I am #Iwanttodrawyourband, and you can too!
now with 100% more cartoons! brought to you by my constant show companion, and super music fan! EHAB ARAFEH!
Here are some pictures Ehab and I drew last Friday night, at the latest installation of FUCKED UP’s Long Winter art and music party. The March show was the last of the all-ages shows being held by the community this year, and featured some of the best, most vibrant and LOUDEST!!! live music that the city has to offer (with performances by Pick A Piper, Greys, Fiver, Cancer Bats, Fucked Up and more), art installations and projects, late night karaoke, a gothic dance party, pancakes, and a strange piece of performance art? populated by hyper sexualized ghetto gladiators. These are just the things we personally observed. There was more than enough arts programming for a 2 night fest).
we came. we saw. we moshed.
This year was even bigger and brighter than the last for the music & arts community – who saw us through 5 months of the harshest winter Toronto has seen in over a decade (a formidable accomplishment considering the splash that the series made during their first year on the scene last winter). As well as the monthly shows at the Great Hall, Long Winter also co-hosted January’s 1st Thursday party at the AGO- as well as hosting a separate kid’s party as part of their program (which was rumoured to be actually, a pretty killer time). The year’s last Long Winter party featured a headlining performance by the band that gave birth to the series. FUCKED UP also closed the last show of the series last year, and hopefully this will become a yearly tradition. As well, a few special people who pre-purchased tickets online- were able to stay overnight as part of a special Sleep Over party. Ehab and I were pretty thrilled to get to camp out at the music nerd sleep away, and after you guys left- we stayed up late watching Ghostbusters in the conversation room, and watched but did not partake in some pretty serious blanketfort construction efforts. In the morning we woke up and were treated to a delicious breakfast of savoury pastries and coffee in the cafe, as well as an intimate solo performance by Simone Schmidt (which was the perfect amount of volume for a morning show, considering most of us were averaging 4 hours of sleep).
in the morning we awoke to the sun’s rays. we emerged into the streets to see that the snow had melted.
Cancer Bats said it best when they gave credit to Fucked Up for throwing a party where art nerds and fans of hardcore music could rock out together- and do so with such excellent behaviour, and without wrecking the art or being tempted to fight one another. (because warring between nightlife tribes is just silly). It truly is an inclusive and revolutionary kind of space that they create, where participation is part of the show- and in a lot of ways, where community and the love of all forms of art (from food to folk rock) is really at the centre of it all.
it almost makes you wish the winter wasn’t over. well… almost. til next year, stay classy LONG WINTER GANG.
this picture was drawn during the TWIN PEAKS themed night @ Handlebar last Saturday, March the 1st- during a set by David Lynch themed cover band The Julee Cruise Ships. The band has a month long residency at the Kensington Market bar, which makes for a fun night of unexpected! dancing! even if you aren’t necessarily the biggest fan of the director or even the vintage TV series, which admittedly I am not. (Sacrilege!, you say?) On this particular evening, the band was joined by Simone Schmidt’s latest Fiver, as well as The Julee Cruise Ship’s other incarnation The Sandy Pockets. PWYC every Saturday this month at Handlebar.
I HAVE BEEN PUTTING OFF THIS POST ABOUT DOOMSQUAD’S RELEASE PARTY LAST WEEK FOR THEIR KALABOOGIE LP. THIS IS BECAUSE I (SADLY) MISSED THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE SHOW, THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE BY DOOMSQUAD. THE PARTY TOOK PLACE LAST THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2014 @ THE COMFORT ZONE. WE HAD NEVER BEEN TO THE COMFORT ZONE, AND AFTER YEARS OF HEARING RUMOURS ABOUT THE PLACE (AND AFTER THE INFAMOUS ARTICLE IN THE GRID), WE WERE KIND OF EXCITED. IT WAS AN UNBEARABLY, FUCKING, MISERABLY COLD NIGHT- AND FOR SOME UNFATHOMABLE REASON, I WAS SHOW HOPPING. IN SOME WAYS THE INSIDE OF THE SEEDIEST CORNER OF SPADINA AND COLLEGE WAS EXACTLY AS I HAD EXPECTED. DARK. ONE OF THE 2 STAGES WAS TOO DARK TO DRAW AND SO THE FIRST AND LAST OF THESE DRAWINGS ARE CLOSER TO BLIND CONTOURS. ONE OF THE STAGES WAS DRAPED IN YARDS OF PLASTIC SHEETS, SO THAT WHEN MOONWOOD DESCRIBED THE STAGE AS THE DEXTER KILL ROOM- THE FEELING PRETTY MUCH NAILED THE AESTHETIC OF THE PLACE. THE PLACE WAS PRETTY EMPTY FOR THE FEW SETS, AND THERE WAS A DRAFT THAT WE COULDN’T SHAKE- ALTHOUGH WE TRIED BOTH RUM & WHISKY. ALSO, DURING & AFTER PETRA’S SET THERE WAS KIND OF A FEEDBACK ISSUE THAT WE WERE FINDING SOMEWHAT INTOLERABLE. IN SPITE OF THAT, THE OPENING ACTS WERE- AMONGST THE HEADY FUMES OF FRANKINCENSE- TUNING INTO THE APPROPRIATE PSYCHIC CHANNELS NECESSARY TO BRING THE EVENING TO A HEAD. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THAT THE LIVE BIRTH OF KALABOOGIE WAS EARTH-SHATTERING. I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THE ALBUM ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE PAST WEEK & A HALF, AND IT IS BOTH SUBLIME AND SURPRISING IN IT’S DEPTH. A DARKLY TRIBAL, & PSYCHEDELIC WONDER WHOSE MOVEMENT MUST BE FELT IN IT’S ENTIRETY. AS FOR US, WE WERE UNLUCKY TO HAVE MISSED THE PERFORMANCE- BUT OUR TIMELINES REQUIRED US TO BE IN A DIFFERENT PLACE AT THAT MOMENT. NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE ARE (FIGURATIVELY) HOLDING OUR BREATHES FOR THEIR UPCOMING NXNE PERFORMANCE.
My Music Vice pal Brian Banks and I, teamed up to do a double article on the free NXNE teaser show, last Tuesday night at the Garrison.