While for many people the Great Northeast Blackout of August 14, 2021 was a traumatic experience, for others in Toronto in particular it was a welcome break from the tedium of a dog-hot summer and an incident that ended up reinforcing bonds of community rather than ripping them asunder.
This evening a group of musicians and artists in the west end will celebrate that aspect of the occurrence —which spawned many spontaneous acts of kindness, sharing, courage, coming together to party, and, no doubt, procreation— with their 14th Annual Blackout Anniversary Party at Dufferin Grove Park at 875 Dufferin Park Avenue from 7-11 p.m.
One wonders how people today, seemingly —in retrospect at least— more socially fragmented, polarized and self-centred than was the case fourteen years ago, would respond if it were to happen again today.
Most people will probably be able to clearly recall exactly where they were when the power abruptly snapped off at 4:10 p.m. on a hot August Thursday afternoon. I was working on getting Issue #302 of my to-nite magazine uploaded to the internet on our then-extant to-nite.net site, having earlier sent the art flats to the printer for preparation of the hard-copy version. (They were delivered by hand back then, actual physical print-outs that got photographed and put on the press.)
Obviously everything changed in that instant, and as the reality of how widespread the outage was set in via telephone and radio communications (phones, still in those days mostly landlines, still worked, and of course battery-powered transistor radios were more common then, so news was able to spread that way too) it became clear that the issue was not going to be delivered as expected.
There was nothing for it but to wait and take an impromptu vacation! I spent a couple of days enjoying the night sky for once clearly visible from Toronto, cooking a whack of frozen foods on an improvised BBQ on the patio of the apartment I had just moved to, strummed guitar a lot, did some soft drugs and tried to make the best of it.
Eventually the issue did get printed, distributed and posted online and while there’s no mention of the blackout in it, a couple of articles of perhaps some historical interest caught me eye as I looked back over it whilst preparing this article.
The cover story was about edgy Blues songwriter David Rotundo’s new Blues Ignited album —he was just starting to make a breakthrough into the local Blues mainstream after being for years a somewhat marginalized act while performing and hanging out with a then also much greener Julian Fauth mostly in the Kensington Market area and a few off-the-radar west end rooms. The album, and the review by Sarah French —now a veteran publicist, herself then just starting out as a writer in the Blues field— did a lot to help propel David to the next level.
Another story details the reunion of the late Dominic Troiano with former bandmate Robbie Lane at a gig with Robbie Lane & The Disciples at P.K. Creek in Mississauga. (The pair, along with Sonny Milne, were in a group that had release a song that hit #3 on The CHUM chart in 1962!)
Yet another piece, by Rob Minderman, glowlingly describes all the fun he had while enjoying world-class entertainment by The Rolling Stones, AC/DC et al at the “SARSstock” concert that had taken place two weeks earlier on July 30. Yes, it was quite the momentously memorable summer![Subscribers who are registered with our website can read all these articles on high-resolution jpgs of the pages in a post in our Vault section.]
No doubt you have your own special memories of that summer and some of them are bound to relate to the blackout incident —hopefully happily.
If so, you can join musicians like Richard Underhill and Wayne “Neon” Smith who have indicated they’ll be among those taking part in the 8:45 p.m. parade at today’s event, followed by a 10-11 after-party with a live musical gathering.
Presumably the musical portion will be truly “unplugged” performances. Who needs electricity when you have so much good people-energy being generated?
-Gary 17, TorontoMoon.ca
SHOW LISTINGS for Monday, August 14, 2021
For KEY to listings codes and schemata see note at end of shows list.
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7-8> “Acoustic Workshop” with host Heather Fielding @ CIUT 89.5 FM broadcast and online
416 – TORONTO CENTRAL
5-10> Carol McCarthney @ The Berkley Bicycle Club, 504 Jarvis St. ~Jazz; $?
6> Laura Merrimen @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W.
6:30> Peter Hill Quintet @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $
**7-1 (sign-up at 7, show starts 7:30)> open stage with host Brian Sasaki @ Free Times Café, 320 College St.
*7-10> open stage with Brad Scott @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave.
7> Tequila Nosedive; TV Dinner; The Neighbours
7:30> Happy Hour with Chris Banks @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave.
7:30> Sean Jones @ Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace ~R&B/Soul
7:30> Orange Devils @ Monarch Tavern, TO Central, 12 Clinton St. ~Jazz; $10
**8> Music City North open mic with host Lynn Myers @ Rose & Crown, 2335 Yonge St.
8> Aurora Blue @ Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W. ~contemporary original; $
8> Ukulele jam @ Tranzac Lounge (Main Hall), 292 Brunswick Ave.
