Monthly Archives: August 2017

BJForever

MEET THE BAND WHO BRINGS BON JOVI TO LIFE ON STAGE! SEE/HEAR THEM LIVE SEPT. 16TH IN OSHAWA

“Living on a Prayer”, “Dead or Alive”, “Blaze of Glory”…I can still hear Bon Jovi’s greatest hits playing in my head. And I still remember being within spittin’ distance of Jon when he commanded the concert stage in Toronto so many years ago.  Fortunately we can re-live those glory days thanks to an Ontario group who pays tribute to the band with an uncanny resemblance (both looks and sound) – Bon Jovi Forever.  The band is part of a 5-group concert performing on September 16th in Oshawa when Sunrise Concerts presents the 1st Annual Durham Rock Tribute Festival (see below for details & tkt info).14595581_569365786583802_3383937147522332532_nI recently spoke with Bon Jovi Forever frontman Baz Littlerock who shared his thoughts on performing for fans as the original legendary band.

What first inspired you to sing and perform like Bon Jovi?   I have been a Bon Jovi fan since the Slippery When Wet album came out. It was never my goal to sound like Bon Jovi or do a Bon Jovi tribute band, but as years went on, I constantly would get compared to him vocally even though we did no Bon Jovi songs. In fact, we were doing Maiden, Ozzy, White Zombie (LOL) and people would say “Do you know who you sound like?” So when my son was born, I wanted to be a part of his life and not tour the world so I thought I would start a tribute band and since everyone said I sounded like Bon Jovi it was an easy decision.21244753_10159200736795361_85784443_nWhat has been the weirdest, wildest or most memorable gig you’ve played?  Since 2000, there have been many Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, James Bay, Quebec and New Brunswick tours – so many, but the one that sticks out was in the summer of 2016 when we performed at Q107’s Canada Day festival picnic in Toronto and it was an amazing night!  The whole crowd – I’m guessing 10,000 or maybe more – were all into it and we had such a great night!  But there have been so many great shows over the years that it’s hard to pick just one.

Was rock your first passion or were you a closet disco lover?  Umm, well my dad was all about The Beatles and my mom loved Elvis and Kenny Rogers so I heard a lot of that. The first album I ever bought was Michael Jackson’s Thriller then Huey Lewis’ Sports. I was asked to do a Motley Crue lip-sync band (with all the big hair) where we could pretend to play all the instruments so we made our costumes and instruments – it was awesome. I was hooked so I bought a real guitar and all the Motley albums and have been a rocker ever since.

What keeps you (and the band) on the road and performing for the fans?  The fans mostly. The only time you’re thinking about money is when you booking the show. Once you’re on stage playing there is a “love making” that happens between the band and the audience when you get both parties ready to have a good time, there is honestly – nothing feels better. Its probably a lot like golf – it’s not always your best game every time but when you do have that great shot, you always want that feeling again so you’re constantly chasing that experience.Bon Jovi ForeverHave you ever met any of the Bon Jovi band members, and if so, what was your first comment/question to them?  No, but I have met their new guitarist Phil X – just none of the original line up. If I did meet them I would just say thanks for all the great music they’ve given us – different genres like country to pop to metal and beautiful ballads because as a singer, it allows for a good vocal work out: one minute you’re belting out “Living on a Prayer” and the next you can lay back and sing a song like “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”.

Apart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, what other shows have you booked in the coming months…any Christmas or NYE concerts we should mark in our calendars? We have a ton of great shows coming up including Belleville for New Years. You can check our upcoming dates by logging on to www.bonjoviforever.ca  or our Facebook (just type in Bon Jovi Forever Tribute Band to find us).

Let’s meet the band….Top left Roscoe Stewart, top right Darryl Coleman, bottom left John E. Keys, bottom right Paul Mathur and centre Baz Littlerock 

If you’re a fan of great rock or blues, you’ll love the line-up: Thunderstruck (AC/DC), Southern Fried (Skynyrd & Allmans), Bad to the Bone (Thorogood), the SRV Experience (Stevie Ray Vaughan) and Bon Jovi Forever. MC is the incomparable, award-winning comedian Kenny Robinson.

