Chasing the Nicks
Dave has got a friend called Nick. They’ve known each other almost as long as there’s been a Nick and Dave. Nick is a Humber Jazz grad. He plays a mean sax, and he’s also the leader of the Skingraft Orchestra . We went to go see his band play at the Central in November, and I was surprised to find that they were really good. Quite inventive and experimental. The other brother Teehan plays a sousaphone, which is pretty damn cool.
Over the past couple of months I’ve gotten to see Nick play in various incarnations. I’ve seen him perform with his whole band. I’ve seen him play solo with trumpeter from the Skingraft Orchestra, Aurora. (This set was a little looser, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as being able to get the full sound of the orchestra). I saw him again, around the corner from my house at the Holy Oak, playing as a part of Nick Buligan’s band for the Tuesday night jazz series that the Holy Oak puts on.
Then this Sunday, Dave and I followed Nick down to a loft just off Dufferin, beside a furniture shop. (I can’t remember the name of the space). It was the Valentine’s day installment of a meeting of the Woodchopper’s Association . We arrived a little late, while the first set was ending in a strange cacophony of noises, interspersed with the vocal hooks from Beatles tunes, and strangely enough, Macho Men. Nick got a call in the break between the two sets to go to work, which meant he didn’t perform with the improv music group. But it was the best show I never got to see Nick play. The audience seemed to be mostly musicians, some of them I recognized from the Skingraft Orchestra. Ivy from Bruce Peninsula was there (and when I whispered to Nick B. how much I liked Bruce Peninsula, he told me he that hipster shit made him feel uncomfortable).
The night was great though. There’s a large rotating host of members (in the hundreds) which means anyone could show up and play, anything can happen. Also, the event loaned itself to an element of audience participation in the music-making. There was singing along, stomping along, and some even joined in by blowing into beer bottles to produce music.
At the show, sometime before he left, Nick told us about a show that would be happening on Wednesday at the Smiling Buddha. I decided to twist the arms of a couple of friends to join me as I went to go watch Nick play without Dave this time. When I got to the bar tonight though, it was closed. The lights were out. No one was home. I’d had my pencil crayons ready too. We decided not to waste the night though, and since we were already out, we headed next door for some seriously cheesy karaoke.
* A note. These images were made on location, at bars.