Sarnia’s Marinol Nation brings flavourful angst remedy to Horseshoe tonight | 160530Mo | Shows for Monday, May 30, 2022

Eli Martin


I’m initially reluctant to say that Sarnia’s Marinol Nation is a band that has taken angst to a new level.

With all the self-indulgent whiny emo groups on the alt-Rock scene these days, bleating nasally about the petty insults to their overly-indulgent Millennials’ sense of entitlement, many people may not understand how angst differs from psychic boo-boos.  But of course it does, dimensionally.

And songwriter Eli Martin has had good reason to feel the sense of dread, distress and impending doom that characterizes the mental state —as well as to enthusiastically recommend the marijuana product marinol as, along with music, an ameliorator if not eliminator of the suffering.

‘Field Of Dreams’ cover -Hailey McHarg

After an apparently rather adventurous, risk-taking life as a young man who “did a lot of drugs in high school” —even ending up “On The Run” from “Big Brother” trying to bust him, if his latest album, Field Of Dreams, is as faithfully autobiographical as his two earlier releases— the now 55-year-old songwriter matured to have an interesting career teaching in Zimbabwe, from where he returned to Canada about 15 years ago with a new love, “a girl on holiday … I met on the beach” only to soon discover that he and the Mozambique native had both tested positive for HIV syndrome.

Obviously life has never been quite the same for Martin since then.  And listening to the artfully constructed and entertaining lyrics of tunes on the 2015 album, delivered with a variety of musical instruments, moods, styles and flavours, it’s pretty clear that confronting his mortality so dramatically as he entered his fourth decade was a sea change for him.  It’s also, in fact, when he first took up music, learning to play guitar at 42 and, able to concentrate on artistic expression thanks to a disability pension, began to evolve into the impressive maestro the disc shows him to be.

The range of musical expression on the album (the cover photo, btw, in keeping with his band’s cannabis leaf logo, is of a home grow op) encompasses everything from Rockabilly to Punk, Blues and Country.  In places, with the stabbingly earnest and simple honesty of his voice on some numbers, he evokes shudders of great singer-songwriters like Dylan, Harry Chapin and Phil Ochs, similarly raging against the superficial nature of society, the intractable fundamental natural forces, and how limited one is in one’s ability to change much in either realm.

All eleven tracks on the new disc —copies of which, along with his previous releases Lipstick On A Pig in 2011 and 2013’s Suburbia and Minivans (both of which got good reviews on he’ll likely have with him tonight for a set at TO’s Horseshoe Tavern— are interesting and entertaining listens.

For me a few numbers that really stand out on FOD include “Drama Queen” (a witty, fast-paced Punk-feel ditty with a contrastingly idyllic bridge), the title track “Field Of Dreams” (mournful art-Pop with a Blues stream expressing regret over a relationship), “I Shoulda Been Dead” (playful Rock-Folk recounting death-defying moments, including the now ancient HIV diagnosis —the only reference to it on this disc, though it figured more prominently on his earlier records) and a plaintive, aching ballad about life’s fragility and ethereality: “4 Suns”.

But really each of the tunes here (with effective and masterful use of sax by James Jenkins, strings from Barbara Armstrong and Randy Dibble, killer harp from Greg Wilson and Blues slide by Al MacDougall) are all worthy of individual attention and invite repeated spins.  Multi-instrumentalist and singer Brendan E. Fraser, drummer Brian Cox and guitarist percussionist Adam Miner (the current members of his band and whom I’d expect to be with him for tonight’s show) also all perform impeccably.  The recording mix is superb too, allowing us to hear the vocals and still be carried along by lively beats and playing (including some searingly sizzling guitar on several tracks) which is crucial with songs that truly speak about matters of substance.

There’s a lot of pain behind these tunes and the expression is authentic —sometimes poignantly so, at others more aggressively raging and sometimes playfully ironic.  Yet despite some tough curves Martin’s been handed, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who obviously has so much talent, willpower and, to counter the depths of despair, a love of life that refuses to be extinguished.

If you know of a young person who’s preoccupied with bemoaning their frustration at not being farther ahead in life, you’d be doing them a favour to take them along to this free show (there’s a previous indie band, Peter and the Wolves, at 9 and another, Munizo, following at 11:30ish) in the club at 370 Queen St. West.  Help them find out what real mental pain is like, and how music (and of course cannabis products!) can help make it possible to transmute it into something wonderful.

-Gary 17,

SHOW LISTINGS for Monday, May 30, 2022

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.

On The Air / Online

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

416 - Toronto Central

6-8> Poetry & Music Salon fundraiser for Fort McMurray victims with 11 acts including Kirk Felix, Clara Blackwood, Steve-Paul Simms, Lind Stitt, Tim Maxwell, Brenda Clews & more  @ Palmerston Library, 560 Palmerston Ave., TO ~eclectic; donations

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

6:30> Gord Mowat’s Skeleton Crew @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz; $

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

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

7:30> Wintergarten Orchestra @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Road, TO North ~R&B/Swing

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

8:30> (see also listing for 10:15) Peter & The Wolves; Marinol Nation; Munizo @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., TO

**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> John MacLeod’s Rex Hotel Orchestra @ 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 Yawd Sylvester @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO

10> The Honey Runners @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Pop

10:15> Marinol Nation @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., TO

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

416 - Toronto East

5-9> Fort McMurray relief fundraiser with live music by Rob London, oyster shucking with Effingham Oysters owners & more @ The Ceili Cottage, 1301 Queen St. E., TO East

7-9> Dan Farrell @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., Toronto East ~songwriter

7> Courtney Barnett @ The Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., TO East ~$32-36

**7:30> M-Factor Mondays with host Elana Harte & Lucio Agostini with features by Cheryl Beatty; Nico Henderson @ The Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave., TO East ~songwriters

*8-12> Riverboat Mondays acoustic open stage jam with Julian Taylor & Tyler Ellis @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave. TO East

8:30-10:30> Lotus Wight @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E., TO East ~songwriter

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

416 – Toronto Etobicoke

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

416 – Toronto Scarborough

*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

9> Uke jam/workshop @ Stone Cottage Pub, 3750 Kingston Rd., Scarborough ~Pop Rock

416 – Toronto West

5-8> Mark Rainey Jazz band @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz

7> Ken McDonald Quartet @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St., TO West ~Jazz

8> Jordan Hallin; Joel McCabe; more @ Smiling Buddha, 961 College St., TO West ~indie

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

8:30> William Carn/Kelsey Grant @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St., TO West ~Jazz

9> Geoff Willingham @ The Roncy, 390 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West

*9-1> Hamstrung Stringband @ 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> The Sleaper Group @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz

10> Anna Mernieks; Alissa Vox Raw; Lisa Mrie Kruchak @ Not My Dog, 1510 Queen St. W., TO West ~songwriters

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


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