Pop that rocks – blueVenus CMW2014 gig @ Silver Dollar Room

Back out for some Canadian Music Week music goodness last night – this time, at Toronto’s iconic music venue the Silver Dollar Room for blueVenus.

blueVenus brings pop that rocks – punched up with a bit of funk, Motown, blues and jazz – and they moved us with selections from CDs Grin and the recent Comfortably Numb, and a taste of the record to come. You must see blueVenus live.

Andrea de Boer is the songwriting and vocal force behind blueVenus, and her most excellent band at the Silver Dollar Room last night included: Jessica Stuart (guitar/backup vocals), Iva Valent (keys/back up vocals), D’arcy McGuire (bass) and Matt DeMatteo (drums).

Check out the video that Kimberly Mallett shot of blueVenus performing “Grin.”

Here are some pix from last nights CMW gig:

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Smokin’ hot & rockin’ out @ The Central – Jessica Speziale CMW2014 gig

Last weekend was about theatre, this weekend is about music. It’s Canadian Music Week, and I was out at The Central to see Jessica Speziale play with her band last night.

Speziale is a sultry-voiced, rockin’ music force, performing with heart, soul and drive. If you haven’t had a chance to see her play live, get yourself out there – you won’t be sorry.

In the meantime, you can check out her recent video release of “Brace Yourself,” a song from her Dear Reverie CD. You can also take a gander at the interview I did recently with Speziale about the video and launch.

Playing in Speziale’s band at The Central last night was: Matt Makarenko (guitar), Iliya Vee (bass and backup vocals) and Dave Sufrin (drums).

Here are some pix from last night’s gig:

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Joygasm of sound – blueVenus CMW showcase @ Velvet Underground

Andrea de Boer’s band blueVenus gave us an incredible set at Velvet Underground as Canadian Music Week kicked off last night, moving the audience with their joygasmic fusion of jazz, blues, pop and Motown – with evocative lyrics, amazing musicianship and stellar vocals from de Boer. blueVenus includes de Boer on vocals and violin, Luke Roberts on guitar and back-up vocals, Mason Stoner on bass and Colin Kingsmore on drums.

From the title track of their CD Grin through “No Time To Waste,” this was an energetic, charismatic set – and de Boer beckoned us closer to the stage right off the top, creating a warm and intimate space for the sounds to live. And you cannot stand still while listening. Heads bopping, feet tapping, the audience was digging it. If you haven’t heard this band, do yourself a favour and check out the blueVenus website and YouTube channel.

Canadian Music Week is up and running all over T.O. until March 24, so get out there and support local talent.

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blueVenus – Andrea de Boer
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blue Venus – Andrea de Boer with bassist Mason Stoner in the background
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blueVenus – Andrea de Boer, and a unique and cool way to play the violin – plucking it like a ukulele
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blueVenus – Andrea de Boer on violin
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blueVenus – Luke Roberts (guitar/back-up vocals), Colin Kingsmore (drums), Andrea de Boer (vocals/violin) & Mason Stoner (bass)
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blueVenus – Luke Roberts & Andrea de Boer
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blueVenus – Colin Kingsmore on drums & Mason Stoner on bass
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blueVenus – Luke Roberts
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You know you’ve made it when a woman asks you to sign her boob. Andrea signing Leo with a black Sharpie.

In the meantime, here are some pics from last night’s blueVenus gig. Enjoy!

So much fun coming up!

Thought I’d take a moment to post about some ongoing/upcoming arts events.

Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) continues this week with the Week Two program and reading (March 13-17), with Week Three program/reading running the week after (March 20-24).

Quick note on Saturday’s Week One reading of Falling: We had a packed house, with an audience who responded very positively and had some great feedback for playwright Jamie Johnson. Shouts to Jamie, co-artistic directors Pat McCarthy and Carolyn Zapf, director Ed Rosing, AD/SM Jake Simpkins, dramaturge Diane Forrest, sound designer Rick Jones, and fellow cast members Carys Lewis, Cora Matheson, Ruth Miller and Kristen Scott! And a big thanks to all the folks who came out to support the play, including friends and family – some of whom trekked in from Ottawa, Burlington and Hamilton. xo

The next edition of The Beautiful and the Damned is Thursday, March 14 – 7 p.m. at Glad Day Bookshop. Host DM Moore introduces feature performers Greg “Ritallin” Frankson, Gerald Hannon and Andraya Smith, and some amazing open mic folks.