 

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca  $45 pp (valid until Sept.5) then $65 pp

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo

CONCERT RAISES FUNDS FOR NEXT MONTH’S “BEACH CELTIC FESTIVAL”

Last week, one of Toronto’s favourite watering holes, The Duke on Queen St East, played host to a special fundraising concert benefiting this year’s 14th Annual Beach Celtic Festival (Sept. 9/10) and festival founder SANDY GRAHAM was thrilled to welcome an exciting line-up of Celtic dancers and musicians to the stage.

MC  & performer Don Graham is joined on stage by featured musicians to take their bows.

MC & performer Don Graham is joined on stage by featured performers to take their bows.

Thanks to the generosity of the performers and that of the prize donors for the silent auction, a substantial amount of money was raised to help underwrite the costs for producing the annual festival celebrating the contributions made to Toronto’s history and growth by Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English immigrants.

Led by Meghan Bold, the lovely ladies from the Bold Steps Dance Studio entertained with traditional dances and clogging – the excited crowd clapped along in time.

Apart from MC’ing the evening, singer/songwriter Don Graham opened the night with some great tunes….20170822_195838…and he was followed shortly by roots musician Syd Simkins (below)…20170822_203237….and award-winning artist Lisa Hartt (below)20170822_205652The auction tables were pretty busy throughout the night, offering all sorts of treasures and treats.20170822_183041 20170822_183938MPP Arthur Potts (below) dropped by to wish Sandy and the Festival volunteers well…and shared a few funny stories with the audience. He and Sandy go waaaay back and she was delighted to pose for pictures with him.20170822_194407 20170822_195102Music insider and columnist for Cashbox Canada e-magazine (Sandy is publisher of this long-running music magazine), Lenny Stout (below, left) helped sell 50-50 draw tickets with Festival volunteer Fiona Lawson (right). 20170822_203358…they also helped Don with the draw. And the winner is…. Zita DaSilva who was obviously very excited about the result!20170822_220328Sandy was pleased to welcome reporter Courtney from Snapd newspaper (below left) to the event where she snapped lots of pictures of the performers including Brooke and Steve from Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost.20170822_211243 20170822_213338Stephen Lamb (Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost) was, in fact, presented with the “Beach Celt of the Year” award honouring his contributions to the Celtic community and continued support of the Festival. Steve was later joined by Sandy and MPP Potts for photo opps.20170822_212210 20170822_195122

It truly was a grand night and the artists and audience all paid tribute to Sandy Graham for creating such a unique family-friendly annual event.  You can learn more at www.thecelticfestival.com

BEACH CELTIC FESTIVAL
Sat/Sun September 9 & 10 and it’s FREE!
Kew Gardens, Queen St East in the Beach, Toronto

Poster

 

“SOUTHERN FRIED” BRINGS THE MUSIC OF SKYNYRD & ALLMAN BROS. TO OSHAWA TRIBUTE BAND FEST. SEPT. 16

Local music promoter Sunrise Concerts is presenting a special 1-night-only showcase of the best rock tribute bands in the country on Saturday September 16th (doors open at 5pm) at the General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa.  Featuring Thunderstuck (AC/DC), Bon Jovi Forever (Bon Jovi), Southern Fried (Lynyrd Skynyrd/Allman Bros.), Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood) and the Stevie Ray Vaughan Experience (Stevie Ray Vaughan) the event will be hosted by comedian Kenny Robinson (winner of Canadian Comedy Awards’ “Phil Hartman Award” & star of numerous TV comedy specials). The venue offers seating plus bar & food service. Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca There’s a special promotion valid until Sept. 5th – tickets are $45 per person in advance then $65 online and at the door after Sept. 5th.

This promises to be a fantastic night for fans of hard-driving rock, blues and southern rock so head out to Oshawa for this packed night of music and memories.crowds

I recently spoke with David Forbes, the vocalist from Southern Fried who shared his thoughts on performing the music of two of the greatest southern blues/rock bands ever: Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band.

