You’d think that after the tremendous amount of effort that it took SongTown showsmeister and musician enabler Pete Otis to make Sunday’s Honouring Our Own tribute such a huge success [see also Seen On The Scene photos from today] that he’d be sleeping for a week. Instead, he tells me he’ll out attending meetings tonight then plans to check out the weekly show with Peter Verity at Black Swan!
Indeed, with his next huge event, The Purple Onion Reunion Party, less than two weeks away, he’s charging on ahead. Such focus and consistency is a large part of what it takes to make shows a success and Pete is never one to shy away from hard work.
The Purple Onion show, taking place at the legendary El Mocambo on Sat. May 4, features some of the musical icons who defined the glory days of the “Toronto Sound” around the Yonge St. and Yorkville areas.
In the early 60s, while barely a teenager, Otis worked at The Purple Onion, at the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville Ave., as the “kitchen boy”. Not a glamorous part-time job for a high school student, except he got to meet and become pals with young musicians starting their careers who would later go on to become revered icons.
Now Otis is reuniting some of those pals, including Mike McKenna of McKenna-Mendelson Mainline (with his new band Stink that mostly plays Mainline songs), plus Luke & The Apostles and special guests, including Psychedelic Pholk Psongs author and founder of the Winterfolk Festival, Brian Gladstone, to do sets. There’ll also be one by “The Kitchen Boy” and band —not to be sneezed at considering the crowd reaction to his short one Sunday.
Performing at the Elmo, (464 Spadina at College) also has special significance for McKenna. It was in fact his Mainline band that performed for the last concert thre before it was closed and rebranded several years ago, prior to its recent resurrection by Sam (Cadillac Lounge) Grosso.
Tickets are just $20 and can be ordered in advance by visiting www.songtown.ca, emailing [email protected] or calling 416-522-9896.