The next Songwriters Circle of Jerks is coming up on Thursday, March 14 – 8:30 p.m. at Free Times Café, featuring Brian Cober, Hugh Wilson, Marcus Walker, Nelson Sobral and Nick Verona.

Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival opens Friday, March 15 and runs until March 24 at Berkeley Street Theatre – check out the cool promo vid for the fest.  Features a new play by one of my favourite playwrights: Judith Thompson’s Who Killed Snow White? Also check out Nightwood’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration FemCab on Wednesday, March 20.

Speaking of my favourite playwrights, check out ongoing productions of works by Hannah Moscovitch (Double Bill) at Tarragon Theatre (till March 24) and Theatre Brouhaha’s production of Kat Sandler’s Rock at Storefront Theatre (till March 23).

And while you’re at it, check out the March programming and workshops at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) is coming up hard and fast (March 19-24) – so check that out. Just a selection of some artists I know who will be performing: Angela Saini, blueVenus, Meghan Morrison, Jessica Speziale, Tin Star Orphans

But wait – there’s more! Bella’s Burlesque Birthday Bash: DIRTY THIRTY DANCE PARTY is coming up on Thursday, March 28 at Lee’s Palace – 8:30 p.m. Bella Fox hosts a night of burlesque, music (including High Heels Lo Fi), dancing – it’s going to be a blast. Next day is Good Friday, so lots of you will be able to sleep that one off.

All the more reason for me to get over this stupid head cold, which I’ve had since last Thursday.

Meghan Morrison: A Force of Love

Big fun at CMW with some amazing, talented folks!


This week pulsed with remarkable moments, and many of those moments were made extraordinary because they involved Meghan Morrison.  Meghan Morrison is a force of love.  I adore her.  I challenge any live being (big or small, furry or bipedal) to spend any amount of time in her company and not adore her.  She is the light in a dark cave, she is the first giggle you hear after being submerged in the humdrumity of daily life, and she is the sweet gentle breeze that cradles and invigorates you.

My first Meghan Morrison event this week was co-hosting her cyber jam webcast. Featured this week were Angela Saini (CD release April 4th at The Drake!) and Supertash!  I could gush for pages on how much fun I had with these fireballs and how wonderful I think they are, but I think you should go to their websites…

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Meghan Morrison band awesomesauce @ CMW Velvet Underground gig

And a bag of chips!

Thanks to singer/songwriter Meghan Morrison, I am no longer a webcast-viewing, Canadian Music Week-attending virgin.

Tuesday night, it was her webcast night and jam, featuring singer/songwriters Angela Saini (http://www.angelasaini.com/fr_home.cfm) and Super Tash (http://www.supertash.com/Home.html), plus co-host Kat Leonard (http://www.katleonard.com/home.cfm)  – so much fun! I watched, I listened and I tweeted throughout the entire hour of music, sisterhood and big, big fun.

Last night, I met up with Kat and our pal Lizzie Violet at Shanghai Cowgirl for some pints and food, then we headed over to Velvet Underground for Meghan’s Canadian Music Week showcase gig. And more big, big fun. Meghan and band were amazing – relaxed, charismatic, professional and right on their game (despite ongoing sound equipment feedback issues) – the mix was good and I loved how you could hear the violin parts. And Meghan’s vocals were so very strong. Plus they all looked fabulous!

Meghan brought her famous (vegan) cupcakes for the audience – chock full of lemony goodness! And handed out free acoustic EPs. I also bought a t-shirt, which I’m wearing as I write this. Thanks to Lizzie for the pics! Check Meghan out here: http://www.meghanmorrisonmusic.com/fr_home.cfm

A really good time with great friends and amazing music. Check out the CMW line-up here (Angela Saini has a gig on Sat, Mar 24 at 12:45 a.m. at the Sennheiser Lounge Library Bar at the Royal York Hotel): http://canadianmusicfest.com/