David, what first inspired you to perform southern rock classics from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Bros?  When I was about 14, an older cousin introduced me to Lynyrd Skynyrd music and eventually The Allman Brothers Band.  I felt a real connection to this music.Are you the founder of the band or did you start playing in collaboration with one or more band members to get things rolling?  I had been playing drums and doing lead vocals for about a dozen years when I made a decision to start a Southern Rock tribute and then I recruited a friend, Chris Bishop, to play bass and help me to get the band going. I was to front the band so I could focus on vocal performance. Chris was the one to come up with the name “Southern Fried” which was taken from a K-tel album of Southern Rock tunes.SF GF 4Was this musical genre your first passion or were you a closet country & western fan?  I was already a big fan of KISS, Rush and Alice Cooper but I then started to gravitate towards some more blues-oriented music.

What has been the weirdest, wildest or most memorable gig you’ve played?  Playing at Q107’s Million Vacations Party March 2011 where we opened for The Georgia Satellites and played in front of 3,500 people.  That is one of my favorite gigs so far!Have you ever met any of the band members from Lynyrd Skynyrd or Allman Bros, and if so, what was your first comment/question to them?  I have, in fact, met Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes (pictured below), both formerly of The Allman Brothers Band. I asked both of them if they would sign my guitar for me which they were kind enough to oblige.      10393827_865928660100574_7458428394532123684_n Apart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, what other shows have you booked in the coming months…any Christmas or NYE concerts we should mark in our calendars? At the present time, we‘re booked for a private function at The Balmy Beach Club at the end of September and we should announcing a date soon for The Edge in Ajax with Steve Boyle.

You can follow Southern Fried on Facebook.com/Southern-Fried

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca  $45 pp (valid until Sept.5) then $65 pp

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo

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MEET SANDY GRAHAM, FOUNDER OF THE ANNUAL “BEACH CELTIC FESTIVAL” IN TORONTO

Way back in the late 70’s, I first met Sandy Graham (pictured below) who was running a fabulous nightclub called Route 66 on Jarvis St down near Dundas.sandyRoute 66 was a 50’s theme bar and dance club, sorta like Arnold’s on Happy Days but with a big dance floor instead of diner booths. Sandy held court there nightly, leading the talented waiters/dancers out on the dancefloor, getting the crowd up on their feet doing the triple swing, the stroll and even the hand-jive. During this time, I was running a similar club, Ollie’s, located inside the entertainment complex called The Ports of Call (or The Ports for short) up at Yonge & Summerhill. Instead of rivals, we became fast friends.

Skip ahead a few decades(!) and Sandy is still entertaining crowds but this time she is sharing her Celtic heritage and presenting an annual family-friendly festival as a tribute to her late mother who was an accomplished highland dancer and true-blue Scottish lass. So welcome to the 14th annual Beach Celtic Festival!  www.thecelticfestival.comPosterEach September, Sandy hosts this 2-day party for Toronto’s Scots, Irish, English and Welsh descendants with lots of great musical entertainment, dancing, a vendors village where you can pick up all sorts of treats and treasures, and a great community spirit. I’m so pleased to help her promote this year’s event and I asked her to share her thoughts on putting on such a show…..

How did you come up with the idea for a festival celebrating Celtic heritage and culture in Toronto?My Mum (pictured below) passed away in Montreal on June 30, 2001 and because the next day was July 1st (Canada Day) we could not get to her in the funeral home until after the long weekend. I took a walk and ended up in Kew Gardens where the 48th Highlanders of Canada were performing and that was it. I knew I had to do a celebration in that park. It took a few more years and then September 2003 the Beach Celtic Festival was ‘born’.

Jemima Sutherland (L)

Jemima Sutherland (L)

BCF 9 MUMAfter 14 years, how has the event grown/changed since you first launched this unique outdoor ceilidh?    Originally, the Beach Celtic Festival was only supposed to be a one-off event, a celebration of life for my Mum. It was so successful that first year that we decided to keep going. It stayed as a one day event until 6 years ago and has now grown into a two day event. It is now embraced by the neighbourhood and beyond. It’s lovely to get emails from all over the world asking us about the Celtic festival.BCF 10 The CrowdBCF PIPERSYou are also hosting a fundraising event at The Duke tavern on Queen St East this Tuesday night (Aug. 22) – how expensive is it to produce a 2-day family festival in Kew Gardens?  And do you receive any government funding or corporate sponsorship to underwrite these expenses? The Beach Celtic Festival costs close to $10,000 to produce which includes permits, insurance, portable toilets, stage and sound requirements, expenses and publicity. We do not receive government funding and Kew Gardens is a public park and so it cannot have a gate entrance fee. I don’t think people realize how expensive it is and unfortunately there are restrictions to sponsorship as well.

