\ SCARBOROUGH \
In the end it was more like a mini-vacation he might have had anyways for songwriter and versatile veteran Pop Rock performer Dan Walek after he was briefly replaced as host for the weekly Monday acoustic open stage at McGradie’s Tap & Grill in Scarborough.
He’s back in the saddle tonight for the 8-12 affair, which he’s hosted in the room at 2167 Victoria Park Ave. at Ellesmere since 2009. His “vacation” began on December 11, after he was told he was being replaced a couple of nights beforehand —though he quite likely wouldn’t have been doing shows on December 25 or January 1 anyways, so in the end he really only missed two regular weeks.
I never did find out the name of the woman who was supposed to be the new host, so obviously she wasn’t a promo whiz, but presumably owner Sam quickly realized that poor attendance in recent weeks was not really Walek’s fault.
The room, I’m told, has struggled mightily since a shooting inside the club late on a Saturday night last summer in which five people were taken to hospital. The incident received widespread broadcast media attention and no arrests appear yet to have been made in connection with it.
But as someone who has attended at this room on many occasions over the past decade, I can certainly aver that it is not a place in which you’d expect something like that to happen. While Scarborough bars’ clientele can be somewhat on the roughish side in general and this ain’t what you’d call a high-class room, I have never seen any evidence of any gang or other criminal activity taking place or tolerated in the venue, which also has bands Fridays, a Sunday jam that Walek had also hosted for some time several years ago and, on Saturday nights, karaoke shows. Blaming the episode that occurred last summer on the culture of the bar makes as much sense as blaming it on karaoke!
I was frankly rather shocked when I learned that the owner had decided to try a new host for the Monday shows. Recent reviews of the place on Yelp have not been kind and one would think that familiarity would be far preferable to new faces in reassuring regulars that the room is still a welcoming and relaxed place. Apparently though, Sam has come to his senses over the holidays and now sees the value of that too.
Walek is a longtime fixture of the Scarborough live music scene —he’d already been a staple of that community for many years before I first started writing about him nearly 26 years ago now!— who also continues to do many other area gigs every month both acoustically and with his Pop Rock covers band Harvest. His band, in fact, is also back at McGradie’s for a showcase this Friday, January 12, and at Tara Inn on Kington Road, where he ran a successful summer patio jam last year, on Saturday Jan. 20.
And during his hiatus from the room, meanwhile, Walek didn’t let any grass grow, since he had already started up a new weekly event that takes place also in Scarborough, at the new Working Dog Saloon on St. Clair Ave. E. near Midland every Wednesday. While it’s not billed as a jam or open stage, Walek tells me, when performer buddies come out to support it he’ll often get them up to do a couple of tunes as well. For more details, get a TorontoMoon.ca subscription to get Wednesday’s listings in your morning email inbox!
SHOW LISTINGS for Monday, January 08, 2018
For KEY to listings codes and schemata see note at end of shows list.
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6> “Soundcheck with Sabrina” with Sabrina Fallah @ Jungle 77.3 & online at http://www.jungle773.com/ ~eclectic tracks, interviews etc.
416 – TORONTO CENTRAL
6> Jon Brooks @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W. ~original Roots
6:30> U of T Jazz Ensembles including Whuntquintetatre X; Anthony Alessandro Trio @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $
8> Ukulele jam @ Tranzac Lounge (Main Hall), 292 Brunswick Ave.
**9-1:30> jam with host Sam Sundar-Singh @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave.
*9:30> open mic @ Amsterdam Bicycle Club, 54 The Esplanade
9:30> U of T Jazz Orchestra @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $
10> Jordan John @ The Orbit Room, 580 College St. ~R&B/Blues; $
**10> open mic (2 songs; sign-up starts 8 p.m.) with host Dave Lang & John Sladek @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave.
10-2> Dan Gagnon; Jake Saenz @ The Hideout, 423 College St. ~songwriters; $?
416 – TORONTO EAST
7> Weird Al Yankovic @ The Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave. ~satirical Pop Rock icon; $
7:30> “Revolution Mondays” with host Lindsay Coleman & guest feature Amanda Jean @ The Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave. ~songwriters; 0$
8:30-10:30> Fraser Melvin Band @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E. ~original Blues
*8:45-12> Riverboat Mondays acoustic open stage jam with Tyler Ellis @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave.
*9-12> The Out of Towners @ Sauce on Danforth, 1376 Danforth Ave.
416 – TORONTO SCARBOROUGH
7:30> Uke jam/workshop @ Stone Cottage Pub, 3750 Kingston Rd.
*8-12> open stage with Dan Walek @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave.
*8-12> open jam with My Latest Endeavour @ Newfoundlander Tavern, 472 Danforth Road
416 – TORONTO WEST
7> Northern Danger @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~Jazz; pwyc
5-8> Mike and Jill Daley Duo @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Jazz
*8> open mic with Klooch @ The Wicket Pub, 1671 Bloor St. W.
8:30> Luke Kuplowsky hosts “Team Building” workshop for songwriters @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W.
*9-1> Hamstrung Stringband @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Bluegrass
*9-1> eclectic open stage/jam with host Nelson Sobral @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave.
9-12> Tim Hamel Trio & guest @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Jazz
9:30> Lucas Kadish @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~Jazz; pwyc
*10> open mic with host Liam Kearney @ The Hole In The Wall, 2867 Dundas St. W.
*5> open mic with Dennis Napper @ Rhapsody Barrel Bar, 179 King St. W., Kitchener
*7:30-12> open mic with Anthony Schmanthony @ The Cornerstone, 1 Wyndham St. N., Guelph
*8-12> open stage @ The Boathouse, 57 Jubilee Drive, Kitchener
9:30> Turk and the Hobbits @ Duke of Wellington, 33 Erb St. W., Waterloo
*7> Gailie & Friends @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
8-12> jam night with Rob Drake @ Sticky Fingers Dunlop, 199 Essa Rd.
6> Rob Phillips @ Arthur’s Pub, 930 Burnham St., Cobourg ~Jazz
*8-11> open stage @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
8-11> open mic @ The Barrel, 2180 Steeles Ave. W., Vaughan
9:25-1:05> jam/open stage with backline @ Sneakers Uptown, 18025 Yonge St., Newmarket
6> Michael Wainwright & Rick Labrie @ Innsville, 1141 Highway 8, Stoney Creek
6:30> Greensville Guitar Pickers jam @ Greensville Branch Library, 59 Kirby Ave., Hamilton
*7-10> open mic with Chris Partland @ 5 West Brewpub, 3600 Dundas St. W., Burlington
**8-12> BBQ & jam night with Catherine Harrison @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville; ($8.95 with BBQ dinner special starts at 6)
*9> Matt Zaddy @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~acoustic Pop covers & originals
*9:30-1> jam with Tom Barlow @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit
Listings are organized by area in which the shows occur and within each area field shows are listed chronologically.
Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.). Events preceded by question mark (?) usually take place but have not been confirmed. Admission prices followed by a slash and minus (/-) after the amount indicates door charge with availability of cheaper rates for some purchases. /+ indicates stated price is minimum.
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