For artists of the Folk persuasion in particular, playing in bars is fraught with frustrations. For one thing, they tend to be noisy, with a lot of other (and usually, in my opinion, completely unnecessary) distractions such as tvs broadcasting poker tournaments and occasionally actually real sporting events due to an obsession most owners have with trying to fit the “sports bar” mold. For another, often many of the clientele for Roots-based genres are either older or more genteel of spirit, which also often translates into lower consumption of alcohol —and which means that bar owners are loathe to pay very much, if anything, to performers of that ilk.
But for those of us who grew up when the drinking age was 21 and who were exposed to the magic of live music long before we turned that ancient age, shows were first experienced in a setting in which alcohol was never seen. Does anyone else out there remember coffee houses? They were the salons of the Sixties, where not only Folk artists but also poets and many other creative types first took a magic carpet ride on a magical mystery tour of musical wonder.
As an artist who writes music that has been compared to that of the icons from that time (and who was influenced by them growing up, thanks to her parents) Nicole Coward misses those days —even though they happened before she was born!
So she’s excited to be featured this afternoon at a new café that isn’t trying to appeal to jarheads and that offers live performance as an extra with home-cooked food. Her show at the new St. Germain Café at 1767 Avenue Rd, in the Forest Hill part of uptown TO a few blocks north of Lawrence runs from 1-3, so it’s a perfect brunch outing.
There’s no cover, but, trust me, if you don’t already own a copy of her superb debut cd released last summer [see www.nicolecoward.com] you’ll want to bring along a few extra bucks to pick one up. 17