Do your local Beach neighbourhood businesses support or contribute to this event that draws thousands of people to the area each year?  The Beach residents are very supportive of this event and I get asked on the street all the time about when it is and what they can expect this year. I think the businesses appreciate that we don’t host a lot of competitive vendors i.e. coffee, food, clothing etc. and that our vendors are very strictly Celtic in theme and flavour. I always say that it is a tough rent on Queen Street East and if we can all bring more people into the Beach to spend money and enjoy our little Brigadoon for the weekend then that is all good.20140906_17155820140906_171621Over the years, what has been the most fulfilling experience you’ve enjoyed as producer of the Beach Celtic Festival?  There are times during the Celtic that I just stand on the gazebo and look around at the park and realize these are the same trees, the same baseball diamond, the same park my Dad ran around in as a little boy so it has come full circle. There is something magical to see the park full of people enjoying the Celtic ways and hearing all the accents. Smiles galore.BCF 7 Wee Ones DancingAny other comments you’d like to share?  Although the Beach Celtic Festival is my ‘baby’, it truly would not happen without all the love and support I get from everyone involved in the yearly production. Everyone rallies around to push it through year after year and I am eternally grateful for those people. From friends, family, talent and the Celtic Team (including yourself, Glenda) there is great comfort in knowing the Celtic Festival will be around long after I am gone as it is safe in the next generation’s hands. I also wish to extend a welcome to all nationalities to come experience some of the music, ways and wares of the Celtic Community.BCF 8 'Braveheart' BCF  Wee OneSo watch the skies over Kew Gardens for flying dragons…better still, come on down and bring the kids, bring granny, bring your BFF. The Beach Celtic Festival is FREE!

Saturday Sept. 9 & Sunday Sept. 10 (9am-6pm)

Kew Gardens,  Queen St East in Toronto

www.thecelticfestival.com

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MUSIC FANS TO ENJOY A NIGHT OF ROCK LEGEND TRIBUTES IN OSHAWA

Local music promoter Sunrise Concerts is presenting a special 1-night-only line-up of the best rock tribute bands in the country on Saturday September 16th (doors open at 5pm) at the General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa.  Featuring Thunderstuck (AC/DC), Bon Jovi Forever (Bon Jovi), Southern Fried (Lynyrd Skynyrd/Allman Bros.), Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood) and the Stevie Ray Vaughan Experience (Stevie Ray Vaughan) the event will be hosted by comedian Kenny Robinson (winner of Canadian Comedy Awards’ “Phil Hartman Award” & star of numerous TV comedy specials). The venue offers seating plus full bar and food service. And tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca (but watch for upcoming special promo codes for early-birds and group discounts).

This looks to be a fantastic night for fans of hard-driving rock, blues and southern rock so get your dancin’ shoes on and head out to Oshawa for this packed night of music and memories.

I recently spoke with the various bands and Blair Briceland, the vocalist from Thunderstruck shared his thoughts on performing the music of one of the most iconic hard rock bands in the world, AC/DC2678E4393C824D72A775264435F62395Blair, please tell me a little about Thunderstruck the band.  The power of Thunderstruck mirrors the pure strength, energy, and sound, of a live AC/DC show.  We formed in 2001 and have been touring for almost 16 years – we perform as detailed impersonations of each band member which includes the authentic guitars, amps, drums, and the trademark school boy outfit. This is a fun part-time group as we all work throughout the week; in fact, 4 of us own our own companies. Back in 2015, we were chosen to back up Dave Evans, the original singer for AC/DC, on his first Canadian tour!!! 384085AE83F74A348103ACF6652E90D1Thunderstruck is: Vocals: Blair Briceland, Lead Guitar: Rich Trevor, Rhythm Guitar: Chris Newman, Bass Guitar: Pete Stewart and on Drums: Niall Mellors.

What first inspired you to sing and perform like AC/DC?  When I was in a top 40 band in the 80’s, I was playing bass guitar and was the only one who could sing AC/DC. That’s when I decided to perform as a tribute band, giving fans an up-close experience in clubs.

