Sebastian a good choice tonight if you either love or hate America | 160704Mo | Shows for Monday, July 04, 2021

Sebastian Agnello singing ‘Stop Picking On America’ with S.C.A.B., 1985 -Youtube


Today marks another birthday for the United States, which turns 240 years young, and south of the 49th parallel folks will be celebrating with their usual over-the-top ceremonies that make our commemoration of Canada Day look like a garden party by comparison.

The U.S. ain’t always easy to love and if Donald Trump gets elected president later this year it might become a whole lot harder, so today might be a good time to reflect on some of the upsides of what that nation “conceived in liberty” has given to the world.

TO’s Sebastian Agnello is not noted for being someone who goes out of his way to lavish praise on anyone or any institution —in fact, the trenchant protest songwriter is normally one who pillories “Government Policy” and anything to do with established elites or authority.  Yet many years ago now he actually wrote a song extolling the U.S.’s virtues —and which, in its anthemic chorus and title, even exhorts folks to “Stop Picking On America.”

The political paean was written in the early 1980s after Seb, already a controversial Queen Street and TO music scene icon, started his S.C.A.B. band (the moniker stood for Sebastian, Cleave And Bazil —Cleave Anderson and Bazil Donovan were his rhythm section) but only finally made it onto one of his seven albums in 2008 when Take Your Lumps was released.

Luckily someone recorded a live video of the trio performing the tune back in 1985, and happily it has been archived on YouTube.  (It is really something to look at it and, in addition to admiring the musicality of the troupe, notice how YOUNG everyone looked 31 years ago!)

After the song was played on CFRB-AM radio on pundit Gordon Sinclair’s program around the time the video was made, subsequently attracting major media attention south of the border, Seb actually turned down a substantial amount of money offered by various people who wanted to use the song as a kind of anthem, insisting instead that it should retain its integrity by remaining “just a song,” as he once described it to me.

Now lest you think Seb is a raging right-winger (many people are under the mistaken impression that he is because of his tunes lampooning the left and “political correctness” of all kinds) you should know that he also includes in his repertoire many songs by authors like Phil Ochs, Shel Silverstein and Kinky Freidman that are anything but kind to the imperialistic power to the south.  He is, as I explained in a piece at this time two years ago, an equal-opportunity critic and calls out any kind of “sheeple” behaviour wherever he sees it, including in the knee-jerk anti-Americanism that was so rampant in this country in the early 80s.

I’d expect there’ll be some requests to hear “SPOA” when Seb takes the stage tonight at Black Swan Tavern at 154 Danforth.  Although Agnello’s weekly 9:30-1:30 Monday night gig there (which will hit its fifth anniversary, btw, on Monday, August 8) is actually an open stage night, Seb always does a tune or two between the guests’ sets, so there’s plenty of opportunity to hear him perform his own stuff and he usually has copies of various of his albums there that he sells quite cheaply.  The talent level of the guests at this event is usually quite elevated as well, so it’s always a thoroughly entertaining way to spend a Monday.

-Gary 17,

SHOW LISTINGS for Monday, July 04, 2021

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.

Names of subscribers appear in bold, are underlined and, where applicable, include a live link to their websites. Advertisers’ listings are in larger highlighted type, include live link to website and also have ad icon included in listings.


*8:30> Songbird Mondays with Nicole “Songbird” Coward online live @ ~Roots/Folk


6> Jon Brooks @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~Roots songwriter

6:30> Peter Hill Quintet @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz; $

*7> Balfolk Toronto @ May Café, 876 Dundas St. W., TO ~Folk music & dance

*7-10> open stage with Brad Scott @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave., TO

**7:30-1 (sign-up starts at 7)> open stage with host Dylan Hennessy @ Free Times Café, 320 College St., TO

7:30> Advocats Big Band @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Road, TO North ~R&B/Swing

8> Ukulele jam @ Tranzac Lounge (Main Hall), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO

8:30> Stu Hamm; The Unchained @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., TO ~$20

**9-1:30> jam with No Band Required @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave., TO

*9?> open mic @ Lou Dawgs Ryerson, 76 Gerrard St. E., TO

*9:30> open mic with host Mark Villamor at Amsterdam Bicycle Club, 54 The Esplanade, TO

9:30> Hilario Duran Trio @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz; $

10> Jordan John @ The Orbit Room, 580 College St., TO ~R&B/Blues; $

**10> open mic (2 songs; sign-up starts 8 p.m.) with host tba @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO

10> Mike Todd @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO

10:30> Big Otter Creek Unplugged @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock


7-9> Ayden Jacobs @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., Toronto East ~Blues/Rock

**7:30> M-Factor Mondays with host Elana Harte & Lucio Agostini with feature by Rory Taillon @ The Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave., TO East ~songwriters

8:30-10:30> Sugar Brown @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E., TO East

*9:30-2> Sebastian Agnello & friends @ Black Swan (ground floor), 154 Danforth Ave., TO East


*8-12> Al Reilly’s Catalyst also featuring Anthony Cee & Rick Anderson host Rock jam @ Rockpile, 5555 Dundas St. W., Etobicoke


*8-11> open stage @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave., Scarborough

8:30 (signup starts at 8)> open mic with Kevin Ker @ The Loaded Dog, 1921 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough


5-8> Mike and Jilly Daley Jazz Duo @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz

7> Karl Silveira Group @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St., TO West ~Jazz

*8> Ken Yoshioka @ On Cue Billiards, 349 Jane St., TO West ~Blues

8:30> The Andrew Scott Trio @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~JAZZ FM91 series, tribute to Henry Mancini; $25

8:30> Matt Newton Trio @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St., TO West ~Jazz

8:30> Tafari Anthony @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W., TO West ~

9-12> The Hit Pickers @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Bluegrass

*9-1> eclectic open stage/jam with host Nelson Sobral @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West

9-1> Drew Austin Jazz Band @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz

*10> open mic with Richard McCarthy & feature @ The Hole In The Wall, 2867 Dundas St. W., TO West

519 – GUELPH

7-11:30> open mic with host Richard Garvey @ The Cornerstone, 1 Wyndham St. N., Guelph


*7> Rick & Gailie @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough

8> jam night with Rob Drake @ Sticky Fingers Dunlop, 199 Essa Rd.

9> Juliana & Jesse; Cale Crowe; Jacob Henley @ The Spill, 414 George St. N., Peterborough

10> Grey Gritt; Quantum Tangle @ The Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough

905 EAST

*8-12> open stage @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa

*10> L&M Jam with host Emerson Ireland @ The Thirsty Monk, 21 Celina St., Oshawa


9:25-1:05> jam/open stage with backline @ Sneakers Uptown, 18025 Yonge St., Newmarket

905 WEST

*7-10> open mic with Chris Partland @ The Purple Heather, 3600 Dundas St. W., Burlington

**8-12> BBQ & jam night with Mimico Bill @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville; ($8.95 with BBQ dinner special starts at 6)

*9-1> jam hosted by Redder featuring Michelle Deneault @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit

*9:30-1> jam with Tom Barlow @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit

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