8:40> From Gemini; Tegan McKnight; Lovegate @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W. ~indie; $0
**9-1:30> jam with featured hosts Ryan Monte & Neelesh Vasister @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave.
*9:30> open mic with host Mark Villamor at Amsterdam Bicycle Club, 54 The Esplanade
9:30> Danjam 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 Stadek @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave.
10> Friendly Rich @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W.
10-2> Dan Gagnon & Jake Saenz @ The Hideout, 423 College St.
10> The Wilderness; guests @ Lost And Found, 577 King St. W. ~Hip Hop
*10> live musical theatre open mic @ Statler’s, 487 Church St.
416 - TORONTO EAST
6> “Last Call at the Broadview Hotel” @ The Broadview Hotel, 106 Broadview Ave. ~dinner theatre; $
7-10> Mikel Miller @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave. ~Roots-Rock; 0$
7> Megacity Swing Band @ Whistler’s Grille, 995 Broadview Ave. ~big band Jazz; $10
7> Sandra Bouza & friends @ The Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave. ~songwriters; 0$
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 Julian Taylor & Tyler Ellis @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave.
*9-12> The Out of Towners @ Sauce on Danforth, 1376 Danforth Ave.
*9:30-2> Sebastian Agnello & friends open stage @ Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave.; 0$
416 – TORONTO ETOBICOKE
*8-12> Al Reilly’s Catalyst also featuring Rick Anderson host Rock jam @ Rockpile, 5555 Dundas St. W.
8> Sil Simone Band @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line ~Rock/Top 40 covers
416 – TORONTO SCARBOROUGH
7:30> Uke jam/workshop @ Stone Cottage Pub, 3750 Kingston Rd.
*8-11> open stage with Dan Walek @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave.
*9-1> open jam with The Repairmen @ Newfoundlander Tavern, 472 Danforth
416 – TORONTO WEST
5-8> Chelsea McBridge Jazz Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Jazz
7> Jon Challoner Group @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~Jazz; pwyc
7> Gold Finch; Incase we Crash; Corbin Giroux; Loveovernite @ Smiling Buddha Stage 1, 961 College St. ~indie; $
7:30> WLMRT; Teenage Halloween ; Liquid; Group Hug @ D-Beatstro, 1202 Bloor St. W. ~indie; $10
8-11> Spoken Nerd; Carmen Toth; Isaac Sinson @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. ~original Rock/Pop; $?
*8> open jam with The Pumpkinheadz @ The Wicket Pub, 1671 Bloor St. W.
8> Musical Theatre furndraiser for Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Project @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W. ~musical theatre;; $25
8:30> The Barrel Boys; Jessica Pearson and the East Wind @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W. ~contemporary original; $12
*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.
9-1> Tim Hamel Trio & guest @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Jazz
9:30> Nick Fraser Trio @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~Jazz; pwyc
9:30> Practice; S4E3 @ Drake Hotel Lounge, 1150 Queen St. W. ~contemporary original; $5
*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
monthly first Monday 7:30-12> open mic @ The Cornerstone, 1 Wyndham St. N., Guelph
*8-12> open stage @ The Boathouse, 97 Jubilee Drive, Kitchener
9:30> Turk and the Hobbits @ Duke of Wellington, 33 Erb St. W., Waterloo
*7> Rick & Gailie @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
9> Carpe Noctem @ The Spill, 414 George St. N., Peterborough
9?> jam night with Rob Drake @ Sticky Fingers Dunlop, 199 Essa Rd.
10> Matt Greco; Tyler Watson; Patrick Walsh @ The Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough ~songwriter
*8-11> open stage @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
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
*8> The New Rebel Westerners @ Cat ‘n’ Fiddle, 174 John St. S., Hamilton ~Country
8> Spaceport Union; more @ Casbah Lounge, 306 King St. W., Hamilton ~indie; $10
*7-10> open mic with Chris Partland @ 5 West Brewpub, 3600 Dundas St. W., Burlington
*7-10> The Dirty Pioneers @ Shoeless Joe’s Brant (patio), 1250 Brant St., Burlington ~Rock/Top 40 covers
**8-12> BBQ & jam night with Catherine Harrison @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville; ($8.95 with BBQ dinner special starts at 6)
9> Ayden & Andy @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Pop Rock
*9:30-1> 11th anniversary of 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.
-Copyright © 2017 by Gary “17” Webb-Proctor & TorontoMoon.ca. All Rights Reserved