The band has over 20yrs of combined experience playing rock – what keeps you (and the band) on the road and performing for the fans?  We have a good product…and we like each other. Most importantly, we have fun with it.A667E8289ADA426D9DAD5420C3ABF9FBHave you ever met any of the AC/DC band members, and if so, what was your first comment/question to them?  None of us have ever met the band…yet!

Apart from the September 16th gig in Oshawa, what other shows have you booked in the coming months…any Christmas or NYE concerts we should mark in our calendars?   A New Year’s Eve concert is in the works for the Niagara Falls area so watch for posters and promos.42072EF861A54887899F4383D12EF9C2I can’t wait to see Thunderstruck in person, as well as the other bands on the concert line-up. And if you’ve never seen Kenny Robinson (below) MC a show before…you’re in for a helluva lot of laughs – the guy is a rock star himself! Kenny

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 

Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)

General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa

Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca

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MEET HANNA KOSTANSKI, URBAN GALLERY’S ARTIST OF THE MONTH!

Last night, Toronto’s coolest indie art venue, URBAN GALLERY, hosted the opening reception for HANNA KOSTANSKI, whose work is inspired by vintage photographs of our city from years gone by, found in the City of Toronto Archives.  With permission from the Archives, Hanna has recreated well-known intersections and streetscapes from the early 1900’s through to the 1980’s, adding colour and movement to the imagery, bringing the scenes to life.  Her show, 20th Century Toronto: Intersections & Interactions, runs until August 26th at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) and I strongly recommend you visit in person to see if you recognize each of the locations she’s painted. Betcha you’ll be amazed to see how our city has changed!

About the artist:  Hanna was born in Szczecin, Poland, and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. She obtained her BFA from OCAD University in 2007 and currently resides in Hamilton and works in Toronto. Her work can be found in dozens of private and public collections in both cities.Hanna Kostanski YONGE AND DUNDAS 1978 acrylic on board(Above) Yonge and Dundas, 1978 Acrylic on Wood 30″ x 60″ by Hanna Kostanski
From City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 92, Item 49 • Original Photograph by Harvey R. Naylor

Artist Statement:   For nearly a decade my work has been focused on the visible passage of time, experienced through the exploration and documentation of abandoned and decaying buildings in cities like Hamilton and Detroit. I have always been fascinated with historical architecture, specifically how we interact with our buildings and structures, and what happens when that interaction ceases to exist.

My current body of work continues to explore the connection between people and their environment, but with a focus on historical representations of that relationship.  To that end, I have been working on a series of paintings based on photographs found at the City of Toronto Public Archives. These images span several decades and are nostalgic of the city as it used to be. They celebrate the many past incarnations of Toronto, the vibrant intersections of the city and the interactions of its people.  Hanna Kostanski (2017)

The gallery was quickly crowded with fans of Hanna’s work which has recently garnered some exciting media attention – even Toronto Mayor John Tory has weighed in on Twitter about Hanna’s ability to capture a sense of time and place with her large format paintings.20170803_18202620170803_17482220170803_17564020170803_16431220170803_164228Two of Hanna’s BFF’s came to support her and found a familiar sight in this painting (below) of Yonge Street between Queen & Dundas! 20170803_171702 20170803_173123I think this fellow (above) must work on Bay Street – he appears to be looking for the location where his office now sits and explaining the old geography to his lovely companion.20170803_173228 20170803_180704Hanna welcome many of her friends and fans (above), all of whom seemed eager to see her newest paintings.

Fellow artist Nancy Bennett (below) looks like she’s calling a cab from the intersection of Yonge & Dundas…LOL20170803_172148Amidst the hub-bub of the busy gallery, I managed to grab Hanna for a quick chat about her work…

Hanna is also offering fine prints for those who don’t have the space for the original BIG paintings…here’s a happy art-lovin’ family who purchased 2 prints of their favourite paintings….20170803_173528(0)Here’s Wayne Abell of Urban Source Catering (they always present the most deelish treats for gallery openings!!) with KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca, a Toronto-centric e-newspaper who really liked Hanna’s work.20170803_173304If you would like to come and play “spot the street” with Hanna’s work, please visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours and directions.  You can also follow Hanna on social media via her own website: www.hannakostanski.com

 

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Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!