Wednesday night was my first trip out for some Canadian Music Week action (it kicked off on Tuesday) and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. If you are a club goer, love live music, like to see artists from many different genres, love a good party – then CMW is custom made for you. The city of Toronto is buzzing (and not just because we just had 420 day). Venues right across the city are loaded up every night with such a diverse mix of talent, and will be rocking hard through Sunday so make sure you get out there and support some live music. This Bus Stop was at Boots and Bourbon Saloon on Queen Street. The mechanical bull was pushed aside and the lineup for this CMW Showcase was so damn good, I had many moments where I just put my camera down so I could take it in.
Things kicked off with the gorgeous Barbara Lynn Doran and her amazing band. What a start. I was thinking: if this is how things start off, then we are in for a great night. And I was right. Barbara has a great voice and sings so smooth. She provided a nice mix of original music and some covers and did a great job.
After a brief stage change, Sarah Wickett was up next. Sarah mentioned this was likely the biggest show that she and her band have played so it was nice to see them get the opportunity and truly they looked like they were enjoying every minute of it. They too played a nice mix of originals and covers. And for only being together for about two years they sounded great. Hopefully this showcase gets them some more notice and leads to bigger things for the Toronto artist. And really that’s what CMW is for: giving an opportunity for artists to get in front of lots of people, including music industry types.
Things just kept rolling along and our next artist was Lisa Nicole. She changed things up a little by scaling it down a bit with just Lisa singing (and playing a little guitar) and being accompanied by guitarist Andre Besel. No full band for this set and it was amazing. Lisa Nicole has a tremendous voice and Andre’s guitar work was excellent. You wouldn’t know that they had only been together a couple of times prior to this performance – they were totally in synch like they had been at it for years. Lisa brings a lot of energy and tremendous stage presence, her comfort level on stage is obvious. Loved it!
And if you want to talk about stage presence and having fun, the next band brought it in spades. The boys of Buck Twenty bring a ton of fun and are about as tight as it gets for a band. I love the good time feel and some of the tongue in cheek comments and lyrics. These boys ratcheted up the energy and I seriously can’t wait to see them play again. High on my list of recommended shows to see if you get the chance.
Our last act was Jesse Gold. Starting at 1:00 a.m. on a Wednesday night is a little tough for those of us who need to be up and rolling the next morning, a point that Jesse had a little fun with. But again, here is a guy with a ton of talent, a killer voice that’s bigger than you expect, and a band who have it all down. They have a great sound and matched well with Gold’s vocals. Jesse is a really polished performer and despite a light crowd (being generous) still provided a full effort as any pro should. In fact every artist on the night did a great job with this. And it was a little disappointing to me that the crowd was sparse. If we are going to keep our music venues we need to get out and support them. Perhaps the aforementioned fact that it was a Wednesday night, the Leafs were in a playoff game, and whatever other factors there may have been is what kept people from attending. But they missed out. Those of us who were there, were treated to some really good music and I loved it all.
Scott Burns / Tour Bus Entertainment