Dean McKinnon may be ready to unleash his inner alpha monkey
While sometimes being part of a milieu of gifted artists can be good for a songwriter’s profile (since, like musicians who were part of the Yorkville happenings in the 60s or bands in Seattle in the 90s, you may receive more attention because you’re part of a “scene”) it can also have the opposite effect. Sometimes a very talented creator can be somewhat adumbrated by more charismatic or aggressive personas around them, even when their product is every bit as compelling.
Such seems to have thus far largely been the case, as I mentioned in a previous article in July, with songwriter Dean McKinnon, who’s a key part of the very lively and highly visible corral of artists who frequent hip music and tapas emporium Relish in TO’s East York area.
Alongside of dynamic and certainly not shy fellow artists like Bryan Van Dusen, David Macmichael of The Danger Bees, Sam Taylor and even young Jody Ferrer, McKinnon doesn’t immediately radiate quite the same high-frequency pitch of excitement by his comparatively laconic, laid-back almost stoic demeanour. Yet this somewhat placid first impression is quickly dispelled once he gets into his groove on stage at the club’s Sunday night Stir It Up jam.
Aside from the telltale wry smile that occasionally flits briefly across his unprepossessing face, another big clue as to what’s waiting to erupt from him might be the fact that even before he strums a chord fellow artists in the room all loudly beg him not to do “The Monkey Song”! It’s a tune on which he quite ridiculously (and infectiously) apes the sounds of apes at play and in heat and my impression was not so much that the other artists didn’t like the song as that they knew anything they might do afterwards could only be an anticlimax!
McKinnon has other material too, of course, and it’s thought-provoking, soulful stuff with a bit of an emo tug. It’s as if he’s used the time others spend being adored to pay close attention to what’s going on around him and inside of him and has somewhat quietly but relentlessly compiled a body of work that certainly isn’t the product of a pack of simians fooling around with typewriters. And now it seems that he is finally getting ready to step into the spotlight a little more forthrightly –monkey-haters be damned!
Aside from the C’est What show sharing a bill with Macmichael that I told you about in July, McKinnon has also been putting together a backing band and tonight he’ll be showcasing his tunes as part of Ferrer’s weekly open stage at another east end watering hole, Groove Bar at 1952 Danforth Ave., a block west of Woodbine, as he does the feature set starting around 10 p.m.
If you like to be on hand at the beginning of the upward curve of a rising artist’s career trajectory, you’ll definitely want to check this show out. Throw a banana peel at him if he doesn’t do the you-know-what song!
-Gary 17, www.torontomoon.ca
LISTINGS for Tuesday, August 12, 2021:
Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.). 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.
Names of subscribers appear in bold, are underlined and, where applicable, include a live link to their websites. Advertisers’ listings are in larger type, include live link to website and also have ad icon included in listings.
5-8> Harry Vetro Jazz Quartet @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
*6-9> Julian Fauth solo @ Sauce, 1376 Danforth Ave., TO East ~original Blues piano
6-8> tba @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E., TO East
6> Emma-Lee @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
6:30> Julia Cleveland Quintet @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*6:30-11> The Woodshed jam with Don Niblett & Frank Zochodne @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
7> Earl Wilfong @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
7:30> Aurochs @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick St., TO ~Jazz
8-11> Danny Marks & Alec Fraser Blues Night @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Blues
8-12> Les Garant @ Monarchs Pub in Eaton Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerrard St. W., TO ~original Rock
8> The Moanin After @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
*8> open stage with host Iain Leslie @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville; $2
8:30> Kruger Brothers @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~innovative banjo-led Americana Roots;$30/-
*8:30> Django Jam @ Dominion On Queen, 500 Queen St. E., TO ~Django Jazz
8:30> On The Dial @ Free Times Café, 320 College St., TO ~trio
*8:45> Tyler Yarema & His Rhythm @ Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E., TO ~Jazz/Blues
*8:45> open mic with Matt Zadkovich @ Culchainn’s Irish Pub, 158 Queen St. S., Streetsville-Mississauga
9> Mercy Flight feat. Steve York; Ginger Ale & The Monowhales; The Marwills for Two Four Tuesdays @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W., TO West ~indie
**9> open mic with host Jody Ferrer & 10 p.m. feature by Dean McKinnon @ Groove Bar, 1952 Danforth Ave., TO East
*9-1> karaoke with Randy Petrie @ King’s Belly, 429 Donlands Ave., TO East
*9> open mic with host Nikki Lemonbeat @ Kitch, 229 Geary Ave., TO West
9> Joe Charron @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Folk
9> Sun K with special guest Fort York @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West
9-12> David Gavin Baxter & Kara Lea Manovich @ Bar Radio, 615 College St., TO ~Country; pwyc
**9> Ababe Music presents Jenna Mae; Running Red Lights; Mirian Kay; Cappy & Kev @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West ~indie showcase
*9> open mic with Manny D, Andy Earle & Dave Breckels @ Big Chris BBQ, 17380 Yonge St., Newmarket
9:30> Nicola Vaughan hosts jam @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave., TO
*9:30> The Phil & John Show feat. Phil Naro @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~acoustic Pop Rock
*9:30-2> karaoke with Krista Frank @ Legends, 774 Danforth Ave., TO East
*9:30> Peter Verity @ Black Swan, 154 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Folk Roots
9:30> Patrick Ballantyne @ C’est What, 67 Front St. E., TO ~pwyc
*9:30-12> open stage hosted by Jennifer Brewer @ The Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave., TO East
9:30> Danjam Orchestra @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~NY Jazz
*9:30> jam with Derek Downham @ Axis, 3048 Dundas St. W., TO West ~eclectic
9:30> Colin Amey @ The Corral, 433 Simcoe St. S., Oshawa ~Country Rock
*10-2> The Sattalites @ Orbit Room, 580 College St., TO ~orig. & cover Reggae/Funk
10> A Night Of Duos @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick St., TO ~Jazz
10> Tim Bradford @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~Roots Pop
*10-11> Nik Beat’s Howl radio show @ CIUT 89.5 FM, ~spoken word & music
*10-2> Marshall Dane Trio @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~New Country/Pop
10:30> The World Is Yours Acoustic Duo @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock
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